Why do we want to be Immortal?

FeaturedWhy do we want to be Immortal?

We as a species have always coveted eternal youth and eternal life, colloquially called immortality, and unlocking the key to this immortality will certainly be heralded as the ultimate triumph of man over nature. Perhaps that is why since time immemorial we the mortal beings of this ephemeral cosmos have been in pursuit of this elusive dream. A dream which on one hand is perceived as a quest for the continued existence of an immaterial soul beyond the physical body, while on the other, is one of the main catalysts that lured humanity to the fountain of knowledge that we now call science.

We may have come a long way from voodoo doctors, to alchemists, to modern string theorists, but the allure of this ultimate triumph is still as prominent and magnetic as it was, hundreds of, thousands of, years ago. The commitment and passion towards achieving this goal have transcended mythos and civilizations, a fact evident from thousands of necropolises scattered all over the world. From Great Pyramids of Giza, to Majestic Monoliths of Stonehenge. From ancient Greek myths, to urban lore, each professing of the pros and cons of this dream.

Niamh & Oisin and the Relm of Tir na n'Og
Niamh & Oisin and the Relm of Tir na n’Og

Eventhough, in the past, this quest had a philosophical undertone and more often than not was fueled by religious convictions that equated Immortality to eternal life, but mankind’s increasing prowess in science and medicine, accompanied by a better understanding of the physical and biological aspects of life has empowered us to manipulate the mechanisms of aging which in turn is dramatically altering the odds of realising this Sisyphean task. As now we know, that aging is neither mystical nor inevitable, its just a consequence that we gain by improving health and prolonging life, nothing more than a trickery of physics which the evolution hadn’t already perfected.

But still realizing this task would certainly be a triumphant feat for man, as this trick will grant us the ability to transcend time and see the world change and technology progress. Allowing us to see humans build colonies on Mars and humanity leave the confines of our solar system to voyage the interstellar space at speed of light.

Although the current methods and techniques at our disposal are insufficient in such prolonging but still, at present we are enjoying the highest standards of living that the world has ever seen. For instance, in 18th-century average life expectancy was 35, fifty was riped old age, and 90 was like forever while by the turn of the 20th-century average human life expectancy was about 45 years of age. And look at it now, average life expectancy has more than doubled over the past decades. Even if we could prolong our lives to maximum age, we still are just prolonging the wait for the body to fail. Because after all achieving eternal health and ending biological aging, would in no way be the end of death.

So does this mean there is no true immortality? Well… Yesss and no!

You see, there is no true immortality when taken in the context of time but only a perception of it. A human is immortal to a fly as a giant redwood is to us humans, Or like how a star is immortal to its planets as a galaxy is to its star. But on the other hand, its also true that even if we achieved eternal health, it will not end death but it will certainly end aging. And what is immortality? if not, not aging?

In fact, I am sure that achieving immortality or eternal health will make us make responsible humans and hopefully we would start taking better care of planet knowing we would be around longer. Although the pressures of life may not decrease, then again we would have much more time figuring out these intricacies. We will surely be spending much more time on refining our inner niches, learning about things that we are good at, goals we want to achieve and deeds to we want to do.

Then again, If given a chance to choose how long we want to live, how long would we choose? 100, 120 or perhaps forever. After all who wouldn’t want to live forever, but how long will that forever be once you reach that age?

When you have all the time in the world, you become mellow and laid back, that rushness and ephemeral essence loses its meaning. You begin to delay things, put more thoughts into risks and methodically plan your decisions. Your life becomes monotonous and predictable. Even though the sands of time continue to slip away, your life becomes static. There are no ripples on the surface, instead only a commotion inside, conspiring to send impending tsunamis out on the surface as the monotonicity starts to overwhelm your inner athlete and the sense of adventure. You begin to yearn for the ticking of the clock and ephemeral beauty of nature.

Just like a sunbather by the beach relaxing after taking a dip in the depths of the torrential ocean of time. At first, he loves the cooling effects due to the conspiracy of the sun and wind that evaporate water off his drenched skin but as the sun reaches for the apogee he beings to realize the conspiracy and once again starts to yearn for the cold and torrent ocean waves.

