Ever woken up in the morning just wanting to get into a fight? Imagined twisting and cracking someone’s neck as they speak? Drowning a person’s dog for barking at 1 am in the morning? It’s sick, but it happens. Louis C.K. talked of this in one of his stand ups, “If murder was legal, everybody would do it. I wouldn’t trust someone who says they never murdered someone.” We are all beings of a war-like nature. If given the power, there is always the curiosity to use it for destruction, I wonder how it would feel. Why aren’t we doing it, you ask? Fear of the consequences.
Our habits of being spectators to events of competition, and sometimes violence, is proof that we wish to compete internally. When we view such competitions, we fantasise about being able to achieve such feats. Power is attractive - that’s how we choose partners. Power is a useful tool, but presence of power makes us want to test it. We want to show people that we have power to show dominance or to prove to ourselves that we have this power. Having power makes us feel closer to being a god. With the existence of a god being debatable, the existence of influence of a god is obvious. Visibly, people like to believe in a supreme being of power unimaginable, because guess what? We wish to have such infinite power.
We feed on chaos and madness. As much as we hate to admit, pain and suffering is entertaining. The idea of most comedy shows is a constant discomfort or chaos being caused on multiple characters. As long as it is in a show, we love to watch it, but the moment we see it happen in real life, “That’s tragic” (There is a fine line between comedy and tragedy if you think about it). It is a feeling of elimination of competition to a certain extent that makes death, pain, and suffering so satisfying to some people - because we want the world to be a more comfortable place for us. Lesser people means more resources for us.
The impression of power on our minds is massive, which is why people of political power are popular and respected. It is why we marvel large structures like the pyramids or the mountains. The powerful characters of movies and stories are always the ones that really matter. Nobody cares if a side character dies, no matter how relatable or lovable they are (Dobby! Why did you have to die?). The story depends on the life of the characters with power and influence. It is why the profession of a doctor, or a lawyer is respected more than most.
But one has to understand that the desire for power, and the ecstasy of using it are addictions that are harmful to a personality as a whole. As Uncle Ben said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” (Admit it, no piece of writing on power is complete without this quote). We have to consider the fact that we have come so far as a civilisation only because men of power have shared power and used it for the good of people. We can’t expect it to be perfectly divided amongst people. Complete equality is an illusion, but we can hope that those who wield power will have a conscience to balance it out, and a will to ward off that desire.