Phoenix Rises

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I dedicate this article to all fellow humans that live under tyranny. I hope there will be a future when this article is devoted to no one because everyone lives in a just society. Let the bird of freedom take flight. Phoenix Rises!

The Greater Good

Democracies are only as strong as the people are mentally strong.

So that is why it is so essential for an individual to build his mind exceptionally well.

The greatest and most supreme art is political science. Only the best minds can be true artists in political science and govern well.

The Quality of Leadership

Regrettably, things escalate to killings in so-called failed states. However, that is a symptom of mental fragility because people that are quick to anger are mentally weak. In contrast, someone with a strong mentality doesn’t get angry easily. For instance, Nelson Mandela was very tranquil of mind.

We don’t need to repeat the mistakes of history. We have had countless atrocities for many centuries here in civilizations throughout the globe. For millennia, we already had governments with weak-minded leaders that would oppress and kill their people.

If you feel you need inspiration to become the best version of yourself, please check my previous article: Become the Commander in Chief of You.

So, for me, the most significant humanitarian aid would be to help people develop an antifragile mind. And acquire the wisdom to help them tell bad people apart from a distance and not let them enter the government. Or, instead, even become leaders themselves as Nelson Mandela did.

If you can heal yourselves first, then fix your leadership, society can move on. And flourish.

Behind a Wise Leader is a Wise People

You might think that squalor, social injustice, poverty, famine, untreated disease, and chronic armed conflict are distinct attributes of so-called “failed states.” However, this is not an exclusive characteristic of such states; instead, it is a predictable state of human affairs that happens as a pattern of history when philosophy is missing. Such a context enables people to become corrupt and be poor leaders.

Looking closely at history, you can find that human excellence has also been a fruit bore by civilization, regardless of era and geography. Specifically looking at antiquity, one can find:

I’m convinced that even the poorest countries in today’s world can also produce such outstanding people.

The Urgency of Studying and Practicing Philosophy

If people become intentional in educating and civilizing themselves, everything falls nicely together. Take this conversation between to characters that lived sometime around four millennia ago (no one knows for sure how long ago it was):

Gao Yao (a minister and advisor to the emperor): In reality there are the Nine Virtues. And if someone has these, then such a person in our experience will always act appropriately.

Yu (the emperor): And what are these?

Gao Yao: They are, in sequence:

1. Generosity balanced by discipline.

2. Evenness balanced by Resolve.

3. Willingness balanced by Respect.

4. Confidence balances by Reverence.

5. Assurance balanced by Boldness.

6. Directness balanced by Gentleness.

7. Simplicity balanced by Discernment.

8. Verve balances by Integrity.

9. Courage balanced by Justice.

Gao Yao continues:
Anyone with this kind of integrity will always be successful.

If three of these virtues shape how you behave day by day, then this will bring enlightenment to everyone in the family.

If you conduct yourself day by day with six of these virtues, then the beloved homeland will be well governed.

If all Nine Virtues are the basis of your life, then all will be well for everyone.

This is how those few people in charge of the many will ensure that everything is done in balance with the foundational elements of the universe itself.

To restrain extravagance and indolence in the country make sure the leaders don’t indulge in such behavior themselves. Quite seriously be very careful of this. A myriad of problems can arise even with the space of even one or two days, so don’t appoint worthless officials.
Source: The Most Venerable Book (Shang Shu), Chapter 4, by Confucius

Wisdom is Timeless, Tyranny is Temporary

However, if people don’t become intentional in educating and civilizing themselves, you need to look no further at Seneca’s time to see the consequences. In other words, in how corrupt some Roman emperors were. Like Nero, Calígula, and Commodus.

Then you have more decent emperors like Marcus Aurelius of Rome or Ashoka of what is now India who were truly wise individuals that learned virtue by learning from great masters, by learning from experience, and by practicing their teachings to elevate their excellence.

If you live in an oppressed state, you and your neighbors can become the people you need. Most importantly, you need to change things elegantly and with grace so that no violence has a chance to occur.

All this I have told you just now about fixing a country is an integration of what I learned by studying Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Machiavelli.

Half a year ago, I hadn’t yet studied one of these masters. I think now of myself before that time as quite ignorant. What is truly special is the acquired wisdom that helped me improve daily.

I am just a human being like any of you.

Delay no longer the study of Philosophy.

What are you waiting for? You can also do it.

Optimus ille animi vindex laedentia pectus
Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel.
He’s his own best liberator who snaps the chains
that hurt his heart, and ends the grief forever.
Source: Ovid, Remedia Amoris 293-4.