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Corruption & Power

Jury 2021-01-07 01:02:34

The last few months my interest in topics like corruption, power, bias and leadership has increased very sharply. I have come to understand that my view was too simplistic. There are few things in life that are that simple. 

In 2020, I came in contact with many instances of abuse of power and corruption from people I had zero expectation of a behavior like that. My rude awakening when it comes to these topics has increased my anxiety.

For example - I have come to notice that most people in lead/manager/CEO positions usually aren't devoid of bias and often unaware of their affection to power. It is becoming very frequent for me to see abuse of power in everyday situations. As much as a lot of time and experience has created systems that doesn't encourage the abuse of power, there are still few instances where someone of authority - usually new to that type of power - doesn't abuse it.

Another observation that scares me is the clear impact of bias on people.... particularly the intelligent ones that feel like they are above that type of fallacy.

The more I think about these thoughts and witness bizarre things in the news, the more my faith in human beings is disappearing. Today, I found myself wondering if I really believe that if a jury of 12 random people would be able to make an objective and fair conclusion. The premise that the selecting 12 random people will enable a fair trial - seems naïve to  me. 

I hope that I am not becoming overly pessimistic. These thoughts are making me want to join the Amish folks. 

More from Keni

Corruption & Power

Jury
You don't have to right now. or even this year. But in the long run you must have faith in humanity. Not all of it. But just the small pockets of it. Small enough to make this human experience worth it more than not worth it. Even if this small pocket is just you and a handful of people. 

There's a lot of other things I thought while reading this but I just want to state this because I think it's more important on a personal level. I'll comment more on the topic of power and corruption in your upcoming posts though.
2021-01-07 02:27:45
Thank you Sir Abe. I have to make deliberate attempt to keep my faith but a part of me feels like I need to know these things. I didn't have the right perception before. But yes, I will read, learn and write more on this topic. Curious to know what else you were thinking while reading. 
2021-01-07 19:52:09
Call me a cynic, but I don't believe that a single person who holds some amount of power over others is a) not aware of it b) does not at times secretly enjoy it - even if they won't admit it. 

I'd even go as far as to say that there isn't a single human being alive who doesn't in fact relish in their power over another. Even a mother will at some point treat her child unfairly for no reason but to demonstrate that she has the power to do so. It's something primal, probably a dominance type trait that we used to fend off adversaries in the cave days.  

Now we've turned that into showcasing our skills and talents, or our inflated egos  on flexstagram, but these are just layers. We like the power. And power corrupts. And absolute power.... 

Still I'm not saying that is wrong in itself. It's natural behavior. We just need to be conscious of it, lest we fall prey to psychos and demagogues who we may otherwise believe can do no wrong. Not only that, it makes those who do wield some type of power, but who manage to keep it/themselves under control more admirable. That's the part of humanity you can always have faith in. 
2021-01-08 15:55:33
Thank you for this comment Gabriel. It is making me think hard about power and my own cynical views about it. I do feel like there are people who easily go too far with little power. Based  on my readings, it is usually correlated to their own sense of control over their lives. 
The TED talk by Philip Zimbardo and the experiment he did in the Stanford experiment confirms so of the things you brought up. Most of us are more naturally inclined to pursue and abuse power and have to make an effort to go against that natural urge. 
Interesting back and forth.
2021-01-09 01:10:04
What I was thinking while reading your post @keni was about the tao perspective of power. It's doing without doing. Power that's not taken but given. 

I truly do think that actual power is never someone who seeks it itself. True power comes from seeking a purpose that becomes somehow seeking of an individual who is best suited to address that purpose. Basically the true king or queen is not someone who aims to be the ruler, but someone who gets chosen by the people because they are the best fit. Btw Trump didn't get chosen, he was more of a anti-choice to something else.

And @gabriel what you say strikes deep into our nature. No matter how much we try to distance ourselves from the corrupt and evil we can remember so many times we've toyed with others we had power over. Only difference here is that some are doing it in positions of systemic power/reach whereas we might do it on a personal level. But if we're willing to do it at the latter level, there's no guarantee that we'll be able to stop ourselves if we were ever to find ourselves in the executive's chair.
2021-01-09 21:32:39
@Abe, exactly, and the sad truth (ha) is that unless we're prepared for it, we probably *wouldn't* be able to stop ourselves. As my favorite prof likes to say, "There's a little Hitler in all of us".

Much more dangerous than the thought that seemingly virtuous people are incapable of evil is the idea that we ourselves are incapable of it. 
2021-01-09 22:48:06