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Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi - Politics - Nairaland

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Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by lalasticlala(m): 8:38pm On Nov 24
I was one of seven professors who facilitated a leadership training in my university here in Georgia for local government chairmen from a major Nigerian southwestern state. In the course of the training, I adverted to a January 13, 2018 column I wrote about how power literally damages the brains of people who wield it and causes them to be dissociated from reality.

A few of the chairmen at the training initially said they “rejected” what I said “in Jesus’ name.”But the more I expounded the research on the psychology of power, the less resistant they became. In the light of the interest it excited among these local power wielders, I thought I’d share a revised version of the column for the benefit of other people in power.

Almost everyone I know wonders why people in power change radically; why they become so utterly disconnected from reality that they suddenly become completely unrecognisable to people who knew them before they got to power; why they get puffed-up, susceptible to flattery, and intolerant of even the mildest, best-intentioned censure; why they appear possessed by inexplicably malignant forces; and why they are notoriously insensitive and self-absorbed.

Everyone who has ever had a friend in a position of power, especially political power, can attest to the accuracy of the age-old truism that a friend in power is a lost friend. Of course, there are exceptions, but it is precisely the fact of the existence of exceptions that makes this reality poignant. As the saying goes, “the exception proves the rule.”

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Look at all the power brokers in Nigeria—from the president to your ward councilor—and you’ll discover that there is a vast disconnect between who they were before they got to power and who they are now.

Also look at previously arrogant, narcissistic, power-drunk prigs who have been kicked out of the orbit of power for any number of reasons. You’ll discover that they are suddenly normal again. They share our pains, make pious noises, condemn abuse of power, and identify with popular causes. The legendary amnesia of Nigerians causes the past misdeeds of these previous monsters of power to be explained away, lessened, forgiven, and ultimately forgotten. But when they get back to power again, they become the same insensitive beasts of power that they once were.

So what is it about power that makes people such obtuse, self-centred snobs? It turns out that psychologists have been grappling with this puzzle for years and have a clue. Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California Berkeley, extensively studied the brains of people in power and found that people under the influence of power are neurologically similar to people who suffer traumatic brain injury!

According to the July/August 2017 issue of the Atlantic magazine, “people who are victims of traumatic brain injury are “more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view.” In other words, like victims of traumatic brain injury, power causes people to lose their capacity for empathy. This is a surprising scientific corroboration of American historian Henry Adams’ popular wisecrack about how power is “a sort of tumour that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.”

The findings of Sukhvinder Obhi, a professor of neuroscience at McMaster University, in Ontario, Canada, are even more revealing. Obhi also studies the workings of the human brain. “And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, ‘mirroring,’ that may be a cornerstone of empathy,” the Atlantic reports. “Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the ‘power paradox’ Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.”

Take Buhari, for example. Before 2015, he was – or at least he appeared to be – empathetic. He supported subsidies for the poor, railed against waste, thought Nigerians deserved to buy petrol at a low price because Nigerian oil was “developed with Nigerian capital,” and so on. He even said foreign medical treatment for elected government officials was immoral and indefensible, and wondered why a Nigerian president would need a fleet of aircraft when even the British Prime Minister didn’t have any.

Nothing but power-induced brain damage, which activates narcissism and loss of empathy, can explain Buhari’s dramatic volte-face now that he’s in power. This fact, psychological researchers say, is worsened by the fact that subordinates tend to flatter people in power, mimic their ways in order to ingratiate themselves with them, and shield them from realities that might cause them psychic discomfort.

“But more important, Keltner says, is the fact that the powerful stop mimicking others,” the Atlantic reports. “Laughing when others laugh or tensing when others tense does more than ingratiate. It helps trigger the same feelings those others are experiencing and provides a window into where they are coming from. Powerful people ‘stop simulating the experience of others,’ Keltner says, which leads to what he calls an ‘empathy deficit.’ ”

Researchers also found out that excessive praise from subordinates, sycophantic drooling from people seeking favours, control over vast resources they once didn’t have, and all of the staid rituals and performances of power conspire to cause “functional” changes to the brains of people in power. On a social level, it also creates what Lord David Owen, a British neurologist-turned-politician, called the “hubris syndrome” in his 2008 book titled In Sickness and in Power.

Some features of hubris syndrome, Owen points out, are, “manifest contempt for others, loss of contact with reality, restless or reckless actions, and displays of incompetence.” Sounds familiar? You can’t observe Buhari’s governance – or, more correctly, ungovernance – in the last four years and fail to see these features in him.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. Powerful people can, and indeed do, extricate themselves from the psychological snares of power if they so desire. Professor Keltner said one of the most effective psychological strategies for people in power to reconnect with reality and reverse the brain damage of power is to periodically remember moments of powerlessness in their lives – such as when they were victims of natural disasters, accidents, poverty, etc.

They should also have what American journalist Louis McHenry Howe once called a “toe holder,” that is, someone who doesn’t fear them, expects no favours from them, and can tell them uncomfortable truths without fear of consequences.

Winston Churchill’s toe holder was his wife, who once wrote a letter to him that read, in part, “I must confess that I have noticed a deterioration in your manner; and you are not as kind as you used to be.” Was Aisha Buhari performing the role of a toe holder when she publicly upbraided her husband in the past? I doubt it.

