The Grip of Power

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Контент 18+ (лексика, описания)
Of the many wise sayings I have heard over the years, one of the most impressive goes like this: "If you want to know what a person is really like, give him Power."  (Him or HER, doesn't matter -- same result.)  Wow. So, if I understand correctly, the acquisition of decisive power does not really change people, it just brings out what was in them all along? OK, I'll go along with that.
Actually, the first time I listened to those words, I received the wondrous shock of recognition that usually only comes to me when I read a great passage of poetry. It's like an explosion happens in the mind, and this tremendous gasp of  "Uh huh!! So that's how it is!" flies out of your breath. Suddenly,  'The Truth.
BTW, they also say that "Power corrupts, and absolute Power corrupts absolutely." Not quite as good, but right-on nonetheless.
Well, of course, everyone has heard of the famous Stanford University 'prison' experiment where half the volunteers pretended to be prisoners and the other half donned the apparel of guards. The organizers had to stop the music after only a couple of days because the guards had become heartless tyrants and were inflicting all sorts of abuse on the inmates. I am not sure that it really qualifies for our present  'just for the sake of argument' discussion, because there have been countless examples of group insanity and mob rule, and it just goes to show that a herd of people under such circumstances are no different from a herd of stampeding cattle.
Before I go back to the notion of the gathering of  Power as an irresistible aphrodisiac to the Thunder Gods lurking inside many apparently meek and mild souls, I must say one more thing about this idea of group hypnosis. In the United States there have been, within the last year, a number of sex scandals: to wit, the mass accusations of sexual misconduct leveled at Bill Cosby, one of the most beloved American comedians of the past half-century, and the other, currently in full tilt, at Harvey Weinstein, a famous film producer. I have little doubt that both of these guys are guilty-as-charged and probably should be strung up by their own genitalia in the town square, but I do not believe for One Minute the hordes of women who are now charging forward to claim themselves as Victims. I think most of them are making it up or else have succumbed to the sort of mass hysteria that provoked the Salem Witch Trials in long ago New England. The same thing happened back in the 1970s and 80s, when half the people in America, men, and women alike, decided that they had been 'abused'' (sexually and otherwise) when they were children. It came about because some criminals had used what came to be known as ''the abuse excuse'' at trial as a means to justify their own terrible deeds  --and actually managed to fool the jury. ("It was my mom and step-dad's fault! They played with my dinky and that's why I robbed the    bank !")  Most all of it was a load of bullshit, but you wouldn't believe how many people jumped on the bandwagon. You might have imagined that every American home dissolved into a kinky sex-orgy right after supper and the corn-dogs and hash browns had been cleared from the table. MY HOME was not like that, damn it !!!
But the thing about Power.... to me it is different from another basic 'pearl'': "I can tell you who you are by the company you keep."  This one has a thousand variations (I learned the Italian version while I was studying Italian: "Dimmi con chi vai, e ti diro' chi sei"") and is 75 percent accurate, I suspect, but to me it doesn't leave enough room for the dark vicissitudes and incomprehensible urges that appear to rule many people, especially  -- but not necessarily --the more creative ones. This then is not so much about the aggrandizement of Power but of stripping layers from one's own lasagna-like psyche until one emerges into sometimes strange, even macabre, corners of both mind and the mind's Desire... It often has to do with sex, and more often than not in regards to what we often label (lacking a better word for it) as 'perversion."" Nor does it allow for the fact that even the most accomplished and ''best''people often house unsavory apartments amid the mansions of their souls.
I have often been fascinated by the dichotomy of the two worlds that so obviously, undeniably exist: The shiny world of surfaces, and the lurid world underneath. My father, who passed away recently, once offered me some advice in the way of a rhetorical question -- this after one of my wild drinking and whoring escapades. ""Ëric,", he counseled, "suppose you are a famous college professor during the week, but on weekends you go to dangerous places in search of exotic experiences. among lower people. Suppose that during one of those lost weekends, somebody sticks a knife in you and kills you. The cops look the other way, the undertaker signs off on it, and the newspaper reports 'Drunk stabbed to death in a slum.'  No big deal. But guess what? Come Monday morning, and it turns out that the College Professor is dead too."
Exactly. And so is the oligarch really an oligarch when he fraternizes and does business with other oligarchs?  What about (as I touched on in an earlier blog) when he goes to the dominatrix strap-on lady in order to be humiliated and allowed to forget that he is an oligarch? Who is he then, and amid what company?  WHO ? Answer: He is all of the above. For better or for worse. But he wants us to see only the IMAGE.
An image is Everything.
So, like the chameleon, we live amid our elaborate affectations, surrounding ourselves with the 'right company' to fool the others when our 'truth friends'' are lurking in bushes. Like hyenas.
When it comes to most average, 'clean', middle-of-the-road people, I am sure that all I have said will appear as a colossal exaggeration. But not to all of you, and you know who you are.
Here in Bulgaria, I have become virtually hooked on ''the history channel.''  It helps that I can watch it in English, and so over the past week I have been shown a cavalcade of films about old kings and presidents and dictators and all their various ambitions and wars. Aside from the vast education and sheer entertainment which these documentaries provide, I am stunned by how often the course of history has been changed -- usually involving great loss of life in the cruelest ways imaginable -- because of the narrow, selfish, vicious whims of savage little men (and women) who somehow came to power: some by their wit and ruthless cunning, to be sure; others by sheerest chance; and still others by the accident of being born to royalty. In England alone there is a marvelous number of these hideous bastards: Richard II, Richard III, Henry VIII., and Oliver Cromwell, to name but a few.  Henry VIII at least looked like a king, but he was a murderous tyrant, ego-maniac,and spendthrift from day one, virtually bankrupting the kingdom his father has made solvent., and leaving the actual running of the State to, first, Cardinal Wolsey and later to Richard Cromwell while he himself farted around in the forest hunting birds and deer and playing at the jousts. The last minister, Cromwell, he had beheaded after ruining the career of Wolsey because of his own adulterous lust for Anne Boleyn. One of the great men of his kingdom, Thomas More, he had beheaded when he was an old man. A fat jerk was King Harry. But look at this tub of shit the wrong way and it was your life, buddy. "The wrath of the Prince is Death," they always said.

