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The Will to Power

by Dear Jon
July 2, 2002

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Sort 152_Dear Jon-The Will to Power ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

Recently I've been considering taking over the world. My problem is I don't know where to start. I have really limited resources, and I don't know much about computers, so hacking my way into top secret organizations is not an option. What should I do?

Sincerely,
Milo Thornbush


Dear Milo,

According to sociologist Howard Bloom in his book The Lucifer Principle, published in 1997 by Atlantic Monthly, human beings are taken captive by ideas. Ideology can spur people to heroic deeds of self-sacrifice. Ideology also drives people to commit insane evil, such as homicide bombings, in the belief that the evil is good because it is serving a good purpose.

Bloom sees this competition between ideologies as evolutionary: Ideas are as subject to environmental change as biological organisms. Ideologies that adapt to shifting intellectual environments are more likely to survive than those that do not. Some ideologies destroy other ideologies in outright conflict.

What you need, Milo, is an idea and a way for that idea to replicate itself by disseminating that idea so as to persuade the receptors of that idea.

Some really stupid ideas have been very popular through history. For example, some have appealed to the xenophobia in their own tribe. Suppose a group migrates from the Ural mountains onto the Danube flood plain and calls itself the Goomites. At some point in their past, some general has used a victory over a Turkish incursion to declare that the Goomites are God’s chosen people to dominate the whole world. Despite successive and freqent defeats at the hands of the French, the Hapsburgs, and then the Germans, the Goomites continue to boast of their destiny, remembering their glorious victories over a lost party of Ottoman scouts six hundred years ago.

“The Goomite Superiority League” probably still exists somewhere, funded mostly by third generation Goomite Americans. It is important that you find wealthy Americans to be your benefactors. Most political and xenophobic persuasions can be found right here in our great nation.

Goomites with a will to power resort to the lowest common denominator of Goomite Superiority in order to whip their voting public into a frenzy, get elected into power, and then use the mandate of the people to disband parliament and rule as president for life, or until the United States bombs them into the Hague.

Other really stupid ideas have made some people very rich. These stupid ideas are advertising slogans replicated over mass media channels. The stupidest, of course, is that “image is everything.” That, however, as any one with the ambition for world dominion knows, is the opiate of the masses. It does not matter whether you exert leadership; all that matters is that you appear presidential. Image is everything. If you can’t speak your mind in 5 seconds, you have nothing worthwhile to say that anyone will pay attention to anyway.

Another option is to present yourself as a divine sage. Those who play their cards right can profit a lot from being worshiped as a god. You would do well to follow the example of the Moonies, rather than of Jesus or some others who don’t make any money at all and only get themselves killed. The best way is to make a disciple of a wealthy benefactor, who can provide you all the resources you need for mass media exposure.

To present yourself as a divine sage, you need to be “enlightened.” Often this enlightenment means that you can set new terms for privacy, decency, and sexual morality. Only you are entitled, in other words, to your privacy and your dignity. You own your followers.

So, Milo, you need an idea that is religious or political, and you need to persuade wealthy benefactors of your idea. You need to present yourself and your idea in a way that is commercially appealing. Then you can ride the groundswell of public fervor and devotion into power.

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