Her disagreements with her husband are often opportunistic and self-serving. They are triggered only when her husband’s puppeteers in Aso Rock limit her powers to nominate her cronies for political positions and to dispense favours to friends and family.

Another potent way to reverse power-induced brain damage is to periodically get out of the protected silos of power and solitarily observe the quotidian interactions of everyday folks – their humour, laughter, fights, etc. – without the familiar add-ons of power, such as aides, cameras, security, etc. This helps to stimulate the experiences of others and restore empathy.

This is particularly important in Nigeria because power, at all levels, is almost absolute and unaccountable.

Please read and prayerfully ask God to reveal your “ toe holder” to you.

https://acnntv.com/why-do-people-in-power-change-radically-by-pat-utomi/

51 Likes 9 Shares

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by KingEverest: 8:42pm On Nov 24
Power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely sad

32 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Ussycool(m): 8:42pm On Nov 24
Power is something only Lord can guide us.

We can only make mouth like buhari did in 2015. But when you are in the game, you lose guard.

Even POLITICAL SCIENTISTS failed to justify this.

6 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Froshloaded(m): 8:43pm On Nov 24
grin
Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by kingsways: 8:45pm On Nov 24
It's not that they change, they show their true colours when they get power

Man is fundamentally evil and selfish

24 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Ninety6(m): 8:48pm On Nov 24
Nobody changes... With each circumstance unveils each mask.

14 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by God1000(m): 8:48pm On Nov 24
Because of the praises they get from sycophants for carrying out their constitutional obligations, then money and power intoxicate them.

Stop celebrating mediocrity, don't worship them, ask questions instead.

13 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by ForeThinker: 8:48pm On Nov 24
the spirit of money ,lust and power

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by MrImole: 8:48pm On Nov 24
Haha!








Is he truly expecting us to say something?

1 Like

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by jarvis4: 8:48pm On Nov 24
It's has always been a two sided affair.
Evil and good are both in every man on earth
It's you that will decide the one to show the world

5 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Uyi168: 8:48pm On Nov 24
...

power, wealth etc bring out peoples true color.

4 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by thebosstrevor1: 8:49pm On Nov 24
Because managing people isn't easy. The pressure on leaders is also a problem.

Everyone want a piece of them, some times, you have to be hard on those type of people.

Anyway, there are also people who become power drunk when they get to a place of authority, apart from them, to be sincere, you can not be nice and be in leadership, you will taken for a ride.

11 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by BeeBeeOoh(m): 8:49pm On Nov 24
That's how Buhari and his boy was pictured back then with sachet milo but now "they changed" and started drinking goldplated sachet milo that worth's hundreds of millions.

Chai cry

20 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by SVC6000: 8:50pm On Nov 24
Over power is accompanied with demonic mindset

3 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Sheriman(m): 8:50pm On Nov 24
An African man is intoxicated with power and authority.

8 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Omicron007: 8:50pm On Nov 24
sad

I know a certain President in the West side of Africa who was poor to the extent that people contributed money to get the Party's Nomination Form for his election.



The rest is history...

8 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Fiscus105(m): 8:50pm On Nov 24
Power too intoxicates my man, it takes God grace and interventions for people in power not to misbehave ooo.

Wen ur yes is yes and for no everyone must obey.


2ndly, On many occasions people that are aspiring to get to power, when they get thr, they now realized that they can't do better than those they chased out, hence they change" since they can't deliver all their sweet promises before assuming power. (Subsidy as a case study)

4 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by jaxxy(m): 8:51pm On Nov 24
The Nigerian System is very corrupt. More corrupt than the politicians themselves.

The intricacies of the Nigerian government/political system sets them up for failure, disconnection, corruption and sycophancy against performance and accountability to the people.

6 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Richandsimple: 8:51pm On Nov 24
See who is talking.

Why not ask yourself? Or you think it's only political power that counts.

2 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Creamz(m): 8:52pm On Nov 24
Power drunkenness

2 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by SVC6000: 8:52pm On Nov 24
Being in control over something is spiritual.

You start behaving strange.

5 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Nobody: 8:52pm On Nov 24
This behaviour is predominantly typical of Africans. Greed runs in African genealogy, Nigeria being the headquarter of evil perpetrations. Highly religious but scanty in moral standing. I cannot wait to leave behind this evil my eyes behold everyday.

8 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by SpecialAdviser(m): 8:52pm On Nov 24
kingsways:
It's not that they change, they show their true colours when they get power

Man is fundamentally evil and selfish
Especially Buhari
Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by princeade86(m): 8:52pm On Nov 24
U are part of them
Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by adioolayi(m): 8:52pm On Nov 24
Pat Utomi
Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Racoon(m): 8:52pm On Nov 24
Bloody hypocrisy and sheer wickedness after being intoxicated by the allurement of being in the corridors of power.

1 Like

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by abobote: 8:53pm On Nov 24
Soludo, we are watching you

6 Likes

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Divoc19(f): 8:53pm On Nov 24
Lobatan!
We human are subject to change grin
Power or no Power, the real us(as human) is known when we don't need your help

1 Like

Re: Why Do People In Power Change Radically? By Pat Utomi by Asgard73: 8:53pm On Nov 24
Power is good .. but not for the pride and tribalist.

It charges evil and corrupt the good.

4 Likes 1 Share

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