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Powerlust is a one of the worst traits to have and to develop -- it… - Alex Belits
abelits
abelits
Powerlust is a one of the worst traits to have and to develop -- it makes people do horrible things when they try to satisfy it, and it enables them to do more horrible things when it is satisfied. Any society that tries to motivate people by it, no matter how good are the ideas that are originally placed into its foundation, is doomed to descend into despotism, slavery and misery for all of its population.

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From: iskra_chan Date: July 9th, 2006 12:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
"все куплю! - сказало Злато
все возьму - сказал Булат"

простите, что-то вспомнилось.
извини, друг Абелитс. видимо, у тебя не очень хорошее настроение, раз ты пишешь такие умудренные посты.
abelits From: abelits Date: July 10th, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Мне другое вспомнилось. "Скупой рыцарь" Пушкина:

Так я, по горсти бедной принося
Привычну дань мою сюда в подвал,
Вознес мой холм - и с высоты его
Могу взирать на все, что мне подвластно.
Что не подвластно мне? как некий демон
Отселе править миром я могу;
Лишь захочу - воздвигнутся чертоги;
В великолепные мои сады
Сбегутся нимфы резвою толпою;
И музы дань свою мне принесут,
И вольный гений мне поработится,
И добродетель и бессонный труд
Смиренно будут ждать моей награды.
Я свистну, и ко мне послушно, робко
Вползет окровавленное злодейство,
И руку будет мне лизать, и в очи
Смотреть, в них знак моей читая воли.
Мне все послушно, я же - ничему;
Я выше всех желаний; я спокоен;
Я знаю мощь мою: с меня довольно
Сего сознанья...


Скупость (реальная и постыдная даже в глазах самого барона) оправдывается стремлением к власти (мнимой, учитывая, что барон никогда ничего не делал, чтобы применить свое богатство для того, чтобы чем-либо управлять, и скорее всего не умеет этого делать), которое сам барон не считает пороком. В современном американском обществе (и в довольно больших частях современного не-американского) скупость и стремление к наживе поощряются, и используются как оправдание скрытому властолюбию, которое в действительности их мотивирует в большинстве случаев. У барона (и Пушкина) глаза бы на лоб вылезли от такой революционной идеи.
nieren From: nieren Date: July 9th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm curious, what are some ways in which our society motivates through powerlust. What are some more concrete examples of this ?
abelits From: abelits Date: July 10th, 2006 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
First of all, encouragement of the desire to control other people's actions is such a fundamental feature of American society that it's almost invisible from within it -- it's seen as fundamental for the "human nature" as opposed to being a part of social conditioning of a person. In this way it's similar to greed, however encouragement of greed is now loud, open and supported by pseudo-intellectual demagoguery. Encouragement of powerlust is quiet, and more lead-by-example type.

Second, it's present in various forms at all levels of society. People are encouraged to be "successful", and "success" means either amassing huge amount of money (supposedly to have vast amount of resources under one's control) or ending up in a position where one's arbitrary wishes can be imposed on other, supposedly inferior or less successful people.

Again, greed motivation is not the end in itself. In the poorest parts of society (that include by this distinction a large part of supposed middle-class people) it's based on the fear of poverty/starvation -- if you don't get enough income, you will be thrown a few rungs down on the social ladder, and will die on the street in the end unless you find a way to support yourself. While it causes people to do disgusting things to each other, there is no power motivation here.

