Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No one Man should have all that Power

This write-up is an abridged version of ‘I got the Power’ by me.

In growing up we believe one of the most important gifts we have is the gift of freewill. The gift that every man has to make his own choices that would affect the rest of his life, that even if you force a man to a river you cannot force him to drink from that river. So powerful and widespread is the belief of man’s freewill that it became one of the assumptions of the movie ‘Inception’. Nolan assumed there was difficulty in planting an idea in a man that would lead to a corresponding action without him being aware. To plant an idea into a man’s head he wrote the characters to walk into a man’s dream and from that dream enter a deeper level of dream, and another one inside that dream. But that was fiction and for the first time the fiction portrayed was more complicated than reality. It made the idea of planting an idea into someone difficult which honestly it isn’t. There are people with such power that even in their sleep (or death) possess control over individuals, control that questions and changes an individual’s freewill consciously or unconsciously. One truth about the movie ‘Inception’ is their portrayal of an idea, an idea is very dangerous for many reasons. First of all an idea can be created by any individual with the ability of abstraction. You can then ‘transduce’ an idea from abstraction into reality. If successful it could either benefit or destroy people or topple government. When Mark Zukerberg had the idea of Facebook it was mere abstraction but now...he controls what millions of people do with their spare time. That is the fraction of the power of an idea when made real. Like I said, there are people who have the ability to ‘plant’ ideas into someone’s head and they do it easily and no one man should have all that power. The power here is the power over freewill.

Yes, we have freewill (to some extent) and it should be expressed by our individuality and should make us unique. True early socialization affects who we see ourselves as but I’m focusing on those individual changes we make during our youth when we are more aware of ourselves and adolescents’ struggle in finding who we are. Yet more people than expected have their lifestyle influenced by forces beyond them, first we have the entertainment industry. I understand the power the entertainment industry has when it comes to our individuality, hey!, I won’t deny I’m not being affected but the least I gotta be conscious of it. But that is the entertainment industry, it is an industry (and not one person) and the growth of the industry is directly related to how well they can influence individuals. For a musician to become successful a lot of people would have to want to relate with the musician and vice versa for a less successful one. So they need that power of influence to build the music industry. They plant their ideas in your head (and mine) through their music, videos, interviews and before you know it you change your facebook profile name from ‘Toyosi Obi’ to ‘T-wizzy lepa to-bad Obi’. The power the entertainment industry has is no doubt strong but limited. Yes it is a billion dollars industry but they still have to plant their ideas at the convenience of the audience and demography. You understand? Let’s imagine the entertainment industry want to plant an idea that a particular product is good for everyone and we have to use it. Due to the difference in demography different methods and celebrities will have to be used. The same audience D’banj would appeal to is not the same as Sonny Bobo. That is the weakness of the entertainment industry, a single individual is only as powerful as the audience they control which is usually not significant compared to the population of the world (even for Oprah). Another weakness is the strength of the control. We might spend our last cash to buy ticket to see our favourite artistes perform or watch a movie and that’s around the height of what we can do. The cost of vanity is vanity, we wouldn’t kill ourselves for the sake of entertainment but for religion? Jim Jones.

Religion is no doubt powerful and it should due to what it stands for. It would be dangerous if one man infused his personal ideas easily into religion, it’s dangerous but not impossible. It has happened; it is happening and would continue to happen. This is one instance where one man can have all that power. The influence religion can have in a person’s life cannot be underestimated. I use to wonder how Jim Jones could get 912 of his followers to commit mass suicide. Social psychologists call it systematic indoctrination but you can call it brainwashing. I had this friend whom we had similar taste and interests and he did what I could see myself do. He attended a church with the hope of getting a chic, there’s no crime in that. To reduce the long story, he began to change his lifestyle. The obvious one was when his hair began to shine (too much cream or what do girls call it) and he began to sing like them, I don’t want to criticise anyone but Christ Embassy fellowship was where he attended. I noticed a lot of the guys there adopt similar outlook, same as their pastor’s. I’ll not generalise and say it has to do with Christians, I mean, with how powerful the Pope is and the Catholic Church I haven’t seen anyone who dress/talk/walk like him. So I know it is a Pentecostal thing. It isn’t about what the Bible says but what the pastor said. Reverend King was a big surprise to many, I couldn’t believe when a member of his congregation was screaming “He is Jesus Christ and one day you will all regret persecuting him”. But I have to give it to him, he was a psychologist. I wouldn’t blame anyone. Imagine standing in front of a congregation and tell them to bow their heads or raise their hands. The fact that they do as their told boost your ego, and you can’t help but feel larger than life. The Pastors began to think big, bigger church, larger congregation, wider reach. The world must see them as if you are the only pastor. The power is no doubt intoxicating to know people are always expecting to see you; to know where ever you go thousands would follow. They want to dress like you and talk like you. Like I said earlier no one man should have all that power. Let’s take all sentiments aside and ask ourselves, if Pastor Chris or Bishop Oyedepo wanted to convince their congregation that Jesus had a child will they succeed?

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