A concept we think we all understand and interpret equally, that appears in our thoughts, but normally observed in other people's behaviour. Do we really think about it? Do we understand what’s it motivation? Who is a corrupt person and what would implicate not being one?
Since we were children, most of us were taught that corrupt acts are to be condemned (as any other crime, sin, etc.), and we even developed a series of mechanisms in order to pass on this idea from generation to generation: We watch over, judge and punish those who we catch starting or being part of a corrupt behaviour. We even build public and private organizations, dedicated to prosecute the corrupt and end their activities. Through our taxes and the election of public authorities, we are all part, in one way or another, of the creation and survival of these organizations.
If we were asked if we are corrupt people, most likely we would say that we are not, that corruption must be condemned, and even that we should point out those people who carry on with corrupt activities, so that they can’t continue to execute them.
Not only do we think that we are “healthy” individuals, but we also tend to think that the people we know are as “healthy” as we are, and we wouldn’t expect them to be involved in any of those “corrupt activities”. This condition could be replicated in any other person we know and the group of people they know, and so on until we end up building an immense and almost uncountable network of “healthy” people. But everyday life shows us something different: Corruption keeps on going and resists every attempt of the “non corrupted” to eradicate it, and it doesn’t seem to be on its way out any time soon.
Where is the problem then? Why are the “corrupted” normally not related to us? If we all concur with the idea that each one of us must not be one of the “corrupted”, why is there still corruption?
We can only answer these questions after achieving an understanding of what makes a “corrupted” person, and for that we need to ask ourselves what corruption actually is.
We have two different uses for the word “Corruption”. It could refer to a certain behaviour, or the changes an object suffers that makes it impure. We could also be talking about the decomposition of a corpse, which in frightening display expose the ultimate binarism that defines many of our psychological structures: The Life/Death Binarism (or Death/Life, if you prefer).
In a practical sense, corruption is not in itself a thing that “is”, it “is” a collection of activities, behaviours and other things that are considered out of what society considers to be “non corrupt”. These “non corrupted” group of things would normally be what we contemplate in our laws to be “legal”, and henceforth both “corrupt” and “non corrupt” behaviours could vary depending on a geographic or a demographic reach of those laws. This makes me wonder, could we ever understand what is “corruption” before understanding the law itself?
The Law is a number of rules that a group of people considers as a mold for accepted behaviours in a certain region. But if the Law is created and written by people, why are there people behaving in a corrupted way? Are the ones that articulate laws and the ones that don’t follow them the same people? Could we state or deny that for every possible case? The big question I can think of is: Which mechanisms have we developed through time, that makes us design and build a structure of laws to finally not follow them? Are our laws impossible to follow?
If our everyday life shows us that laws are not always followed, why do we continue to create them? Are we prisoners of our own incapacity to understand ourselves?
If every single decision we make is ours (we are free after all), could we ever design a law that we all can and would be willing to follow?