The cold and Torrent ocean waves
The cold and Torrent ocean waves

This reminds me of the story of Eos and Tithonus. Tithonus was the lover of goddess Eos. The goddess was cursed to fall in love for mortal men by Aphrodite. She begged Zeus to grant Tithonus immortality so that they could spend eternity together but she forgot to ask for eternal youth. The wish was granted but, Tithonus kept aging unable to die, he began begging Eos for death. But she couldn’t do anything as once immortal, there’s no turning back. Instead, she turned him into a cricket; eternally living begging for death to overcome him.

 Tithonus, turning into a grasshopper
Tithonus eternally living begging for death to overcome

We humans always had a love-hate relationship with immortality and feared never-ending aging. But the irony is, we still want to live forever and in the now. Often neglecting or say overlooking the fact that we not only live in the now but we also die in the now, not in the future. We’re born young, we grow old, and then we die. This has been the natural order for eons. Getting old is good, right? Afterall we celebrate the idea of living long to experience old age, or why else would we call them the golden years.

But the reality is, everybody wants to become old, but nobody wants to be old. Most people want to die once they reach a certain age. After a certain age, they begin to see, death not as an enemy but a friend. For example, my granny who is 100, plans, who should be invited to her last rites and how much must be spent on the whole affair with such exuberance, as if she was a kid planning her birthday.

As the demons of time start running away from you, you begin to realize, eternal life or never-ending age is more of a curse than a boon. No matter what science offers us, the millions of years of evolutionary curiosity, adventure seeking and adrenaline rush of facing fear cannot be suppressed. Everything in this universe goes through or has to go through the cycle of life and death. Things born must age and die. It is, simply the equation that governs or has been governing the ethos of the cosmos since the beginning of the time. For the entirety of this mystic realm, death is a part of life. Without death, life loses its meaning. If one could question death, he would certainly reply, life is just a beautiful lie while I am the only truth. One can’t change the inevitable, they can only delay it, that too only to an extent. Eventually, the whip-snapper always comes to reap what he sowed.

Life asked Death
If one could question death, he would certainly reply, life is just a beautiful lie while I am the only truth

So, does this mean we should stop our quest for immortality or eternal-health and let nature have its way?

No, it in no way means that we shouldn’t look for immortality or eternal-health. The relationship between life and death is that of a hostage who grows to love the kidnapper. Of course, death is a part of life or has been so forever, but our brains need to be cleared of the millennia of death acceptance.

In the past, people who lived past the normal life expectancy were seen as something unnatural and often immoral, someone who defied the normal. They were outcasted, labeled as reapers of the soul or even witches. As a result, we were made to believe, death was something good and natural. But death is, nor was a solution.

Just because something is natural doesn’t make it good or necessary. It may be natural to live lives nasty, brutish, and short, but it’s also natural to look at what indifferent nature provides as the starting point.

The changes longer lives will bring will surely clear our brains of this death acceptance. And how soon we start this quest matters, as for the difference of, but a day might determine what side of the future chasm we are on. Journeying forever forward or falling backward into the abyss.

Links and References:

फ़लसफ़ा – (Just a Teaser, Full version coming soon)

इस वक़्त का क्या है,
ये तो यूँ ही चलता रहेगा,
लम्हे, पहरों में और पहर दिनों बदल जायेंगे,
ये उम्र भले ही ना थमे पर आफ़सने थम जायेंगे।

………………….

