Libido Dominante – The Lust for Power

May 16, 2013

My research informs me that empires don’t die, they just reinvent themselves. Just as in an ancient cultural and political story, the tyrant and the slave need each other. Like a two-sided coin, tyrants are obsessed with totalitarian-type powers, even if they never fully obtain them, and those who submit do so even when not obligated to.

Robber Baron was a term popularized with the great depression 1934

Credit Library of Congress

The United States has not escaped being called the tyrant of the world. At home, the great experiment of America set a course for self-governance in 1776 without historical precedent. Yet almost no one saw coming how the road less traveled of a free people under the U.S. Government would take a long and winding U-turn back to virtual re-colonization.

While puzzled by this turn of events in America, I stumbled upon the Latin term: libido dominante, meaning the lust for power. Originally characterized by Roman emperor Augustus Caesar over 2,000 years ago, most would agree that it also characterizes other historical figures such as  Cleopatra, Catherine the Great, Queen Mary, Amvi Gama, Porfirio Diaz, Chairman Mao, Idi Amin, Vladmir Lenin, Pol Pot, Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler.

I believe humans are the last, most complex and greatest accomplishment of a Creator’s plan for life on the big, blue planet and have been hard-wired with many human foibles. Throughout history, one of them has been the propensity to dominate, conquer and control the “other,” which includes their assets.  Biologically, a mechanism of survival, the inclination to dominate and control others, in my opinion, has spun way out of control.

Mistaken nowadays as essential for successful human endeavors, domination and control provides the unspoken of justification for war, theft of another’s property and is commonplace in government, business, community, family, marriage and work relationships. The message? Personal ethics and a clear conscience don’t matter, wielding power, controlling others and winning does.

Today, libido dominante continues to characterize all who desire power over others for reasons beyond mutual benefit. Such supposed leaders reject basic guidelines for peaceful living because, for them, the end justifies the means while pursuing the endgame of self-preservation and amassing power.

Here is the Fable of the Scorpion and the Frog by an unknown author. It is a story that illustrates how the nature of some creatures transcends ethics, intellect and even nurture.  In my mind, it is a cautionary tale of those who lust for power.

Think outside the box. Live outside the cage.



One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.

The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

Suddenly, by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

“Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”

“Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you won’t try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.

“Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”

 Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”

“This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”

 “Alright then…how do I know you won’t just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.

“Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”

So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

 Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”

The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drowning frog’s back.

“I could not help myself. It is my nature.”

 Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.


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