The thoughts that provoked this piece are not original to me; they are not mine, but the expression of the thoughts is mine while the conveyance belongs to the publisher of this column. It was the highly cerebral Professor Wale Adebanwi who introduced the idea of his thoughts on the subject matter to me. It was during his recent visit to my modest home in Ibadan that our conversation brought out a discussion on forces that drive human desires and the restless brain of Wale spoke of PMS? He said it was not what I thought; not the common gasoline, but something that burns more frenetically in human brain than petrol!
Of course the Alaafin of Oyo Kingdom, His Imperial Majesty King El-Hameed Olayiwola Adeyemi had once told me about 35 years ago that Power, Money, Brawn and the Control of Esoteric powers can make their possessors mad. When therefore Adebanwi added his thoughts to what I had already learnt from the 77-year-old Monarch, my brain went to works to put the thoughts on paper.
Power, any power, whether political, traditional, spiritual or what-have-you is usually intoxicating once it is allowed to get out of hand. Power is sweet, but it is also all-consuming. And the desire for it, the desire to have control over others is usually very strong.
This piece is actually going to address the strong and uncontrolled desire for these three essentials under our microscope. Human beings want power, long for power and control, and dream of what power can bring to their table once it is possessed. In the animal kingdom, power is also a most desirable force. Anybody in doubt could go and ask the Lion and the Tiger.
Political power is the most visible and the most common of all powers because of its ability to corner the people’s commonwealth, control other people’s destinies, and acquire influence and affluence beyond imagination.
In the sociology and political arithmetic of some cultures, it is ‘Seek yee power; and other things shall be added unto thee!’ Just acquire the power and you take absolute control on what to do with it.
All over the world people who seek power can go to any length. There is no sacrifice considered too outlandish in the pursuit of power. And as we jokingly say here in Nigeria, any one seeking political power must be prepared to do three things: he must perfect the art of lying, he must be prepared to kill or have people who can kill on his behalf, and he must be a client to all purveyors of extreme spiritual and metaphysical powers. The Pastor, the Imam and the Native ‘Medicine man’ must be his godfathers to whom he must submit his soul and conscience.
People obsessed with search and longing for power can do anything to achieve their goal. They become reckless, heartless, ruthless, cunning, insidious and largely unreliable. It is all in character for one possessed by inordinate ambition to acquire power.
A man hungry and thirsty for power can turn blood-thirsty in an instance and would care less whether his wife, husband, parents or even children perish if that is what is needed to make him attain his goal.
The hunger for Money may equally be deadly. Most human beings want to have money and all the things money can buy. I believe this is legitimate. But when people go overboard and place greater premium on money over human kindness, over reasonableness, over ethics and integrity, and even over human life, that is when the longing for money and material wealth becomes dangerous and unpalatable.
In most cultures, human beings are exposed to means that would provide them livelihood as they advance in age. Long before adolescence, young ones are given the education and skills they would need to survive on their own as they grow and become less dependent on their parents and guardians. In the process, some grow to become masters of their trade, vocation and occupation and they settle down to good and comfortable life and living.
On the other hand, there are young ones that would waste all the opportunities given to them on the platter of gold and instead pursue goals they think would yield quick gains to them. They indulge in sharp practices and cutting corners and in the end their mirage collapses in their face. These are individuals who would now resort to all dubious means and ways available to make it big. They could be lazy and indolent and yet grow an appetite larger than elephant’s on their mouse’s income. They live a life of the man with Champagne appetite on Coca-cola income!
Those who want money at all costs can do anything. They gamble, they cheat, they lie, they defraud other people, they embezzle, and the women in their ilk literally sell their bodies either for cash or for positions or opportunities that could translate to cash for them.
It is the mad desire for money that bred ritual murders and sundry crimes that involve human blood.
A man who loves money so much and makes its acquisition his only goal in life will become crazily greedy and pathologically insatiable. Nigeria currently harbours men and women whose thirst for material acquisition is beyond words. We have people whose access to political power has netted for their greed the kind of money they cannot exhaust even if they lived for 1000 years on earth!
As for Sex, major philosophers, psychologists and psychiatrics had submitted that it is the world’s no 1 driving force. The great thinker Sigmund Freud believed that all human desires are provoked, moderated and governed by sexual desires. It is a simple 3-letter word, but the force of sex when the urge for it is provoked is more powerful than volcano’s. Little wonder that some men are driven to wild rape and ugly acts when they are on heat like the dog.
Sex here must include a strong desire for the opposite sex. Although, as Freud submits and local parlance echoes, all the campaign of desire for the opposite sex ends in one direction…the silver rod and the golden bowl as vividly portrayed by William Blake in the Daughters of Albion.
This reminds me of the Ebira crooner who sang the story of a wife sent packing by her husband. The woman rejected divorce on grounds that she wanted to stay with her treasure; her children. The husband then said ‘Go with your children and all the property you like’. The woman still insisted she wanted to remain in the house because of her treasure. The Ebira man branded the only ‘treasure’ the woman meant was ‘kinto’, the cruising pendulum that vomits nectar!
Kings and Emperors are known to have yielded their crowns and empires in exchange for the urge. And aberrations like incest owe their origin to the uncontrollable force in the maddening desire for sex.
It is pedestrian to speak volumes about what sex has done to the careers of many Executives, of Professors, and brilliant political leaders with bright prospects. And we may not add the collapse of many marriages, and the ugly side of the so-called Reverend Mothers and Reverend Fathers. Sex and the holy waters!
Power, Money and Sex will forever remain imperishable forces in human affairs.