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रूह

काश कुछ ऐसा हो जाए

ये वक्त चलता रहे,

ये लम्हे चलते रहें,

ये पहर चलता रहे,

बस मेरी उम्र थम जाए।

मैं समेट लूँ सारी यादें,

मैं सहेज लूँ सारे पलों को,

देख लूँ जी भर के

उन आँखों को,

इस दुनिया में जिनसे सबसे पहले रूबरू हुआ।

मैं थाम लूँ उस ऊंगली को

जो कभी मुझे थामे चली थी।

वो खिलखिलाती हँसी

जो कभी मेरे साथ खेली थी।

बस इतनी सी ही तो ख्वाहिश है,

बे-वक्त के इस मुसाफिर की।

छोटी सी राह का जिसका

बस तीसरा हिस्सा है बाकी।।

आकर क़रीब अपनों के और थोड़ा,

कुछ और अच्छा कर जाऊँ।

छोटे से इस सफर के

सुकून भरे पलों को

यादों में पिरो जाऊँ।

या फिर

रहकर दूर उनसे,

ग़म के बवन्डर से बचाने को उनको,

बेरूखी वाला मुखौटा ओढ़ जाऊँ।।

रहगुज़र हूँ तेरा,

कि तूने जो भी दिया

झोली भर के दिया।

रहगुज़र हूँ तेरा,

कि दिये हुए हौसले से तेरे

अपने दम पर कुछ किया।

रहगुज़र हूँ तेरा,

कि कई ख्वाबों को अपने

मैंने हकी़कत में जिया।

रहगुज़र हूँ तेरा,

कि जरा से वक्त में ही

तेरे होने को समझ लिया।

ईबादतग़ार हूँ तेरा

शिकायतग़ार नहीं,

कि अलग बनाकर भी तूने

खास बना दिया।। — रूह

This poem is the best gift i have ever received from someone. someone whom i have grown to adore and respect not only for the fitful exuberance but also for the Indefatigable deftness in distilling soulful and picturesque emotion by the infallible sagacity in choice of words that eloquently succour the baroque and beguiling poems.

Thanks M ,

By the way this only of the poems from M rest assured 100’s more to come…..

​ Let’s Make an Example of Him, but Why ?

​ Let’s Make an Example of Him, but Why ?
Guys a quick question: Does anyone know the endangered status of blackbucks? Or the Indian White Rhino 🦏 or the Bengal Tiger 🐅 or the Indian Vulture?
Blackbucks’s have been the main focus of media because Salman Khan killed one ☝, but what about hundreds of other people involved in poaching of more endangered species than blackbucks.
Why don’t we hear about them?
Why we often pay more fodder for news involving celebs then that involving others.
Example:
    1. Sanjay Dutt’s Case: But what about hundreds of other politicians who carry guns bought from terror mongers. In fact, there were 19000 such cases in Gujarat alone. Why weren’t they made an example off?  Have you ever heard about Arup Bhuyan vs State of Assam case?
    2. Smoking in public places? [Which by the way is prohibited nationwide via a law passed on 2nd October 2008] Have we heard any cases other than ones involving celebrities? We see public smokers every day, but we don’t file a complaint against them, then why slammed case on Shahrukh, Ranbir or Salman?

     

    The only reason for this biased, I can think off is, that trashing celebs for their every action because they are famous and rich is cliche. And moreover, it provides a sense of superiority against them. chalo, hum isse se to aache hai [At least we are better than them in this aspect].
    Making an example out of someone is true but why can’t that person be a common man?
    To answer the first question, The endangered status of :
    1. The Blackbuck is the least concerned, same as that of a common crow.
    2. The White Indian rhino is venerable.
    3. The Bengal tiger is endangered and
    4. The Indian vultures are critically endangered.

​ The Good and The Bad, Leaders

​ The Good and The Bad, Leaders

In reality, there is no such thing as a good leader. Who is good and who is bad, mainly depends upon the context or the period in concern. One leader is good while the other one is bad, not because some leaders are monsters while others merciful. But because states don’t have interests, people do.

Everything in politics from war to foreign aid, to political dynasties to corruption, is all about survival and power, not about welfare or doing good for the society.

Always, remember bad behavior is almost always good politics.
After all, no king can be good, kind, or glorious if his royal subjects are poor.

Here are a few points that may help you make your own inference.

