|Posted by Cobaltsoul on May 26, 2010 at 2:02 AM|
I've referred to the corrupting quality of power but have not described or defined what that corruption actually is.
This is my first shot at exploring that description.
People are what matters.
The only root purpose worthy of pursuit is helping people enjoy life and enjoy it more deeply, more widely, more freely, more generously, more, more more LIFE for more, more, more PEOPLE.
Just in case you misunderstood that, I did not say "helping a person", it's a PEOPLE thing, plural, not individualistic.
In terms of leading a community this root purpose equates to good, honest, healthy leadership being the leadership which produces the most life, quality and quantity, in the most inclusive way and mutually respectful way for the widest range of community members.
Power corrupts leadership in this way - people with power, formal or informal leaders, immediately see themselves, consciously or unconsciously, as different to the community at large. Hidden in that difference is the reality that these leaders start to pursue what is good for them rather than what is good for the community they now see themselves as different from. It may be a small thing at first but it's a corruption, and it grows. When you have more power than the community members generally have you immediately percieve yourself as different from the community and your goals likewise differentiate.
Soren Kierkegaard said that purity of the heart is to will one thing. Power corrupts leadership because with power comes a second purpose, a purpose not fundamentally about helping the most community members enjoy the best quality of community life they can. The second purpose flows from the fact that the leader(s) become, consciously or unconsciously, a community within the community and their first loyalty is to this smaller community. They may deny it to themselves, makes no difference, the dynamic is psychologically inescapable.
Think about it.