No Desire to Rule the World

| | TrackBacks (0)

There's a scene in The Gladiator (Best Picture, 2000) where Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor, 160-180 A.D.) shares with Maximus (his General) that he's dying, and tells him he wants Maximus to replace him and lead Rome after his death.

Marcus Aurelius | Roman Emperor 161-180 A.D.

"I want you to become protector of Rome after I die .. to give power back to the people, and end the corruption that has crippled it. [long pause] Would you accept this great honor I have offered you?"

Maximus responds: "With all my heart, no."

The ancient emperor grabs Maximus by the head and implores, "That is why it must be you!"

The implication here is that the very desire for this power (» ruler of the most powerful empire on the planet) disqualifies one for the job. (A political catch-22, if you will.)

Indeed, it has been my experience, working in large organizations, that people who crave power the most tend to suk the worst at exercising authority.

Maximus for President!

Realize I'm making coarse generalizations, but certainly, anyone who wants to be president (or even a senator) would've long since passed the threshold of any power-craving test we could concoct.

I see less of a problem however, with the people themselves than with the system that puts them there. Most agree our current system of government does not attract the best and brightest minds our nation has to offer.

Along these lines .. I must ask » what is it that drives a person to desire such lofty positions of authority? .. especiallly when approval ratings sit at all-time lows, and few trust a politician to do what he/she says. And does mere presence of this desire prognosticate anything (as Marcus implies) about the likelihood of their becoming a noble, effective leader?

••• today's entry continues here below •••

My theory is that most people are motivated, primarily, by a desire to seek balance in their lives .. to correct perceived deficiencies (real or imagined). For example, when hungry, we seek food. When weary, rest.

If my theory is true, this would imply that most politicians (to some extent, perhaps deep inside) feel a degree of powerlessness .. and their affinity for authority is therefore actually a striving to restore a sense of balance.

On a related tangent .. if our political system itself is dysfunctional (as some politicians themselves contend), does that mean only the dysfunctional will be attracted to it? (.. as only the corrupt are drawn to a corrupt system).

Regarding elections, cynics like to argue, "Nothing ever changes." Perhaps they feel this way because, even tho our leaders change every 4 (or 8) years, the system itself (in which they operate) does not.

With 2 weeks remaining before our historic presidential election, I asked some people at the coffee shop yesterday morning about their feelings regarding Obama's chances of being assassinated. While nobody could quantify the odds, most agreed it was, "Much higher than normal."

Some feel it will be attempted in such a way as to frame a group whose involvement would incite "maximum divisiveness" (in our already-divided nation). "Think about it," they said. "Cities would burn."

Speaking of Marcus Aurelius (called 'The Wise'), his Meditations are worth reviewing, where his says things like:

• If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this that disturbs thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgment now.

• When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own-not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.

Installed Drupal 6.5

On a geekier note, I deleted my installation of Drupal 5.1 (including the database), which had become a haven for spammers, and installed a copy of Drupal 6.5 (no problems there). See here » Rad's Drupal 6.5 install.

In the process, I learned you can't create a (new) database using phpMyAdmin (in cPanel » Error #1044 - Access denied). Gotta use the "MySQL Databases" interface. (I tried to use phpMyAdmin cuz I thought it would give me more control over user rights.)

« Previous Rad entry ||| NEXT Rad entry »

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: No Desire to Rule the World.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on October 20, 2008 10:24 AM.

Upgraded Forum Script to YaBB 2.3 + Frontline Begins New Season was the previous entry in this blog.

All American Irony | The Lethal Toss is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.