Bill by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

Power is such a persuasive word. In spite of its seeming clarity it plainly engenders notions of intrigue, secrecy and even sexuality, the natural though primitive features of life. Power manifests itself in many variants, not always the demonstration of obvious superiority or blunt disregard.  Apparently for those in the know, power is preferred to money, though many mistakenly assume they go hand-in-hand.  It is however when examining power in other than the realm of politics (the forum with which we are accustomed to associate power) that the nuances of power are more observable.  Power for example plays out indiscernibly in the high-school classroom, upon the football field, between lovers and friends and crushes, between complete strangers whose paths cross ever so briefly, between landlords and tenants, bosses and employees, even between neighbours.  Its application is no less seductive because of its pedestrian appeal.  It can be just as beguiling and alluring in the context of normal mortal interplay.

Technically power is the ability to influence the behaviour of people not necessarily to dominate or to control them, though I believe the truth is more accurately captured in the sense of mastery even if one seeks to dismiss its reward as mere preference or competency.  I could I suppose accept that power is nothing more than an appetite for success though that innocuous label instinctively opens the discussion of the means by which power is used, whether legitimate by social structure or evil by force or the threat of force.  Power can be seen both as a constraint and as an enabler.

Amidst the delicate interaction of everyday people power is endemic, insinuating itself into our cyclical performance as human beings.  For some it is a matter of constant and unyielding attention, the very drug and perquisite of life. It follows its binary nature that power mandates submission as well as authority.  There are those who willingly submit, more especially if the application of power results in some palpable reward, though the mere act of submission is for some sufficient (perhaps a deference to leadership if nothing else).  Whatever the outcome, the use of power inevitably weaves a complicated dance between its participants sometimes entangling them irrevocably.

It is generally accepted that those who wield power are by most standards entitled to do so, whether by virtue of being highly qualified or particularly robust or intelligent, or indeed by their very nature.  Some people simply cannot sit on the sidelines of life as a spectator but must regulate and maybe even predict its course.  For such people it can often be a lonely existence not only because power by its character separates one from others but also because so much energy is consumed in the maintenance of power that it estranges one from the more mundane features of living.  Power is a jealous lover commanding its entire satisfaction at the expense of all else. Yet for those who crave it power is worth the exertion.  To live otherwise is seen as a capitulation to mediocrity, a second-place finish. It must be recalled however that those who seek power do not seek it in all matters.  The acquisition of power is always purposeful, with an object in mind.  Condescension to the pleasure of others is never an admission of obedience if there is no conflict with the motive of power.  Otherwise, watch out!