“A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes— within the limits of endowment and environment— he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this [1940s] testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.”2As we are witnessing greater levels of tyranny and power abuse in once solidly democratic countries, each of us will be faced with more and more decisions of how we will respond to power abuse that harms or injures us or others, as well as to power opportunities to harm or heal.
God already put us on notice about the potentiality and predisposition for abuse:
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.3I wonder if we are prepared for the decisions we will have to make. Do we acknowledge or deny our predispositions? Where are we already on the power-abuse spectrum? Have we already bullied someone to act against their will or conscience? Will we obey orders or mandates when it is against our conscience?
Power is one of the chief attributes of God and we are, perhaps, in a global test of power use and abuse, unlike the world has ever seen.
1. Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997) was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor. He was the founder of logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy which describes a search for a life meaning as the central human motivational force. Logotherapy is part of existential and humanistic psychology theories.
Logotherapy was recognized as the third school of Viennese Psychotherapy; the first school was created by Sigmund Freud, and the second by Alfred Adler.
Frankl published 39 books. The autobiographical Man's Search for Meaning, a best-selling book, is based on his experiences in various Nazi concentration camps. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl
2. *Frankl, Viktor E.. Man's Search for Meaning (pp. 133-134). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition. (Bold emphasis added.)
3. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 121:39
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