I once enjoyed the corruption of power. I felt the rules were different for me. In fact, I must have been so drunk with power at the time, because I don’t remember any of it. But, I’ve heard stories of my excesses, and I can tell you that I had no inhibitions about taking what I felt I deserved – even if it meant my colleagues got the shaft in the process. Of course, in my defense, our world was more naïve back then. Plus, I was only 6. I think I was able to take advantage of this system primarily because of my secret weapon: red hair. My first grade teacher had red hair, so she would tell me I was the son she never had. Now, that’s power. So, it was apparently very easy for me to get what I felt like I deserved – an early dismissal. She would allow me to leave class early so I could walk home with my neighbor Craig, who was in kindergarten. For some reason, the other kids didn’t think it was fair. Why should I get special treatment? Why couldn’t everyone leave early? I didn’t care. It was positive attention. And school was boring.
Eventually, this little power inequality came back to haunt me. The other kids started to dislike me. They would make fun of me. But, I didn’t understand. Why didn’t they like me? Isn’t power attractive? The teacher liked me. They should like me too. Maybe if they spent some time with me, they could learn my secret. But, it wasn’t a secret. It was my red hair. At least, that’s what I deduced from the name-calling, which cleverly always revolved around the color of my hair. So, I owned it. Yes. I’m different. Yes. I’m special. Yes. I’m untouchable. (Well, that’s not completely true, if you count punches.)
It wasn’t long before the kids started forming cliques. But, I hated the idea of cliques. Everyone in the clique seemed to think and act the same. There’s nothing unique or special about that. I became anti-clique. I wasn’t afraid to share my opinions about how much I despised cliques. I thought I might enlighten the other kids, and they could break from the chains of follower-ship. But, they remained true to the comfort that group think provides. And, I quickly embraced my individuality.
My power trip, followed by fall from grace, followed by my rebirth as an anti-clique activist helped shape who I am today. So, if you have an opportunity to operate outside the system, and use your power to get what you want at the detriment of your fellow human beings, I say go for it! It’s those glorious flaws that make us human. Eventually, it will catch up to you, and you will experience the wonderful cycle of death and re-birth.
And, if you’re ultra-wealthy, more power to you. If you can buy the people who we trust to tell us the truth, and buy those who write the text books, and even the people who write the laws, then you deserve the world you create. Take it. Enjoy it. But, remember, it’s only the first step in the cycle.