World’s Most Powerful Opioid!
The world faces a monumental challenge with the use of and deaths from powerful addictive drugs known as opioids. Daily we hear how tons of stuff such as Fentanyl, Oxycontin and Meth are transported across our southern border or arrive via ports of entry. It’s a vexing problem that no one seems to know how to control – let alone solve!
While highly addictive and dangerous, these manufactured substances are not, in my opinion, the world’s most powerful opioid. Nor are the most dangerous. While many choose to use, abuse and overdose on them; they are just a drop in the ocean of what really endangers us all!
It Ain’t Oxy. . .
After listening to the news a week or so ago and reading it online, I’ve determined that the world’s most dangerous opioid is POWER! Power unbridled and without restraints of any kind.
The following is the best known quotation of the 19th century British politician Lord Acton; “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely!” “The proverbial saying ‘power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely’ conveys the opinion that, as a person’s power increases, their moral sense diminishes.” Phrase Finder
Power in the hands of mature humble individuals can relieve many of the world’s ills. Power in the hands of caring persons can alleviate the suffering of others in their neighborhoods and communities. But power in the hands of hubris and unabashed arrogance is more destructive of the human spirit than the military’s most potent weapon of mass destruction.
In fact, power in the hands of those for whom it is the end in itself is a weapon of mass destruction. It wounds the human spirit and kills the vision for those desirous of creating the greater good.
An Intoxicating Cocktail!
Power is intoxicating. It sets individuals and organizations on a pedestal with human adulation as its potent ingredient. It is a smoke screen for all that’s evil, hidden behind empty words professing a desire to create for human good.
Think of the tyrants from the last millennium. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. 21st Century power-hungry folks such as Maduro, Putin and Soros. All folks who sought power for the sake of their own over-blown egocentric desires.
These are names most recognized, but power for the sake of lording-it-over is not limited to the high and mighty political types. It comes in many different shades and hues; for reasons only the power-seeking know. It comes in small towns and rural byways; as well as in the giant metropolis’ of the world. It comes in church, health care, the classroom. It comes in the pulpit and chancery; in the council room and hospital room.
The absolute power that corrupts absolutely comes anywhere there are people. People whose egos need what absolute power brings with it’s deceptive promises “for the greater good!”
The Illusion of Greatness!
In my litany of places where absolute power can and often does reside; I failed to mention business – the world of business. Yet in today’s culture with the advent and explosive growth of social media; absolute power corrupts absolutely on a daily basis.
From the college student who built a social network one boring weekend to the CEO of a word synonymous with coffee; business and specifically the world of social media is rife with power that corrupts the very core of the fabric of our culture. Power over our privacy, our personal information and data. Power over our person in the form of how safe we feel wearing labels others might not like. Power over what we say; write or share.
The final insult; power over who we are. Power over the values we hold dear. Power over how we think when we don’t think along the corporate line.
Absolute power that corrupts absolutely provides the illusion of greatness. The greatness of the person in the power seat. Greatness of his or her style of leadership by the vast majority who think that because the majority values it (or so they think), so should we.
Personal Experience. . .
A personal story from my ‘groupie days’ that I think illustrates both a desire to avoid growing in personal power, as well as the benefit that power for (versus power over) has in our lives.
I was co-facilitating a small training group with one of the world’s foremost human relations experts (the late John Jones). I was fond of sitting Buddha-style seeking to appear wise. I had been quiet during most of the morning session and noted that John was closely watching my silence and head-nodding (seeking to appear wise mind you!).
“Linda, you’re pissing away your power!”, John said.
I was stunned and a bit red-faced. What in the world could he mean? So I inquired further, asking what specifically he meant by the rebuke. John simply stated that I was using the discernment and wisdom he knew I had and wondered why I was afraid to do so. My fear was that accepting a level of personal power would be such an addictive experience that it would lead me away from being a therapist for others, etc. . .
The outcome of John’s observation and his willingness to call me out was an encounter that led one of the participants to make a much desired life change he had been avoiding for fear of losing his marriage and a level of success he had at the time. The change came less than 6 months later and, by the participants own admission, came as a result of that small group encounter. And it helped me overcome the fear that power is always a negative because that was what I had been taught and what had been my life experience to that point.
Power That Heals!
Power need not corrupt. It need not be the killer of a human soul. In fact, power that flows from a compassionate spirit is power that heals – self and others! And power that is fueled by a personal relationship with the Lord, led by the Spirit of God, is always power that destroys evil and heals those in need.
Choose this day which power you will possess. And ask for discernment to recognize the power that corrupts whenever and wherever it is found!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
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