  • Political Generosity:
    It’s is not about strategy or purpose; it’s about benefits because power always begets Power. Political Generosity is merely a means to get the community or state to make choices and actions that they want.
    [examples: West Bengal’s Ruling parties, outrageous generosity to a specific community]
  • Good Governance and Policies:
    Why? do you think, it’s even a thing? Certainly, not because the leaders care about social justice and welfare, or out of the goodness of their hearts. They are so as to reward the blocks that get and keeps them in power.
    [examples: Right to Information Act. by UPA in India, A clean Ganga mission by almost every government since 1985 but virtually no result ever]
  • Altruism:
    Even if certain actions by ruling parties look altruistic, but leaders are not meant to be altruistic. It simply isn’t their bean stock. Instead, they must balance the interests of their keys to power no matter how big or small.
    [Examples: Demonetization in India, 100% allowance to Foreign Direct Investment by the ruling party which vehemently opposed the same when they were in opposition]
  • Citizen Welfare and Growth:
    It’s not because leaders in democracies are better people or even because their needs are aligned with a larger portion of the population. But because the things that make the citizens more productive in a democracy, also make the lives of their leaders better.

    Dictatorships have most of their wealth dug out of the ground, like gold or oil or diamonds which can be exploited even while keeping the citizens, outside the production cycle; hence, no need for welfare and concern for citizen growth. As a matter of fact, this will hold true even for democracies, if they were suddenly to stumble upon huge reserves of natural resources as decreed by the Natural Resource Curse principal.
    [Example: Communism in West Bengal or Odisha, The league of bad chief ministers in Jharkhand]

Image CC

 

The Daily Commute

It’s 2 am. I have to get up at 5 to go to my mundane job yet here I am rumbling about it to strangers. What to do? It’s one of those nights where my thought train is off the rails and to slow them down, I have to enter them into this obelisk with black mirror. I think that last cup of coffee at 12 is to blame for this insomniacal banter.

What the heck was I thinking, “Coffee” before bed?

But perhaps it’s the early onset of summer that’s more to blame. I so loathe this godforsaken noise machine, my ass of a fan. I am seriously missing the warmth of my blankets and silence of cold nights when I didn’t have to switch on this buzz kill. Ironically as the winter will approach, I will once again find it difficult to sleep without the white noise from it.

Isn’t it funny how we complain about things? Then miss, missing them once we have them.

hmmm…….
Interesting my thoughts and keystrokes are not syncing. As I type, my thoughts keep on bouncing off in another direction.

Here I am punching keys, lodging complaint against my fan while my thoughts crunch sleep span numbers. I guess, I better sleep now if I am to have at least 2.5 hours sleep instead of waking-up groggy for a job that I hate to being with. After all, I can always continue this blabber during my commute to the office.

Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz….Zzzz…

5:45 AM and am back, half asleep and already frustrated about the job. But what can we do, after all, money trumps all?

Anyways, I love the city at this time of the day. It’s all so serene. Ruffled only by a soothing cold morning breeze. Car rides at this irksome hours always make me feel like a vagabond.

As the car glides through the glistening streets with yellow tints of sodium lights, the windshield is crisscrossed by streaks of light from the lamp posts, drenching the insides in a rain of light, drawing eerie figurines on the face. The rumble of engine echoes away into the shimmering aura of dawn as the petrichor of morning dew rushes in through the gaps of the window creating a symphony of smell, titillating the soul. The soft transcendental music on the stereo adds flare to the morning mist, melting the ire into the proverbial bliss.

As the car approaches city limits, occasional sights of passers-by measuring the lonely streets and fitness enthusiasts throbbing to the beats give away to the evangelist cycling brigades. And as the car whizzes past this brigade it illuminates their path with the headlights gleaming off of lane reflectors, instigating an impromptu reaction, Let there be light.

When the car hits the bridge over the river, the whistling of the wind hitting the car is suddenly replaced by a rumpling roar as if the wind is knocking on your window to greet you with an exhilarating picturesque view.

A half-moon reflects on the murky river water at the fringes of the cityscape while the orange glow of sodium vapors diffuses with the molten silvery glow bouncing off the fleets of boats floating on the ebbing waters. While you hold your breath to wonder in awe, glorious moonbeams shower the earth in rays that cast out to touch the rocky surface overshadowing a distant and ominous pale orange glow of the vanishing cityscape on the horizon.

