There is an equation for power. I’d reiterate it now, but you’re probably reading this on the internet, or in proximity to a device which you can look it up. I’ll give you a moment to refresh your memory on the 3 variables that figure into power, unless you’re a physics geek (no offense) and have it memorized.

The point is, power requires a force of some sufficient significance. Without it, there is no reason for the equation for power, and no result to be measured.

There’s the physics-defined concept of power, but like most words there are deeper conceptual pools and descriptions, waiting to be dipped into. Power is related to strength, physically and mentally. It’s also related to size, usually because of this association. We quantify the force production of our vehicles with the same word we describe our world’s influential leaders. The power of knowledge is equal to the power of persuasion, and the power of deception is a worthy opponent to the power of truth. But of all these, one type of power stands alone as the common denominator—the roots and trunk of the oldest and most sturdy tree to have ever grown, branches flexing and reaching in every direction, and that is the power of choice.

Marcus Aurelius wrote to himself “… no man can do me a real injury, because no man can force me to misbehave myself.”

I think it is only fitting that the Roman Emperor refrained from using the word “choice” in this note, because in life often our choices are being made without deliberate thought. Choices are  not just our actions but also their opposites. Equally, choices are not just our thoughts, but the possibilities that have yet to be thought of, and because of this, choices are the most powerful force a human may utilize, knowingly or not.

Currently I am choosing to write these thoughts down. If I hadn’t, their existence is only an idea. The same can be said of the men who drafted the Declaration of Independence, or da Vinci and his Mona Lisa. Even you, the reader, are the result of a choice that someone had made; to bring you into the world.

Lest not forget that though choosing to take action may bring wonderful things to life, their infinite oppositions—the choices that fill the void of action— are equal in weight. The route not taken still exists to a hiker, just as a choice not made exists to an inquirer. The powerful tree of choice has branches that have not been climbed, and it is equally importance to consider their existence, even if the shadows they cast do not throw shade for your current position in life.

The power of choice lies within every human. We know power requires force, and that force requires action, but choice may live in inaction, and thus the opposing forces exist in our minds, as the power to choose pushes back on our conscience. I feel it’s presence, and I hope you do too.

Andrew T. Ramirez

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