Not too long ago, I came across a book by a Central Asian political leader that sounded almost identical to a Southeast Asian political leader. The Southeast Asian leader had founded a nation some 30 years prior to the Central Asian leader. The former was what I would describe as a traditional society that had suddenly become independent from the USSR in the 1990s; and the latter was an immigrant society that had finally freed itself from the shackles of European colonisation in the 1960s.
The ideology may have been identical; but it had yielded different results. Both nations are now regional powerhouses. The doctrine works, but it also has different and uneven results. We could even call the former a copycat, but no one can claim copyright over an idea, but only the expression of it. The same ideology, applied miles and miles away from each other, yielded entirely different results.
After decades have passed, we can view the results of the ideology and wonder, “Did it work? What’s the verdict?”
Success or failure? Victory or defeat? Is it ever that simple? Don’t make me laugh.
There is a fundamental principle at the heart of any political ideology. All political ideologies reach a pinnacle and a point of completion. The heart, eventually and always, stops beating. But that does not mean the nation dies. The time then comes for a new political doctrine to take its place. A new doctrine that can address new needs.
Anything that is incomplete and unresolved continues to force us to hark back. Can you remember reaching a point of completion as it pertained to a political ideology you once believed in? Once you have experienced this, there is no need to go back to it. It is futile. Those ideas don’t work anymore. They cease to matter. They were good for their time.
Life will be impossible to lead if it consists of many incomplete and unfinished chapters. If we don’t finish what we start to the break of completion–to the break of dawn–then our lives are full of unfinished chapters. This is why we always think the past holds some clue to the future. This is why, in times of uncertainty, we hark back to ‘the good old days’.
The constant replay and repeat of old political stories are caused by a failure to complete. This creates an unnecessary burden on all of society. People don’t want to hear it anymore. They’ll tell you, “Why are we still talking about this? Oh and thank you for the history lesson! How did you know it was my favourite subject at school?”
If you want to break this repetitive cycle of incomplete and unfinished chapters, then we should finish everything we start; even if we do take breaks in between. There is nothing wrong with taking breaks, but when the time comes to finish what we started: we must finish the chapter and not leave it incomplete.
Political ideologies are no different to people. They are born, they go through a period of adolescent and adulthood; they hit middle age, old age; and then they die.
When a political ideology reaches a place of completion, it can be viewed as a form of death. The whole nation goes through a period where it transforms. If you are capable of enjoying the departure, you have defeated death. Death can take care of the needful. That is what the Grim Reaper is designed to do.
The past is no more. Clinging to the past is clinging to the dead. The whole problem is that we are caught up with our past. It is holding us back. That is why ‘the good old days’ political ideology has never worked. It is good to remember it, teach it to our children and to house it in a museum.
In the political arena, however, it has never worked; but instead creates an unnecessary period of instability. We have lives to lead and we cannot do it by walking forward and harking back.
The Political Apex
I have read about The Masters who have reached The Political Apex. They’ve reached the height of political power. Not all of them came crashing down, mind you. Even those who found themselves in the middle of terrible scandals did not fail. They did not fall. They stood strong and tall. They are like mountaineers.
The Apex is the summit of our achievements. The Political Master has mastered a certain course and a certain terrain. He can now write, “The End” and move on with his life.
But before he can write, “The End,” he usually needs to meet a Master who can guide him to his inner apex. To find a Master who can teach you to finish these incomplete chapters is not hard. The master is the future. He is that which you have already, and will soon, become. That is when one meets his or her Master.
If you are seeking someone to teach you about politics, don’t be prejudiced; whether it stems from a bias or a leaning towards a way of life. The world is a big place. The world is a political place. The Master is the future politician. He is there to tell you that your ideas are now outdated. He may even call you a historical figure. He is tired of the history lessons. He is here to tell you that you have finished your journey successfully and that it is time to start a new one.
He hopes you are excited. A new mountain awaits.
When Political Interests Change
If you pick leaders because they only represent your interests, then later; resentment will fester amongst those whose interests have been ignored. Whoever said that your interests needed to be prioritised? That’s why the political arena never seems to reach any sort of balance. This party leads, that party leads; they all prioritise the needs that they think are important. Later on, there is retaliation; for the needs that were ignored.
The Universe has a long memory, for the incomplete chapters of the past. You think it’s game over, but all those incomplete chapters are still waiting for their long-awaited conclusion.
When we seek to maintain and consolidate power, we eventually lose control of the very thing we were seeking to hold onto. When humans are open enough to experience a new way of life, to experience something that is out of the ordinary for them, they realise that they now have a new perspective with which to make decisions that take into account differing priorities.
That’s why no dictator has ever been able to hold onto power. That’s why no dictator has ever been successful. They have a brief taste of power, which they get drunk and high on; and the next thing you know, the party is over and they’re being tried for war crimes. This is not about leadership style. Many leaders lead with the stick, but they get the results. Other leaders lead with the stick and they fail. Why? The problem is not with the leadership style, but with the intention with which the stick is used, wielded and held.
The whole purpose of life, you could conclude, is to allow the seeds of growth to flourish. When a society is flourishing, save a few complaints here and there, then revolutions do not happen. People grumble, but it is tolerable. But when a society’s suffering has deep roots, then there is a revolt or a mass scale revolution.
Centrism in Politics
When we cease to be right wing, left wing, right centre and left centre; we become the centre. At the political centre, we are all integrated. When we choose right or left, we exist at the expense of someone else’s non-existence. How can people who exist; not exist? It’s not possible.
No leader, no matter how ruthless, has ever successfully eradicated an entire population. If this ruthless leader was paying attention during his history lesson, he would have realised that he was going to fail. He was going to leave behind a legacy of trauma, pain and reparations that would have to be paid down the generations. Your future descendants are not going to be happy about this.
The rebel renounces the past. He is not going to repeat the past. He knows it is not feasible and not possible. The rebel is intent on bringing something new into the world. He doesn’t want to be the head. He wants to be the heart. At the heart of every rebellious leader is a leader who never even wanted to lead. But for some reason, he or she was chosen.
Those who escape or self-isolate from the world and society are escapists. They have renounced their responsibilities. But the moment you renounce your responsibilities, you also renounce the right to freedom. You become entitled. A person who is entitled cannot be responsible. He is too busy blaming everyone else for the way his life is.
To understand the meaning of collective responsibility is very important. The ability to take responsibility for one’s own life is one of the greatest principles of growth. To be a rebel is not to be an outlaw. If you break the rules, you are irresponsible. You need to create new rules. That is what has always distinguished Civilisation from Nature. The power of the law. The power to change laws. The power to enact laws which will benefit society in the long-term.
By this stage, the political leader is like a mirror. He reflects on the situation and responds to it. Not out of memory, past experience or doctrines, but by acting fresh and new in a much-needed centralist ideology. As societies develop, they cannot be divided by right, left, centre right and centre left.
There can only be an integration of the sum of its different parts; which makes a whole that would never have existed if even only one puzzle piece had gone missing.
To integrate is to bring together. To talk right and walk left; well, that would just be complete madness.