There are a lot of views regarding the use of POWER. For most people, they view power as the ability to influence, manipulate or direct persons, beings or things according to their desired outcome. In a theological perspective, God gave power to man since man is created from God's very own likeness. Thus, the "godliness" of man was inherited from God. This godly power of man is manifested on his ability to name the creations in this universe.

The Power of Naming
Once man give names and meaning to certain creations, he possesses the power to harness energies from these creations. For example, when man was able to name the elements of nature, he was able to harness these energies to direct them into a desired goal. The wind is harnessed through the use of wind turbines to create electricity; water's energies are harnessed through creating hydro-power plants; sun's energy is harnessed through creating solar panels in order to create electricity; the earth's energy is harnessed by creating geothermal plants. All of these examples manifest the power of man to direct nature's energy to a desired goal. Hence, when man was able to name such creations, he has the power to direct the energies to his desired goal.

What then is Power?
Power is the ability to MOVE REALITY. Sometimes, we view power as the ability to manipulate and control somebody or someone to meet our desired ends. This is but one aspect of power, in general, power is the ability to move reality. For example, if you were able to convince your friend that imperialism is bad for the country and your friend agrees with you but is not doing anything about that belief, then there is no power existing in that situation. Power is only manifested when your friend agrees or disagrees with you and your friend's day to day activities where being influenced by such beliefs. Hence, you can only say that you have the power to influence when the person or being you want to influence has done something in consonance to your desired outcome. When you are telling somebody or someone about your beliefs and they act in agreement or disagreement to it, then you are exercising power over them even if they disagree or agree with your own beliefs. Why? Power is justified with actions, if there is an action involved rather than just mental thinking, feelings, and desires then considered it as power.

Ideas, Concepts, Theories and, Energies, are they power?
Ideas, concepts, theories and other things in cognition are not yet power. They only become power when you, somebody, someone or other people are influenced by those ideas, concepts and theories - these influences are then translated into actions. Another example, when a person's energies and potential remain within him and were not able to manifest any action, then these things remain as potentials, concepts and ideas of a being. On the other hand, energies in nature or natural forces and other forces around us are not power in themselves. They only become power when there is a consciousness that recognizes these energies and direct these energies into an outcome.

Do we have absolute power?
It is true that the power of naming gives us the power to control over things and have dominion over them. Unfortunately, we cannot have absolute power of all things. Man's power is limited within time and space. We cannot possess power in all eternity, and we cannot have power in all places. We have seen history, and we have seen the rise and fall of man. Simply, we cannot encompass all the powers there is. Man has his own limitations, groups of men even have their own limitations, and even the humankind has its own limitation. We can only have absolute power over a fraction of a certain aspect or thing.

Is power bad or good?
Power is neither bad nor good, it only depends upon the one who wields it. You can judge the power in three aspects: intention, action, and circumstance. If there is inconsistency in these three aspects then there is something wrong with the use of power. Positive intentions translated to a positive action and turns out to have a negative ending is a misuse of power. Remember that if other people caused the misuse of your power, it is simply because they also have the power to interfere or disrupt the flow of your own power. For example, when your intention is to help your friend who has been absent for long days and you let him copy your homework and then after, one of your classmates told your teacher that you let him copy your homework and you get reprimanded by that action, then that is power in misuse. For your, your intention is good - your action is inline with your intention but somebody interferes with it - the outcome is bad since you get reprimanded; the outcome is not something you expected.

The fourth aspect of power: Responsibility
When power is exercise from a person, he must be accountable to the outcome of such power. For example, if the person steals from somebody and he denies the act and due to lack of evidences, the person is freed or has no accountability to it, then the power is corrupted. This will translate into social corruption. Another clear example, if a politician steals money from the government and he does not give accountability to it until such time that there is a new administration and that administration will also deny such accountability, then injustice and corruption will happen in the society. Citizens and other civilians will just tolerate it compromising progress and development. You must know that power without responsibility or accountability is regressive and destructive. The absolute material of power is the accountability of the person who wields it.

Fears, Demonic, Unknown, Corruption
Power that you cannot control is demonic. For example, a public official has no control over the corrupt practices of his constituents. When this happens, this is where you are no longer in control of the power around you, thus it is demonic. Demonic tendencies will occur once you are no longer in control of the things happening around you - poor people are maltreated, injustice happening to abused people, and other forms of corruption are not the intention of the people affected. They only happen because of the bulk and the total unaccountability and irresponsibility of the use of power in the past and was never reconciled. The social injustice that is happening today is brought to the fact that somebody or some people suffers the consequences of the irresponsibility and unaccountability of the people who are in power or of the people who wielded the power. Somebody or someone must be accountable to the use of power. If the responsibility or accountability of the power is not owned by the person who wields the self-same power, then someone will have to pay the price - other people suffer because of other people's lack of responsibility of their wielded powers. Corruption comes from the two Latin words meaning Cor (heart) and rumpere (broken). When there is corruption, there is brokenheartedness on the once affected by the power or on the person who wields the power with no accountability. We have experienced a lot of corruption or brokenheartedness in our lives simply because of the misuse of our power or the misuse of someone's power who are directly or indirectly affecting us.

On the other hand, people who are in fear are people who show no control of the things that they are afraid of. A person is only fearful of the things that he is not in control. For example, a person is fearful of the unknown. Even if man is able to name the unknown as "unknown" but because it simply imply that it is unknown, then man has no control over it. Fear of the unknown only shows that man is really afraid or apprehensive of the future because he is not in control of it. We only know that we can make projections, assumptions or probabilities of what will happen in the future, but since it is not happening yet - we are still UNCERTAIN. That is the reason why people are fearful about things - they fear things that are unknown and uncertain because they do not have the power to control or direct them into their desired outcome. Won't you agree?


In conclusion, what is happening around us is a manifestation of the use of power. Whether it is good or bad, it all depends upon the use of power. Corruption happens when there are irregularities of the four aspects of power: intention, action, circumstance, and responsibility. When there is a force that disrupts the flow of these aspects, it is demonic. Remember that we are all created in the same likeness and image of God, we are naturally good. If there is something that is against goodness, it simply destroys our power to create. Destructive power will only begin if we extract goodness or God from our circle of power. We can no longer be life-giving to other but we will become destructive to the life force on earth.

The environment is in decay because of the corruption of human integrity. Selfishness of power leads to social injustice, bloodshed and war. People are fighting against other people just because of power or because of what they believe in (which is also power).

It is true, with great powers comes great responsibility. We must use our powers well to create more life, if it does not, then it is not for good. Even powers with good intentions, done by negative actions and have good outcomes will also bring ruins in the aspect of men. We might not know it, but they do. Scrutinize closely any history and you will know. Look at the World Wars and see how destructive these kinds of philosophy.

Note: These ideas and reflections where taken from a book entitled: Power and Responsibility by Romano Guardini.

Posted by benjiebels on Sunday, November 29, 2009

1 Responses to The use of Power and its Responsibility

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