Money, Power, or Influence
The things people desire can generally be broken down into three categories: Money, power, and influence. Money so that they don’t have to worry about bills. Power so that they can have some measure of control over others. Influence so that they can persuade others on topics of concern. Of the three, power is the easiest to corrupt but also the hardest to maintain. Once at a certain status, money, with some measure of self-control, is likely the easiest to keep. Influence is hardest to measure but the least ethically questionable.
Power is the ability to control others in some way. It can be relatively small. For instance, a traffic cop can give you a speeding ticket with a threat of force behind it if you resist paying it. The ability to legally use force on others is a hallmark of power. Corruption is common with those in power because human nature lends us to desire using that power to help those we favor and harm those we do not, sometimes in incredibly petty ways. The temptation is real. The IRS being utilized by a president to go after their political enemies, deciding not to arrest a friend for an obvious crime, or awarding a no-bid government contract to somebody who lobbied for it are all abuses of power. Rules not applied and enforced evenly will breed corruption that is incredibly difficult to counter.
Money is the freedom from financial worry. It is something most desire to some degree. What is called “FU money” (I would normally spell out that abbreviation, but I restrain myself for you.) Enough money earned so that you never have to work again if you don’t want to. The corruption involved with this is usually done in pursuit of money. What a person will do for it. The O’Jays even have a song about that. Although, people may do crazy things to maintain the level of comfort money grants them as well. The embezzler, for example. A person of means must avoid leeches, hangers on who will suck you dry out of guilt or mere flattery. Money’s main pitfalls are ones of self-control. As I mentioned, a good degree of self-control makes maintaining money relatively simple.
Influence is the ability to make things you personally like more popular. With enough influence, one can become a kingmaker. Anybody you want to be famous can be made so by dint of your endorsement. In short, you get more of what you like by just talking about it. That’s intoxicating, but it can be abused. Brands can use this ability of yours to make things you don’t like popular in exchange for something else, usually money. Only endorsing things you actually like is something that shouldn’t be that hard.
All three involve a measure of responsibility. A responsibility a lot of people with one or more them often fail to heed. Because none of them require intelligence to possess. Skill, certainly, but a gift at the guitar doesn’t also come with knowledge on the Middle East. Being a cop doesn’t immediately grant the ability to be calm under pressure. Having thousands who hang off your every word doesn’t automatically come with tact.
One should not sell their soul in pursuit of money, power, influence, or to maintain same. Of the three, I would prefer to have influence. Money is nice, but being a kingmaker would be vastly enjoyable. Ninja Sex Party being one of the biggest acts in the country? Hell yeah. Power is too much grief for little real reward. Look at how being President ages people. Who wants that Sword of Damocles? Well, awful people. Those who only desire power to force their mindset on others. Is it said that those who most desire power should be the ones to least have it. But, in practice, those same people are the ones running for office. There doesn’t appear to be a way to counter that. We need a better class of politician but we may not deserve it.
Eat at Arby’s1.
- This is a reference to the Twitter page Nihilist Arby’s