Marcus Aurelius was the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome. He was born into the highest ranks of Roman society and lived an exemplary life of modesty and public service. He must have been of exemplary character because while still a teenager he was adopted as a grandson by the Emperor Hadrian which cleared the path to the throne which Marcus later attained at age forty. He struggled his whole life for the prosperity of his country and his family and at the end of his life could be said to have reasonably successful and about broke even, leaving things in about the same condition as when he began. He did everything possible to leave a good succession with his son Commodus having given him the very best education, experience and opportunities to grow. Commodus thus had in Marcus Aurelius a father who was one of the most renowned philosophers of all time and also one who was also the emperor of the greatest empire of history. The opportunities presented to Commodus where thus of the type and character given to Alexander the Great and Fredrick the Great but on an even greater scale but he was a lacluster. What are the factors which made these other so successful but led to Commodus’s failure. Commodus appeared to be a competent person and healthy, which was no small feat during the Antonine Plague but he definitely lacked something, perhaps native intelligence or that strange quality ambition. In any case his rule and policies began the long slow disintegration of The Roman Empire and he didn’t prepare for a descent secession because after his death there were five Emperors in the next year.
The reason I was mulling over this long dead political-historical problem is my thoughts on how to help humanity survive for 12,000 years. By my lights none of those emperors policies, even the successful ones, could have led to long term stability. None of them were librating, moving in a dynamic way, about some attractive stable point which although not difinable in itself always pulled things towards a place where everything could be sustained for the future. A dynamic energitic political system with overall stability. Our modern democracies which give everyone some say and some power but no one enough power to be controlling against the wishes of the majority, at least not for very long, has come a long way from the rule of despots.
For my idea of long term survival of humanity it seems there must be a few limitations: A population cap chosen by some sort of consensus of the world’s people, and the elimination of WOE (Weapons of Extermination). What is defined as these limitations would be decided not by me or any other small group of people but by a world wide consensus. I don’t want to be the one deciding but it appears at present the Earth’s human population should be capped at a billion people or less and weapons should be capped at one death per individual action or less. What a weird concept! What I mean is that because human conflict in inevitable and some of these conflicts will become deadly the weapons which any individual should ever possess, even armed combatant soldiers, should be limited to one casualty per combatants individual action. Thus there is no problem with people possessing kitchen knives or single shot guns even though these are deadly but there is great problem with some solider in a missile silo having the ability to press a button and kill a million people, or some single action of a head of state for that matter which could lead to mass casualties.
Those are the two big problems. Tthe unrestrained population bomb has the ability to destroy the planet and create an ecological collapse and the WOEs have the ability the destroy all human life perhaps even all DNA based life. Both of these problems are based on excess ability of human beings. Too much success at controlling the world and its resources and possibilities. Our success has made a wonderful world for us to live in, at this time, but unless we implement ways of controlling our population and our WOEs it is hard to conceive of organized humanity living for another 12,000 years.