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Thread: Does Power Corrupt?

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    squark's Avatar
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    Default Does Power Corrupt?

    Or is it the corrupt who seek power?

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    Power must be with responsibility, otherwise it will allow for corruption.
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    It is easier to not want what you can't have. If you can't have the power to, say, take whatever apartment you want, then it's easy not to want that. But if you have the option of taking whatever apartment you want, it's really, really tough not to just take it. So in that sense, power corrupts: power doesn't make you any worse, it just places you in a situation of maximum temptation, 'cause you can have more of what you want. You can know that Hummers are bad for the environment, and if you know that AND you can't afford to buy a Hummer, it's quite easy to constantly say, "BUYING HUMMERS IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!!!" But if you can afford a Hummer, you may start to think, "Well... you know... I mean... they make 'em anyway, so if I buy one, I'm actually not doing anything, I'm just consuming a product that would get consumed anyway..." That sort of thing.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by aixelsyd View Post
    I think power can bring out people's corrupt traits. Power can and tends to bring out the best of people as well as the worst in people. I believe all people possess traits which are both noble and corrupt. Power in itself brings out what is already there, then, and unleashes its potential, not the other way around.
    i.e., this.
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    Seems to me that the farther removed one is from the consequences of his actions, the more apt he is to be corrupted by power.

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    Creepy-male

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    Quote Originally Posted by aixelsyd View Post
    I think power can bring out people's corrupt traits.
    This

    I think power can corrupt and the corrupt do seek power and many different things on the issue, but this line caught my eye in specific.

    I've always thought that power is like intensity, when a person is powerful it brings out their good characteristics as much as it brings out their negative characteristics and therefore this precludes a certain necessary balance or equilibrium that exists or doesn't exist within people. A stable person is one that has enough power so that their good characteristics remain in balance with their negative characteristics. An unstable person is one that has too much power so that their negative characteristics are allowed to dominate over their better nature. In general I think that exercising legitimate power is based on being able to keep this equilibrium in existence as power is acquired. I think love and human compassion are the restorative efforts which keep people's power in equilibrium. When one begins to inherit too much power, it become obvious their shadow is over expressing itself and they have to withdrawl from it. This is similar to the idea in Lord of the Rings... the ring of power is much like this, it is the power which you acquire but then quickly realize it corrupts. The all seeing evil eye being the shadow in a sense. Whenever the ring is worn, the person is looking at an eye, an inner reflection of their own potential for corruption and destruction that exists within them.

    I think everyone is imperfect in some ways, and that absolute power will only culminate in openly expressed imperfections, hence the saying "power corrupts, absolute power, corrupts absolutely". Then again I think nature keeps itself in check on a very large time scale... beasts have uncontrollable energy and want and lust, but they are kept in check by the power of nature, almost everything dies eventually, and if a person where to want to live forever they would require more than just the lust and will to do so, they would have to figure out... and solving this epic riddle would I believe in a way indirectly be equivalent to solving the epic riddle of a person's imperfections, so that as long as people are imperfect, their attempts to gain absolutely power are imperfect as well, although this doesn't stop people from trying, which usually almost always results in a dramatic downfall of some sort that is a characteristic reminder to people of their shortcomings regardless of the tremendous will they feel to experience the most out of their lives, can't blame people for trying though.
    Last edited by male; 10-11-2010 at 08:17 AM.

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    There is no good or evil without there being an agent, an observer to make this judgement. Thus power is not corrupt in itself, but becomes so in hands of corrupt individuals. It attracts both the corrupt and the principled, the avaricious and the incorrigible idealists and serves as a medium for the struggle of the good and the evil in people's hearts.

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    power is the sole means by which good can be done; hence it is corrupt to refuse or neglect the attainment of power. moreover the corrupt whin when men of character stand idle in the face of duty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by labcoat View Post
    power is the sole means by which good can be done
    what about something like civil disobedience, or somebody like jesus?
    maybe it is corrupt to refuse the attainment of power when you can use it to maximize good but i don't think its a requirement.

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    the power to guilt-trip who would oppress you. still a form of power. shrug.

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    Power doesn't corrupt as long as it's transparent and open to criticism. A situation like that makes it impossible for a single person to hold on to power as any action s/he takes would be scrutinized to the last detail. This isn't necessarily a good thing, as in the never ending situation on this forum where a few vocal brats can push a self-serving agenda while claiming democratic legitimacy - itself a form of power. Populism can be just as driven by the leadership's egomaniacal unscrupulousness and the pursuit of personal power.

    The ideal power system would be some kind of transparent bureaucracy using empirical results as inputs.
    Last edited by xerx; 11-26-2013 at 03:21 AM.
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    Platitudes about pow3r is evilz aside, it's also the case that the attention paid to leaders magnifies their basic human frailties and weaknesses.