Just think of the 20th century. How many millions and millions of people died because of two sawed-off little twerps -- Stalin and Hitler -- one a Georgian horse-thief and the other a failed Austrian painter. In a bar fight, neither of these slime-bags would have been of any more use than the mats sitting under the glasses to soak up spilled beer.  Yet, given power, they put a large segment of the human race To Death. Can you believe it? How did they do it? And who were the henchmen who obsequiously carried the fatal documents from office to office -- the bureaucratic little vermin like Himmler and Goebbels?  These guys probably couldn't deal with a fat wife, but they could doom a multitude with a stroke of the pen. And Herman Goering -- the gayest blade in the Third Reich, enjoying his boy-food -- while the  Nazis were rounding up homosexuals as fast as they could and sending them to the slaughter.
POWER. Take a good look around you when you are at work. Better still, if you have children, visit the school during recess, and watch the young darlings at their play. If you observe closely enough, you will begin to see the little Hitlers as they emerge. At your jobs, you can witness the same phenomena, the same unfolding. Sycophants before the boss, ready to kneel and kiss the holy ring, but tyrants and butchers to their own subordinates.
A friend of mine told me a story a couple of years ago about a colleague of hers who had been promoted to a higher level and so became the ''boss'' of his former team. How did he handle it? Did he say, ""OK guys, my role is a little different now and maybe at first it will seem awkward... But my door is open and remember that I am still ME, just doing a different job."
Did he say that and back it up with his actions?  No, his shirt immediately grew two sizes and his hat three. Only his bulgeless trousers remained the same, but to him, it didn't matter. He was now made of steel. What is the Russian word for this? стали  ?
This world is not based or virtue or even the dream of virtue. It is based on Power and the perception of power. In matters of the 'heart', life experience tells me that this is also true. When you are young, the girls love your muscles and your sports car. They gravitate to you if you are popular and have status. And it doesn't hurt if you have the porn-star equipment. Later in life, all that goes out the window if you are powerless to 'make things happen.'   The old football hero pumping petrol must bow before the balding businessman who can pick up a phone and change the course of the day.
Probably this little guy knew it all along. He was just biding his time and waiting for the chance to pounce.

Source: Eric-Artem LJ

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