You are reading this only because at some point in the history of mankind, one of your forefathers was powerful enough to hunt and feed his family. He had the evolutionary advantage to use his strength and the power of mind to unite with fellow hunters to hunt together and gather food.
Yet, after every successful hunt, he united his herd for a feast he just created while displacing the family of the animal he just hunted. Fast forward to our current modern day of globalization, for every work that gets moved from the West to Asia or elsewhere, as part of outsourcing, a new job is created in Asia.
A new family gets benefited and a better meal is put on the table while another family in the West loses it and is displaced. While many lose job in the West, many in Asia are benefiting. They move to bigger cities where opportunities are, find better jobs, make new friends to socialize and hangout on weekends uniting them towards a similar pursuit. The power that men hold can create opportunities and unite, at the same time the same power can displace many families elsewhere.
When Alexander the Great was just ‘Alexander’, he marched across Asia, Africa and Europe massacring and displacing many until the point where he got the title ‘Great’ added to his name in history books. In a way, his military power united many divided regions under one rule yet displacing many families of dissents and renegades.
So, what is power and what does it do?
The image shown in this article is of Qutub Minar, a world heritage structure located in Delhi and its construction was started in 1193 AD. The 100-meter tall structure is visited by tourists from far and wide, across India and the world. It is not just the age of this structure that inspires people; it is the grandness-a subtle way of expressing one’s symbol of power that throws our senses off-balance.
When people see Qutub Minar and appreciate its existence, they do not think about the person who executed its creation or think about the religious belief he conformed to. This site is constructed by the first Muslim Sultan of Delhi. As we can see in the image, the inscriptions on the walls are of Parso-Arabic origin. Yet, it is visited more by Hindus than Muslims.
Regardless of all the denying, some level of tension between Hindus and Muslims remain in India even today. But, do the non-Muslim visitors to the symbol of history and power – Qutub Minar care?
If we take the case of our heavenly gods and peek into our history for the last two thousand years, the power that a God represents has both united populations by millions from many parts of this planet. And at the same time, in the name of God’s will, it has also resulted in the slaying of millions across the globe.
However, when people start following a religion, followers of all colours and status are treated equally under the eyes of the almighty-blessed and commanded. Our history tells us when the spread of religious power sweeps across civilizations, it brings many under the same code of law and a sense of belongingness and unity clouds the minds of people everywhere. Yet, at the same time, disbelievers across the world are known to have been killed or exiled throughout history.
Consider brands such as Mercedes Benz, Audi, Lamborghini and BMW. No matter how much religious a country and its inhabitants may be. No matter how much they may hate the westerners or western values. But, somehow coincidently every wealthy man everywhere buys at least one of them, regardless of his personal religious associations or opinions. Why?
Stuffs that represent power such as top-end Mercedes or BMW cars are uniformly see as symbols of power and wealth. No matter how these wealthy men may be divided in their personals opinions, but unequivocally they all accept these brands to be symbol of power and unite them in their pursuits.
No matter how poor a country is and divided their geopolitical situation may be, yet they all pursue similar set of goals. For example, buying shoes from one of the top brands such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok; buying watches from the same bunch of exclusive brands such as Rolex and Cartier; buying houses of different sizes and worth yet decorate them with the same kind of stuffs like modular kitchens and modern equipment. The power to possess and exhibit a similar lifestyle unites us all even at the cost of displacing so many due to unethical business practices across the world.
When great leaders are called great, they unite millions and when such great leaders like Hitler turn against many more millions, the united followers divide the opinions of even more across the world due to their vile actions. What happens at the end? Hitler is forced to commit suicide; Nazis are hated everywhere to this date, and their ardent followers are social outcast even today. Power often requires sensitive balance, failing which it can even turn against the powerful.
The larger picture of power is that it can both attract and unite people from all shapes of life and colour across the world but at the same time, it can wreak havoc in the lives of people separating them from their ideals, morals and loved ones.
Imagine handing an AK-47 assault rifle to a Baboon in a crowded place filled with people. You can only imagine the outcome. This is what we have done in our world too. We have handed and vested too much power in the hands of few who may not be much smarter than these baboons.
Power is like an important brush in the hands of an artist, what he creates is up to his capability, creativity and conscience. It can both unite and divide us.