I don’t think power and responsibility are necessarily connected.
First I would say it is wise to avoid striving after power, and avoid holding “excessive” power, in order to avoid the corrosive effects of both. Striving for power is just another form of greed or acquisitiveness, and generally undermines well-being and personal relationships. By “excessive” power I mean having so much power or money that it leads you to the mistaken belief that you are better than others, entitled to lording it over them, are endowed with some sort of special position in society, etc. This is is the kind of power that corrupts people, makes them callous and indifferent, and essentially turns folks without exceptional innate constitutions or a powerful empathic reflex into narcissistic psychopaths. In this case, those with “too much power” actually abdicate their social and civic obligations because they can. They excise themselves from accountability, and look down on “the little people” who are held accountable. In other words, too much power creates an escape hatch for personal responsibility. This is why so many folks who grow up affluent (or members of an entitled elite in a given culture) have difficulties in this area. And we certainly can see many “powerful” people who continually evade any sort of accountability or responsibility for their entire lives.
In terms of avoiding responsibility, we can certainly choose to do that (drop out of society, become alienated from family, shirk civic obligations, reject expectations at work, avoid any sort of commitments to friends, etc.), but this will generally interfere with our own emotional or psychosocial development. Becoming more responsible (i.e. having integrity, following through, aligning actions with expressed intent, agreeing to certain societal or relationship norms, etc.) is basically what “growing up” is all about. Adults are responsible, children are not. But since our current culture (in the U.S. at at least) encourages a prolonged adolescence, many young people are essentially refusing to become adults. It’s a sort of epidemic. Entire ideologies (like Ayn Rand’s objectivism, certain flavors of right-libertarianism, individualistic materialism, etc.) are actually grounded in the adolescent attitude that people have no real responsibility to society or obligations to other people. But this of course flies in the face of the agreements and trust upon which all civil society is constructed, and how all relationships mature beyond transactional shallowness.
So we can have power and avoid responsibility, and have no power and choose to be responsible. And, when choosing to be responsible, this can be done in an attitude of service, with humility and care for others, so that gaining more responsibility does not feel like “having more power.”
I hope this was helpful.
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