In a part of society with a stable income sufficient for secure, comfortable life (the "true" middle class) fear is not a motivation (though some people in this range still have it) greed is more a matter of encouraging people to improve their standard of living, what in reality means more making themselves look more successful in the eyes of their peers. At this point power motivation runs in parallel to greed when people at work are trying to reach higher and higher positions in management hierarchy -- higher position usually means more money but it also means much more power on each level. The supposed purpose of a manager doesn't really encourage him to think much about his power over subordinates, he merely is there to make decisions to efficiently allocate company resources to achieve its goal, and to facilitate communication between his subordinates, superiors and other subdivisions of the company. An accountant has more challenging position as far as amount of mental activity requires. An engineer has more interesting work, and his impact on the end result is usually higher than one of most of the managers, if not for any other reason then by the virtue of his design being copied in the large number of product units produced. But people don't strive to become accountants or engineers. The true benefit of managerial work is that a manager can abuse his position. He can impose his ideas, no matter how counterproductive, on subordinates. He can verbally abuse them in a response of anything that makes him uncomfortable. He can hire and fire people based on personal likes and dislikes. In other words, he has power over other people, and can make them do things, to make himself feel comfortable and powerful -- until the point when his activity is so detrimental to the company (or so pissed off a higher manager) that he get fired himself. What for most of the positions this limit is prety high on the scale of "horrible". In my experience the quality of the managers' work shows that most of the people got into those positions not because they like fulfilling the purpose of the manager's work, but because they followed the promise of power that comes with the manager's position. They also see manager's work as an easy way to make more money, but the sadistic glee with which those people "criticize" and "punish" their subordinates betrays a power motive in their choice of work.
abelits From: abelits Date: July 10th, 2006 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
In the higher levels of society greed is pretty much a lame excuse for powerlust. No one in the richest class can possibly use a noticeable part of his money to improve his quality of life in any way that he can notice. Unless he can feel the improvement from expanding range of his control over other people, who can't possibly do anything that directly affects himself, other than expanding his power further. It's either power through ownership (he owns companies where poor people work), or through intimidation (he controls resources that rich people, other companies and the government need), or through various forms of bribery. As the last resort, one can create a charity and dangle large sums of money in front of a huge number of poor people -- even though whatever people will use those money for, is not likely to accomplish much, sure as hell they are the most enthusiastic of everyone that a rich person, or a group of them, can get a control of. And this power is ultimate -- no one can challenge the decision of a charity to throw money away in any particular way.

Inside the power machinery situation is even worse than within the companies. When the aforementioned dangerous and stupid person proposed obviously unqualified candidates for position of power such as Attorney General and Supreme Court Justices, all opposing arguments were about trying to find a proof that those people are too corruprt to have that power. The question "Why would anyone think that those people are the best choices to perform their duties?" never was asked. Power and high position was supposed to be their right, their rightful achievement at least, a benefit imposed on them by the society, and not a duty.

Lower levels of the society, the poor and powerless, have their own ways of encouraging powerlust. In families the society is unconcerned about parents' ways of raising their kids until the point when kids' blood (in any form) becomes involved. Poor people have no one to exercise any power over and they are shit upon most often, so they turn on the family members that in any way depend on them. Obviously, it doesn't produce much direct material effect on a large scale (people over whom the power is exercised don't do much at that point), but it screws up the "victims'" motivation.

Gangs have a power structure based on survival -- once there, most likely you will cause a lot of suffering on the fellow humans, then die horribly. It's possible that you succeed taking control over something (people, territory, other gang members), cause a lot of suffering, then die horribly. But if you take control over enough resources and won't die soon enough, you are a part of a power structure, and it's pretty much a top management position, just with less money than top management position in a company. Shit upon other people all you want -- it's not like they have any recourse, or there is a shortage of recruits that will support you for the promise of power.

For a poor young person this sounds much more realistic than any other way of achieving power, and the idea of achieving wealth through honest labor looks like an obvious bullshit. The other idea, one of education, is not even there -- the society is anti-intellectual, so education is seen as a way for rich people to teach their kids secret handshakes and buy magical pieces of parchment to let them join the power and money hierarchies on their parents' level. "Knowledge is power" is seen not as a power over nature and one's own abilities' application but as a power within a hierarchy of people.

And a completely different idea -- that someone may be a worthy person because of things that can not control over other people's lives, is something completely, absolutely foreign to everything that American society tries to motivate its members. Once in a while a distorted idea "You can amass huge fortune by doing honest labor or educating yourself, THEN YOU CAN TURN ON EVERYONE WHO WRONGED YOU AND CONTROL ALL OF THEM!!!", but it's just as stupid as it sounds, and appeals to the same powerlust, so a person who believed in such a thing, ends up doing anything but a honest labor.
abelits From: abelits Date: July 11th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
( When splitting my response between messages due to the size limit, I have missed a paragraph about politicians having to be highly motivated by the promise of power to go through all the hoops of propaganda machine building and election process, with observation that their powerlust exceeds even fanaticism of many extremists, considering that only extremists of a certain kind bother to participate. Other than mentioning that this shuts all people with sane motivation out of the process, that paragraph was rather trivial and unworthy of being placed back, and this is why "dangerous and stupid person" was "aforementioned". )
mackys From: mackys Date: July 11th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Amen to that.

I think I once read somewhere, something like:

"Power and money are poison. They are bribes offered to people to make them do work that they hate and will normally avoid doing. Remember what someone is offering you when you offer you money or power. You're trading with your own misery."

Explains a lot about why I refuse to become a manager. I'd rather do my little thing over here in my corner, relatively undisturbed. Besides, if I become a manager, I'd almost never get to code ever again...
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