Close button
The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp

Power…an opium or aphrodisiac?




It comes in various forms and manifests in diverse dimensions with different actors but for dissimilar purposes. Over the ages, power has acceptably come round as a means to achieve set-ambitions, so long as one is ready to pay the exacted price.

For some, power is like an aphrodisiac which lustfully makes possible ways to commit unimaginable vices. Whereas for others, power is waved off as opium of sort which the power-that-be use to perpetuate their hold on reins of control.

On the other hand, peculiar men and women of the virtues-driven species have guardedly harnessed the course of their power awesomeness along complete usefulness as well as set-targets and not only is power so desirous but sweet-tasting.

Power is defined as that ability to exert obedience or compliance by one or many over others as intended and inherent in power enforcement is the authority and influence to command adherence to extant rules and regulatory guidelines. By persuasive or compulsive measures, power either wields its rod or reins as each instance demands.

Characteristically, power operates in unit formations, multi-purposed interconnectedness, transnational diversities and in spite of all these stratifications, power like irresistible wave-current cuts opposing forces so engagingly. Take the power of electricity for an example.

Just as often said, electrocution travels in lightning speed, no matter how long is the extent of a live current. Its shocking voltage usually hits its endpoint in no time. Ditto is power in its charging ramifications; positive or negative.

The positive side of power is easily noticeable on personal, corporate or societal degree when the livelihood ratio of those affected is on the highly improved rating and in modern trends, such obtains in increased income, rapid economic growth, and industrial outbursts.

However, a nation’s standard of living is widely gauged on the purchasing power parity (PPP) calculation while on the home reckoning, it is in the basket of goods at hand that makes discernible sense.

Taking a universal course, charging power positively is more of constructive achievements (as against failing or negative experience) because of the deliberate approach adopted by conscientious leaders so as to make things work better as expected.

Alternatively, was it not by a similar so-called power coercion that Chairman Mao Zedong and his ideological co-travellers used to temporarily shut out a somewhat medieval China in 1949, only for it to now emerge as the world’s second largest economy!

It was by sheer might of power that compelled the then-British overlords out of the diverse American territories in the late 18th century following the fierce war of independence and relentless agitations it encountered.

None-the-less, power in its negative charge has its width of woes and destructive tales to tell. When the first human murderer, Cain, dealt with his brother Abel, obviously out of vicious spite and vengeful wickedness, he only exerted his greater weight of power over a weaker contender…from which humanity was yet to recover.

Consider Cain’s latter-day soul mate, Adolf Hitler, several centuries afterwards, who through his eugenically-induced Aryan race campaign wiped out multiple millions of Jews and other victims who were unavoidably caught in his sinking madness, while the world at large watched in horrific helplessness.

Similarly, finely good as the technological breakthroughs of scientific reasoning and laboratory, researches might have sounded; which were not so such for Japan’s agonising experience in the second European war of 1939-45. During the bitter era, the United States jet fighters dropped earth-scotched atomic bombs, called “little boy” (on Hiroshima) and “fat man” (on Nagasaki).

Till date, the hit-grounds of such bombing are yet to turn green and which may never be vegetative again owing to the devastating consequences of the bombs’ chemical compositions and payload-effects!

In other like instances, power is taken as a slaughter-house, owing to the resultant manipulations of underneath subterfuges, inordinate ambition, lust for power/tenacity and the sequence of its perks, privileges and pomposities.

In the stifling arena of currying favour and related spoilage, little effort is required to demand compulsive compliances from abounding jesters and spineless cowards who are ever ready to do the bidding of power-drunks.

Over the entire human race, power supremacy among and between different spectrums of humanity has been a fierce battle, for often needless reasons or flimsy excuses. Because, man has continually aimed to conquer his fellow-beings and contrasting circumstances over religious, economic, societal, ideological or other extraneous contentions.

Among the familiar terrain of such power battle-fields may be in the several affairs of closely guarded espousal, family, communal, corporate or intra-/inter-national settings.

