The Responsibility of Spider-Man

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With great power comes great responsibility.

Anyone who’s a Spider-Man fan knows the mantra well.  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Of course, that’s easy for Spider-Man to say, he’s got super strength, spider-senses, web shooters, and all kinds of nifty abilities.  He obviously has great power to wield, and he needs to wield it responsibly or bad things could happen to a lot of people.  But what about everyday people, without superpowers and gadgets.

Well, my friend, you have great power within you, as well.

Every single one of us is actively changing the world.  We don’t just have the potential to change the world, this is not some “You too can change the world if you really try!”  Nope.  Everyone is changing the world, all the time, in everything they do.  Every action you take has a ripple effect, every decision you make alters the world around you.  The world is in a constant state of flux, and we are a large contributor to that.

Every time you interact with another person, you alter their life permanently (it can be in a very small or a very large way.)  Every time you do something, you permanently change the possibilities that can result from your actions.  Even without interacting individually with other people, you still alter lives just through your very example.  I’m telling you this not to overwhelm you, but to make you aware of the very real power that you wield every single day.

Wield Your Power

One of the lessons Spider-Man/Peter Parker took away from his encounter with Uncle Ben’s killer is that power must be used responsibly.  That used part is important, there!  You’re changing the world every single day, as we’ve already established, so why not do it consciously?  There’s a reason I charge you all with that at the end of every post and video.  Of course, wielding power can be kind of intimidating at first (like learning to drive a big vehicle, or work with a dangerous power tool.)  Here’s some simple, straightforward ways to exercise your power, responsibly.

  • Smile at someone.  Genuinely.  This is super easy in practice, but it goes a LONG way, believe it or not, for both you and the person you’re smiling at.
  • Help someone.  This is a bit more involved than just smiling, but helping just one person in need every single day can have a huge effect on the world.  It’s what I try to do with this blog!
  • Teach someone.  This doesn’t have to be super complicated or involved.  Show someone how to do a certain task at work, or introduce someone to some cool fact you learned!
  • Put your best effort into the task you’re doing.  We lead the most by example.  By putting your all into the things you set out to do, you become a positive role model for others without even realizing it.
  • Do no evil.  Seriously though, intentionally visiting harm upon someone else is obviously a way to wield your power, but not responsibly.  Don’t be a dick.

Don’t Confuse Responsibility and Guilt

Sure, Peter Parker feels guilty for his Uncle Ben’s death, and that helps to drive his quest for justice, but the idea of responsibility has to exist independent of guilt.  Guilt is a poisonous emotion, it can weigh you down and choke out other positive feelings.  You should always try to make amends if you’ve wrong someone, but allowing guilt to rule your life is just going to drag you down and inspire more bad decisions.

Instead, like Spider-Man, use responsible use of power as your rallying cry.  Look at what good you can do in the world around you with what power you have, not because you feel guilty for past deeds, but because you know how much good your future deeds can do.

For my part, I feel a little guilty this post was up late today.  I have a responsibility to you to get these posts up every Monday and Thursday, as I promised you, however today I had another responsibility to my family trump this one.  Instead of dwelling on that guilt, however, I’m using what I have on hand to write this post and get it out to you when I can (currently 11 PM, so it’s still technically Monday!)

I don’t regret choosing my family priorities over this post, because obviously family comes before just about everything else.  I do feel a little guilty that I wasn’t able to get this written up before that, though.  Rather than dwell on that guilt, however, I chose to write this post in the space of my lunch break (I work overnights at my regular job right now,) and get it out to you as I was able to.

Hopefully, I’ve exercised that power responsibly, and done some good for you.

In the end, Spider-Man tries to better the world every day.  That’s all that any of us can do, really, and every day is a fresh new chance to do so.  When you’re out there living your own adventures, always remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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