BENGALURU: Every individual and group is after power: power for oneself, for the party, or the ideology. The party and the ideology are an extension of oneself. The ascetic seeks power through abnegation, and so does the mother through her child. There is the power of efficiency with its ruthlessness, and the power of the machine in the hands of a few; there is the domination of one individual by another, the exploitation of the stupid by the clever, the power of money, the power of name and word, and the power of mind over matter.
All human beings want some kind of power, whether over ourselves or over others. This urge to power brings a kind of happiness, a gratification that is not too transient.
The power of renunciation is as the power of wealth. It is the craving for gratification, for happiness, that drives us to seek power. And how easily we are satisfied! The ease of achieving some form of satisfaction blinds us. All gratification is blinding. Why do we seek this power?
"I suppose primarily because it gives us physical comforts, a social position, and respectability along recognized channels.’ Is the craving for power at only one level of our being? Do we not seek it inwardly as well as outwardly? Why? Why do we worship authority, whether of a book, of a person, of the State, or of a belief? Why is there this urge to cling to a person or to an idea? It was once the authority of the priest that held us, and now it is the authority of the expert, the specialist. Have you not noticed how you treat a man with a title, a man of position, the powerful executive? Power in some form seems to dominate our lives: the power of one over many, the using of one by another, or mutual use.
‘What do you mean by using another?’ This is fairly simple, is it not? We use each other for mutual gratification. The present structure of society, which is our relationship with each other, is based on need and usage. You need votes to get you into power; you use people to get what you want, and they need what you promise. The woman needs the man, and the man the woman. Our present relationship is based on need and use. Such a relationship is inherently violent, and that is why the very basis of our society is violence. As long as the social structure is based on mutual need and use, it is bound to be violent and disruptive; as long as use another for my personal gratification, or for the fulfilment of an ideology with which I am identified, there can only be fear, distrust and opposition. Relationship is then a process of self-isolation and disintegration. This is all painfully obvious in the life of the individual and in world affairs.