On the Treatise of Rule
The relationship between ruler and servant (1/2)
Great thinkers have talked and written on this subject, all with the purpose of explaining how to be a great leader. I am nothing compared to them, but nonetheless, I shall aspire to be like them. My focus is thus on the ruler and how he should behave. I shall speak here of a single ruler, as this is a simpler example.
Many leaders have had trouble with their servants: great uprisings, civil wars, revolutions, and other situations. These leaders have failed in my eyes, failed in the aspect that the people had not only questioned their rule, but that they had openly fought against it. The most common cause of this is because the leader has neglected the woes and pains of the servants.
Indeed, the hierarchy of the system of rule is a simple but delicate thing.
The people serve some sort of middle man, like mayors, governors, or generals, and they in turn serve the ruler. The people have to explain their actions to these middle men and have to comply with their will. In turn, the middle men do the same in respect to the ruler. But the ruler has to do the same in respect to the servants, as dissatisfied servants will vent their rage and frustration on the only one who can be held responsible.
One may think that the ruler may do as he pleases then, as long as the people are not dissatisfied or unhappy. This is false, as people may grow envious of the luxury and power the ruler holds, and will be quick to betray the leader and seize the prize for themselves. What I say here, then, is how I believe a ruler should behave in respect to one particular goal (there are others, but will not be discussed here). That goal is the to keep his servants loyal and unified. Mind you, this is not the purpose of a leader (will also not be discussed here).
A leader can be generous, helpful, good and could continuously try to work for the betterment of all the servants. But this does nothing to deter some lone wolves who may betray the ruler, as acts of kindness will not work on the wicked, irrational, or jealous. Being kind to all the servants at the same time is also extremely hard to achieve, as the servants themselves may have differing opinions about who deserves what. A beggar or someone from a different social group would be granted equal treatment by the ruler and some may find this unfair. Conclusively, being kind will not keep servants unified or loyal for certain, nor will it deter any lone wolves.