Thought of the Day: Power

gandhi-quote

Power is a very complicated concept and I don’t claim to understand all its intricate inner workings, but I’m still going to touch upon a few thoughts I have about power because it is such a tricky subject. Simply, power can be used for both good and evil – the difference, to me, lies in the definition of power – and power can originate from both an individual and an authoritative body.

Power can be an individual’s freedom or a right that is granted or fought for, such as the power to speak freely or the power to appoint representatives in leading bodies. Then there is the power that the individual grants to a higher authority figure (in a democratic sense), where people assume positions of power over others and that power affects individuals. This is where power becomes dangerous, because people can become blinded by the concept of power, either if they don’t know when to let it go or if they assume power over individuals who haven’t given them permission.

To me, power should be used to give others power, just as a leader should create new leaders and not just followers. Some people, however, become too heavily focused on gaining and maintaining power, too focused on the concept itself, to realise what its actual purpose is. Authoritative power over others is something that is handed or granted to us and that should serve the people, and therefore it should be used honourably and responsibly. Don’t become motivated by power or too invested in power that you can’t see when you need to let it go, because even if you have good intentions, your power may not be effective to the people you are representing.

Power can be used for many good causes, but you need to let the momentum and the support build. Sometimes that requires educating people and openly protesting against people. But never force power on anyone. Individuals fighting for equality between races or sexes, for example, develop power because of the shared lack of power between them and the misuse of power through authorities. In this way, power is exchangeable and never tangible. Do not rely on the power. Rely on the people. Do not seek power. Seek the interests of the individual.

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