because history just ain't what it used to be

Thought for the Day: Don’t let it go to your head.

In Thought-for-the-Day on March 1, 2010 at 22:47

by Martha Schick and Jim Knell

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” (

So said John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, a historian in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. This phrase simply tells us what we don’t want to believe: many times, we have to bend our morals to get what we want.

In extreme historical examples, we know that absolute power can change the world for the worst. Hitler used it to kill innocent people. That can also be said of Alexander, the Great as well.

This tells us something about humans getting too much power.

When people simply have power over themselves, and their decisions only affect their own lives, they are often not satisfied.

Something within us wants to be influential.

And it should be noted that many of the people that history has chosen to remember were in fact corrupted by power. It’s practically a requirement.

Wanting to be influential is not necessarily a bad thing. But what we do with the power… that is what decides how we are remembered.

  1. So then the only question you need to ask yourself as you make decisions in your life is, “How will I be remembered? If everyone knew every decision I made and the reasons for each decision, would they remember me fondly and strive to live their lives the same way that I do? And if they wouldn’t, then should I reconsider my decision?”

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