Power and its Side Effects
The intoxicating effects of power on humans have been observed and analysed for centuries.
Plato considered that the measure of a man is what he does with power; Charles Caleb Colton noted that “power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads.”
An in a letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), John Acton famously wrote:
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely./…/There’s no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”
If modern scientists often compare the sensation of omnipotence to effects caused by drugs, it’s because power, amphetamines and cocaine do have similar effect on human brain: they increase the levels of dopamine…and are equally addictive.
Dopamine leads to euphoria through higher levels of energy, self-confidence and alertness, but its build-up is linked to anxiety, psychosis and pervasive distrust and suspiciousness.
In “How Power Affects the Brain,” Professor of Psychology Ian H. Robertson remarks:
“When power is unconstrained by democratic controls or good systems of governance, then power-holders may show undesirable distortion in judgement, cognition and behavior as a result of its drug-like effects on the brain.”
In several studies, the correlation between a feeling of dominance and ruthlessness has been shown to be a significant factor in the abuse of power. Delusions of grandeur turn relationships into transactions, and fellow human beings become viewed as a faceless crowd of disposable pawns.
Power junkies will inhale ovations, sniff flattery and shoot themselves up with compliments in order to maintain the illusion of the timelessness and limitlessness of their reign. High on hubris they are no longer willing or able to camouflage their true, inevitably fading colors.
One of factors that determine Donald Trump’s national and international popularity is his business background, bringing to mind forgotten elements of power: hard work and responsibility.
Over the last decade, the American people have witnessed a parade of politicians turned estate agents (as if our country were their private property), politicians turned fiscal-terminators (as if the money of our nation belonged to them) and finally politicians turned foreign ambassadors (as if our country belonged to foreigners). Serving the interests of their own citizens has become so unthinkable and out of the question that importing voters seems somehow a simpler solution.
Drone on the Throne
While affected by pre-election fever, demagogues reaching for power act like busy bees. But once authority cravings satiated, they transform into lazy drones basking in the same treacherous sun of hubris which cost Icarus his wings.
“The Detrimental effects of power on confidence, advice taking and accuracy”(Kelly E.See, Elisabeth W.Morrison, Naomie B.Rothman, Jack B.Soll) offers an interesting study on influence of power on advice taking, showing, ”Individuals primed to experience greater power exhibit a reduced tendency to consider perspective of others.”
No matter how cunning, every treacherous political entity which handpicked and groomed their operative to obtain power will end up betrayed on its turn, because a drone fed with advantages flies solo and only as far as it gets to secure his own supply of honey.
Main Stream Media Cradle Song
The mainstream media lullaby aimed to sedate the commoners lulls also politicians into “eternal power” state of mind. Journalistic stenographers have no problem writing about “Oppositional Defiance Disorder,” apparently detected in unruly citizens or “dysfunctional” homeless Veterans who lost their limbs for our freedom. Quite ironically, journalists turned compliance professionals, and advisers turned sycophants follow politicians’ own rule: taking care of own business only; they will never risk their 30 pieces of silver to heed Plato’s warning to political peacocks: “The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction.”
When abuse of power is a fact, the fault lies not only with natural, hubristic tendency of particularly ruthless and vain human beings, but mostly with the lack of accountability unnatural for our society. It’s our time to draw the line. As envisioned by Thomas Paine: “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”