Jun 20, 2011,
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," famously said Lord Acton. I dare to disagree with him, because my understanding is that power certainly corrupts, but it corrupts only a person who is potentially corruptible.
He may not have been known as a corrupt person simply because he had no opportunity; he had no power.
But power itself cannot corrupt a man who has no potential for corruption. So it is not the power that is corrupting the man; in fact, the power is simply revealing the man to you... If you look in a mirror and you see an ugly face, are you going to say that the mirror is ugly? The poor mirror simply reflects. If you have an ugly face what can the mirror do about it? If you are potentially ready to be corrupted, power gives you the chance. And if you have an absolute potential — like an Adolf Hitler, a Joseph Stalin, a Mussolini — then what can power do about it? Power is simply available to you. You can do much with it.
If you are a corruptible person you will do what you always wanted to do but did not have the power to do. But if you are not potentially corruptible, then it is impossible for power to corrupt you. You will use the power, and it will not be for corruption, it will be for creation. It will not be destructive; it will be a blessing to people. And if you have the potential of being a blessing to people, then absolute power will be an absolute blessing in the world.
But life is strange. Only the potentially corruptible person moves towards power. The potentially good person has no desire for power. The will-to-power is the need of a corrupt being, because he knows that without power he will not be able to do what he wants to do.
Adolf Hitler first wanted to be an architect, but all the schools of architecture refused him because he had no potential as an architect.... He wanted to become an artist, but no school would take him...he had no talent for art. Disappointed everywhere, rejected from everywhere, he started moving towards power.
Hitler's will-to-power was really strong. A man who was not able to become an architect or a painter became so powerful that the destiny of humanity was in his hands. But you will be surprised to know that the first thing that he did after he became powerful, was to make designs for buildings. He made the designs for many ugly structures.... It is one of the blessings of the Second World War that all Adolf Hitler's great buildings were destroyed; otherwise he would have left those ugly structures behind. But his designs have been found, and they are enough proof that this man simply had no ability to conceive buildings.
When the dictator came to power, he would paint in his spare time. Everyone had to appreciate his paintings, but none of them were worth being called a painting; they were a total waste of canvas and colour. Power brings into actuality what is hidden in you.
Manifesting the Good
The good man has no need to be powerful, because good can manifest without power. There is no need for good to have power. Good has its own intrinsic power. Evil needs some outside power to support it. The man who has a heart throbbing with goodness, with blessings, feels no need to be the president or the prime minister. He has no time to waste in the ugly game of power- politics. He has enough energy. That good brings with itself. He will create music, he will compose poetry, he will sculpt beauty in marble; he will do something for which power is not needed. All that is needed is already provided for him. That's the beauty of good, that it is intrinsically powerful... You can be certain that anything that needs power from outside is not good. It is something intrinsically impotent; it will live on borrowed life.
So in life this strange situation happens: bad people reach good positions, become respectable or honoured, not only in their time but throughout history.
Source: Times of India, New Delhi