Going by some charted scriptural thoroughfare and as evidently recorded in the scriptures; it was actually the power of the spoken-word that created the world as it was originally purposed (rather than by any ascriptive power of nature as contended by Charles Darwin). But what has since followed is that man, a similar product of the said-word, has stubbornly gone off-course as against the expected-orders of its Creator and with this defiance, the world has sunk to the depth of beastly, wicked, wild and seemingly untamable power insanity.

As an ageless cliché some time ago contends, a rich fellow in the midst of a folk of the poor tried his utmost best to reverse the sinking situation around him and after having exhausted all his known poverty-alleviation efforts on his helpless habitat without a breakthrough, the fellow eventually let go and ended up similarly being poor!

This is because what regulates one individual in mode and content connects with the whole unit of mankind in generic terms. Irrespective of several contrary opinions, what made Hitler to be irredeemably murderous was not different from the vices-ridden tribe of Sani Abacha, Mobutu Zese-Zeko, Samuel Doe, Idi Amin-Dada, Saloth SAR, Josef Stalin or the other modern-day thieving rulers or band of kleptomaniacs.

It is like helplessly reproducing a new but same phenomenon out of an old order which lapses to the ancient game of musical chairs and here, it is like revolving on the same spot/page of irrelevancies which include one and every other person.

At the other scheming extreme is a familiar sing-song of predominant tin-gods cruising on a Russian-roulette ballgame with their nations’ collective destiny. As far as this fun-driven but empty lot is concerned, power and all that matter are their amusement-games of lust, tenacity, excessive accumulation and outwitted brawn over needed brainpower.

Hazardously beneath the power arena are the burning issues of violence as to whether it can ever, under any guise or argument, be justified. On this public grandstanding, are the punching pair of Karl Popper and Frantz Fanon.

For Popper, there is certainly no sanity or sensibility in any form of violence and that, what is needed is patience, perseverance and persistence and in the end, voice of logical reasoning would prevail and set-objectives achieved.

Given the societal sufficiency and rich background of Popper, a Nordic European, who was largely cushioned against the realities of avoidable lack, injustice and institutionalised dislocations so common in other lands battling with suffering and sorrow of deprivation; his standoffish views might then have been excusable.

Not with Fanon, an Algerian political theorist (of the French colony of Martinique) so traumatised and psychologically assailed by the generational agitations against the French occupation during a life-for-life struggle; violence was indeed an alternative solidarity to a people and nation’s miseries, given prevalent oppression or formidable contradictions.

Even in the face of the rather narrow and dark era of that torturing period; usage of available weapon-conventional or otherwise, was permissible if only to secure self preservation, which in itself was a first law of nature!

Aside these contrasting forces, Fanon was all for the creative value of violence, to redeem and regain the lost image, honour and manliness of those so oppressed. By deduction, this is one therapeutic way of rehumanising a once-dehumanised fellow/people.

Dwelling on the sweetening side of power considering the space of its accruing influence, effusive compliance, authoritative charisma and visionary enablement essentially has to do with the power of incumbency that fired the typical individualities of John F. Kennedy, Nelson R. Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev and all other heroes of ages past to etch their landmarks on the sands of history.

As for the bitter, deadly opium of power, this can be located where mismanagement of available resources, power tyranny, official impunity, oppressive reign overshadows good governance, accountability, and impartial justice system.

Put aptly, is such a nation or people endowed with more of virtues or stuck with unrelenting vices and how does power really operate…a deadening, killing opium or an alluring aphrodisiac?

However, in places where power wielders are answerable to the citizens at large, either by constitutional or conventional means; such checks and balances act as pull-strings on extreme power abuse or misuse of available resources.

With these ethics of expected behaviour and role-expectation as foundational based levels; avoidable issues like illegalities, tenacious grips on power and resultant criminality might be so minimal and rare to come by.

What is more, in this fiercely individualistic age or free atmosphere of self-actualisation and consensual nation building, power, rather being branded as an all-the-time condemnable vice, can deliberately be made to taste more like a usefully regulated aphrodisiac or as a sweetener of influence, affluence, eminence of good-wielding power.


In this article:
Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

No comments yet