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candide's avatar

Have you ever considered enlightened despotism?

Asked by candide (738points) February 19th, 2010

If so, what would your despotic nature portend for your realm; what kind of an enlightened despot would you be?

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16 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

As a career path, you mean? Who would I send the resume and the application to?

SeventhSense's avatar

Like this
From the Tao te Ching:

If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.

The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be.

Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes common as grass.
If a country is governed with tolerance,
the people are comfortable and honest.
If a country is governed with repression,
the people are depressed and crafty.

When the will to power is in charge,
the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
Try to make people happy,
and you lay the groundwork for misery.
Try to make people moral,
and you lay the groundwork for vice.

Thus the Master is content
to serve as an example
and not to impose her will.
She is pointed, but doesn’t pierce.
Straightforward, but supple.
Radiant, but easy on the eyes.
For governing a country well
there is nothing better than moderation.

The mark of a moderate man
is freedom from his own ideas.
Tolerant like the sky,
all-pervading like sunlight,
firm like a mountain,
supple like a tree in the wind,
he has no destination in view
and makes use of anything
life happens to bring his way.

Nothing is impossible for him.
Because he has let go,
he can care for the people’s welfare
as a mother cares for her child.
Governing a large country
is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking.

Center your country in the Tao
and evil will have no power.
Not that it isn’t there,
but you’ll be able to step out of its way.

Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.
When a country obtains great power,
it becomes like the sea:
all streams run downward into it.
The more powerful it grows,
the greater the need for humility.
Humility means trusting the Tao,
thus never needing to be defensive.

A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy
as the shadow that he himself casts.

If a nation is centered in the Tao,
if it nourishes its own people
and doesn’t meddle in the affairs of others,
it will be a light to all nations in the world.

marinelife's avatar

I would not want to be a despot. I don’t want to be responsible for people’s choices in life or people’s well-being.

I don’t want a despot—even an enlightened one—running my life.

phoebusg's avatar

I like the thought of – everyone being “the government”, with scientists and experts of each field having a say .

Cruiser's avatar

I am the ruler of my universe and enlightened too!

Berserker's avatar

We’d settle it all by the sword or public hangings!

mammal's avatar

@SeventhSense if a country is governed with repression…the people are depressed and cunning that would ring true for China IMO. But as for the rest of the Taoist principles, concerning governance…they seem anarchic, anachronistic and hopelessly idealistic, but wonderful nonetheless.

SeventhSense's avatar

The great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths.
Be aware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.

When rich speculators prosper
While farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
while the poor have nowhere to turn-
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

The passages on governing certainly do seem idealistic from a Western perspective. The term “enlightened” in the Eastern sense is awakened. The master is extra ordinary. The closest example would be someone like the Dali Lama.
These principles are not applied as much as simply an expression of his nature.

mammal's avatar

@SeventhSense what comes through is a leader or governor who doesn’t actively want to govern, that would be a wise choice of leader.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Despotry in any form sounds really bad.
Which road is it again that is paved with good intentions?

mammal's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy our consciousness is groomed by media influence, to reject anything other than Democracy on impulse, Despot, and Dictator are terms made unappealing, like the term Heresy would have had a similar affect on orthodox Catholics in times past. When in fact Democracy as we know it has been responsible for monstrous state sanctioned murder on a mind boggling scale.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I just don’t think a single person with all that power can be trusted to rule judiciously if their rule goes unchecked.

ETpro's avatar

It is said that an enlightened despot ios the best possible leader, but the difficulty arises in secession. Nonetheless, for the good of my people, I stand ready to serve. I await your corronation announcement.

mammal's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy that is a dangerous misconception, no one system is inherently bad _or _good, it is also subtley tyranical, because we seem to have such an aversion to dictatorship we are willing to stamp it out and at almost any cost, usually at the cost of the more innocent bystanders. That would be the irony

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