posted on Mar, 21 2017 @ 03:19 PM
It is amazing how just a little bit of power goes right to people's heads. Any time someone has power over someone, the exercise of that power
changes the psychological mindset of powerholder. It has been shown through research the powerholder will lose respect for the person they are using
the power against. Power corrupts the mind. A powerholder will go from the golden rule in a relationship to someone or a class of people to
greatest possible evil of squashing people like ants with no perceived moral consequence. Even the most benign use of power will corrupt the
"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton
If we do not understand why people become so corrupt, our government will never work in our favor. We need to understand why is there so much
corruption by our leaders and a complete lack of respect for the public trust.
I read this really interesting piece of psychological research on the causes of corruption called "the metamorphic effect of power". Not only does
power corrupt, be even worse, having power changes the powerholder to have "contempt" for those they have power over. Once the powerholder has
this contempt, the powerholder no longer sees their subordinates as people deserving of any human respect. Instead, the powerholder sees their
subordinates as worthless ants that can stepped on without any moral consequence. This idea of having power over others will change a person's
psyche is very important. It's only by having awareness of this effect that its negatives can be avoided.
Here's a really good analysis on the idea:
"Any hierarchical system provides positions of power which are sought by the worst sort of people, namely the ambitious, unscrupulous and ruthless.
Furthermore, even if by some chance sensitive and honest individuals obtain positions of power, they can quickly become corrupted. This is the
experience with governments, corporations, churches, political parties and other institutions.
But why does power corrupt? For the answer, it is worth consulting the excellent work by David Kipnis, a professor of psychology at Temple University.
He has carried out numerous experiments showing just how power corrupts. In his book "Power and Technology," Kipnis shows how technology amplifies
the corruption of power.
For a person to be autonomous is widely considered to be a good thing. It is a feature of being fully human. When a person exercises power over
others, the powerholder gains the impression that the others do not control their own behavior or, in other words, they are not autonomous. Hence,
they are seen as less worthy. In short, a person who successfully exercises power over others is more likely to believe that they are less deserving
of respect. They thus become good prospects to be exploited.
For example, Kipnis organized experiments in which a "boss" oversees the work of "subordinates" in a simulated situation. The experiment is
contrived so that all subordinates do the same work. But the subordinate who is thought to be self-motivated is rated much more highly -- for exactly
the same work -- than the subordinate who is thought to have done the work only under instruction. As well as laboratory studies, Kipnis examines the
effects of power on the powerholder through studies of couples, managers and protagonists in Shakespeare's dramas. The results are always the
Kipnis follows through the implications of such evidence in a number of areas involving technology, including medical technology, workplace technology
and the technology of repression. For example, technologies for surveillance or torture serve to control others: that is the obvious effect. But in
addition, the psychology of the powerholder is changed when the technology promotes the reality or impression that others lack autonomy. Those subject
to the technology are treated as less worthy, and any prospects for equality are ruled out.
Kipnis rightly points out that few studies have looked at the effects of power on the powerholder. He has done an admirable job of redressing this