I realised that power makes everyone react the same way. The moment you feel that you have enough power over the other, physically, emotionally, psychologically, you start exercising your power on the weaker one.I think each one of us falls for the lure of exercising that pure power over the other - especially evident if we are in a position where it cannot be disputed. Families, jobs, schools are some place but one must pay closer attention to how children cope with this to know how deeply it is ingrained in us. It is pathological.
I watch my 3 year old daughter Anjali and I see adults dealing with her. If she is nice to them, they are normally nice to her. But if she does not respond instantly to their affections, for whatever reason, I notice that most adults turn the heat on slightly. They either grab at her, pull her away with force, threaten her (smilingly), make big eyes or big noises, grab her toy, obstruct her in whatever she is doing, ask her to do what they say else they won't give what she wants, pinch, pull, push - all to get the kind of a reaction they want. If you do not give me this reaction - does not matter if you are 3 years old and probably tired and cranky or probably don't understand what it is all about - you have to suffer this. They do it out of their own misplaced affection of course, since they all come to play with her. They do, in a while, but the initial reaction is worth watching.
It need not be adults. Kids of the same age are as bad of course. The slightly older ones have fun at her expense, she is always the one to chase them, to catch the ball, to have her stuff taken out and kept out of her reach. It is for a while, but for that while everyone shows their power. Until she cries. And then she is, after being shown her place, picked up and cuddled and well, she forgets and gets back to play. Everyone is happy.
This is something we do with someone we really really love. Babies are the most vulnerable and everyone loves them unconditionally. But if we can do this with them, you can imagine what we would do if we were to find a people who had no way to save themselves, a person who is totally dependent on you, a situation where you have absolute power, a people who believe that you can deliver somehow, guileless, defenceless, powerless. And that is when we show our true nature.
Like he says in Spiderman - With great power comes great responsibility! Would be good to remember that in our sphere of influence.