These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Having and interesting discussion with a friend about power and corruption. It's a friendly discussion. :)  But I'm a little curious about how you might relationships between the two. Or lack there of.

Here are a few quotes about it. Now, what do you think?

Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.
- George Bernard Shaw

It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from their sense of inadequacy and impotence. We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them. They feel our generosity as oppression.
- Eric Hoffer

It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
~David Brin (1950 - )

There are similarities between absolute power and absolute faith: a demand for absolute obedience, a readiness to attempt the impossible, a bias for simple solutions to cut the knot rather than unravel it, the viewing of compromise as surrender. Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence, absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
~Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983), The New York Times Magazine, April 25, 1971


  1. I think that weakness corrupts, perhaps moral weakness. So the second quote resonated with me.

    But, I also think it's very bad for people to be treated as if they are little gods, and for them to know that nobody can stop them. I remember a wonderful Ray Bradbury story about a baby who had absolute power. Did you ever read that?

    Interesting and thought provoking ideas here.

  2. Jenny, No, I've not read that. Interesting thought!

    I think it often difficult to tell power from weakness!

    Abraham Lincoln had an interesting thought, too: "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to est a man's character, give him power."

  3. All these quotes are food for thought indeed! Hoffer's last quote had me thinking about his take on faith. My first reaction was that the potential for dehumanization and corruption depends on what or who is the object of faith.

    Then my train of thought rumbled on down the track toward my own experience of faith in God. I am convinced my God is not seeking blind, unthinking, faith, but a relationship based on choice, his to give and mine to trust his word and to receive the gifts he has planned for us.

    Such an interesting subject. You could have an entire blog on it and never run out of material!

  4. Great post. Too bad my head isn't up to working that hard to come up with something to say.

    I disagree with Hoffer's quote. I don't see faith as an instrument of dehumanization, but unfortunately, faith has certainly been used in this way. When faith is used this way, I see it has man using an inauthentic faith to gain power. I guess you could call these people hypocrites.

  5. I read the faith/power quote as specifically who uses it and how it is used. The operative word is "instrument," IMO. No, I agree faith is not a bad thing, but how it is used can be, just as power misused is bad.

    I've said for longer than I can put a time frame around that God does not want blind followers, but people who think, who find the strength in the word.

  6. Truthfully I've never given this much thought. I suppose with power there can be corruption most definitely. But then again there can be good leadership, which can be construed as having some form of power, that isn't corrupt.
    That is if you think of leadership as a form of power.
    Oh I can go on and on but it really doesn't matter what I think!!
    Love Di ♥

  7. Di, there is a significant difference between "leadership" and "management." Leaders lead, teach, encourage, promote growth. Managers manage, which is a form of control, exercises power to keep the managed ones in line.

    The power of leadership is shared with the identified leader(s) and those they are teaching to be leaders.This is what I would put in the category you mention of "good power."

    Does that make sense?


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!