Oct 10, 2013 in , , ,

Power is a very complex thing. It is something that many lust after and even kill for; it is something that a good leader can wield splendidly for the better good, or a dangerous force that a wrongly-motivated person can use to bring great destruction. History has long made this clear; power in the hands of a strong ruler can solidify empires, whilst, when hereditary autocracy brings it to someone who is weak and unable to use this power to lead his people, great nations can fall to pieces. It has happened over and over again, and occurred in late-18th-century France, and early-20th-century Russia, when detached rulers who lived extravagantly and refused to reform their nations for the better turned their traditionally loyal subjects against their own regimes.

In the modern world of democracy and voting, power lies much more in the people. A misinformed or ignorant public can cause the rise of a terrible regime, whilst an educated people can empower a regime that will lead the nation forward. Likewise, a people who refuse to accept their differences can create chaos, whilst a people willing to work together will foster a peaceful environment.

Individuals, too, have much power in them. A disagreement amongst a few men in top positions can cause the entire U.S. government to grind to a halt and shut down, thus affecting not just their own nation, but the entire world economy, and millions of lives. In the smaller scale of a court, the jury must come to a unanimous decision before the verdict is read. A single person who believes a man is innocent when the rest believe him guilty can, at best, lengthen the process; at worst, this could mean that a dangerous criminal is acquitted.

Whilst we may not yet have the power to change the world on a large scale, we can still change the world around us, as our actions have consequences. We have the power to decide whether we wish to see the glass as half-full or half-empty; to choose whether we want to be a motivating factor, or the negative force that brings people down. We can decide whether we wish to give something our all now for a cause that will benefit everyone, or regret it in the future.
Power, then, lies not just in the hands of monarchs and state heads, but also in individuals like us, and, as Uncle Ben said in Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.