Tuesday, December 09, 2008

True Power

I like to read for relaxation, and occasionally watch movies. I have noticed that a lot of them like to show a person as powerful by demonstrating their ability to kill and destroy. Certainly that is a kind of power, but when you think about it not so great a power. Killing, for example. Certainly I regard a person as dangerous, who would kill someone for no good reason, or who could carelessly cost lives. But I do not really consider that kind of person as truly powerful. After all, sooner or later we all die, and that includes the killers. And a small shift in circumstances can easily change who has the greater killing power. The same Nazis who thought themselves so powerful while they ran death camps for Jews and other sorts of people they wished to remove, found they could not stop either the Soviet or American armies, nor the judgments of those courts which considered their actions heinous even by human standards. In the end, murder and all the gruesome lot of deliberate death are shown to be useless or worse, a mental disorder. The power to kill is only truly a power when it is combined with a worthy ideal, such as removing the Nazis was worth the cost.

Similarly, other crimes prove, on reflection, to be no demonstration of puissance. A man who can rape a woman is only an animal, and a sick one at that. The ability to enslave people only proves the lack of humanity, not a superior quality of such. In the end, all coercive and destructive force tends to detract from the person, not validate their authenticity. There are several qualities that a real person exhibits, qualities which manifestation defines and demonstrates their true power. They are integrity, credibility, trustworthiness, selflessness, duty, valor, wisdom, faith, and hope. Few enough people have any of those qualities to any great degree, and it is a rare person indeed who exhibits them all, but we should all be minded to seek out and develop those qualities in our own lives, for in them we find the tools to true power, the ability to create, to heal, to teach, to defend, to uplift, to set right and to make community. In short, to make what is, better.

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