Simply put, power is the capacity to move things with force or speed. On a human level, it is much more about social influence — the ability to move people or motivate them. Organizations like companies, governments, and religions all tend to have some power. Individuals can have it as well, and they tend to be the most intriguing people.
Are you aware of your own power? What do you use it for? Do you want more? Many people, if not most have heard the expression, “Absolute power is absolutely corrupting.” Author Robert Greene has also said that, “Powerlessness is the most corrupting.”
We probably all need some power, even if it is a small amount, or we wouldn’t be able to get much done. There is mental power and the power of the body. Some would say money, when applied judiciously, is a kind of power.
Power is the kind of topic that tends to lend itself to every day philosophy. We all have a relationship to power and we all have opinions about it.
The following films, though brief, touch upon a wide range of power’s properties.
Stormy Sun (Directed by Daniel Muunter)
Undoubtedly, the greatest source of power close to us is our sun.
This short, very vivid film shows us a different view of this colossal power plant. The surface explodes and erupts constantly. It seemingly is never at rest. We might think of it as a disc in the sky, but it is actually much more like an explosive sphere which constantly moves like a giant ball of lava giving off massive amounts of heat and light.
The Experimental Aircraft (Directed by Henrique Lins Barros)
This 2-minute film might just flip your lid, especially if you like history or aviation.
It shows Alberto Santos Dumont in a very vintage aircraft. He flew the first powered plane over Paris.
Watching it from the perspective of our era, with its myriad forms of technology, one is struck by how rapidly our developed world has become complex almost to the point where we can barely keep up with the rate of change.
Brain Power: From Synapses to Networks (Directed by Tiffany Shlain)
In this film director Tiffany Shlain examines the human brain and what is shaping it in modern times. At one point, she discloses a rather surprising figure — that a child’s brain has more connections than the Internet.
Children’s brains are in the process of forming connections between their 100 billion neurons. Children can become overly stressed and therefore their brains can ‘wire’ to overreact and experience fear. If this happens their brains can remain in this reactive pattern for years. Children and adults need to know when to disconnect from various source of stimulation. Otherwise, we may suffer consequences in terms of our mental health.
15,000 Volts (Directed by Melanie Hoff)
This film is short in duration, but not in sparks of imagination. The forms created by the high-voltage electricity in wood so closely resemble natural flows of water in landscapes that one might wonder what process is occurring on its own. How could the burned wood appear to be almost exactly like a river and its tributaries? They couldn’t only be coincidental forms, or could they?
A Hydrocarbon Heaven (Directed by Chintan Gohil)
Would you think of a forest as a power station? Nick Abson does, and says so in the last film in this sequence. He invents devices to turn carbon-based matter into gas, which can be used to make electricity. Chicken waste can be fed into an anaerobic digester to make gas which is converted into electricity using fuel cells. It’s a DIY home energy system.
At the end of the film, he takes a parting shot a global petroleum company.
About the author
Jake Richardson has enjoyed the outdoors and nature since he was 6-years-old in the woods of central Illinois and now lives in California not far from the John Muir house.