28 September, 2020

Blog

It Is Time To Re-Write The Old Adage

By Arjuna Seneviratne –

Arjuna Seneviratne

Fear corrupts, absolute fear corrupts absolutely…Power humbles, absolute power humbles absolutely

The great spiritual leaders of the world lived lives of piety and engaged the world with clarity, compassion and a desire to succor those in pain. Their lives were epitomized by a complete lack of fear and a confidence in the belief that what they thought, said and did was not only right but mutually consistent. They wielded (and still wield) an enormous power to inspire human effort and give people confidence in themselves and their fellow beings. The same can be said albeit to a lesser degree of the Lincolns, Kings, Ghandis and Mandelas of this world. They never sought power, yet, their lack of fear and their compassion vested power in them and that power made them ever humbler, ever more compassionate.

Their vision, their ideas, their movements elaborated the aspirations of many not because they asked themselves crafty questions about what people need and then attempting to feed those needs for a strategic while in order to promote themselves as leaders of men and cover themselves with personal glory. They knew that such kudos were empty of substance, short lived and require manipulation or force to maintain for it is not possible to feed human desire indefinitely without compromising one’s self and one’s basis for action at many levels. Those leaders cared not one whit for such fickle, shifting, changing and self-serving requisites of conditioned existence. Instead, they asked themselves, “what is wholesome?”, “what is valuable?”, “what is right?”  Taking themselves out of all equations, they asked themselves what can preserve regardless of themselves and what can continue despite of themselves.

In short, they asked themselves, “What is the truth?” and in their dealings with the peopled earth, they never, ever, compromised on that. As a result, what they spoke and what they did resonated powerfully with that elusive fundamental common to all mankind – humanness. As a result, as history has shown us, what they stood for is still standing. What they believed, is still believed by many. What they desired for civilization, civilization desired for itself.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to say that about our current crop of leaders. If leaders one can call them. Their place in the world was born, in the most, by self-servitude and self-preservation, achieved at great cost to the earth and its inhabitants and sustained through subscription to the very worst of human emotions. Their legacy is some of the darkest chapters of the history of the world and they wrote and continue to write a litany of damage, doubt, disillusionment, destruction and despair for all those who call this planet of ours home.

In their wake, they have left heated, deserted, desolate human landscape where hope is left kicking its little legs in the air and expiring sadly on the ground and in their promotion of self, they have generated and maintained for their own good, a very scared and worried majority. It is easy, that. Fear and its attendant trait of anger are very easy to trigger within oneself and in others. It is easy for weak men to exploit that condition to alleviate their own doubt and their own worry and these, because of the nature of our leaders is in fact, the reason why they promote themselves as leaders of men. Truth, for whatever its worth, is absolutely worthless for leading the frightened. Indeed, it mostly works against the weaklings of this world and their braggadocio.

From cradle to grave, fear drive their lives.  Every milestone of their careers, every stance, every ideology is driven by the necessity to minimize the impact of that fear on themselves while leveraging the fear of others to push themselves to the top.  The higher they go, the greater becomes that fear. At the top – in government or business or any other human endeavor, in their vanity, they call themselves the most powerful but in reality, they are the most fearful. At the top, they wield that fear ruthlessly, believing that as long as they remain at the top, scything everyone and everything in their path with an aggression born of absolute terror, other, equally frightened people cannot touch them. They believe that they can neutralize real or imagined danger from external entities by using fear to command and wield the weapons and the people at their disposal against such threats.

*Other pieces by the same author can be read at http://arjunareflections.blogspot.co.uk/

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Those in Power habitually mismanage things due to a hidden fear of the
    future. This is applicable to MR & GR without any doubt.

  • 0
    0

    A well said and written Parable which is true and happening, the good
    rulers are loved, but the dictators that live by the sword or gun wont last long since one has to take note what happened to Saddam Hussein, Perished with his sons killed by the people, Gaddafi of Libya, Hitler of Germany,Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines driven out by the people power, and now the Dictator of Syria. Power hungry rulers in this century wont last long and the people power are getting stronger.

  • 0
    0

    Arjuna: your interesting article was smartly crafted to name no names. Still the SL condition is not new; ever since SWRD identified the key to winning the vote of the electoral majority, every other leader/government (barring the patrician Dudley)went one better, and the latest crop of leaders are fully aware that keeping the thug and the yellow robe onside are the guarantees for a long and profitable reign. It is our misfortune not to have a viable opposition to effectively counter the excesses of this government, and to give us an alternative at the ballot box. As long as we have a permanent leader of the opposition, we will have to endure a never ending hell. Weliveriya? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

  • 0
    0

    Interesting POV, however, it seems to me that the ‘adage’ served to describe what happens to folk who are handed ‘political’ power and do not have either the wisdom or the conditioning to handle the responsibility that should come with it. The ‘fear’ is a byproduct of the abuse of power and the possibilities that the abuse will result in threats to the well-being of the individual who is abusing it.

    With regard to your suggestion that “Fear corrupts, absolute fear corrupts absolutely”, I fail to see the truth in the statement. Maybe I missed something??

    • 0
      0

      I suppose it is a matter of definitions, Sir. I threw this take informally at a few politicians and got embarrassed laughs in response so I guess they know what I am talking about *smiles*

      I completely agree that power sort after and power acquired through force is not power per se but a corruption of the meaning of that word and perhaps a reason for fear. However, I do question if fear is the byproduct of acquiring power or the reason for seeking power. Given various engagements over the years, I tend to go with the later :)

      • 0
        0

        Arjuna – My take was that “The ‘fear’ is a byproduct of the ABUSE of power and the possibilities that the abuse will result in threats to the well-being of the individual who is abusing it.”

        Your response was: “However, I do question if fear is the byproduct of acquiring power or the reason for seeking power”. You neglected the ABUSE factor and “the reason for seeking power” was never part of my view – quite a different kettle of fish.

        • 0
          0

          Sorry for the tardy response. I was away.

          I agree Sir, that abuse does lead to a cyclic increase in fear. The more abusive, the more fearful. However, unpacking the reason for abuse yielded the outcome that fear was the precursor and not the product of it. Abuse or, in its broadest sense “by-passing due process” for personal advantage, is a commonality in a lot of human beings, not only those who claim to be leaders. Those who set themselves up as leaders, basing their so-called leadership on primary untruths or subscription to the more fickle side of human nature do so to gain position and “power” and the reason for seeking those is based on personal disquiet, worry, and “fear” that results from existing and attempting to take the shortest route possible *out* of that condition. Of course, they would necessarily hit the wall of truth and at that point, certainly, there would an increase in the abuse factor.

          As I mentioned to someone, if a person walks 1 step of the truth as he stated it and as he acted on it, and he does not look behind, but 10 people are following him, and if he walks 2 more steps of the same truth and does not look behind, but 20,000 are walking behind him …*that* is power. If a person who lies, is always looking behind, *that* is fear.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.