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[–] mznxbcv 0 points 10 points (+10|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Stories please.

I can vouch for what you say. A relative of mine is a retired US Senator. His narcissism and hunger for status and power totally eclipse any good traits he has ever had.

One example of many: at his mother's funeral he asked my mother to move so his co-senator could sit in her seat in the front. God forbid Senator Asshole sit where there is an empty seat.

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[–] effusive_ermine [S] 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

People that become very powerful or wealthy are ruthlessly, ruthlessly selfish.

I know, I've rubbed elbows with more than one multi-millionaire. Not all of them are complete pricks, but the ones who are really do seem to get off on it.

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[–] MorpheusGodofDreams 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Curious as to those people's profession made them so powerful? And how were you connected to them?

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[–] pitenius 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

I think an important point gets missed here -- even by Orwell. The point of the greed for power isn't necessarily pain, although that may be the result, the point is continuity. People crave power to prevent the unexpected. When they stop monopolizing everything, individuals can undermine their powerbase -- and that can cause a rapid and dramatic collapse. Take, for example, Disney. In 1990, they didn't give a damn about the internet. When they came to understand how it could undermine their existing power, though, they developed an interest. Power loathes innovation. It's one of the most conservative forces of humanity.

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[–] RewriteFullwise 1 points 4 points (+5|-1) ago 

I loved that answer, and really feel it captures so much of what the modern day State is. I loved it so much so that I re-read it a few times in the book, folded the page corner (p. 273) and transcribed it here starting from where you left off:

What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?

I believe much of what the modern day state does is precisely for that reason. Sure, there's a few dogooders in there, but in the end, it's raw power. Power is fun, it feels good, it allows you to inflict unlimited suffering on millions of people. There is nothing else that gets you that. As O'Brien said, the feeling of triumph over an enemy. He continues on p. 276:

Power is inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less, but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love and justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy--everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty toward the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always--do not forget this, Winston--always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever.

It's always striking to me how in almost every one of those sentences, there are people carrying out policies today that resemble it in one degree or another. It's the essence of today's State.

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[–] effusive_ermine [S] 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

So you were satisfied with that explanation of The State in the book? And you also believe it accurately describes our real world situation?

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[–] RewriteFullwise 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I was indeed satisfied with it and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I don't think it completely describes the modern State, however I think there are a lot of elements in it that are being practiced to some extent in every State. Of course, Orwell was being extreme to make a point. But his point is worth noting because I see many States using this book as a policy manual, rather than a cautionary tale.

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[–] mznxbcv 1 points 4 points (+5|-1) ago  (edited ago)

Obviously no one seeks only power.

Well... Almost no one.

But power is the primary desire for the powerful. If this ceased to be the case then they would lose power to those for whom power is the primary goal.

So I'd amend it to: "wealth and luxury are nice but ultimately power is what we want."

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[–] mznxbcv 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

That's not exactly a friendly or peaceful response. I was talking about powerful people not everyone.

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[–] goatboy 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

This will be the century of the individual triumphing over the state- possibly by means of mutually assured destruction. MAD is one of the few strategies left to the individual and it is a most pernicious one. There are 7 billion people who only have to succeed in destroying the state one time. There are a few hundred states which must succeed in destroying individuals 7 billion times. The odds are greatly weighted in favor of the individual.

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[–] effusive_ermine [S] 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Thanks I guess.

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[–] AmaleksHairyAss 1 points 2 points (+3|-1) ago  (edited ago)

Did you feel fully convinced by the book's answer?

Not even remotely. No more than any other horror story's one dimensional villain. Unintelligent people cannot obtain power. Intelligent people model the world, make predictions, and try to change the world to suit their agenda, whether that agenda is evil or good. Power for its own sake isn't just evil, it's pointlessly evil. And that means it's stupidly evil. I really like the book and I think the film holds true to the important ideals and warnings in it, but of all the useful warnings to be found in 1984 "people in power will be pure evil and only want power for its own sake" is not one of them.

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[–] Porphyrogennetos 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

it's stupidly evil.

This denies it's own existence how?

If I understand your point, you're saying it's stupid, and therefore can't exist. That's not true at all.

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[–] AmaleksHairyAss 1 points 0 points (+1|-1) ago 

I'm saying it's entirely stupid as an overriding goal, and therefore cannot exist in a mind with directed planning and sanity. Some people are bodybuilders. They want big muscles. If you ask them, they may say they just like having big muscles. But the truth must go beyond that. They may like the experience of growing them. They may like the way people look at them. They may like the feeling of achievement. Or sexual opportunities. The same can be said of money. It's not money, it's what you can do with it. It's not intelligence, it's the things you can do with it. These are agencies of power. And there must be an end other than agency itself. Maybe they like living the good life. Maybe they like having people submit. Maybe they like making the world a better place. But power truly just for power is not a matter, by definition, of agency.

Who would say "I want to be powerful even if I have no use of it"? It's a contradiction in terms.

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[–] effusive_ermine [S] 1 points 0 points (+1|-1) ago 

power for its own sake

It's like circular logic. "I have bees, so I want more bees." Or something. Anyway, I think you really understand my disappointment in this one aspect of an otherwise very effective story. Thanks.

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[–] Drejul 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

When you have the most power, you can forcibly take all the wealth. Everything is about money. With enough money, you can get literally anything you want on this planet. Without power, your money isn't safe or ensured.

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[–] RewriteFullwise 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Read the book, he goes deeper and darker than that. He says he doesn't need luxury or any of those niceties that money buys. He wants unlimited ability to inflict continual pain on all of humanity. That is the end goal.

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[–] Porphyrogennetos 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

"A boot stamping on the human face forever"

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[–] Drejul 1 points 1 points (+2|-1) ago 

I know there are people like that out there, but I believe most desire power just as a means to gain infinite wealth. With enough money comes not just ANYTHING you want, but EVERYTHING. And personally I do believe that money buys happiness. These are just my own opinions, mind you.

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[–] 5042630? 1 points 2 points (+3|-1) ago 

I believe it to be an emergent property of government. Individually, the members of the government are not interested in power (barring sociopaths, which are rare). As an entity, the government itself desires power as a means of subsistence; governments that relinquish power are overthrown and cease to exist. It's a process of natural selection.

Ask yourself this; you are composed of billions of cells. Do any of your cells individually have consciousness, desires or emotions? They do not. Individual components of an emergent system do not exhibit any of the properties of the system itself.

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[–] toats 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

You could say the same for corporations too. Corporations will go to great lengths to obtain and retain revenue, though any one individual rarely crosses legal or moral boundaries.

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[–] Iforgotmy_other_acct 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

though any one individual rarely crosses legal or moral boundaries.

A corporation is a body of people where no one actually has to, at least, not from the individual perspective.

The executives - the shrewd ones, anyway - speak in code. Much like terrorists, power figures tend to speak in code. Idiots like Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton don't because they're idiots. But the smart ones do. This code is then interpreted by subordinates, often correctly. The subordinates then carry out the subtextual instructions, because they are afraid of losing their job, and because they wrongly believe they're just following orders - if anything happens, the blame will find its way to the top. It never does, of course.

There have been a number of studies showing how willing people are to violate common sense principles when instructed by someone in a position of perceived authority.

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[–] effusive_ermine [S] 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Are you saying that working in govt. turns otherwise good people into sadistic megalomaniacs? Or is it that the system itself is sadistic and self feeding, and the pawns supporting it have no choice but to go along with the evil?

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[–] 5043611? 1 points 0 points (+1|-1) ago 

I'm saying that actions by individuals are so infinitesimal with regards to the system as a whole that they can't be characterized as good or evil.

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