Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely?
There is the famous statement of an English philosopher:”Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
I do not agree with him. My analysis is totally different. Everybody is full of knowledge, greed, anger, passion, but has no power. To be voilent you need to be powerful. To fulfill your greed you need to be powerful. To satisfy your passions you need to be powerful.
So when power happens in your hands, all your sleeping dogs start barking. Power becomes a nourishment to you, an opportunity. It is not that power corrupts, you are corrupted. Power only brings your corruption in to the open. You wanted to kill somebody, but you had not the power to kill; but if you have the power, you will kill.
It is not power that corrupts you, corruption you carry within yourself; power simply gives you the opportunity to do what ever you want to do.
Power in the hands of a man like Gautam Buddha will not corrupt; on the contrary it will help humanity to raise its consciousness. Power in the hands of Genghis Khan destroys people, rapes women, burns people alive. Whole villages are burnt, people are not allowed to get out. It is not power… this man Genghis Khan must have been carrying all these desires in him.
It is almost like when rain comes, differrent plants start growing; but different plants have different flowers. Whatever is hidden in your seeds, what ever is your potentiality, power gives you a chance, because most human beings are living so unconsciously that when they come to power all their unconscious instincts have a chance to be fulfilled. Then they don’t care whether it kills people, whether it poisons people…
We waste almost one third of life in educating our children. In that one third of life some time should be given to cleanse their unconscious; so by the time they graduate from their university, and they have some power somewhere – somebody will become a police commissionor, somebody will become a governor, somebody will become a prime minister – if they do not have anything in their unconscious that is poisonous, destructive, then power can not be misused. Who is going to misuse it? Power is neutral.
These people are not corrupted by power. These people are corrupted; power simply brings their corruption into action.
Power in itself is neutral, In a good mans hand it will be a blessing. In an unconscious mans hand it is going to be a curse.
For thousands of years we have condemned power, without thinking power has not to be condemned; people have to be cleaned of all the ugly instincts that are hiding within, because everybody is going to have some power or the other.
It does not have to be great power. You may be just sitting in a railway station selling tickets, but that to gives you power. You are standing at the window, and the man does not even look at you. He goes on turning his file, and you can see that he is not concerned with the file, he simply wants to show you your place. Even the peon sitting outside the collectors office behaves as if he is the president of the country, so it is not a question of where you are. Wherever you are , you will have some kind of power.
Even parents use power. Teachers use power, husbands use power, wives use power. It does not matter where you are.
If mankind comes to understand the deep psychological roots, and changes man’s unconscious so that there are no seeds, power can go on raining but there will be no flowers of corruption. Otherwise power is going to be misused always. And you can not take power from peoples hands; somebody must be a mother, somebody must be a father, somebody must be a teacher.
The only way is, to cleanse peoples unconscious with meditation, fill their inner being with light. It is only meditation that gives gives you a clean heart, which cannot be corrupted. Then power can never be misused, then power can be a blessing, it is going to be creative. Then you are going to do something to make life more lovable, more livable, to make existence a little more beautiful. But that great day has not yet arrived…
Osho: The Razors Edge