Individuals and Power
It is P-O-W-E-R – proximity to power,walking in the corridors of power, advising those in power, burning lust for power, fear of loosing power, delusions of power, illusions about what one will do once in power, desire to be taken seriously by power, etc. – that brings out the worst in the animals usually referred to as ‘humans” and ‘hu-women”.
There is no love, no friendship, no principles, no ideal, no compassion, no humanity, no decency, no dignity, no respect, no shame, no truth, no conscience in the domains of power.
Amazing how something this is inherently so utterly worthless and devoid of intrinsic meaning or value is so sought after by humans – especially the weak and deluded minds.
Freedom from Fear speech by Aung Sang Suu Kyi, 1990…
It is not power that corrupts but fear.
Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the
scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
Most Burmese are familiar with the four a-gati, the four kinds of corruption.
Chanda-gati, corruption induced by desire, is deviation from the
right path in pursuit of bribes or for the sake of those one loves.
Dosa-gati is taking the wrong path to spite those against whom
one bears ill will, and moga-gati is aberration due to ignorance.
But perhaps the worst of the four is bhaya-gati, for not only
does bhaya, fear, stifle and slowly destroy all sense of right
and wrong, it so often lies at the root of the other three kinds
Just as chanda-gati, when not the result of sheer avarice, can be caused by fear of want or fear of losing the goodwill
of those one loves, so fear of being surpassed, humiliated or
injured in some way can provide the impetus for ill will. And
it would be difficult to dispel ignorance unless there is freedom
to pursue the truth unfettered by fear. With so close a relationship
between fear and corruption it is little wonder that in any society
where fear is rife corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched.
Virou Rajah “But great as is the influence of the motives we have been considering, there is one which outweighs them all. I mean the love of power. Love of power is closely akin to vanity, but it is not by any means the same thing. What vanity needs for its satisfaction is glory, and it is easy to have glory without power. The people who enjoy the greatest glory in the United States are film stars, but they can be put in their place by the Committee for Un-American Activities, which enjoys no glory whatever. In England, the King has more glory than the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister has more power than the King. Many people prefer glory to power, but on the whole these people have less effect upon the course of events than those who prefer power to glory. When Blücher, in 1814, saw Napoleon’s palaces, he said, «Wasn’t he a fool to have all this and to go running after Moscow.» Napoleon, who certainly was not destitute of vanity, preferred power when he had to choose. To Blücher, this choice seemed foolish. Power, like vanity, is insatiable. Nothing short of omnipotence could satisfy it completely. And as it is especially the vice of energetic men, the causal efficacy of love of power is out of all proportion to its frequency. It is, indeed, by far the strongest motive in the lives of important men.
Love of power is greatly increased by the experience of power,
and this applies to petty power as well as to that of potentates.
In the happy days before 1914, when well-to-do ladies could
acquire a host of servants, their pleasure in exercising power over the domestics steadily increased with age. Similarly, in any autocratic regime, the holders of power become increasingly tyrannical with experience of the delights that power can afford. Since power over human beings is shown in making them do what they would rather not do, the man who is actuated by love of power is more apt to inflict pain than to permit pleasure. If you ask your boss for leave of absence from the office on some legitimate occasion, his love of power will derive more satisfaction from a refusal than from a consent. If you require a building permit, the petty official concerned will obviously get more pleasure from saying «No» than from saying «Yes». It is this sort of thing which makes the love of power such a dangerous motive.”
Bertrand Russell, ‘What Desires Are Politically Important?’ (The Nobel Prize in Literature ,1950)
In Myanmar there is a saying, “A Htet _ Phar. Auk_Phi” meaning pressing (strict) with the subordinates but unnecessary praising and showing off with blind over obedience to the superiors. But I have a very bad habit, I will sympathize, pity my staff and avoid scolding BUT almost always rebut or even fight with my superiors especially if they were wrong and unnecessarily show off the power and suppress the subordinates.