If your desire is for good, the people will be good. The moral character of the ruler is the wind; the moral character of those beneath him is the grass. When the wind blows, the grass bends.
Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, wrote those thoughts over 2,300 years ago. He believed self-responsibility should rule people’s behavior. Most of us think we lost that connection through the years, and our government’s debacle demonstrates that fact. Our ego ignores the inner self, and we cling to the fear of separatism.
Plato, the Greek philosopher, lived about a hundred years after Confucius. He wrote about separatism in his work, The Republic. Plato’s theory of the Noble Lie is in that book. The Noble Lie was Plato’s way of bringing the behavior and the beliefs of the rulers to the surface of public opinion.
Plato described the concept of the Noble Lie this way: God filled everyone’s soul with gold, silver, and iron. But the working man and the farmer’s soul had less of those elements, so the ruler’s soul was the guardian. Rulers controlled the people using that perceived truth.
Our current religious and political leaders immerse themselves in a new version of the Noble Lie. These religious and political leaders consider themselves a special breed. They believe they must control the thoughts of their peers, not listen to them. This new version of the Noble Lie infiltrated our belief structure, and the message within it is now a perceived truth.
The form and delivery of the Noble Lie changed over the years. But the message is the same― political and religious leaders believe they control the people. Confucius said: Do not do to others what you do not want done to you. We elect political leaders that do unto others what they don’t do to themselves. Some religious leaders do the same thing.
The thought of using moral character, self-responsibility, and a united consciousness in politics, as well as religion, might take us to a place where when the wind blows and the grass bends in informed agreement. That thought is a prime ingredient of change in this age of self-direction and self-transformation.