Certainly the law of karma is neither a scientific law nor part of any legal system. Then what kind of law is it? It is a hope. A man wandering in immense darkness, groping his way, clings to anything that gives a little hope, a little light – because what you observe in life itself is something totally different from the law of karma. A man who is a well-known criminal may succeed and become the president, the prime minister; or vice versa: he was not a criminal before, but when he becomes the president or prime minister of a country he becomes a criminal.
Lord Acton’s famous statement I have thought about from every possible angle, and I have found it always gives some new insight. Acton says: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I don’t think so, because I don’t see it happening the way Lord Acton is saying. But Lord Acton was speaking from his whole life’s experience; he was a politician himself, and what he was saying was not unfounded.
Still, I dare to disagree with him, because my understanding is that power certainly corrupts, but it corrupts only a person who was potentially corruptible.
He may not have been known as corrupted before because he had no opportunity, he had no power. But power itself cannot corrupt a man who has no potential for corruption. So it is not the power that is corrupting the man; in fact the power is simply revealing the man to you. The power is making actual what was only potential; it is exposing the person to you and to himself.
If you look in a mirror and you see an ugly face, are you going to say that the mirror corrupts? The poor mirror simply reflects. If you have an ugly face what can the mirror do about it?
I have heard about a mad woman, who whenever she came across a mirror would immediately destroy it. She was ugly, but her belief was that mirrors were the reason for her ugliness. If there were no mirror she would not be ugly. Perfect logic!
In a certain way she is not being absolutely illogical. If she were alone on the earth – no mirror, no eyes, because eyes are also mirrors – do you think she would be ugly? Alone on the earth without any mirrors, without any eyes to mirror her, she would be just herself, neither beautiful nor ugly. But she would just be the same. The change that has happened is that now she cannot see her reflection. Nothing has changed, only the reflectors have been removed.
The same is true about Lord Acton’s famous dictum, “Power corrupts” – it seems so.
I would like to say that power mirrors.
If you are potentially ready to be corrupted, power gives you the chance. And if you have an absolute potential – like an Adolf Hitler, a Joseph Stalin, a Mussolini – then what can power do about it?
Power is simply available to you. You can do much with it.
If you are a corruptible person you will do what you always wanted to do but did not have the power to do. But if you are not potentially corruptible, then it is impossible for power to corrupt you. You will use the power, but it will not be corruption, it will be creation.
It will not be destructive:
It will be a blessing to people.