Power, status, dominance, authority, control. All of these are concepts that have been witnessed and recorded throughout time, for better or for worse.
Nobody wants to have their greatest secrets uncovered, and their greatest humilities advertised. One of the main reasons humans seek power, is to conceal their subjective or objective flaws. By rerouting the public’s view from either physical traits or psychological tendencies one might have (eg., height, weight, skin tone, loneliness, depression, psychopathy) one might have, ulterior motives such as quests for control, and distractions from the originator’s problems are born. Additionally, increasing perceived power relates to the amount of increased fear and desired respect from the public. In a way, this masks humanity, falsely portraying the subject’s appearance as “god-like”, leaving the less keen observers as proudly mesmerised, and vicariously grateful.
This directly ties into boosting the ego. Self-esteem and self-perception becomes positive, though this is usually the subject “fooling himself” and rarely done with cognitive awareness, often believing their actions are altruistic. Being put up on a pedestal creates a reward feedback loop, and any drop in the “high” caused by brain chemicals such as dopamine, and in some cases oxytocin (since leaders may grow a sense of belonging and care to their followers) might result in a paroxystic reaction. Altruism becomes rarer the stronger one’s power gets, in turn egoism runs rampant. This creates a vicious cycle: more power = egoism rises = more power, etc. This may cause higher rates of narcissism in powerful people.
Great examples are all current and historic wars, induced by land, religion, natural resources. Obtaining goods/necessities and promoting beliefs can be viewed as a search for power. By taking another man’s properties, one might feel a surge of dominance. By claiming a religion as the objective truth, one might believe they have forced the blind to see. Some leaders might promote their beliefs or come up with clever plans to loot and destroy, just to show the world that they have put themselves on top of the social ladder, and can do whatever they please without basic reprimand. This makes no logical sense, and such leaders are more prone to being overthrown due to their obsessive nature with control, and lack of foresight of what their people’s intentions might be.
Not only can power manifest in the physical realm, but also in the psyche. In some of the less physically gifted, the mind makes up what it looses in bodily strength. An ingeniously evil plan can be even more devastating than brute force alone, and it usually is. Brains are almost always more powerful than brawn.
With great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, most do not realize this. They use power irresponsibly; to undermine, scare, and blackmail. The average human being cannot fully understand or fathom power, or lead gracefully, even though they might believe otherwise (and convince others to do the same) Only a select few have done this throughout history, illustrating a rarity of such behavior. The majority of events portray powerful leaders as savage, territorial, and almost child-like in their decision-making, since they lose sight of goals and focus on their own ranking in the power structure of society.
The average person doesn’t seek out power for average reasons. Obsession with domination is unhealthy. Power isn’t necessary to live a good life. As mentioned earlier, a frantic search for power, or a compulsive need for control, can indicate greater underlying issues plaguing the mind.