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Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Power is a term which can refer to vital or incidental social or political power, the ability to influence or control people, circumstances or events, including the economic power to specifically influence systems of finances, currency, production and services, or the military power derived from these. In the physical sciences power represents the rate at which work is performed or energy is transferred, used, or transformed.


Let us, cautious in diction
And mighty in contradiction,
Love powerfully. ~ Martin Buber
No one man should have all that power. ~ Kanye O. West
  • Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
  • Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de très bon foi, believes itself right. Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak.
  • What is called music today is all too often only a disguise for the monologue of power. However, and this is the supreme irony of it all, never before have musicians tried so hard to communicate with their audience, and never before has that communication been so deceiving. Music now seems hardly more than a somewhat clumsy excuse for the self-glorification of musicians and the growth of a new industrial sector.
  • He hath no power that hath not power to use.
  • Greatness by nature includes a power, but not a will to power. … The great man, whether we comprehend him in the most intense activity of his work or in the restful equipoise of his forces, is powerful, involuntarily and composedly powerful, but he is not avid for power. What he is avid for is the realization of what he has in mind, the incarnation of the spirit.
  • When we see a great man desiring power instead of his real goal we soon recognize that he is sick, or more precisely that his attitude to his work is sick. He overreaches himself, the work denies itself to him, the incarnation of the spirit no longer takes place, and to avoid the threat of senselessness he snatches after empty power. This sickness casts the genius on to the same level as those hysterical figures who, being by nature without power, slave for power, in order that they may enjoy the illusion that they are inwardly powerful, and who in this striving for power cannot let a pause intervene, since a pause would bring with it the possibility of self-reflection and self-reflection would bring collapse.
  • So long as a man’s power, that is, his capacity to realize what he has in mind, is bound to the goal, to the work, to the calling, it is, considered in itself, neither good nor evil, it is only a suitable or unsuitable instrument. But as soon as this bond with the goal is broken off or loosened, and the man ceases to think of power as the capacity to do something, but thinks of it as a possession, that is, thinks of power in itself, then his power, being cut off and self-satisfied, is evil; it is power withdrawn from responsibility, power which betrays the spirit, power in itself.
  • The balance of power.
    • Edmund Burke, speech, (1741). Sir Robert Walpole—Speech. (1741). John Wesley, Journal (Sept. 20, 1790), ascribes it to "the King of Sweden." A German Diet, or the Ballance of Europe. Title of a Folio of 1653.
  • There was no doubt now in Ender's mind. There was no help for him. Whatever he faced, now and forever, no one would save him from it. Peter might be scum, but Peter had been right, always right; the power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to kill and destroy, because if you can't kill then you are always subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever save you.
  • Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.
    • Jesse Carr, head of Teamsters Union Local, in Newsweek, Vol. 88 (1976), p. 77
  • Men are never very wise and select in the exercise of a new power.
  • In Amazon society, only men, when they were allowed to remain, were, in widely differing degrees, powerless and oppressed. If women take their bodies seriously—and ideally we should—then its full expression, in terms of pleasure, maternity, and physical strength, seems to fare better when women control the means of production and reproduction. From this point of view, it is simply not in women's interest to support patriarchy or even a fabled 'equality' with men. That women do so is more a sign of powerlessness than of any biologically based 'superior' wisdom. I am not saying that a female-dominated or Amazon society based on the oppression of men is any more 'just' than is a male-dominated society based on the oppression of women. I am merely pointing out in what ways it is better for women.
  • What would it mean for a woman to be a warrior today? How could modern women control the means of production and reproduction? Miracles of consciousness aside, I see no way for women to defeat or transfer patriarchy without achieving power. Unlike male groups, women have little power with which to either avoid or commit violence. Women traditionally are physically weak and politically powerless in a culture that values physical strength and its extended representation in the form of weaponry and money. Women, like men, must be capable of violence or self-defense before their refusal to use violence constitutes a free and moral choice, rather than 'making the best of a bad bargain.
  • Survival is the characteristic property of power. To those who think I am suggesting that we have a war between the sexes, I say: but we've always had one...Should or can there be a single standard of behavior for both sexes? Is there such a thing as a biologically rooted female culture that should remain separate from male culture, partly because it is different than or superior to male culture?
  • A right, in the abstract, is a fact; it is not a thing to be given, established, or conferred; it is. Of the exercise of a right power may deprive me; of the right itself, never.
