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Quotes regarding power.


  • "All power corrupts, absolute power is even more fun"
    • Simon Travaglia, The Operator From Hell, 1997 Part 2, "The PFY scores top marks in the all important 'how to be a Operator From Hell' test"
  • "If you were handed power on a plate you'd be left fighting over a plate."
  • "Power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely."
  • "Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
  • "Power is the type of thing most people don't think about, until it's taken away."
    • Mary Alice (off voice), Desperate Housewives. Season 3, Episode 19: "God, that's good".
  • "POWER: The ability to make our fellow humans squirm, sweat and stammer on command. Often regarded as an aphrodisiac; actually a potent laxative that, whenever ingested by people in high places, causes everyone below to run for cover."
  • "There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it."
    • Lord Acton, Letter to Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1887.
  • “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are always bad men.”
  • "What is called music today is all too often only a disguise for the monologue of power. However, and this is the supreme irony of it all, never before have musicians tried so hard to communicate with their audience, and never before has that communication been so deceiving. Music now seems hardly more than a somewhat clumsy excuse for the self-glorification of musicians and the growth of a new industrial sector."
  • "You can do anything with people if you do what they want."
  • "The problem with power is that people pay attention to it, and it's very easy to get beside yourself and use it in the wrong way."

Michel Foucault

  • "Domination" is not "that solid and global kind of domination that one person exercises over others, or one group over another, but the manifold forms of domination that can be exercised within society."
    • (p.96)
  • "One should try to locate power at the extreme of its exercise, where it is always less legal in character."
    • (p.97)
  • "The analysis [of power] should not attempt to consider power from its internal point of view and...should refrain from posing the labyrinthine and unanswerable question: 'Who then has power and what has he in mind? What is the aim of someone who possesses power?' Instead, it is a case of studying power at the point where its intention, if it has one, is completely invested in its real and effective practices."
    • (p.97)
  • "Let us ask...how things work at the level of on-going subjugation, at the level of those continuous and uninterrupted processes which subject our bodies, govern our gestures, dictate our behaviors, etc....we should try to discover how it is that subjects are gradually, progressively, really and materially constituted through a multiplicity of organisms, forces, energies, materials, desires, thoughts, etc. We should try to grasp subjection in its material instance as a constitution of subjects."
    • (p.97)
  • "One needs to be nominalistic, no doubt: power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society."
  • "Power is everywhere...because it comes from everywhere."
    • Michel Foucault, quoted in Aldrich, Robert and Wotherspoon, Gary (Eds.) (2001). Who's Who in Contemporary Gay & Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day. New York: Routledge. ISBN 041522974X.

Mao Zedong

  • "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
  • "If power was bricks then politics would be the Great Wall of China"


  • 'And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations' (Revelation 2:26). I see myself on a throne. Why should a throne be made of gold and velvet? Can it not as well be the few planks of a prisoner's bed? Men have given a certain kind of chair the name of "throne." I can give this name to any other object I please. From this my throne I decide about nations. - Richard Wurmbrand, If Prison Walls Could Speak (1972)
  • "Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely."
  • "The struggle of humanity against power is the struggle of remembering against forgetting."
  • "It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power."
  • "If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute powerlessness make you pure?"
  • "The world itself is the will to power - and nothing else! And you yourself are the will to power - and nothing else!"
  • "Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Study hard, be evil"
  • "Knowledge is power but power corrupts. Now, corruption is a crime and as we all know crime does not pay. So what am I doing in University?"
  • "Those who cannot love want power."
    • Guggenbuhl-Craig
  • "Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power."
  • "The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall."
  • "Even in war, moral power is to physical as three parts out of four."
  • "Grab power and abuse it, or suffer at the hands of it."
  • "The less power a man has, the more he likes to use it."
  • "The greater a man is in power above others, the more he ought to excel them in virtue. None ought to govern who is not better than the governed."
  • "It is an observation no less just than common, that there is no stronger test of a man's real character than power and authority, exciting, as they do, every passion, and discovering every latent vice."

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