With the US presidential elections and the global financial turmoil, I've been wondering what motivates those people who compete for the high offices of the world. Obviously it's power, but doesn't that power bring with it the potential for immense humiliation if the chosen person then gets it wrong?
And these people spend their life in the public eye, totally without privacy and with the media ready to jump on their slightest utterance, wise or foolish.
They themselves, I suspect, will always say they are competing for these positions because they believe they can "make a difference" (what a cliche that is!). If that's true, it's a philosophy which seems to be lost fairly soon after being elected with a very few exceptions.
Just think: what would it actually be like to be Henry Paulson, Barack Obama or John McCain right now? Sure, the adrenalin rush would be there, but wouldn't that be tempered with the mighty responsibility of all that is at stake?
Do these people need to have a very low level of personal sensitivity to be able to withstand all the insults and barbs they encounter? Or do they split off their public persona from the personal side which engages with family and friends?
Or are they just immensely egocentric and have an inflated notion of their capacity to affect global fortunes?
Personally I could think of nothing more awful than to constantly be responsible for other people's lives, to be deprived of any sense of privacy, and to become a function of the political or financial machine.
What do you think? Could you imagine yourself in one of these positions of power, and if so, why?