Overwhelmed by this glimpse of heaven, when you turn your head to the other window. Construction docks and a giant candle grabs your attention. The distant and muffled clickity-clack of industrial hammers shaping metal into giant engineering marvels irritates your auditory canal while the angry and raging flames like that of the mount Mordor lights up the other end of the bridge.

As soon as the car gets off the bridge; a distinct smell of burning sulfur jostles you into the mortal world from the realm of fairy tales. Once again you start hearing the honking of trucks and trailers overtaking while blindingly bright beams of light irradiate your corneas.

Your car is engulfed by a smog of pollution, looming over the highway acting as a translucent curtain blurring the hard lines of buildings while dancing incandescent dust particles trace path to the sources of light making them dance. [brownian motion, Tyndall effect, corpuscular rays etc. it’s all coming back to me].

This limited visibility and the death wish of random fools trying to cross the dimly lit road against the blinding light from headlights of oncoming traffic always gives an adrenaline rush and awakening your hidden talent as that of a speed racer.

As the car rolled-on to the overpass, the sun began to announce its reign. The bright street signs and billboard rivaling sun at night once again, gave their best shot at outshining him. The bluish black pallet of the night begins to surrender to the violets and reds of the dawn filling the sky and splashing the clouds with endless rays of pink. This pure scattered light and accompanying hues ambitiously began illuminating each crevice of the land.

But as the car descended to the bottom of the overpass, the bright and mesmerizing view inviting to stare, deep into the horizon got obscured only to reappear at the next overpass.

From the top of this overpass, distant and towering industrial complex shines as if it was wearing golden crowns and the green fields preceding its fences radiate bright tints of sun-kissed greens. Brilliant gold and orange hues bleed like fire as the first slither of the sun peek above the skyline, gradually raising to a defined circle on a vibrant backdrop of the pristine waters glittering like liquid gold in the reservoirs below the cooling towers of the power plant.

As the car once again descended to the bottom, the faint chirping of sparrows begin to intermingle with the chorus of industrial sirens when the chauffer squeaked, “Sir, we have arrived.”

Democracy: Utopia or Not? – The Debate

Before You Begin Read the Prelude here

Screenshot-2018-2-18 (10) How to recognize a dystopia - Alex Gendler - YouTube

Socrates compared democracy to a ship going on a voyage.

He argued, if you were to decide upon a captain of the ship, then how would you decide? Would you let anyone decide or perhaps, someone educated in the rules and demands of seafaring? Obviously, someone educated.

Vote

Then why do we think any odd person is fit to judge, who should be the ruler. Afterall, Voting is a skill unto itself, that should be taught systematically. If we let the masses vote without proper education, then they may very well, end up electing an imp as the captain of a ship heading into a storm.

But this doesn’t necessarily imply that only a select few should ever vote, instead only those who have thought about it rationally and deeply should vote. As it is written in arthashastra “One should not listen to the advice given by those ignorant of the science.”. Afterall there’s a distinction between intellectual democracy and democracy by birthright. A right which we have granted to all without thinking of the wisdom because we considered democracy as an unambiguous good, rather than something that is only ever good as the education system that surrounds it.

For example, if there were two candidates, a doctor, and a sweet seller. The seller would pitch “The doctor hurts you, gives you bitter potions and tells you what not to eat, He will never serve you feasts like me.”. Do you think the doctor will be able to defend himself by speaking the truth because the truth, “I hurt you to help you.” will cause an uproar.

Chanakya said, “A Nation is not built on good intentions. It is built on the knowledge, wisdom, and expertise of its leaders.”

And when we think about it, people rarely give time to think carefully and rationally before voting. They tend to go with populist opinions, not merit. As a result, we elected far too many sweet shop owner than doctors. These rabble-rousers eventually wreak fear above all, giving way to demagoguery. Demagogue’s who seek to exploit the fundamental weakness of democracy, its people.

