with great power comes responsibility?

Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said,”With great power comes great responsibility” or rather Stan Lee, the scriptor and editor of the Spiderman comic books wrote it for Uncle Ben’s character.  Here is a person who understands that while it could be an inconvenience, an encumbrance or even a curse to some, responsibility is sometimes not a choice.  Particularly, if coupled with possession of some sort of great power or privilege.

This similar thought is echoed in another fictional work as well,  Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.  Wielding great power and influence by his pen, he probably similarly understood its obligation as Stan Lee later did.   He wrote: “Be not afraid of greatness:  some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. 

So what categories of people do we have?  There are the monarchs who are born into “greatness”.  There are those who achieve “greatness” – in many different fields.  Writers, journalists, leaders in every form from grade school to those who run households, companies (who now appear to be more machiavellian than heros), churches, countries; or scientists, teachers, etc…. anyone capable of being cast as a role model.  Then there are those who get thrust into it, by default, your reluctant leaders. 

However you come to be in possession of this element of “greatness”, it comes with great responsibility. 

Why then do some run with it, stay the course and use it for good and some run counter to it and abuse it?  These are the two extremes.  In between, there are, I dare say, those who are just there along for the ride.  I guess if they even bothered about their defence, they could say, it is their right.

Well, it’s their history book of life.  My concern in this entry, are the abusers.  People who have everything that it takes more and more to get a high in life.  Bad enough if the abuse is on themselves to the detriment of themselves, their families and friends.   Worse when the abuse becomes a do-unto-others.

We hear stories of those in power eg: policemen, film directors, agents (real or pretend) exchanging “protection” or opportunity, for sexual favours. 

Or the story in the Straits Times of royalty not far from home, who subject his wife to emotional, physical and physiological abuse and against whom was also levied kidnapping charges. 

A friend recently pointed out a horror story that had been making its rounds on you tube.  It is of royalty who took his privilege one step too far, by physically abusing a defenceless, trader whom he taught had cheated him of $5,000.   It was inhuman.  Horrifying footage of the torture was smuggled out and aired by ABC News.   (Just google ABC news and torture videos).

What is it that makes them feel invincible?  Is it absolute power that corrupts?  The position backed by money?  Privilege backed by politics?  Power backed by a uniform? 

Do you see a recurring theme?  They hide behind everything.  They are small people – whiners in gilded cages, who want to enjoy lives in their warped little worlds, at the expense of others.  

One thing definitely, “greatness” is not a definition befitting them.   They abuse privilege and mock responsibility and the law.  In some countries, governments pay lip service and repeal laws that prevent the prosecution of royalty but side steps any involvement stating the personal nature of misdemeanours.  In others, government is related to the perpetrators, what do you do?  It is an open and shut case literally.

I am flabbergasted at such abusive power that is cowardly as it is fearless and inhuman.

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2 thoughts on “with great power comes responsibility?”

  1. it is curious that you speak of your ex boss in the same breath as “hoodlums”… 😀 …

    i guess nobility in the light of great power is all too few and far between in this day and age.

    everything, like you say is about individual gain. empowering the the individual. gone are the days of the likes of Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mendela, Mother Theresa.

    or nearer home, our first generation leaders including Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Keng Swee, Rajaratnam, Toh Chin Chye, E W Barker and the cohort. it was serving the people and building a nation out of the nobility of the purpose and not to enrich the coffers or empowering the individual.

    where’s the fire in the belly? what changed? life got too easy… and we got soft?

  2. I wonder if such inhuman acts stem from the dark desire to be master over all….or to put it bluntly, to treat others as slaves….slaves to be tortured at their whim and fancy. It is the “I own you” mentality.l
    We see variations of this in our day-to-day lives…..a boss who has no regard or respect for an individual, bullies in a school, hoodlums who pick on the weak. In my previous life, I was part of a management team where the boss once made 15 senior staff wait a whole hour for him…..the least he could ahve done was to ask his secretary to reschedule the meeting so that these managers could carry on with their work. When he finally showed up, there wasn’t even a word of apology from him ! I did a quick calculation of the payroll opportunity cost for that hour came to at least $1,000. What a sin.

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