Power Corrupts?

They say power corrupts. Everyone heard this famous quote voiced by lots of people in the past:

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It’s been repeated so many times by so many that it has turned into a cliche.

And like any cliche it does not reflect reality.

I am not a man of power. I have little power, in fact, if any. However, it doesn’t take much to understand that power is something that is neither good or bad. It is a form of energy. And like all types of energy it can be – and has to be – controlled.

Power can be used for various means – either ‘good’. or ‘bad’. It is human attitude that charges power with a moral concept like ‘corruption’. Yet it its essence power is amoral, like money, for instance.

If someone has control of the power granted – political, economic, corporate, etc. – it cannot corrupt by definition. In such cases power actually brings lots of positive benefits both to the ‘power-holder’ and his environment. Building a hospital. Donating to charity. Uniting a country.

All major decisions in history have been made by powerful men. If you want to change the world, you need to strive for power.

Power corrupts only when it gets out of control. When the master and the servant swap places. When rational use yields to abuse. When corrupting turns into corruption. When democracy is replaced by a circus of puppets.

So when someone keeps on reciting the mantra of “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, one of the two is possible. Either he or she has never had enough power. Or he or she has never been able to control it.


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