Instead of a bottom-line based on money and power, we need a new bottom-line that defines productivity and creativity as where corporations, governments, schools, public institutions, and social practices are judged as efficient, rational and productive not only to the extent they maximize money and power, but to the extent they maximize love and caring, ethical and ecological sensitivity, and our capacities to respond with awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation.
Our inner world has a reality and a power that can keep us from being victims of circumstance and compel us to take responsibility for our own lives.
Transformation is only valid if it is carried out with the people, not for them. Liberation is like a childbirth, and a painful one. The person who emerges is a new person: no longer either oppressor or oppressed, but a person in the process of achieving freedom. It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors.
The term ‘power’ comes from the Latin posse: to do, to be able, to change, to influence or effect. To have power is to possess the capacity to control or direct change. All forms of leadership must make use of power. The central issue of power in leadership is not Will it be used? But rather Will it be used wisely and well?
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
Where justice is denied where poverty is enforced where ignorance prevails and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress rob and degrade them neither persons nor property will be safe.
Great is the issue at stake greater than appears whether a man is to be good or bad. And what will any one be profited if under the influence of money or power he neglect justice and virtue?
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.
I am not predicting the dawn of global democracy or global socialism. What I am predicting is an era of turmoil and uncertainty. Moreover, like all forms of power, interdependent power has a dark side, and it has always had a dark side. The hungry and diseased mobs who terrified the burghers of late-medieval Europe were not enlightenment thinkers, nor are the suicide bombers thrust forward by a resurgent Islam. Even the struggles of the Western Federation of Miners had a dark side, as they fought state and company violence with their own violence. Still, the defiant movements from the bottom that are fueled by interdependent power hold at least the hope that the needs and dreams of the great masses of the planet’s people will make their imprint on the new societies for which we wish. Of course, the process of reform will be complicated and the outcomes shaped not only by interdependent power, but also by the complex institutional structures we inherit, cultural memory, and the concentrated power resources of aggrandizing elites. All that said, without the tempering influence of movements from below and the interdependent power they wield, our future is ominous.
At every turn when there has been an imbalance of power, the truth questioned, or our beliefs and values distorted, the change required to restore our nation has always come from the bottom up from our people.
Great is the issue at stake, greater than appears, whether a man is to be good or bad. And what will any one be profited if, under the influence of money or power, he neglect justice and virtue?
Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species — man — acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.
The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.
I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.