Power and Addiction

(First published in January 2009)

One minute I held the key/ Next, the walls were closed on me/ And I discovered that my castles stand/ Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

Those were lines from a Coldplay song about a king who lost his kingdom. I often wonder what it must feel like to be a person of power one minute and an outsider the next. It must be the worst hangover.

I had often read that Power is the most addictive drug. With “conventional” drugs, you get high for a few hours. With Power, you get high continuously for years. With conventional drugs, you feel like you can do anything you want. With Power, you actually can do anything you want.

Then comes the hangover. The crash. I remember a line from the movie Amistad saying that there is nothing more pathetic than a former president. Maybe this is why some people will do everything to stay in power.

Several days ago I saw a picture in the newspaper of the five living US presidents standing side by side, with George W. Bush at the center, Obama and Clinton on either side of him, and Bush Sr. and Jimmy Carter beside them. It was a sight to behold. No matter what it meant to be the most powerful man in the world, these men know and accept that the Presidency is bigger than the President, that it is the Presidency that gives the President his temporary power, and that each of them must pass on the torch that he once clutched tightly from the moment it was passed to him.

Now the old king is dead/ Long live the King! innerminds inner minds

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Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues


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