What’s more destructive to the soul? Power, or powerlessness? Or is it some combination of both?
The prevailing wisdom is that power is what corrupts. Offer someone something great, and you can bet that all kinds of moral compromises are on the way. The eternal search, therefore, is for that mythical creature: the incorruptible man, the individual willing and able to resist the temptations of power and maintain principle and integrity. However, I don’t think it’s that simple. Power means nothing without context. To a national legislator, for example, a million dollars can be significant, while to a fabulously wealthy businessman such a sum is absolutely meaningless.
You know what actually corrupts? Void. That internal emptiness that we all have to some certain degree, customized to our own personal life struggle. For some it’s recognition, to others it’s financial achievement, to still others it’s love and intimate validation. And people with the lowest amount of achievement tend to be those with the largest voids. For the out of shape, nerdy, lonely young guy, a charming young lady’s advances can get him to do just about anything. To the single mother spending her days at a low-paying and soul-sucking job, any recognition and acclaim can make her compromise. The political hopeful living in a trailer with no major accomplishment to his name won’t stick to his principles for long. [Read more…]