With great power comes… 


In an age distraught with instability, insecurity and violence, most of us at some point or other end up pondering where we are headed as a civilization. While we would like to forget the incidents that are happening across the globe, considering it as isolated or as the handiwork of some rogue extremist group or individual; in reality many of these incidents have something in common. All these incidents are result of individual or groups getting access to disproportionate power, wealth, technology or any byproducts that can be obtained through these. But having access to or possessing these in itself is not a cause for evil. But these coupled with painful experiences & memories of the past, inspiration from extremist thoughts or ideologies, strong feelings of being put in an undesirable or unjust position/situation against ones’ will by others, can result in a dangerous cocktail that is waiting for all hell to break loose.

The individual by himself or herself cannot be held responsible for such incidents. If any ordinary human being finds oneself in such a situation coupled with such disproportionate access, it may generate a Pandoras’ box of emotions him/her. It may lead to outcomes or behaviors that even the individual may not be in full control of at that point or have the maturity or conscience to evaluate the outcomes of venting out the emotion or expressing oneself by making use of this special access.

So who should we blame for such incidents? The answer is all of us. The society at large. One may feel that blaming the society is an easy answer to get out of this situation, but it is a fact. Let us for argument sake say if the individual did not have the access to such power, wealth or technology, then would he/she have been driven to the same outcome? May be not. May be he/she would have found a better way to deal with the situation or problem. May be he/she would have ended up being more social and communicative to express ones’ dilemma to others. May be that could have generated better alternatives. It is not that such evil always prevails. For after it subsides, the individual that remains would still be carrying the guilt with him/her of what he/she is doing or has done. But the society would still move on, forgetting that it was collectively responsible for the many lapses that led to the situation.

We tend to forget that as a society, we were the ones who were responsible for delegating power to the wrong candidates, that we turned a blind eye to corruption, that we abused our positional power, that we did not regulate and judge with responsibility, that we didn’t hesitate to play dirty tricks on others, that we left the wrong influence on young and immature minds, that we tried to benefit ourselves by influencing and manipulating others, that we misused technology, that we opened backdoors or created shortcuts for personal benefits, that we thought it was us versus them, that we oppressed others, that as individuals we thought rules & regulations were for others while we could bend it, that we tried to use weakness of others to our strength, that before correcting a situation we indulged in politics that aggravated the situation, that we fanned the greed & hatred in others. So as a society, with most of us responsible for one or more of these many imperfections, we shouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves in difficult times.

Such social dilemma is not new, even age-old mythologies speak of thrones with the key to wealth and power falling in the wrong hands, weapons being handed over to the disciples who misused them and boons being given to individuals that later led to chaos in the society. Whatever was the outcome, such stories enlightened the generations to come and saved them from the same fate. They learnt in time that with great power comes great responsibility or else there may be great confusion. Whether the society learns from the past and present depends on its maturity, and this will also decide if our society will continue to function with normalcy in the times to come or if we will end up as parts of some story in the future…