Since recorded history the ‘lust for power’ has caused more death and destruction than any other reason. It may be responsible for as much as 95%… resulting in more than 40 million deaths and incomprehensible amounts of collateral damage. Countries have been virtually decimated by wars, their cities left smoldering in ruin and countless others were affected in terrible ways, the loss of loved ones, being wounded or crippled for life, millions left homeless and starving, others raped, tortured and imprisoned… all to sate the desires of a few dozen men.
In July of 2003, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was finally created to deal with these war criminals but it alone may prove inadequate to stop the next madman. While the ICC was born weakened by the U.S. refusal to be a states party, but even with all on board, its deterrent value may not be enough. It might give some men ’cause to pause’ but for others it may be wishful thinking. Suicidehas been the preferred exit for these men… of a mind never to be taken alive. Yet, hope remains, it could complicate their designs by causing staff members and generals to abandon their posts. Assassination becomes more likely… it might work after all.
Trying to hold or gain power at all costs is actually megalomania however, and while wickedness of the highest order, it is only loosely connected to the simpler ‘lust for power’. On the other hand, ‘loosely connected’ isn’t something one can throw around with confidence. After all, anything concerning the mind is metaphysical, ethereal, and thus a problem of semantics. Depending on the ‘sense’, it could even be considered hardwired. However, with some confidence one could say megalomania is at least partially rooted. Perhaps better yet, that megalomania is child of ‘power lust’… a child gone bad. Whatever the actual case, power lust (in itself) is natural within males and, from all indications, it is sexually inspired.
We must first recognize the sexual instinct within males encompasses more than just the sexual desire to copulate, he soon learns desire is often not enough. Men, through trail and error, eventually learn there are certain actions which must be taken beforehand in order to succeed. They also learn what actions are necessary to hold their ground as well.
While males instinctively try to position themselves to be in control by being more powerful than their counterparts, or appearing more powerful, ‘the times’ have a way of changing things. Today, this is done in a variety of new ways since it is now unlawful to threaten, injure or otherwise kill the competition. A male must demonstrate his masculinity in different ways today and to succeed in business pursuits, or appearing successful, is the most effective. Under the auspices of civilization now, in the opinion of most people… money or being in a position of power represents success. It is no longer a world of pastures… although head-butting still occurs.
A bull in the pasture
As men have correctly assessed throughout the ages, power (success) means a better choice of females, a multitude of females or both. Let’s not deny that, it’s true and a fact of nature. Beyond the pleasures of sex, whether or not having offspring fulfills any instinctual need for males seems unclear however. In either event, it goes off on a tangent.
As one of many phenomena, the sexual need is so instinctually powerful it virtually dominates and influences almost everything a male does. Within nature its preeminence is demonstrated; male animals strutting their stuff and defending their territory to ward off other males. For the strongest males, a harem of females are often kept under their control. As this may be applicable to the average human male of today…their lust for power does in fact seem sexually inspired because in their mind, success is ‘strutting their stuff’… that translates into females and invariably the case.
For the tyrant however, sex doesn’t seem to be the main reason anymore… no longer are women considered the spoils of war and carried off in some Viking ship. But because sex was the original purpose for this instinct, it seems to automatically apply itself regardless. Whether or not one takes advantage of their powerful position doesn’t matter… it’s the instincts job to drive them into a dominate position. Men plow forward persistently because the instinct doesn’t know when it’s not about sex.
Of course, men can’t always control this natural instinct within the civilized world… sometimes resulting in the killing of a rival or, as so often happens, a fistfight. In the mind of a male, his instincts are still thinking in terms of controlling pastures, as the bull would, while at the same time laws are telling him he must play by certain rules.
While most people might believe ‘power lust’ is rare, perhaps thinking only a few men have this powerful drive, well, it’s really a relative matter… every man is under its spell to some degree. However the degree of his drive doesn’t factor-in quite as much anymore. It’s often the breaks which determine who makes it to the top in civilized societies. Although the biggest bulls once did rule, oftentimes today it’s the luck of the draw. It takes intelligence to stay in a dominate position however. It all amounts to luck and intelligence having taken the place of brute-strength, courage and fighting abilities.
Actually, this lust for power amounts to being a double-edged sword. While achievers may be ‘guilty’ of this lust for power, occasionally to abuse it, without it man wouldn’t have accomplished much of anything beyond the bare necessities. For the reasons stated, it drives men to ‘accomplish’. Since sex is such an integral part of life – constituting it almost entirely – explains why his attempts are never-ending.
When a man gets older and loses some of his sexual appetite – then perhaps his accomplishments can be attributed more to his desire for creature comforts. As said, it’s a metaphysical matter and therefore foggy. There are no clear lines as to what motivates people and may often be a combination of things. And, it may often change daily. One can only state what ‘seems’ to be the case using the terms available.
Perfectly clear however is that power lust can sometimes transform itself into megalomania. It happens when sex gets tossed aside to fulfill another gratification… one utterly evil. After all, sex wasn’t the reason behind the escapades of Stalin, Hitler or Edi Amin… that’s because they were megalomaniacs. While utter wickedness, sinful beyond words, of a much deeper meaning than being merely a ‘delusional’ mental disorder, all too often it is politically correct for a country to keep them in power. But that sad state of affairs also goes off on a tangent.
Unlike megalomania – of a insatiable appetite seemingly uncontrollable – this ‘simpler’ lust for power seems to have proven itself controllable… more apt to submit itself to the old Arthurian codes of ethics and honor. However, since scruples can vary widely between individuals, it then becomes a matter where one draws the line. In other words, how underhanded they are willing to be.
Since there is more than one line a leader might cross, some powerful men like Franklin D. Roosevelt seemed to have respected them all… perhaps only his liberal policies could be considered out-of-bounds (constitutionally). Even though it was rumored he was having an ‘affair’ – although often typical of a bull-in-the-pasture – FDR seemed content with the heights he achieved and sought nothing more. In other words, he didn’t have the insatiable appetite of a megalomaniac.
There are mixed feelings whether Harry S. Truman crossed a line however. Some say his decision to use atomic weapons on Japan was justified while others say not. Yet, even if Harry was wrong – albeit only God can say – he didn’t do it as a matter of cruelty or to become more powerful.
In summary, megalomaniacs are not just a ‘bigger’ bull-in-the-pasture, a rather harmless-sounding characterization, but are men of evil without an ounce of compassion. This brings up the question… how gratifying is power? Well, perhaps every leader should fear they might someday know.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
By: A.O. Kime
Resource Box: © A.O. Kime (2003)
A.O. Kime is the author of two books plus 70+ articles on ancient history,
spiritual phenomena, political issues, social issues and agriculture which
can be seen at http://www.matrixbookstore.biz