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The other day I watched yet another movie where some super villain made an attempt to take over the world and was thwarted by a small group of people who never should have had a chance going up against him but were, against all odds, victorious. As human beings we love these kinds of stories. Some powerful, crazed megalomaniac makes an insane grab for power with the help of countless mindless minions and an intrepid individual, or small band of misfits led by an intrepid individual, manage, by virtue of their fearless inspiration and a lot of totally unbelievable good luck, to single handedly crush the tyrant's hopes for world domination. It all goes back to Robin Hood and even earlier in popular mythology. Sometimes the villain is an alien who is just as greedy and power mad as we are and our heroes have to save the entire galaxy or even the whole universe. In that case, it is Robin Hood in space.
It isn't that I don't enjoy these kinds of stories as much as the next guy; I do. My problem is that I can't even begin to imagine why anyone would want to take over the world, much less the whole galaxy. First of all – way to much responsibility. Secondly – too many variables. Even if you just want to take over the world, there are way too many things that can go wrong. Like people, for instance. Unless part of your plan is to just exterminate all of them, they can be pretty bothersome and annoying, and if you kill them all off, who are you going to lord it over? Or on a more practical level, who is going to grow your food, farm it, process it, and get it to your tyrant's banquet table? For that matter, who is going to keep your infrastructure functioning? An army of hapless minions is one thing, a population of people who have to be cared for and fed is entirely another. They tend to do inconvenient things like get sick, reproduce, and die.
The other impossible variable is the planet itself. I mean, go ahead and try to control the planet and see how that works for you even if you are a brilliant, power mad genius. Lots of luck to you. You've got your earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, natural disasters, tornadoes, and climate change to deal with along with annoying things like floods and droughts. You could have control of the entire world, build yourself a fabulous imperial city and massive 'guy who rules the world' palace and it can all be gone faster than you can say, gee, do you think that volcano is smoking a bit more than it did yesterday? It all seems like way too much work to me.
I recently read a book about a small group of wealthy and powerful bankers and industrialists who belonged to a secret cabal that had been planning for centuries to ultimately control the entire world through the banks. I know people who believe this theory to be entirely true and the Internet is full of information that claims to prove it. You've got your Free Masons, Illuminati, Templars, and some other groups I can't remember, all of whom are determined to control the world through its currency. Frankly, I don't find this impossible to believe on the face of it. After all, greed and lust for power are a huge part of human nature and human history, which, although not long in terms of the history of the entire planet, is pretty much written in the blood of people who wanted something the other guy has or wanted to keep someone from getting what they have. Lord knows there have been plenty of tyrants seeking domination over the years, and there is always land, water, gold, treasure, or oil to go after if you are really determined. It makes sense to assume that if you control the finances and resources of nations and people you are pretty much on your way to controlling everything in the end. There are plenty of reasons to want to control everything that are not necessarily directly about money. People can think that they have the inside track on truth, the one real religion, or just believe that they are absolutely superior to everyone else and should be running everything just by virtue of how great they are. It isn't like anyone has to scrounge around to find a reason to want to rule the world – there are lots of them.
In the end, it comes back to wondering why anyone would want to. We are human beings – life is short and fleeting. If you are going to hatch a plot that will take centuries it's a safe bet you won't be around to see it to fruition, so why bother? In the end it may just come down to who and what we are as creatures on this planet and the real existence of true evil. Where is Robin Hood when you need him?
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