The Nature of Power [an excerpt from the book, “Why They Think I’m Crazy”]


Abraham Lincoln once stated, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” The philosopher, Jean Satre believed that more than self-preservation, humans want to project or exercise power [as in, “the Will to Power] and when that power is frustrated, then the words of R.G.H. Siu are most revealing: “Cruelty is only a tantrum of frustrated power.”

Power can intoxicate, blind, seduce and mislead; it is the stuff of horrors and tragedies. Of all the good power can do, it can do even more harm and is most dangerous in the hands of those who are tubby of spirit and mind — those whose perceptions of themselves exceed the reality of themselves.

Note the clerk behind the counter. Even though he may be a low-wage earner, he has the power to obstruct or facilitate the needs of those who seek his services. He can serve or he can rule. He can delay, lose, destroy or expedite. He can do so without technically violating company policy or if he does, he can do so with near impunity. And his boss, the CEO can do the same — and more.

Power is best exercised by those who would sip it from the glass and who drink it as part of the meal. Power is exercised at worst by those would gulp it from the goblet as the entire meal itself. For some, power strokes the ego. For others it masturbates the ego but for a few who are truly worthy, it subdues the ego. In short, the fool who exercises power grabs the sword by the blade. The not-so-foolish who exercises power grabs the sword by the handle, but the truly wise who exercise power first grabs the sheath for she knows power, like the sword, need not always be drawn.

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Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM  Leave a Comment  
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