Three pursuits are said to fuel most human endeavors – those of power, fortune, and fame. The news, when it’s not reporting hurricanes, is mostly about individuals in politics, business, and entertainment. These three driving forces are worldly representations, albeit quite removed, of the pillars of conscious existence – love, truth, and beauty, which stem from the bedrock of peace. The young are prone to take shortcuts and to pursue instead their low-brow reflections – pleasures of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.
Metaphysics aside, the big three forces (power, fortune, and fame) are interconnected but not interchangeable. Actually, we strongly resent instances when as a group we imbue an individual with plenty of one and the bastard tries to convert it into the other two. When a politician is elected into a powerful office and then takes bribes or accepts inappropriate perks (converting power into fortune), she may be scalded or even jailed. This attitude could be more pronounced in the West, as older cultures are more accepting of sinecure and baksheesh. Translating power into fame intentionally is not sustainable in the long run. It may show-up rather innocuously, as retired politicians giving commencement addresses and publishing memoirs. But in its ultimate the result is a cult of personality, Stalin variety, and history frowns upon this.
Rabid fans may throw bras at a rock star, but relatively few enjoy the idea of gangster rapping youths becoming multimillionaires, an example of fame translated into a major fortune. Famous individuals pursuing positions of power in politics are inherently suspect, though people are often confused on this point. California tradition of gubernatorial election of bad actors goes back decades.
There is little rational logic to surrendering societal power to a good-looking demagogue with a coiffured wife in tow, rather than to a calculating businessman. But common folk consistently express deep fear that the moneyed and landed will conspire, Bilderberg-style, to control the political process and to make purely self-serving decisions, historical evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
In the end, political careers of Ross Perot and Lee Iacocca fizzled out, and Michael Bloomberg may have topped out as the Mayor of New York City, despite rumors of his 2012 Presidential ambitions. By comparison, Nelson Rockefeller, a NY Mayor for 14 years during the 1960s, got as high as an unelected US Vice President (appointed by Gerald Ford) in 1974, when he was 66. But he was not on Ford’s losing presidential ticket in ‘76.
Donald Trump attempted to grab all three, first as a ruthless businessman famous for unbridled greed, then with a media career as a rude TV personality, and very recently trying his hand in dirty politics. Thankfully, his attempts were aborted and the man looks like a joke.