How to Spot a Demagouge

  1. Look for these keywords in their speech :

    1. We can’t afford to wait or now is the time or we cannot wait for a discussion
    2. It’s a fact not a theory
    3. Tax breaks for the rich
    4. We have to change or make fair or “fairness” used in almost any context
    5. Healthcare/housing/food is a right, not a privilege
    6. We must take action now for those whom society has left behind
  2. They avoid using scientific arguments
  3. Try to win the sympathy of the audience by displaying emotional oratory and personal charisma, convincing people that they know what troubles them.
  4. Without any care for truth, they use plausible reasoning and Gross oversimplification to impress their audience
  5. They promise to make you happy by promising the impossible
  6. Personal insults and ridicule opponents, accusing them of weakness and disloyalty

They whip up the passions of the crowd by advocating immediate and forceful actions. Usually immediately without deliberations and self-restraint, shutting down reasoned deliberations to quickly sweep into power. And, bamboozled by their claims of representing the common people, the uninformed, ignorant, naive and beholden for easy answers, crowd ends up idolizing them. Revearing them as kings with heredity heirs; Heirs who are elected without deliberations or due-diligence.

Power

Plato said, “The world will not be right until kings, politicians, and voters become philosophers.”

But, even if politicians and voters become philosophers, they will still bow to the whims of power. After all, power determines who gets to determine the rules of the game. Though in a democracy power resides with the people; but when we really dig into it, who really has it seems dirty and almost evil; because what one wants to do with power depends upon how adept they are with power. Power is not about strategy or purpose; it’s about character and benefits because power begets more power. Power is not merely a means to get the community or state to make choices and actions that you want but without power, you can affect nothing.

We always consider power only comes from force or money. But it also comes from social norms or what other people think is okay. Such power is subtle and without a centralized machinery. It operates peer to peer and can certainly make people change behavior as well as laws [e.g: old segregation laws in USA or laws on homosexuality in India].

It’s true that in a well-designed democracy power is fractured among many. The power, taken not with force but with words by persuading thousands or millions of citizens, to if not like you, at least like you better than the alternatives. Yet, the source of this power, “the citizens” are not considered as individuals with individual desires, instead as blocks with different agendas, desires, and motivations. Block that the elected can reward as a group or blocks, who with their money or influence or favors can keep them in power. Why? do you think, democracies have wildly complicated laws and tax codes? These are no accident they are so to reward the blocks that get and keep the ruling representatives in power. Do you think subsidies have anything to do with the money, food or nations needs? If so, then why do countries where subsidized fractions, like farmers, votes don’t swing elections, don’t have subsidies. In fact in democracies, political minorities are always oppressed by the tyranny of the majority. For instance, as younger citizens don’t vote, even if large in number. They for all practical purposes are irrelevant to gaining power, so rarely any rewards are flung towards them.

Keys to Power

Once a party is chosen to power it’s longevity depends on the balance of power amongst their key players. The balance that can be maintained, by making it easier for their supporters to vote and harder for others; or by passing laws to favor their supporters and dilute others. Though it may seem implausible that rulers in democracy would need favors, other than those of citizens to be in power. But remember the players needed to choose, and those needed to rule or to be in power are totally different. As far as democracies are concerned, there are mainly three types of players; those who have the right to vote but not choose, aka the interchangeable; those who actually choose the leaders, aka the influentials; and finally, those on whose support the survival of the leaders depends, aka essentials.

Leaders must forge symbiotic relations within all three because more often than not, their money, influence, and favors keep them in power. After all, politics is nothing but politicians, trying to survive by hook or crook. Even if certain actions by ruling parties look altruistic [Demonetization in India, 2016] while, others contradictory and stupid [100% FDI or GST in India], but their job isn’t to have a consistent understandable ruling policy, instead to balance the interests of their keys to power, big and small. They can’t just promise to give them treasures directly, but they sure do create loopholes for their investments [2G Spectrum Auctions, India: $27 billionRef, The Rafale Deal, India :$162 millionRef] pass laws that they’ve written or print get-out-of-jail-free cards. They may not hande over a wheelbarrow of gold to their doors but, at least contracts for their business.

Since the real selectorate [influentials] is almost the same as the nominal selectorate [interchangables], and the coalition [essentials] pool is large, rulers in a democracy have to balance between social responsibilities and individual liberties such as education, healthcare, and a welfare safety net to benefit their supporters. And you thought, the leader cared about social justice and welfare out of the goodness of their hearts?

