All at sea

It seems to every administrator that it is only by his efforts that the whole population under his rule is kept going, and in this consciousness of being indispensable every administrator finds the chief reward of his labour and efforts. Whle the sea of history remains calm the ruler-administrator in his frail bark, holding on with a boat-hook to the ship of the people and himself moving, naturally imagines that his efforts move the ship he is holding on to. But as soon as a storm arises and the sea begins to heave and the ship to move, such a delusion is no longer possible. The ship moves independently with its own enormous motion, the boat-hook no longer reaches the moving vessel, and suddenly the adminstrator, instead of appearing a ruler and a source of power, becomes an insignificant, feeble man.

Tolstoy via Johnnie Mooore