“Two people in a room can get more done than a hundred.”
“Unless you need to move a piano.”
– Prince T’Challa and King T’Chaka, Captain America: Civil War
When T’Challa says this, he is speaking to Natasha Romanof, the Black Widow. They’re both people of action and practicality, and they dislike the intricate, complicated politicking that seems to just get in the way and slow things down, more often then not, especially when things are in dire need of getting done. Too many people makes for too many interests and competing agendas, weighing down any conversation, gumming up the political works, while two people alone, with their own drive and brilliance, can get down to business, to actually create and implement a practical plan much more quickly.
But, as his father, T’Chaka, cautions, some tasks are simply too big and heavy for two people alone to do easily. More people may make for a more unwieldy force to direct, but once everyone is on board and coordinating properly, well, many hands makes for much lighter work. And if one needs more hands to move a piano, well, how many are needed to move the entire world?
A balance must be struck between having few enough people involved to be efficient, and having enough people involved to be effective at all.
And that doesn’t even begin to go into the perils of putting too much power into too few hands. Sure, things may not get done as quickly when the power is spread out, but put enough power into the wrong pair of hands, and the one thing you can trust happening really fast is for things to get really bad.
But to set that aside and speak primarily about improving the world, that doesn’t happen without many, many hands involved. Thus, even with all the wrong going on these days, I have hope.
The crisis of the current war is dire, such that it may be impossible to overstate, but there have also been countless hands doing whatever little thing they could to help those in need.
The rampage of disease is a travesty always lurking in the background of our international political drama, but armies of volunteers in a number of charitable organizations are even now providing vaccines and other medical treatments for those who cannot find help anywhere else.
I shudder to think of the devastation that is to come if the foretold shortages of food should manifest themselves, but I also feel hopeful that those who are in need may yet find kindness from their neighbors, and lives will be saved.
There are organizations which are digging wells and building schools in Africa, providing wheelchairs for impoverished cripples, bringing much-needed relief aid to those caught in natural disasters, building homes for the homeless, sheltering orphaned children, rescuing lost and abandoned pets, seeing to the care of our beloved elderly, giving therapy to heal the wounds of mind and spirit to the abused and neglected, and so much more. Police officers, firemen, soldiers, and paramedics stand ready to save lives every day, in ranks upon uncounted ranks of unsung heroes.
All of these people work to do good in this world. As do comedians who make us laugh, musicians who make us dance, and storytellers who make us think. Teachers, lawyers, engineers, mechanics, janitors… we all do our part to make the world a little better than it was before.
All of that requires many, many hands, belonging to crowds of people that are often competing with each other.
Politicians, for all their well-earned, unsavory reputations, stand between the crowd behind them and the crowd in front of them, a placing which can easily see them crushed to a pulp, no matter their station and privilege. Small wonder so many of them are inclined to move things a bit more slowly. Combine that with the virtues of representing all of us, without which there is only tyranny, and voila: a slow-moving, gummed-up mess that is still the preferable alternative.
Because two pairs of hands alone might move the world faster, but not more carefully.
Two people can break the world easily enough, but it takes all of us together to repair it.