Frank Herbert’s once said, “Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible” With examples such as Al Capone vs Bugs Moran to Hitler vs the allies, there has been conflict. What do both these examples have in common? The power they craved could not happen without conflict. My Name is Piper Rasborsek and I am a key speaker for this year’s 2020 Gold Coast Youth leader Summit. The topic this year is Truth, Conflict and Power. This speech will prove a direct nexus between the acquisition and maintaining power and a direct correlation to the conflict required. Power is the ability to act in a particular way and the capacity to do it. A conflict is in some cases a serious disagreement or argument. Even though power can be virtuous for those that are not corruptible, power cannot exist without conflict. Our thirst for power can be dangerous and placed in the wrong hands, thus causing conflict in society. Power comes with conflict because it causes a lack of empathy towards others whether intentionally or unintentionally. Power causes jealousy between in most cases two opposing parties. There is proof through novels such as ‘Animal Farm’, A Black mirror episode titled ‘Nosedive’ and a well-known movie ‘The Godfather’. It is up to us to make a change. We cannot take back the past but we can change the future.
In today’s society, power cannot exist without danger. A modern example of power becoming dangerous is the North Korean leader ignoring basic human rights. When a person has a taste of power, they want more and more and in the wrong hands, it leads to conflicts like increase in crimes, manipulation and fraudulent actions. Imagine this, you vote for a specific leader and they promise you all these things and next minute they promote the dangerous ideas that cause conflict in your society. That does not sound like power without conflict. North Korea use brutal means of punishment and arbitrary arrest that put the North Korean society at risk of injury and even death. This shows the disgusting consequences that occur once power is in uneducated and immature hands. An author from the twentieth-century who believes in communism, George Orwell once said, “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.” This is a clear indication of Orwell’s ideologies, which he later used, in his famous allegorical novella Animal Farm. Animal Farm is a perfect example of the danger that occurs when an individual is met with power. Napoléon becomes dangerous when he starts killing animals because they disobey him and deceive him. This is a perfect example from the novella that shows the consequences of power and the danger that will come with attaining power. We and only we can change this cycle from occurring and sustain safety within our society.
For the past decade, social media and social status have shaped our ideologies and opinions of how we are as people. Black mirrors ‘Nosedive’ is a textbook example of how power causes lack of empathy among individuals. China are guilty of having a social credit system that is very close to what you would imagine happening in a dystopian future. The social credit system makes people base each other from social interactions through to trustworthiness. The app causes the power as well as the conflict not so much the people. The app determines whether you get a good job or buy a house. The app is a reference to modern apps such as Instagram and Facebook. It makes us question what would happen if we gave social media this power in our society. Would it create conflict among us? If you score low- bad luck. However, the real question is; what would happen if we adopted this idea? This shows the modern lack of empathy that can deteriorate a person’s self-worth. In the episode ‘Nosedive’ the main characters friend bans her from the wedding and says on a phone call “don’t come. I do not want you here. I don’t know what’s up with you, but I can’t have a 2.6 at my wedding!” This is a clear indication of how power clouds someone’s judgment and cause complete lack of empathy. If you only had a certain amount if likes, would your friends treat you the same? Having lack of empathy is toxic and cruel but preventable if we stand together and thwart world leaders from the power that causes insensitivity.
Jealousy is a green-eyed monster that destroys someone’s life if it takes over. It clouds a person’s opinions as well as their ideologies. In 1929, Al Capone and Bugs Moran had a fight named the ‘infamous valentine’s day massacre’ because of the jealousy they had for each other and the power they craved from one another. These two notorious mobsters were known for their jealous power hungry attitudes. An arguably famous masterpiece movie ‘The Godfather’ made in 1972 shows the two conflicting families as jealous of the opposing family, through the violent gunfights. ‘The Godfather’ represents power with jealousy but also real life instances like employment, money, friends and families. Everyone wants or has power over someone and this causes conflict whether it be a physical altercations or verbal. Donald Trump is guilty of being jealous especially with the previous president of the United States, Barrack Obama. Trump always criticises Obama because he is a confident and well-spoken leader. Trump is a volcano of jealousy just waiting to erupt. You can say this about many people that feel they are losing power to another person. The idea of losing power drives people crazy. Especially when they are people of power.
In Conclusion, power cannot exist without conflict. With power comes danger, lack of empathy and jealousy. Our thirst for power can be dangerous and placed in the wrong hands, thus causing conflict in society. Whether the conflict is intentional or not, it is an inevitably. It is our responsibility as Generation Z to become the Generation of Change.
- Gettys, T. (2020, January 10). ‘Volcano of self hatred’. Retrieved from https://www.rawstory.com/2020/01/trumps-volcano-of-self-hatred-fuels-his-jealousy-of-obama-and-could-be-the-key-to-beating-him-in-2020-anthony-scaramucci/
- Jones, M. S. (Director). (2016). Nosedive- Black mirror [Motion Picture].
- Kobie, N. (2019). China Social Credit System.
- Orwell, G. (1945). Animal Farm.
- Vucci, E. (2018). North Korea. Singapore: AP Photo.