One of the things about people that have eluded me over the years has been people’s decisions and where they comes from. Why does someone choose to do something or choose not to do something. Why do some people go to extremes for seemingly absurd reasons? Why does someone bow down to an inanimate object every Sunday to ask for forgiveness or blessing? Something clearly created by another human, no better in nature than the chair or bench he sits on.
At first, this may seem like a very simple riddle because, of course, it’s not the idol they bow to, it’s what the idol represents, the God. The same can be said for many things but as is often the case with simple things, if you look into them deep enough, you will find interesting complexity.
Why does the president of the US has the power they have and not a shopkeeper down your street. This is true for a lot of powerful people. All of them are people, no different in nature from many others like them. But what is it that gives them that authority, and what is it that takes it away from them?
A man is what others say he is and no more. ~ Xaro Xhoan Daxos - Game of Thrones
It’s the people of course, the good old democracy. The people give a president that power, and the people take it away, you may say. And that is true, for the most part, but it is deeper than that.
The question of worth/value/power can be asked about the most fundamental ideas of human society. Why is gold worth what it is? Why is a currency worth it is? What is worth anyway? Who decides what is worth what? And is anything really worth anything?
And again, it’s the people. The gold may have some “useful” properties that are intrinsic to it, but again the value comes from its “usefulness” to human. The people decide what something is worth. The people decide what the gold is worth and the people decide what a US Dollar is worth. It is something the God, the President, Bitcoin, everything else have in common. Humans are like one of those murmuration, hundreds of birds flying in ever changing patterns in harmony, yet no one of them is deciding the direction. People decide what things are worth. One may pioneer one way or the other with their ideas but it’s only when the rest follow, do their ideas have value.
Even before current form of democracy, it was the people who gave power to the church, and church gave power to the monarch. And even before that, be it for love or fear or something else, it was always the people, the source of all value.
Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less. ~ Varys - Game of Thrones
It may seem like an incredibly freeing realization but it may also seem an extremely depressing thought. If people decide what something is worth, then what about me? Am I only worth the opinions others have about me? And yes, that is true to some extent but it is also true the other way around. It is you who decides what someone or their opinions are worth to you. And you decide for yourself what you’re worth.