Why It's So Hard to Read a Leader's Intentions

We really can’t tell the difference between people who might seek power for some greater good and people who seek power just to aggrandize themselves. 

We really can’t tell the difference between people who might seek power for some greater good and people who seek power just to aggrandize themselves. 


For example, all revolutionaries say that they want to uplift the downtrodden.  They want to democratize their society and so forth and some few of them wind up doing that for reasons that may not have to do with good intentions.

Most of them don’t wind up doing it because once they’re cast in the role of the person in power they kind of like it.  So the fact that we see some people doing what appears to be good civic-minded deeds may be because that is their true intention and it may be that that is their best way to hold onto power in a setting where they have to depend on a lot of people.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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