Power is not such an obvious a thing as one might think. There is our simple and straightforward concept of it, which the word ‘power’ brings to mind, and there is perhaps a hidden and much larger quality to it. A thing quite massive in scale and scope, yet physically intangible (until it exerts itself).
Power is supposedly man’s ultimate materialist pursuit – to some it is additionally spiritual. It seems to be a universally seducing phenomenon, and experiencing even faint traces of it (from its beneficial end) are both highly addictive and potentially soul-destroying. But in terms of its results, or the wake of its passing, or its mark on history and the future, I believe it is possible to view this phenomenon as a wilful and self-fulfilling steamroller – a kind of growing entity which obeys its own metaphysic, outside of the laws which govern us mere mortals. It might in that sense be thought of as the passing of a god, a supernatural energy at once strange and influential as it drifts through us, an unseen energy field, cracking open the earth and tossing over mountains.
What rules does power obey?
It obeys its own rules.
What morality can stand up to its might, what good cause can not be perverted and broken before its will?
There were once vague theories postulated (generally by atheists) that religions were a kind of life form, which exhibited many hallmark traits of life: a will to live, to dominate, to grow, compete, and thrive. As such one might consider infectious ideas similarly, as a kind of social viral entity. Power itself might be thought of similarly, though it has these elements as a character, and not as a defining summation. In that sense the religion-as-entity might be better considered the face of a hidden, greater entity.
Power can exert the will to create viral conformism as a self-creating act, and has closer to its heart the accumulation of wealth and the desire to destroy (to remake?). What must be understood about power is that it is, in its way, entirely apart from human concerns, and does not feel the need to ‘make sense’, or ‘have empathy’. It likely does not know nor care anything much about history, or the long-term concerns regarding the health or intelligence of people, or anything apart from exerting and expanding itself. Once it begins its cycle of energy-funnelling, once it has a functioning system of growth and self-propulsion, it will sweep across the land, and across the mind, and across the living moment like a wall of fire.
It can have its beginnings as the collective efforts of a group, or even a single man, with a basis in revenge, or pure imposition of will, and it can seem to be following the aims of that impetus, but after sufficient accumulation, power begins to follow its own aims. It uses the people who touch it more than they can use it. Much power is manifest from the cultural habits of certain peoples or nations, but in such a case who can be said to be in control, the power, or the people? How influential is the conscious action of one or more men before the sweeping grandiose violence of a passing hurricane of power?
If power is an immaterial entity we might as well identify it as our ancestors did: archetypically, as the actions of a angry god, or as a newly born divine force in its own right. We might as well give it a name, and those that wish to follow it in worship can form their cult about it, and those in opposition pray for the intervention of the countering divinity. For in leaving the power unnamed, the greater mass, the unread mob, will be unknowingly swept up with it, as unwitting acolytes of its cult, so invincible does its great bone-crushing wheels seem to them.
The power shaping the world as we live it, in our current ebbing day, does not care about the white rhino going extinct. The power does not care in the slightest if the oceans fill up completely with plastic. The power doesn’t care about mass-migration, or nuclear war, or any causality affecting humans. It is a thing of its own purpose.
Feel your own agency gradually slip away, as it forms on the horizon, and draws near.