  • Who is all-powerful should fear everything.
  • Power expands through the distribution of secrecy.
    • David John Moore Cornwell (John le Carré) (b. 1931), British author and one time spy, interviewed by Pip Ayers in Live magazine, The Mail on (July 10, 2011).
  • It is not possible to found a lasting power upon injustice, perjury, and treachery.
    • Demosthenes, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 455.
  • What elements of power we wield! Truth unmixed with error, flashing as God's own lightning in its brightness, resistless if properly wielded, as that living flame! O what agencies! The Holy Ghost standing and pleading with us to so work that He may help us, the very earth coming to the help of the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet I am painfully impressed that we are not wielding the elements of Christian achievement nearly up to their maximum.
    • T. M. Eddy, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 455.
  • We have, in truth, resorted to power [in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam] because our politics has failed. Since no politician can afford to admit this, we must pretend that we are resorting to power in order to make our politics succeed.
  • "Power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it."
  • Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 456.
  • She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals. Clothed (?) in a furious storm, a whirlwind, she ...... the garment of ladyship. When she touches ...... there is despair, a south wind which has covered ....... Inana sits on harnessed (?) lions, she cuts to pieces him who shows no respect. A leopard of the hills, entering (?) the roads, raging (?), ......, the mistress is a great bull trusting in its strength; no one dare turn against her. ......, the foremost among the Great Princes, a pitfall for the disobedient, a trap for the evil, a ...... for the hostile, wherever she casts her venom .......
  • Then, everlasting Love, restrain thy will;
    'Tis god-like to have power, but not to kill.
    • John Fletcher, The Chances (c. 1613–25; 1647), Act II, scene 2. Song.
  • One needs to be nominalistic, no doubt: power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.
  • Domination is not that solid and global kind of domination that one person exercises over others, or one group over another, but the manifold forms of domination that can be exercised within society.
  • One should try to locate power at the extreme of its exercise, where it is always less legal in character.
  • The analysis [of power] should not attempt to consider power from its internal point of view and...should refrain from posing the labyrinthine and unanswerable question: 'Who then has power and what has he in mind? What is the aim of someone who possesses power?' Instead, it is a case of studying power at the point where its intention, if it has one, is completely invested in its real and effective practices.
  • Let us ask...how things work at the level of on-going subjugation, at the level of those continuous and uninterrupted processes which subject our bodies, govern our gestures, dictate our behaviors, etc....we should try to discover how it is that subjects are gradually, progressively, really and materially constituted through a multiplicity of organisms, forces, energies, materials, desires, thoughts, etc. We should try to grasp subjection in its material instance as a constitution of subjects.
  • Power is everywhere...because it comes from everywhere.
    • Michel Foucault, quoted in Who's Who in Contemporary Gay & Lesbian History : From World War II to the Present Day (2001) edited by Robert Aldrich and Gary Wotherspoon.
  • Could this have just happened? . . . I can’t believe that ... Some Power put all this into orbit and keeps it there.
    • John Glenn, exclaimed regarding the order in the universe. Cited in Awake! magazine 1999, 6/22.
  • My fantasy since I was a small child was to dominate a dominating man. That turns me on more than anything, a man who does not want to be dominated—like Sean Connery, a really macho man. The kind of man who has no desire for submission. It’s truly perverse. It’s the power play: who has it, how long you have it for, and what you do with it.
  • More power than any good man should want, and more power than any other kind of man ought to have.
    • Senator Daniel O. Hastings, remark in the Senate on the power to be given President Franklin D. Roosevelt by the proposed work-relief program (March 23, 1935). Hastings said the bill as passed by the House was remarkable in two ways. "First, the huge amount involved, it being probably the largest appropriation ever made by any legislative body. Second, the amount was not only shocking to the average American citizen, but what was more alarming was the fact that its expenditure was left entirely in the discretion of the Executive". Congressional Record, vol. 79, p. 4353. Hastings's remark echoes words made famous in an exchange in the Senate between Senators Lucius Q. C. Lamar of Mississippi and Roscoe Conkling of New York. Conkling, whose arrogance made him unpopular, was humiliated by Lamar, who was considered one of the coolest, most courteous members of the Senate. Lamar's reputation for self-control gave his words an added sting. Conkling said that if Lamar charged him with falsehood outside the Senate, he would denounce him as a blackguard, a coward, and a liar. Lamar responded: "Mr. President, I have only to say that the Senator from New York understood me correctly. I did mean to say just precisely the words, and all that they imported. I beg pardon of the Senate for the unparliamentary language. It was very harsh; it was very severe; it was such as no good man would deserve, and no brave man would wear". Though Conkling had served notice that he would attend to the insult at some other time, he never did, and his prestige was lost. He resigned from the Senate two years later. Congressional Record (June 18, 1879), vol. 9, p. 2144. See also Wirt Armistead Cate, Lucius Q. C. Lamar (1932, reprinted 1969), p. 348–58.
  • The impulse of power is to turn every variable into a constant, and give to commands the inexorableness and relentlessness of laws of nature. Hence absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.
    • Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change (1963), Ch. 15 : The Unnaturalness Of Human Nature.
  • There are similarities between absolute power and absolute faith: a demand for absolute obedience, a readiness to attempt the impossible, a bias for simple solutions—to cut the knot rather than unravel it, the viewing of compromise as surrender. Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence, absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
    • Eric Hoffer, "Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: 'Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely,'" The New York Times Magazine (April 25, 1971), p. 24.
  • The best education will not immunize a person against corruption by power. The best education does not automatically make people compassionate. We know this more clearly than any preceding generation. Our time has seen the best-educated society, situated in the heart of the most civilized part of the world, give birth to the most murderously vengeful government in history.
    Forty years ago the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead thought it self-evident that you would get a good government if you took power out of the hands of the acquisitive and gave it to the learned and the cultivated. At present, a child in kindergarten knows better than that.
  • Also, there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation. People will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
  • Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
    • Carl Jung, The Psychology of the Unconscious (1943).
  • The possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility
    • William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne Hansard, Thomas Curson. "Habeus Corpus Suspension Bill." The Parliamentary Debates From The Year 1803 To The Present Time. Vol. 36. London: T.C. Hansard, 1817. 1127. Print. Parliamentary Debates.
    • NOT Voltaire: Voltaire. Jean, Adrien. Beuchot, Quentin and Miger, Pierre, Auguste. Œuvres de Voltaire, Volume 48. Lefèvre, 1832. - This is a misattribution, as nothing in this work reflects a similar quote.
    • The sentiment is also found in Luke 12:48: "from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (NIV).
  • Him I would call the powerful one who controls the storms of his mind.
    • Walter S. Landor, “Diogenes and Plato,” Imaginary Conversations of Greeks and Romans, vol. 4 (1829).
  • With great power there must also come — great responsibility!
    • Amazing Fantasy #15, August 1962 (the first Spider-Man story).
    • Variant: "With great power comes great responsibility."
      • Possibly used in Isaac Asimov's novella "The Bicentennial Man" (1976).
      • "Uncle" Ben Parker, in Spider-Man (2002).
      • The saying, however, long pre-dates these sources, appearing in print in a number of variants since at least 1817 (Thomas C. Hansard, ed (1817). Parliamentary Debates. p. 1227. Retrieved on October 10, 2013. "He should, however, beg leave to remind the conductors of the press of their duty to apply to themselves a maxim which they never neglected to urge on the consideration of government —"that the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility." ).
  • Power never takes a back step — only in the face of more power.
  • Captain Green: (Seeing Malcolm X lead speak and lead a crowd down the street) That's too much power for one man to have.
    • Captain Green, played by Peter Boyle, in Malcolm X (film) (1992) screenplay by James Baldwin, Arnold Perl and Spike Lee.
  • Every Communist must grasp the truth: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
  • There is no surer mark of a low and unregenerate nature than this tendency of power to loudness and wantonness instead of quietness and reverence. To souls baptized in Christian nobleness the largest sphere of command is but a wider empire of obedience, calling them, not to escape from holy rule, but to its full impersonation.
    • James Martineau, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 456.
  • Beware of the man who rises to power
    From one suspender.
    • Edgar Lee Masters, "John Hancock Otis", Spoon River Anthology (1915, reprinted 1916), p. 123. In this poem, the rich John Hancock Otis describes a man "born in a shanty and beginning life as a water carrier … then section hand … afterwards foreman … who rose to the superintendency of the railroad" as "a veritable slave driver, grinding the faces of labor, and a bitter enemy of democracy".
  • If you want to discover just what there is in a man — give him power.
    • Francis Trevelyan Miller (1910), Portrait Life of Lincoln: Life of Abraham Lincoln, the Greatest American.
  • Without his rod revers'd,
    And backward mutters of dissevering power.
  • Yeah. Yeah, that's right. Pregnant woman. Gunned her down. Bang. And y'know what? You watched me. You coulda changed the gun into steam or the bullets into mercury or the bottle into god damn snowflakes! You coulda teleported either of us to goddamn Australia...but you didn't lift a finger! You don't really give a damn about human beings. I've watched you. You never cared about what's her name, Janey Slater, even before you ditched her. Soon you won't be interested in Sally Jupiter's little girl, either. You're driftin' outta touch, Doc. You're turnin' into a flake. God help us all.
  • Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
  • Power only has meaning if it's put into action, it defines you, power like that is what rules the world. Everyone seeks power, seeks to grow in strength, but this goal is out of reach of ordinary men. The poor seek riches, the ugly, beauty. We compare ourselves to others, sheltering our own inadequacies to find peace of mind. The mere existence of those who are better than us becomes intolerable, we fight in retaliation. If beauty is not enough, we'll use money. If money does not work, we resort to violence. This energy powers our world, it is essential! All I seek, is to move this natural process along. This destructive force begotten from conflict, this power that everyone must have, I will spread it across the world with but a touch. It is like a well that can never run dry. A precious mineral, flowing from an inexhaustable mine!...This power will be mine
  • Parliment of Trees: Power? Power is not the thing. To be calm within oneself, that is the way of the wood. Power tempts anger...and anger is like wildfire. Avoid it…Flesh doubts. Wood knows.
  • Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power.
    • Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays (1928), Ch. 10: Recrudescence of Puritanism.
  • The fundamental concept in social science is Power, in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics.
  • The pursuit of knowledge is, I think, mainly actuated by love of power. And so are all advances in scientific technique.
  • Power, like a desolating pestilence,
    Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,
    Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
    Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame
    A mechanized automaton.
  • The function of the law is not to provide justice or to preserve freedom. The function of the law is to keep those who hold power, in power.
    • Gerry Spence, How to Argue and Win Every Time (1995), Ch. 6 : The New King : Tyranny of the Corporate Core, p. 90.
  • Nonviolent action involves opposing the opponent's power, including his police & military capacity, not with the weapons chosen by him but by quite different means...Repression by the opponent is used against his own power position in a kind of political "ju-jitsu" and the very sources of his power thus reduced or removed, with the result that his political and military position is seriously weakened or destroyed.
  • If you were handed power on a plate you'd be left fighting over a plate.
  • The economic transmission of power without wires is of all-surpassing importance to man. By its means he will gain complete mastery of the air, the sea and the desert. It will enable him to dispense with the necessity of mining, pumping, transporting and burning fuel, and so do away with innumerable causes of sinful waste. By its means, he will obtain at any place and in any desired amount, the energy of remote waterfalls — to drive his machinery, to construct his canals, tunnels and highways, to manufacture the materials of his want, his clothing and food, to heat and light his home — year in, year out, ever and ever, by day and by night. It will make the living glorious sun his obedient, toiling slave. It will bring peace and harmony on earth.
  • To create and to annihilate material substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire, would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man's mind, his most complete triumph over the physical world, his crowning achievement, which would place him beside his Creator, make him fulfill his Ultimate Destiny.
  • With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly....Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great for my strength. I shall have such need of it. Great perils lie before me.
  • And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!
  • Why do you speak ever of hiding and destroying? Why should we not think that the Great Ring has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of need? Wielding it the Free Lords of the Free may surely defeat the Enemy. That is what he most fears, I deem. The Men of Gondor are valiant, and they will never submit; but they may be beaten down. Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such power as you say. Take it and go forth to victory.
  • All power corrupts, absolute power is even more fun.
  • Power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.
    • Ed Tufte, Wired, issue 11:09 (September 2003).
  • Suspectum semper invisumque dominantibus qui proximus destinaretur.
    • Rulers always hate and suspect the next in succession.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), I. 21.
  • Imperium flagitio acquisitum nemo unquam bonis artibus exercuit.
    • Power acquired by guilt was never used for a good purpose.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), I. 30.
  • Imperium cupientibus nihil medium inter summa et præcipitia.
    • In the struggle between those seeking power there is no middle course.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), II. 74.
  • Potentiam cautis quam acribus consiliis tutius haberi.
    • Power is more safely retained by cautious than by severe councils.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), XI. 29.
  • Cupido dominandi cunctis affectibus flagrantior est.
    • Lust of power is the most flagrant of all the passions.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), XV. 53.
  • Remember, I have not appointed you as commanders and tyrants over the people. I have sent you as leaders instead, so that the people may follow your example. Give the Muslims their rights and do not beat them lest they become abused. Do not praise them unduly, lest they fall into the error of conceit. Do not keep your doors shut in their faces, lest the more powerful of them eat up the weaker ones. And do not behave as if you were superior to them, for that is tyranny over them.
    • Umar as quoted in Omar the Great : The Second Caliph Of Islam (1962) by Muhammad Shibli Numani, Vol. 2, p. 33.
  • Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.
    • If I can not influence the gods, I shall move all hell.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), VII. 312.
  • Every institution which grapples with the problem of molding recalcitrant material into a fairer shape—and nothing is more recalcitrant than the passions and interests of men—runs the risk of being defeated by its material. And since the institution which proposes the ideal is itself served by fallible human beings, the danger is not only that the experiment may fail but that the artists themselves, wrestling with such insidious substances as power, responsibility, and material goods, may themselves be caught by these powerful instincts, may appropriate to themselves the power they sought to tame or the riches they had hoped to divert to a nobler cause.
  • An untoward event. (Threatening to disturb the balance of power.)
    • Duke of Wellington, on the destruction of the Turkish Navy at the battle of Navarino (Oct. 20, 1827).
  • My cool judgement is, that if all the other doctrines of devils which have been committed to writing since letters were in the world were collected together in one volume, it would fall short of this; and that, should a Prince form himself by this book, so calmly recommending hypocrisy, treachery, lying, robbery, oppression, adultery, whoredom, and murder of all kinds, Domitian or Nero would be an angel of light compared to that man.
    • John Wesley, comment after reading The Works of Nicholas Machiavel, journal entry (January 26, 1737); in Nehemiah Curnock, ed., The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M. (1909), vol. 1, p. 313.
  • Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.
    • Woodrow Wilson, From a letter to Mary A. Hulbert (21 September 1913).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 622-24.
  • Give me a lever long enough
    And a prop strong enough,
    I can single handed move the world.
  • Odin, thou whirlwind, what a threat is this
    Thou threatenest what transcends thy might, even thine,
    For of all powers the mightiest far art thou,
    Lord over men on earth, and Gods in Heaven;
    Yet even from thee thyself hath been withheld
    One thing — to undo what thou thyself hast ruled.
  • Iron hand in a velvet glove.
    • Attributed to Charles V. Used also by Napoleon. See Carlyle, Latter Day Pamphlets, No, II.
  • To know the pains of power, we must go to those who have it; to know its pleasures, we must go to those who are seeking it: the pains of power are real, its pleasures imaginary.
  • Qui peut ce qui lui plaît, commande alors qu'il prie.
    • Whoever can do as he pleases, commands when he entreats.
    • Pierre Corneille, Sertorius, IV. 2.
  • So mightiest powers by deepest calms are fed,
    And sleep, how oft, in things that gentlest be!
  • For what can power give more than food and drink,
    To live at ease, and not be bound to think?
  • Du bist noch nicht der Mann den Teufel festzuhalten.
  • O what is it proud slime will not believe
    Of his own worth, to hear it equal praised
    Thus with the gods?
  • Nihil est quod credere de se
    Non possit, quum laudatur dis æqua potestas.
    • There is nothing which power cannot believe of itself, when it is praised as equal to the gods.
    • Juvenal, Satires, IV. 70.
  • Et qui nolunt occidere quemquam
    Posse volunt.
    • Those who do not wish to kill any one, wish they had the power.
    • Juvenal, Satires, X. 96.
  • Ut desint vires tamen est laudanda voluntas.
    • Though the power be wanting, yet the wish is praiseworthy.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, III. 4. 79.
  • A cane non magno sæpe tenetur aper.
    • The wild boar is often held by a small dog.
    • Ovid, Remedia Amoris, 422.
  • Nunquam est fidelis cum potente societas.
    • A partnership with men in power is never safe.
    • Phaedrus, Fables, I. 5. 1.
  • Unlimited power corrupts the possessor.
  • And deal damnation round the land.
  • The powers that be are ordained of God.
    • Romans, XIII. 1.
  • Kann ich Armeen aus der Erde stampfen?
    Wächst mir ein Kornfeld in der flachen Hand?
    • Can I summon armies from the earth?
      Or grow a cornfield on my open palm?
    • Friedrich Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans, I. 3.
  • Ich fühle eine Armee in meiner Faust.
  • Quod non potest vult posse, qui nimium potest.
    • He who is too powerful, is still aiming at that degree of power which is unattainable.
    • Seneca the Younger, Hippolytus, 215.
  • Minimum decet libere cui multum licet.
  • No pent-up Utica contracts your powers,
    But the whole boundless continent is yours.
    • Jonathan Sewall, Epilogue to Addison's Cato. Written for the performance at the Bow Street Theatre, Portsmouth, N.H.
  • The awful shadow of some unseen Power
    Floats, tho' unseen, amongst us.
  • Male imperando summum imperium amittitur.
    • The highest power may be lost by misrule.
    • Syrus, Maxims.
  • I thought that my invincible power would hold the world captive, leaving me in a freedom undisturbed. Thus night and day I worked at the chain with huge fires and cruel hard strokes. When at last the work was done and the links were complete and unbreakable, I found that it held me in its grip.
  • He never sold the truth to serve the hour,
    Nor paltered with Eternal God for power.
  • Et errat longe, mea quidem sententia,
    Qui imperium credat esse gravius, aut stabilius,
    Vi quod fit, quam illud quod amicitia adjungitur.
    • And he makes a great mistake, in my opinion at least, who supposes that authority is firmer or better established when it is founded by force than that which is welded by affection.
    • Terence, Adelph, Act I. 1, line 40.
  • A power is passing from the earth.

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)[edit]

  • Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.
  • There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
  • In the main it will be found that a power over a man's support [salary] is a power over his will.
  • From this we learn that a wise prince sees to it that never, in order to attack someone, does he become the ally of a prince more powerful than himself, except when necessity forces him, as I said above. If you win, you are the powerful king's prisoner, and wise princes avoid as much as they can being in other men's power.
    • Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, chapter 21, in Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, trans. Allan Gilbert, vol. 1, p. 83–84 (1965).
  • The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
    • James Madison, speech in the Virginia constitutional convention, Richmond, Virginia (December 2, 1829), in Gaillard Hunt, ed., The Writings of James Madison vol. 9 (1910), p. 361. These words are inscribed in the Madison Memorial Hall, Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building.
  • The power of Kings and Magistrates is nothing else, but what is only derivative, transferr'd and committed to them in trust from the People, to the Common good of them all, in whom the power yet remaines fundamentally, and cannot be tak'n from them, without a violation of thir natural birthright.
    • John Milton, "The Tenure of Kings", The Works of John Milton, vol. 5, p. 10 (1932).
  • For we put the power in the people.
    • William Penn. Robert Proud, The History of Pennsylvania in North America, vol. 1, p. 139 (1797).
  • They realize that in thirty-four months we have built up new instruments of public power. In the hands of a people's Government this power is wholesome and proper. But in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, annual message to the Congress, January 3, 1936. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936, p. 16 (1938).
  • When I resist, therefore, when I as a Democrat resist the concentration of power, I am resisting the processes of death, because the concentration of power is what always precedes the destruction of human initiative, and, therefore of human energy.
    • Woodrow Wilson, governor of New Jersey, speech, New York City, September 4, 1912. The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Arthur S. Link, vol. 25, p. 100 (1978). This speech was delivered to the Woodrow Wilson Workingmen's League "dollar dinner", at the Yorkville Casino.


  • Cornello: I see. Well that does answer a riddle: Why the military would give a pup like you such a stern name: Fullmetal. But it's literal. See Rose, alchemists forbid their own from transmuting lead into gold, but there's one practice more taboo. A technique forbidden by man and nature itself: Alchemy...on human souls! You miserable little boys… Dabbling in human alchemy without knowing the penalty… You stepped on the toes of God!
Alphonse: You don’t know the story!
Edward: Al...!
Alphonse: But we… We just wanted… We just wanted to see Mom’s face again… See her smile…
Cornello: But you failed didn’t you!?
Edward: Yeah… I’d label that a failure alright, Al lost his whole body and I lost an arm and a leg. See Rose, this is what happens when you try to bring back what’s dead. Do you really want to go through with that!?
Cornello: Don’t let them worry you Rose, you forget that the Sun God Leto blessed me with the Philosopher’s stone, plus I have far more experience than then heretic boys did.
Edward: Don’t be stupid! No matter what kind of power you have some things can’t be done!
Cornello: Oh? Then why are you so anxious to get this stone? You want to beat the laws of equivalency just as I do and bring your mommy back!
Edward: Wrong, holy man! All we want is to get our bodies normal again. See, we don't lie about what's possible. We didn't start a cult.
Alphonse: We will ask one more time, please give us the stone.
Cornello: You are damned, State Alchemist, and may the wrath of God fall upon your head.
Edward: Stop hiding behind that crap! Get down here and I'll show you some wrath!
  • Ritsuko: "That's right. That's not armor plating. Those are restraints that allow us to suppress the Eva's true power. And now those bindings are being undone by the Eva's own might. We can no longer stop the Eva."
Static: You ok, sir?
Driver: You almost threw me into orbit! I was scared to death.
Static: I'm sorry, but something's happened to my powers. They're way stronger than they used to be.
Driver: That so? Well, can you drop me off at 44th and 3rd?
Static: Didn't you just say you were scared to death?
Driver: Yeah. But the traffic in this town is even scarier.
Jafar: You little fool! You thought you could defeat the most powerful being on earth!
Iago: Squeeze him, Jafar--Squeeze him like a--awk!
Jafar: Without the genie, boy, you're nothing!
Aladdin: (Has an idea) The genie! The genie! The genie has more power than you'll ever have!
Jafar: What!!
Aladdin': He gave you your power, he can take it away!
Genie: Al, what are you doing? Why are you bringing me into this?
Aladdin: Face it, Jafar--you're still just second best!
Jafar: You're right! His power does exceed my own! But not for long!
Genie: The boy is crazy. He's a little punch drunk. One too many hits with the snake (His hand turns into a snake and he hits his head with it.)
Jafar: Slave, I make my third wish! I wish to be an all powerful genie!
Genie: (Reluctantly) All right, your wish is my command. Way to go, Al.
Aladdin: Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space.
Captain James T. Kirk: I'm embarrassed. I was furious with the Organians for stopping a war I didn't want. We think of ourselves as the most powerful beings in the universe. It's unsettling to discover that we're wrong.
Mr. Spock: Captain. It took millions of years for the Organians to evolve into what they are. Even the gods did not spring into being overnight. You and I have no reason to be embarrassed. We did, after all, beat the odds.
Captain James T. Kirk: Oh, no, no, no, Mr. Spock, we didn't beat the odds; we didn't have a chance. The Organians raided the game.
Gandalf: Frodo, come and help an old man. How's your shoulder?
Frodo: Better than it was.
Gandalf: And the Ring? You feel its power growing, don't you? I've felt it too. You must be careful now. Evil will be drawn to you from outside the Fellowship... and, I fear, from within.
Frodo: Who then, do I trust?
Gandalf: You must trust yourself. Trust your own strengths.
Frodo: What do you mean?
Gandalf: There are many powers in this world, for good or for evil. Some are greater than I am. And against some, I have not yet been tested.
Adelaide: You saved us.
Doctor: Just think though. Your daughter, and your daughter's daughter, you can see them again. Family reunion.
Adelaide: But I'm supposed to be dead.
Doctor: Not any more.
Adelaide: But Susie, my granddaughter. The person she's supposed to become might never exist now.
Doctor: Nah! Captain Adelaide can inspire her face to face. Different details, but the story's the same.
Adelaide: You can't know that. And if my family changes, the whole of history could change. The future of the human race. No-one should have that much power.
Doctor: Tough.
Adelaide: You should have left us there.
Doctor: Adelaide, I've done this sort of thing before. In small ways, saved some little people, but never someone as important as you. Oh, I'm good.
Adelaide: Little people? What, like Mia and Yuri? Who decides they're so unimportant? You?
Doctor: For a long time now, I thought I was just a survivor, but I'm not. I'm the winner. That's who I am. The Time Lord Victorious.
Adelaide: And there's no one to stop you.
Doctor: No.
Adelaide: This is wrong, Doctor. I don't care who you are. The Time Lord Victorious is wrong.
Doctor: That's for me to decide. Now, you'd better get home. Oh, it's all locked up. You've been away. Still, that's easy. (He points his sonic screwdriver at the front door, and it opens.) All yours.
Adelaide: Is there nothing you can't do?
Doctor: Not any more.

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