    I strongly suspect that over-criticism of power is a major culprit behind douchebags getting those positions in the first place. Only someone cynical enough to pursue his own interests at any cost can make it as a politician. No decent, self-questioning individual can last in a free-for-all political climate ( or any free-for-all, in general).
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    corrupt is a catagory that seems pretty much subjective to me. Victors write history, the mediocre will pull the strong down if possible and "power corrupts" is a mean to that end.

    That said; shitty people can do shitty stuff (to you) more easily if they have (more) power (than you).

    If power corrupts i'd rather be thouroughly corrupted than the victim of the thouroughly corrupt, but than, perhaps my thinking has already been corrupted.

    Let's all be shitty y'all!

    (hkkmr could be taken as an example of either corrupting power or the absence of corrupting power... depends on what your attitute is towards the leadership of the forum. This proves to me that it is a social tool rather than a truth). ((@hkkmr: No harm intended by the statement, I'm of the oppinion that you're not corrupted enough yet))

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    There's a lot of forms of corruption, like being corrupt to begin with, being attached to a position of power, using your power to attain selfish ends, having too much power and not being able to handle all the responsibilities, however none of these events can happen without having power.

    Corruption is predicated on having power and abusing/neglecting it, so it's not that power corrupts but corruption is predicated on power. It's better to have some power than to have no power, but often having too much power leads to a inability to deal with the ethical responsibility of holding and wielding power, and human fallibility takes over.

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    Depends on the type of power...

    To me, the most damaging type of power is when somebody shows a public image or mask of them being this caring and compassionate person while in all reality they are a self-absorbed and obnoxious bitch. It would be more humane if they would just admit what a cunt they are, but they don't- they instead need to have it both ways. So they appear nice and have the face of a human but underneathe they are all demon. This is sorta the power that's annoying, because if you try to thrwat them - they will just morph into their human face and be like "But you're hurting me! I'm a human like you even though I have a lot of money and fame! I'm compassionate and give people free cars!" And if you lay off them... they will just zone in and target your vulnerabilities as much as possible to make their own selves stronger. Manipulating every feeling you have to suit their own personal agenda.

    Evil only truly works when it's NOT campy, when it's insidious like this and when people are two faced. When people are all 'ooh I'm soo nice' but in reality they would not help you move, and they will laugh at you when you die and do everything in their power behind your back to make sure they have the power and you do not.

    That is sort of the people I like to hunt with my demon hunter power. I like to go for the big boss of evil not their minions.

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    I'd brag about it, but I'd still generally be a good person. That's not really a change though, I'm a self promoting good guy already.
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    Power dynamics are naturally and unavoidable and sometimes people even seize power in ways they never intend to and thus accidentally dominate something. The issue I think isn't the exercising of power, in fact a major problem in society is people becoming apathetic, submitting to easy, being passive aggressive and generally feeling hopeless as part of a system larger than them that completely dominates them. The issue isn't exercising power but an awareness of accountability for how one's actions effect other people; basic conscientiousness. A lot people exercise power under the philosophy of might is right, if they can get away with it they will, and they fail to miss the larger picture into how actions are interconnected with the world around them. They seem to act as if they live in there own self created sandbox and subsequently feel frustration when the world won't conform to this.

    In fact what annoys me more than anything is the manner most people seem to rest into with how they exert power. They are so used to being systematized; they are shitty, petty, passive aggressive, victimy, whiny, indignant, and so forth. The issue becomes working the system or finding the gaps and loopholes in things and exploiting these unending. A lot of times I feel like the entire artificial layer of laws and social customs have masked and prevented people from naturally developing respectful attitudes towards other human beings.

    This is what I mean by people don't exert power enough. They simply give up, loose determination and become these shitty indignant victims constantly stinging everyone passive aggressively because there will to dominate is there but they don't understand how to properly do it in a way that is compatible with reality and connected with the world and ebb and flow of actions and events.

    Power shouldn't corrupt if other people keep the corrupt in check, corruption I think mainly stems from apathy and refusal of others to do what is necessary, it comes from people surrendering themselves too easy for something convenient for them but bad in the long term or for the bigger picture. Even the corrupt don't keep themselves in check, which is how they arrive at there state.
    Last edited by male; 12-05-2013 at 12:36 AM.

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    The corrupt seek power by *any* means, power unchecked. I don't think it's a situation or position of power that changes the person.

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    Ultimately you have a Majority of people in power, behaving in a corrupt manner. How do you seperate the two? Its a dynamic between both, always.
    I would say that ethically you are still supposed to act as if you have unilateral responsibility; but simultaneously you have to be able to see the other as a fully autonomous, free, aware person.

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    it magnifies..if the person is already corrupt it will just enhance that part of them

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