The Will to Power

The corporation must ever be the enemy of the individual. There is no alternative: if an organization is to have its will, it must suppress the wills of those who are part of it. Corporations — organizations in general — require a master/servant relationship if they are to function; and the servants must greatly outnumber the masters, else the organization does not thrive.

Moreover, unless the masters agree what the corporation's will is to be, it will have no will. A group that has as many causes as it has leaders will succeed at no cause, unless its leaders number exactly one. The limit of a group's success is the measure of how closely its causes, and the individual adherents of those causes, support and reinforce one another.

Insofar as they function at all, corporations work because their members agree to subvert their own wills, bending them to the corporations's will.

So: the corporation has a will, which is the consensus of its leaders; and the individuals within it manifest the will, or at least the willingness, to follow the corporation's will; and all is well … until something happens to upset the coalition. The upset is inevitable; it occurs because just as an individual's will changes, so does a corporation's. Even if its leaders were immortal, they generally are not immune to the lures of power, or to the traps of subversion, or even to a simple unwillingness to lance a boil before it festers. The corporation's will shifts constantly, in ways small or large, as the constituency of its leadership changes.

The primary difficulty lies in the type of people who desire to lead, and the motivations that compel them. No matter how idealistic its beginning, a successful organization tends to attract to itself persons whose primary drive is to be the boss. Power attracts those who desire power. The larger a success an enterprise is, the more such parasites it will attract, and the more relentless and vicious their attempts to get that power will be. When that happens, unless extraordinary measures are taken, unless something happens to repel or kill the invader — and make no mistake, this is an invasion — the organization's days of idealism and effectiveness are numbered.

As an example, consider religion. Nietsche said, "The last true Christian died on the cross." While this may not be exactly true of individual Christians, one cannot pretend that it is not true of organized Christianity. It is as true of today's televangelists as it ever was of medieval Cardinals: church hierarchy is a morass of politics, and has been probably since one human first convinced another that there must be an intercessor between the individual and the Divine. Some of their antics may range from bizarre to extremely comical, such as claiming that God will kill them if their congregations don't give them millions of dollars, but their intent and their effect remains the same: to arrogate unto themselves as much power as they can, regardless of what damage it does to the organization that provides that power in the first place.

Dr Hunter S. Thompson put it succinctly when he said, "The scum also rises." Indeed it does. And rises, and rises. And, having risen, it attempts to stay risen; which thing it usually does, sometimes for unbelievable amounts of time.

The problem? We let it. We put up with it. Sometimes we even believe in it. The same suspension of disbelief that lets us accept that Superman can fly will let us think that those hypocrites really do have our organization's — or even our — best interests at heart, or that as bad as things are, they'd be worse if we stopped believing in those self-serving charlatans. And we've been trained from birth to believe that someone has to be in charge, and that that someone isn't us. It's a preacher, a politician, a judge, a king, someone wiser or more moral or even just more powerful than us.

Want to guess who benefits from perpetuating that thought? Hint: it isn't the person who doesn't desire power.

In Oakland CA, it is
Thu, 18 Jul 2024 6:50 PM.
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