The allure of effortless power

Entertainment media is said to be a mirror reflecting the desires of the society. It’s the only way people can be pulled away from their busy lives and made to sit in front of a dumb screen. It has to offer its viewers something which touches them on an emotional level, at that point of time. Deep space travel had once captivated the hearts and minds of people around the world. Time travel, Aliens, Futuristic Technology and other such topics have each seen a tremendous amount of work being put into them during particular periods of time, when the public interest in them spiked.

So by taking a closer look at the waves of trends which have come and gone over the past few years, we can in essence figure out what the average man found interesting. It unarguable shows the pattern of desires which pass through men collectively, as a whole community or country. Of course the creativity and vision of the artists behind such trends, be it directors or authors, plays a significant role in promoting certain ideas. But even the most intricately crafted explosions, in the most detail oriented action movie won’t turn any heads in a community which adores peace and harmony, say the monks of Tibet. The cases of individuals whose work gets rediscovered and then celebrated long after it was created are also not uncommon.  So brilliant and innovative ideas are always abound, but the ones which get propelled forward in the stream of public recognition and approval are the ones which strike a chord very close to the hearts of the people.

The idea of an effortless intelligence and an immense power over large sections of society, a firm hold over them all, seems to be receiving all the approval right now. Be it the movies, books or even television series, the most loved characters today seem to have an air of casual brilliance about them. From Tony stark in Iron Man to Frank Underwood in the House of Cards, such characters have carved a comfy niche for themselves within our psyche. In today’s result oriented world where mind-numbing hard work isn’t always enough, we often look upon such works of fiction; if not to be inspired by them then to just feel reassured that such skills and attitudes are human, and not beyond the realm of human capabilities. A similar argument can be used to bring to light our fantasy of being in control over a large number of people.

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Money is never the primary motivator. It may be used to distract us and keep us under control but the visceral feeling of being bound always persists. Our responsibilities towards the ideas, unseen individuals, ambiguous goals and other factors we don’t whole heartedly believe in bind us. It keeps us under a whip of conformity and routine; one that neither justifies nor helps us realizes our true potential. We may deny it on the surface, but the reasons so many of us admire characters like Don Corleone, Shiva (The Immortals of Meluha), Walter White and more are because they are in control. They overcame their obstacles and are now in direct control of a large group of people, and thus the succeeding events. The same cannot be said for the rest of us. Such tales give us an escape, an alternate reality were the people we admire, our heroes, take us on a ride. We experience the feeling, the challenge of such control through them.

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So this brings us to a very interesting conclusion. Do we take inspiration from such fine strokes of imagination and bring a definitive change in our lives; one which would have been impossible to think of had the possibilities presented to us by such fiction not brought to the fore. Or do we simply sit back, relax and go on a ride of short-lived joy and surrogate adventure, without ever peeking upon the worlds of adventure within us.

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