Power, From the Inside

Power is often confused with dopamine. “If I feel (there’s the dopamine) powerful, then I am.  If I don’t, then I’m not.”

Real power, exercised, is often agonizing, or boring.  You, yourself, can choose, by effort of will, to get ripped, or rich.  In other words: time at the gym, or spreadsheets.  Like I said: agonizing or boring.


This is why our votes don’t matter—because we don’t want them to matter.  Seriously, who wants the headache of being responsible for a country, and not just some third-world hellhole, but the Empire?  We collectively owe CNN and the unelected bureaucracy (so we don’t have to worry about choosing them either) a great debt for taking care of the matter for us.

The reader would be mistaken to think this is perjorative.  OK, the very first part, about confusion, is.  But the sin here is not “not desiring power”  — power’s a headache, don’t have to tell me twice, you want to go get drunk in a shack in North Dakota, you’ll get no shade from me— but lying to ourselves about it.

This is why, paradoxically, the decline of discipline and punishment has made us less powerful.  Odysseus was the only man to hear the sirens and come out alive, and his secret was tying himself up.

Don’t you have work to do?  Don’t I?


  1. tenari says:

    This reminds me of the difference between implied volatility and realized volatility

    1. tenari says:

      also, this is why I have never fantasized about being king. I just want to be the brother of the king who he occasionally asks for advice.

  2. Oldřich says:

    I think I have a wilder imagination than many and it sometimes happens to me, that I am lying in my bad, tired and angry and contemplating different pathways in which to get even with various opponents, pathways in which I no longer care and will not make certain efforts anymore and suddenly something will make me stop.

    Suddenly, I can see the diverging paths both forking in front of me. In one, I forgive and plan new plans, make an effort. In the other, I let things slide. The second one is usually quite scary.

    Power is control. The trick is in the perception, not in the execution. Odysseus was not that special in what he did, everybody could. The special part is foresight. It is good to finish what was started.

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