Yesterday’s post concluded with I seek to help you along your self-chosen path because it will help me find my way along mine.
Today I finished reading Stephen Greenblatt’s latest book, Tyrant – Shakespeare on Politics, and it became apparent that the core problem with the coming into power of tyrants is that people surrounding them, and the public in general, enabled them. They could not have risen to power if the enablers had not made it possible for them to commit the offensive antisocial acts and crimes that eliminated the honest people who might have inhibited them. My problem becomes, is my stated goal a path to enabling tyrants?
Greenblatt skillfully uses the examples of historical persons vividly portrayed by Shakespeare to expose their evil techniques for grabbing power and gaining legitimate control of their states. He shows through the plays how intellectually honest people fall prey to obvious self-seeking lies of the manipulators and thus to support those mentally unstable narcissists.
King Lear, Macbeth, Richard III, Julius Caesar are historical figures who came to absolute power over their people and whose narcissistic acts ultimately brought ruin to themselves and to the people around them. The problems may be with the mental and asocial instabilities of an individual, but those qualities when unchecked bring an expanding circle of ruin. Ultimately it is the multitudes of common people, who have no input into the political processes of those few people in control, that are the ones who suffer the most and die, unknown and unremembered in vast numbers.
The preoccupation of these narcissistic tyrants is plotting for absolute power, using manipulation, hypocrisy, lies, betrayal, murder, assassination, all of which are motivated by unlimited greed of the potentate and enabled by the pervading abject fear of the impotent honest folk.
I started this post with I seek to help you along your self-chosen path because it will help me find my way along mine. And yet, I must now moderate that thought to somehow eliminate support for ideas of absolute power that the narcissistic type of personality attracts to itself. Perhaps the following is a better statement:
The goal must become to empower individuals to treat others better than they treat themselves.