Thinking Out-loud #6: Does Power Corrupt?
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - John Dalberg-Acton
When I think about what's going on in society right now, this quote comes to mind. But now I wonder if it is the power. Any vision for which you need power over others in order to achieve is no vision at all. Like the saying, "If you need violence to enforce your ideas, then your ideas are worthless." From that perspective, it stands to reason that someone who sought power was already corrupted by the illusion of control, and deceit of ego.
Some people have good intentions. Their ego-mind tells them, "if I become this, I will have the power to stop that." But this too is false. For example, if it takes aggressive policing to bring peace, then that peace is fragile because somewhere the police presence breeds distrust. Somewhere, someone is growing unsettled.
Also, one cannot rule out human fallibility. People have a natural tendency to get used to certain states and circumstances, even authority. Some people will simply get used to getting their way, especially if the system allows for them to be privileged.
This entry isn't about police officers or privileged people, but power and the human relationship to it. Does power corrupt, or does it take a corrupted mind to seek power? Is a blend of both? Can any power be lasting?
As I see it, the only true power is creative power. The innate ability of a person to create himself or herself in a way that suits them. It is the same force that enables them to reshape their lives, to build constructs, to expand horizons. It draws on primal creative energies more potent than will power. And I think this power is non-tempting, non-corrupting. I think the pursuit of this personal power is vital. But wouldn't my previous postulations make people who seek this also corrupted?
Perhaps it is as Marilyn Manson said, "Corruption and enlightenment are no different." Hmmm... Under this premise, power could lead to enlightenment. But what, then, is the relationship between enlightenment and power over others? What can come of that? And why would an enlightened mind seek something so illusory? Huh... Just food for thought.
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