Well, actually they don’t. The truth is, the more productive citizens are, the larger is the treasure for representatives, and their supporters to loot from. But despite democratic representatives cutting into public funding, democracies are far better places to live than dictatorships. Not because democratic representatives are better people but because their needs happen to align with the larger portion of the population. After all, things that make the citizens more productive, also make the lives of their leaders better. Therefore they build universities, hospitals, highways and grant freedom. Whereas the incentives in a dictatorship are aligned with the fewest citizens, who are the keys to power, making them the worst to live in. For instance, all dictatorships have something in common, that is their wealth is mostly dug out of the ground, like gold or oil or diamonds or similar., which can be exploited even with dying slaves or foreign companies without any citizen involvement. So, with the citizens, outside the production cycle, they can be ignored by the rulers.

Threshold

To understand, what separates democracy from dictatorship, we must understand why only the best & smartest democracies and the worst & richest dictatorships are stable.

The best democracies are stable, not because a large number of supporters and their competing desires make dictatorial revolt impossible. But because such revolt would destroy the very wealth it intends to capture. The more educated and freer citizens of democracy understand the fact that, once a dictator is in power he is very much likely to cull key supporters of the coup. So, these potential supporters must weigh the probability of surviving the cull and getting the rewards versus the risk of being on the wrong side. Which is a terrible gamble, as they already have the resources and freedoms that people lack in other regimes, so why risk it [e.g: Turkey’s failed coup].

The more the wealth of a nation comes from its productive citizens the more the power is spread out. So, the ruler must maintain the quality of life for its citizens if he wants to remain in power. But, if the same democracy becomes very poor or a resource that dwarfs the productivity of its citizens is found then the odds change making it possible for a small group to seize power [e.g: zimbabwe]. You see, democracies fail not because some men are monsters while others merciful; after all, no king can be good, kind or glorious if his subjects are poor but because states don’t have interests, people do. Everything in politics, from war to foreign aid to political dynasties to corruption is about survival and power.

Resource-Rich dictators build roads only from their ports to the resources and from their palace to the airport and the people stay quiet. Not because this is fine or even because they’re scared, but because starving disconnected and illiterate don’t make good revolutionaries [e.g: North Korea, Iraq]. Whereas a middling dictator without resources has to take a large amount of wealth directly from his poor citizens, so he must maintain some minimums of life for the citizens. And keeping them somewhat connected and somewhat educated and somewhat healthy makes them more able to revolt [look at the two Congo’s in africa].

But understand this, people storming the gates and overthrowing their overlords is fantasy because people never replace the king, the court replaces the king using the people’s protest. The only reason people storm the palace and remove dictators is that the army lets them because the leader has lost control over his keys and is being replaced. In fact in almost all cases of revolts [like in middle east = Arab Spring] dictators were replaced with someone same if not worse, often ending in a stronger ruler less likely to build bridges and more loyal to his keys who put him there [e.g: Iran].

Conclusion

Agreed, there is no “perfect democracy”, and democracies have their strong and weak points, but in comparison to other regime types, democracies tend to provide the most checks on the authority of government while providing the most protection of the civil rights and liberties of individuals. For rulers come in many forms and the rules of politics apply to all and explain their actions and If you ever want the change you dream about, then you cannot ignore structures of power because without power you can affect nothing.

All in all, you be the judge, whether a democracy is a utopia or not? One man’s utopia can be someone’s dystopia, aptly portrayed in 1997 – Gattaca and 2002 – Equilibrium. We the citizens of the democracy do enjoy many liberties but are much more ignorant of the power structures and laws that govern them. The book: “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics” if not the best, one of the best books on politics. I have got an audiobook if you want you too can download it from here.

Reference :

  1. Socrates : The School of Life
  2. Power : Ted-Ed
  3. Rules for Rulers : CPGrey
  4. The Dictator’s Handbok by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, Alastair Smith
  5. How to Spot a Demagouge