quotations about power
Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it.
FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
SAUL ALINSKY, "Tactics", Rules for Radicals
The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.
EDMUND BURKE, speech on the Middlesex Elections, 1771
The Age of Reason has turned out to be the Age of Structure; a time when, in the absence of purpose, the drive for power as a value in itself has become the principal indicator of social approval. And the winning of power has become the measure of social merit.
JOHN RALSTON SAUL, Voltaire's Bastards
Authority and power are two different things: power is the force by means of which you can oblige others to obey you. Authority is the right to direct and command, to be listened to or obeyed by others. Authority requests power. Power without authority is tyranny.
JACQUES MARITAIN, "The Democratic Charter", Man and the State
To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
BARACK OBAMA, Nobel Lecture, December 10, 2009
He who always plays for power will often stand on the neck of one person to reach his arms around the neck of another.
LEWIS F. KORNS, Thoughts
In order to obtain and hold power, a man must love it.
LEO TOLSTOY, The Kingdom of God Is Within You
The power of a thing or an act is in the meaning and the understanding.
NICHOLAS BLACK ELK, The Sacred Pipe
Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "Self Reliance", Essays
Power does not consist in striking with force or with frequency, but in striking true.
HONORE DE BALZAC, Physiology of Marriage
Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads.
CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon
Power should act and not talk.
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe
An empire built on power cannot attract the affections and loyalty that men bestow willingly on a regime of ideas and beauty.
BRIAN HERBERT & KEVIN J. ANDERSON, Dune: House Harkonnen
If you are to stay in the good graces of the powerful, you had best, however unobtrusively, please the servants of the powerful.
SAMUEL R. DELANY, Neverÿon
The greatest sin a man or woman can commit is the abuse of power.
JOE BIDEN, Esquire, January 2012
So long as a man's power, that is, his capacity to realize what he has in mind, is bound to the goal, to the work, to the calling, it is, considered in itself, neither good nor evil, it is only a suitable or unsuitable instrument. But as soon as this bond with the goal is broken off or loosened, and the man ceases to think of power as the capacity to do something, but thinks of it as a possession, that is, thinks of power in itself, then his power, being cut off and self-satisfied, is evil; it is power withdrawn from responsibility, power which betrays the spirit, power in itself.
Unlimited power should not be trusted in the hands of anyone who is not endued with a perfection more than human.
J. VEITCH, attributed, Day's Collacon
Power is superior to mere literature.
GREGORY I, attributed, Day's Collacon
Knowledge is power.
FRANCIS BACON, Meditationes Sacrae