In the good old days, it was said, that the politicians possessed a high IQ and a strong mind to complement their social skills. Obviously, they were wired to serve the people. Every vote cast was a simple act of faith expressed by the people. What has happened to the politicians today? It is said that in an empowered society the politicians become ordinary people and that ordinary people ought to acquire political skills.
Before going into it we need to understand the term politics in a very simple way – it is nothing but a power game. The desire, inherent in every man, to climb the dominance hierarchy. In an ideal situation climbing of dominance hierarchy should be closely linked to competence. It is not so any more. Competence is not something of a cognitive function anymore it’s more of a hustling to claw one’s way up the power hierarchy.
We would expect the information era and digitization to provide us with enough data on the competence of a leader to equip the voter to make sane decisions. This approach views this entire digital empowerment in a unidimensional way. What perhaps most analysts and soothsayers did not foresee is the subversion of these very same digital tools by the power hungry and ambitious. Those who are in gaming will know about cheat codes. Looks like those who have the cheat codes for this power game seem to have crawled the way up the power ladder. Now we are scrambling all over to understand what kind of leaders are perched on top of the power food chain. And where have the real politicians disappeared?
Next time when you encounter a minister, remember he is just one of us who has managed to master the cheat codes. If that so-called minister casually throws jargons about your own business or industry and if he peppers his conversation with some data and bamboozles you, don’t just get starry-eyed. You need to understand that he is just a ‘power gamer’. Is it not native wisdom that lets you see that it is “Artificial Intelligence”. He is using some scribbled data from his notepad memory and spewing it out in a meeting.
When the minister gives you this know -it-all lines he is trying to win you over by taking over your emotions and freezing your brains in the process. Do not fall for that ploy. Instead, be prepared. Remember before the meeting he has been handed over a cheat sheet by a bureaucrat or some minion in the department. So when he tries to stun you with the “I know all and I know more” language you smile and let it pass and continue the conversation. Always keep in mind that his/her position in the power hierarchy need not endow him with the stature of a leader and that in a distributed power arrangement all of us are politicians in a way and we have to equip ourselves to play this power game even if it requires usage of cheat sheet occasionally.