May 5th 2005
What common thread connects L.A. police unnecessarily clubbing a captured bad guy, and prison abuse at Abu Ghraib Iraq ? I think a link is the Stanford study of the 1970ís when students pretended to be either guards or prisoners. The study had to be stopped after only 6 days because of the outrageous behavior of the students. I think the evidence that they acted in very human ways is the studyís most important message. People in power need reminders of the danger that power corrupts. In fact, we would have a much better world if everyone was taught at an early age the dynamics of power, itís fun and itís evil.
Power is the most universal form of pleasure. Identifying oneís position in the power structure is essential for making a life for oneself. The spectrum of power must start with the powerless baby and extend up to a totalitarian dictator. As parents or customers we have by position or collateral the where-with-all to have others do as we ask.
For an otherwise sane person to exert evil power over another person he must first demonize or dehumanize the victim. The ease with which this can be done demonstrates how easy it is to lie to oneself. Stanford students failed to see the obvious truth of what they were doing to each other, sane people use their bodies as bombs, and set bombs to blow up crowds of innocent men women and children all for the pleasure of power.
An old time radio program started with this question, ďWho knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?? The Shadow knows!!Ē And then a mystery program would follow. As a little boy, I would tie a dish towel over my back and leap about with my homemade wooden sword, pretending to cut and slash bad guys. I even accidentally ran the sword through my left arm, but I never made a mental connection between the evil mentioned by the radio announcer and the pain inflicted on my enemy with the little wooden sword.
I wish someone would create a book that would illustrate some of the following truths about the dangers of being corrupted by power:
*We can never understand the world if we lie to ourselves.
*Not everyone is comfortable as boss, and so there must be a hierarchy of power in a society.
*The perception of a vacuum of power creates turmoil and is the reason for the battle of the sexes, and the battle for control between children and parents.
*Some people are so desperate for some form of power they will sacrifice anything for a few moments of power.
*Given a weapon or positions of authority, even good people are tempted to hurt other people just for the pleasure of power.
*Pink is a color giving the opposite feeling from power.
*Officials, should be made to wear pink at least one day a month and practice weapons should to be painted pink to remind those with weapons of their own human weakness.
*Power can corrupt us all. We donít need Christ to absolve us for trivial sins.
*Bad guys get a thrill from the power they wield over innocent victims. Lucky for us, police enjoy the chase, capture and their power over bad guys.
Some common misspelling: abu grad prisson graib stamford Sadam Irak
Copyright 2005 Best Syndication Last Updated
Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM