I wonder if the quote

with great power comes great responsibility

is true. If you don't use the power, what's the point of taking responsibility?

  • 1
    This is a question about ethics, but you have not defined an ethical system/point of view from which to answer your question. Because of this, there are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.
    – stoicfury
    Jul 30, 2014 at 16:42

2 Answers 2


Lets say you have some mystical power to stop any human from dying and make them whole again.

Let's say someone in front of you begins choking to death.

You have two choices, to save them or not.

The idea is that by having said power, whether it is used or not is a bigger deal than if you did not have it. If you could save all the people in a burning building with ease and do not, you are at some level responsible. It isn't a matter of 'taking responsibility' as you have said, but a matter of being responsible, either way. Maybe someone you save will murder someone some day. You could end up holding yourself responsible for that.

tl;dr: The phrase could be rephrased as 'The meaningfulness of a choice to do or do not increases with the range of potential results.'


In some sense this quote just represents two sides of the same state of affairs. If we define power as the ability to impact the world and responsibility as the extent to which our personal choices can be held accountable for the events that occur, then our responsibility increases as our power increases, whether we use that power or not (since inaction becomes a choice in the case that one has the choice to act).