“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
― Abraham Lincoln
One of the few quotes, I’ll always agree with. Abraham Lincoln was onto something when he said this. A man’s true colors are shown when he is given power.
It starts off at a very small age, when an infant realizes that, most of the time, parents succumb to his screaming and crying fits. It makes them feel good. It empowers them.
This pretty much sums up what having power feels like, and what it is capable of. A person who is given unfathomable power can change his behavior and personality in ways no one can imagine. They become unsocial, selfish and their minds become corrupted. Often the ones whose minds are corrupted tend to think they are above the law; they create different values for themselves; they act like narcissists; they have short temper; they act like they can have anything they want. This is just par for the course for cult leaders. At first, they wish to help people for the betterment of the world, but as they become more powerful, their mind gets corrupted and the ideals of their cult change and consequently fail.
‘Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely’.
The ‘paradox of power’ describes how people need and use social skills to gain positions of power, yet when they reach that position, they seem to forget how to be civil to other people.
One reason for this is that people in power meet many others who want something from them. These people may want the powerful person to use his power for some particular purpose; be it good or evil (mainly the latter). They may just want to bask in the reflected glory. Either way, the powerful person feels isolated.
Another reason for becoming uncivil is that the person is naturally that way, but is skilled at appearing civil. Ergo they use these deceptive skills on their way up, but when they eventually ‘make it’, they fall back into their truer, less kind self.
If you achieve power, remember your values and sustain your humanity. Use your power for good, helping others whilst gaining what you personally want. If you are faced with a corrupt person in power, and you want to persuade them to change, seek to understand their inner personality. Powerful people recognize powerful attitudes. If you act as a weak underling and appear vulnerable, they may persecute you as a victim.
This is eventually what happened to Gaddafi . He was a good leader. He changed Libya for the better. But eventually, power corrupted him and now he lies where he should be.
Those who cause harm to society by misusing power, are terrorists of a different kind.
(photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jas_fauxtoes/4605497340/)