THE PATHOS OF POWER by Kenneth B. Clark

THE PATHOS OF POWER

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Clark, the eminent black psychologist, advocates the use of biochemical intervention to assure the moral integrity of our leaders -- his controversial measure to stay our ""intellectual and scientific progress toward self-extinction"" -- a bombshell he drops again in a brief epilogue to this collection of otherwise elegant and liberal speeches and essays on the nature of power and the reponsibility of the social scientist. Up to that point Clark sounds so reasonable that one nods assent. Indeed, some way ought to be found in the training of human beings to instill moral sensitivity. It could ""be possible that an individual can become a leader only if he is insensitive to certain realities on which social stability itself depends."" It would be expedient for social psychologists to deal with ""relevant and urgent social problems, such as poverty, desegregation, urban blight, political corruption and international tensions."" The Watergate conspirators might well be characterized as ""very sick."" Still. . . still. . . one rejects that final leap of faith to psychotechnological control of behavior to cure those social ills. Clark presupposes a dichotomous nature in man -- half god and half animal, half cruel and half loving, an alarming oversimplification of behavior. And like all oversimplifications, it is not only dangerous but foolish.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1974
Publisher: Harper & Row