With the release of Jurassic World, many people have been going back and re-watching the older Jurassic films, myself included. The other day I also found and read the actual book, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.
I found the book thought provoking and poignant at moments. Among them is a moment where, the mathematician, Dr. Ian Malcolm, warns of the danger of scientific power, such as engineering dinosaurs.
Most kinds of power require a substantial sacrifice by whoever wants the power. There is an apprenticeship, a discipline lasting many years. Whatever kind of power you want. President of the company. Black belt in karate. Spiritual guru. Whatever it is you seek, you have to put the time, the practice, the effort. You must give up a lot to get it. It has to be very important to you. And once you have attained it, it is your power. It can’t be given away: it resides in you. It is literally the result of your discipline.
Now, what is interesting about this process is that, by the time someone has acquired the ability to kill with his bare hands, he has also matured to the point where he won’t use it unwisely. So that kind of power has a built-in control. The discipline of getting the power changes you so that you won’t abuse it.
And because you stand on the shoulders of giants, you can accomplish something quickly. You don’t even know exactly what you have done, but you already have reported it, patented it, and sold it. And the buyer will have less discipline than you. the buyer simply purchases the power, like any commodity. The buyer doesn’t even conceive that any discipline might be necessary.
I have recently been reading about many of the entrepreneurs who defined “self-made men,” such as Rockefeller and Carnegie. These men formed the process of building their companies and wealth into a discipline. Such men didn’t simply work. They learned and developed their strengths to where, though they lose everything, they built it again.
Power will always be dangerous in the wrong hands, but it is even worse when given unearned. In this great land of ours, we have the freedom to make of ourselves what we will. It is our privilege to become great if we are willing to put the work into it.
Too many people live under the illusion of a “get-rich-quick scheme” where all they need to do is flatter enough people in the right places, or find the right job and they will have all they need. Though they may find money and/or temporary happiness in those means, and it will not be permanent. The kind of strength and power that remains comes from long work, discipline, an innate confidence in the abilities you have developed.
If power in life is what you seek, if it is happiness that lasts, if it is any form of mastery, then you will need to earn it. Through the work, and through the toil, you will be a better person for it.