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Thread: Power corrupts

  1. #1

    Default Power corrupts

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I have to say that I agree with this statement and in the main its borne out by experience and not just thinking, I've seen how a little power, or perceived power and authority (in the sense of knowledge but also decision making power) can really go to peoples heads, so I'd not like to see them with a lot.

    Its got me thinking though, is it possible to exercise power and avoid this? Or will you inevitably fall into the trap I've described? When people quote this are they meaning "other people are corrupted by power" first and foremost and not considering themselves?

    I've been thinking about the problem of authority figures who do not want to exercise authority lately or the equation of authority with authoritarianism, which cuts across this discussion.

  2. #2
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    It's probably got to do with empowering those that you lead.

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    Senior Member Snoopy22's Avatar
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    Perhaps corrupt people seek power.

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    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    I think part of it is that you have to love something more than power itself in order to avoid the corruption. Washington is a good example. He loved mount vernon and was willing to fight and lead the nation to protect it, but in the end he knew more power and more terms as president would just take him away from what he really loved. On the flip side of that I'm pretty sure he was not in favor of abolishing slavery at the founding like the other Virginians so I'm inclined to think his love of his land and wealth caused that as well.
    Take the weakest thing in you
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    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Rotating arbitrarily defined power bases. Only way to keep one social group from being dominant. Unfortunately not very practical because in a crisis people want leadership. Perhaps a real time neural scan/voting mechanism that adjusts response to environmental change seamlessly
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    Rotating arbitrarily defined power bases. Only way to keep one social group from being dominant. Unfortunately not very practical because in a crisis people want leadership. Perhaps a real time neural scan/voting mechanism that adjusts response to environmental change seamlessly
    Yeah, why is that? In a crisis people want "leadership"? What is that even "leadership"?

    I get you about the rotation, I think its a good idea actually, on the other hand even with rotation you could have authoritarianism periodically even if its limited with rotating.

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    hmm. I seek power, for sure, or at least financial freedom. If I had absolute power... that's hard for me to imagine, but I'd imagine I'd start off weary and start to experiment, "lets try this, oh lets try this!" Until after a while I'm bored and messing with people for amusement, as is what happens when people play Garry's Mod for too long.



    If you're rich, and you pride yourself in the struggle you went through to get yourself to the top... its often times very hard to empathize with the people wallowing in their own filth at the bottom asking for hand outs. Once you reach Kiyosaki Status, its hard to give a shit about laws or any sort of alliance to a specific country... when you can practically make your own.

    Some people are not fit to handle power, others are. What determines that, I don't know. I believe power is best wielded in the hands of those who don't need it. It does not belong in the hands of those who use it for self defense or vengeance.

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    Gone Aesthete's Avatar
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    Perhaps, but maybe people are already corrupt - that is, gaining power just magnifies an already-existent corruption. Thus, empowerment is to be only for those already pure, not for everybody.
    Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.

    Schopenhauer

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    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Yeah, why is that? In a crisis people want "leadership"? What is that even "leadership"?

    I get you about the rotation, I think its a good idea actually, on the other hand even with rotation you could have authoritarianism periodically even if its limited with rotating.
    It is normal human fight or flight response in regards to extreme unlikely circumstances. "Leadership" is just being the conduit for the action of others. Seeing the raw unbridled energy of people and utilizing it toward "productive" ends. If you had real time balancing that might work, kind of like they do with patches and updates to video games to balance the play mechanics so one faction does not become too "dominant" so that it has decisive advantages over the others, so that way the game doesn't become boring and people disengage.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    It is normal human fight or flight response in regards to extreme unlikely circumstances. "Leadership" is just being the conduit for the action of others. Seeing the raw unbridled energy of people and utilizing it toward "productive" ends. If you had real time balancing that might work, kind of like they do with patches and updates to video games to balance the play mechanics so one faction does not become too "dominant" so that it has decisive advantages over the others, so that way the game doesn't become boring and people disengage.
    I'm not sure there's a game theory solution to the problem of power corruption, I think perhaps if there's some kind of innoculation against corruption, character and integrity, it can make a difference though.

    I do think that the "strong leader" idea in a crisis does happen but I see it as an escape from freedom or a fear of freedom, having to make decisions is burdensome and some personalities with a weak character will seek to revert to an earlier stage of life in which they could dependent upon another.

    In most instances even the "strong leader" is doing so, they will tyrannise over subordinates, but seek to submit to a higher authority themselves, even if it is an entity or concept rather than an individual, ie "nation", "race", "state", "people".

    It could be the fight or flight has something to do with this but I suspect that this is more situational than what I describe, it is a matter of a behavioural response vs. a behavioural response driven by strong affects and rationalised during and afterward.

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