Profs at Harvard uni, Cambridge, America, say they have discovered a crucial meta-physiological effect. Being extremely good and moral - or conversely highly evil - actually confers mental and even physical powers on a person.
"People perceive those who do good and evil to have more efficacy, more willpower, and less sensitivity to discomfort," says Kurt Gray of Harvard. "By perceiving themselves as good or evil, people embody these perceptions, actually becoming more capable of physical endurance."
Rather than those naturally endowed with superior abilities having the potential to achieve great things for good or evil, says Gray, it is more the case that being very pure or deeply villainous confers corresponding powers.
"Gandhi or Mother Teresa may not have been born with extraordinary self-control, but perhaps came to possess it through trying to help others," argues Gray. Conversely, Steve Jobs may have gained his physical ability to fight back from the edge of death from cancer by ruthlessly destroying the rivals of Apple. Perhaps he even gains strength from the knowledge that he personally contributed to the destruction of the music industry business model.
The Harvard egghead bases his assertions on studies in which subjects were given a dollar and offered the choice of donating it to charity or selfishly keeping it. It turned out that the charitable types were then able to hold up a 5 lb weight significantly longer than those who sniggeringly trousered the cash.
This sort of disproves the Jobs/Apple model....since they are hoarding tens of billions in cash. But wait...this effect only worked for the really good people. It does explain why the previously evil Bill Gates quit Microsoft and is now sort of the Mother Teresa of philanthropists. Now that Gates is pure goodness....maybe he's still getting the same buzz as when he was Darth Vader.
Similarly, other subjects who wrote stories in which they did good deeds turned out to be noticeably stronger than those whose tales depicted them neither harming nor helping others. Again...its seems that the study implies that you cannot be on the fence about good vs. evil. You have to be one or the other.
Worryingly, though, test subjects who wrote stories in which they figured as baleful malefactors turned out to be even stronger than the goody-goodies. So evil seems to win out against good in that part of the study.
"Whether you're saintly or nefarious, there seems to be power in moral events," Gray says.
There's truth, then, in Sir Galahad's lines in Tennyson, where he states that "my strength is as the strength of ten/because my heart is pure". Which is the poler opposite of “Blazing Saddles’” Mongo, (Alex Karras) who woefully stated that" Mongo is but a pawn in the game of life”.
Obviously, without the strength of pure goodness or pure evil on your side...you are just a pawn in the game of life as well....maybe a sheep.
Going back to Apple versus Microsoft....maybe Jobs is Darth Vader and Gates is Yoda and the iPad is the Death Star. Stay tuned.