Saturday, April 06, 2013


I was listening to the song "Aa bhi jaa" from Sur, staring out of windows onto the beautiful lake outside our house. The tiny droplets of rain shimmering on the surface of the water, a beautiful piece of violin playing in the background and I thought about everything that is beautiful about life.
       In the background I heard Lucky Ali's voice nudging his student to perform, she on the other hand is shocked to see that her teacher has stolen her song after dismissing the song as a piece of crap in a previous instance. And then I thought about everything that is ugly about life. People hating each other, killing each other, wars and the list goes on.
      I have thought about this a lot, every time we read something horrible in the papers and I have tried to search for answers for this. I do not hate the people who do hateful things but I wonder what makes them do such things, what is it that makes them stoop to such levels that only hurting other fellow beings is the only way in which they get happiness. Is that true happiness, one can argue but there is something about that action that attracts these people towards performing that action.
      Every time I ask this question there is only one answer that I get and that is Power. The desire for power drives a lot of activities in our life, each one of us wants to feel that we have an identity, that there is someone out there who will listen to us when we say something, there is someone that looks up to us, fear or respect does not really matter, we want to make an impact, again positive or negative does not really matter.
      Why is it that power is that important one might ask? I think the answer lies in our animal past. Imagine a wounded lion in the jungle, he really does not have much chances of survival but then think of a powerful lion, he gets meat delivered to his doorstep, all the lioness' want to be with the most powerful lion. At the end of the day it is all about survival. We have left our animal past behind but the instincts are still there, we still believe that in order to survive we need to be powerful and not just that people around us need to recognize.
      This does not really apply to us right, we have all handled our animal instincts well. Have we? Lets take a closer look - what about the all the cases husbands shouting on wives, parents beating kids, bosses making life for their employees hell, all our peers at work fighting it out to be the next big guy.  How many times have you seen housewives shouting on their maids, men shouting on auto-drivers or servers in restaurants in India? Everyone of us is looking for an opportunity to feel powerful.
      Well wait a sec, you can tell me, not all desire for power is bad. Let me give you an example - you want to be the next director in your office, so all you do is slog it out to be the director. Lets assume you do  become the director, what now? Why did you want to become director, to feel powerful? You have all the power you want now, but what do you want to do with it ? All this while that you were busy slogging it out to become the director, did you ever think about why you wanted to be the director. Do you want to change things at work, motivate people, build newer products, what was it ? My guess is you have not really thought about it, all you wanted to be was powerful and that is all you strived to do. That is the problem with gunning for power, most of the times you do it because of how it feels, you don't really worry about what power does or why you want that power. When the chance finally comes for you to use your power most often that not you will not know what to do with it since you have not thought about it really. We all know what the consequences of having such people in power are. Politicians in India provide ample real life examples.
     All the external influences ( read facebook, linked-in, tv, the movies) around us do not really help us with the struggle for power. There are a lot more avenues to show case ourselves these days, compare our position with others and then stack rank ourselves on where we rank in the power chain. Depending on where you land in the chain, there might be various emotions that one might go through.
      We have heard it said from the beginning of time that unless we realize our true merit as an individual, realize that we are all in this together, not against each other, there will always be a struggle over the other. And mind you there will always be an other that you can compare yourself against. 

1 comment:

Shola said...

Mull over this, giving power gets you more.