Many of the positions in modern government have their origins in menial jobs. Despite the generally menial nature of these jobs, they all required great loyalty. Loyalty came before intelligence, competence and talent. Without loyalty, the enemy could strike at any time.

Not only was absolute loyalty a prerequisite; courage was, too.

At the same time, however, a contradictory belief emerged. The man who killed the king–or any and all potential kings–was the only one considered fit to rule. It some cases, it was a fight to the death. Those who served with obedience and competence, but did not wish to despatch the ruler when the time was right, were not considered fit to rule, either.

It was as though loyalty and betrayal went hand and in hand. In the wrong circumstance, it could become a paranoid and unhealthy culture. In many ancient courts, poison taster was a key job. Not only was absolute loyalty a requirement; it also required that the kitchens be managed in such a way that poison could not be introduced into the food at any stage. A doorkeeper can be a very powerful job, especially when it is to the ruler’s quarters.

In ancient Egypt, the people who executed these menial jobs sustained the government and the government reciprocated. Although more glamorous jobs existed, even back then, it was the worker who was the backbone of the Egyptian economy. It was the worker’s work that sustained everyone else.

The Egyptians are said to have taken pride in their work no matter their occupation. Everyone had something to contribute to the community and no skills were considered non-essential. The worker who performed menial tasks was as important to the community as the scribe.

But without reciprocal loyalty, it was all doomed to be destroyed.

Leave a Comment