Cloud Atlas Excerpt * On the power of men

“Power.” What do we mean? ‘The ability to determine another man’s luck.’
You men of science, building tycoons and opinion formers: my jet could take off from La Guardia, and before I touched down in BY you’d be a nobody.
You Wall Street moguls, selected officials, judges, I might need more time to knock you off your perches, but your eventual downfall would be just as total.

…Yet how is it that some men attain mastery over others while the vast majority live and die as minions, as livestock?
The answer is a holy trinity.
First: God-given gifts of charisma.
Second: the discipline to nurture these gifts to maturity, for though humanity’s topsoil is fertile with talent, only one seed in ten thousand will ever flower — for want of discipline.
Third: the will to power.”

This is the enigma at the core of the various destinies of men. What drives some to accrue power where the majority of their compatriots lose, mishandle, or eschew power? Is it addiction? Wealth? Survival? Natural selection? I propose these are all pretexts and results, not the root cause. The only answer can be, “There is no ‘Why’. This is our nature.” “Who” and “What” run deeper than “Why.”’


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