With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

By Elena

As humans, we don’t always realize how much power we have over Earth and its inhabitants. Not everyone realizes the responsibility that comes with being a human, or the increasing responsibilities you have the higher you are on societal ladders. Humans enjoy having power, however they often ignore some of the responsibilities that come with having power. As a high school student who loves philosophy, this is especially frustrating for me. 

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Morality

If you’re at all familiar with Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, or anyone else in that branch of philosophy, you’re likely also familiar with the ideology that a society’s values and laws stem from power.

Think about it, who was in charge of creating law in most countries? Most of the time, it was the monarchy. In some cases, the rest of the aristocracy might have forced the crown’s hand. When laws and the general moral values of a society change, it comes from subversion of power. Either way, our values depend on power.

This also means that those in power, mainly have the responsibility of creating moral values. Sure, we can undermine the values, but they’re often backed up by laws.

Money

We live in a society where the more money you have, you tend to have more power. The issue is so many responsibilities are ignored by those in power. They tend to ignore those who are struggling more, and the power they get from money makes them feel more invincible.

Power and money make humans think they can do whatever they want without consequences, even though the consequences still exist. These consequences often don’t affect them directly, or at least not immediately.

Furthermore, if you have money, there’s a number of crimes that aren’t really illegal for you. You can park somewhere illegal for everyone else, but you can pay the ticket without suffering. Others who don’t have the means to do this, but find themselves facing a ticket, might have to cut back on necessities to pay for the ticket.

When people have money, they usually live unsustainably. They live in huge houses, drive expensive sports cars, and ultimately have a larger carbon footprint. The issue is their money also gives them the ability to live more sustainably. 

Eco friendly energy costs more money, electric cars cost more money, more sustainable diets cost more money, yet we often see the rich living unsustainably. By having the power, they should be held more responsible for issues such as these, but instead these responsibilities get pushed onto the middle and lower classes; the classes who are struggling more and can’t afford eco friendly alternatives.

Furthermore, if the top 1% came together, they would collectively have more than enough money to eliminate homelessness and hunger. If humans banded together, regardless of their societal stances, we could eliminate poverty.

Environment

The environment is an issue on a lot of our minds. Climate change is currently being driven by humans. Although yes, climate change does happen on its own, it is currently clearly driven by humans. 

We have the power to either make things better, or make things worse. Since we have this great power, we also have this great responsibility of trying to make things better, not just for ourselves but for future generations, as well as the other animals that suffer from our actions. 

As humans, we often put these issues off to the side, expecting it to not be a big deal because it won’t affect us. The issue is we’re making it worse for everyone else. We’re also making it worse for marginalized communities, and fueling environmental racism. 

When we continue fueling global warming, we also contribute to environmental racism. Marginalized communities more often live in spaces that are more polluted. These communities are more likely to be experiencing the real consequences of our actions.

Future Generations

We have the power to shape the world that future generations will live in. Do we want them to struggle, or do we want to make life easier for them? We can do either, but once again, we have the responsibility to do what we can to make life easier for them. 

Sure, the shape of the world in 200 years won’t really affect us, but it will affect others. That’s something we have to remember. All of our actions have consequences, good or bad, whether they affect us or not. 

We have to start thinking about future generations. We have to start acting with the responsibilities we have because we have power. We have power to change the world, especially if we band together. We have to stop just talking about equality, global warming, and everything else and start making concrete actions. 

We can talk all we want about all of these issues, however to create change, we have to do as well. Personally, I want to make the world a better place for everyone alive today and everyone who will be alive in the future, whether they’re a human, a rat, or an alien. I know I’m not alone, and we have the power to create this change, so it’s time that we stand up together, put our power together, and complete our responsibilities that we have as a society to create change.

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