Thursday, April 7, 2016, 11am-12:30pm: Lecture
In this lecture, we discussed the Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus.
We discussed a list of key terms from the reading. Most of these terms involved the terms with philo-.
We discussed ruling powers mentioned in the opening paragraph of the Education of Cyrus. We then vaguely discussed the question, how is it possible to rule over others. I think this is an important question and is one that we haven’t discussed in this class yet. I think it is an interesting question because often when people discuss leadership they discuss traits of leadership or the actions of leaders, but to ask how do leaders’ followers allow themselves to be lead is an important question. As it says in the reading, man is not meant to be ruled by man. I think this is partly true. I think it is more that man is not willing to be lead by man and is therefore not able to be lead. I think it is very difficult for people to be lead and I’m not quite sure why.
We discussed a little bit about the Scythians. The Scythians were a group that controlled a lot of lang but couldn’t organize. This reminded me of the Dothraki tribe in Game of Thrones. Although they had a lot of land and were feared by many, they did not have any government and even they way they chose rulers was arbitrary.
Throughout the show, Khaleesi or Daenerys tries to rule the Dothraki but it does not work. The problem she runs into is the fact that the Dothraki do not wish to be ruled and so few stay and the majority abandon her on her journey. This is very different from the way the Unsullied treat her. The Unsullied is an army that is made up of slaves and when Daenerys grants them their freedom they choose to serve and be ruled by her instead.
These two videos bring to question what does it take to get people to allow themselves to be ruled. In Daenery’s case I believe the Unsullied followed her for two reasons, one because they feared life outside of the army since it was all they knew and two because she had shown them compassion and they trusted her.
The reading goes on to discuss this question and says that a good leader requires three loves.
The love of man or philanthropia.
The love of learning or philomatheia.
The love of honor of philotimia.
I think the key of these loves is the love of man. I think with love rulers can get away with a lot of things and convince people to follow them.
I think that Daenerys is a great example of these three loves and is very much like Cyrus. She is a beautiful woman with many talents and good traits. She loves people, she is willing to learn new things, and she desperately wants to take back her rightful throne in King’s Landing. Daenerys also has a strong sense of justice even to the point that people are angered by her.
In the end, Daenerys doesn’t have as great of luck as Cyrus at leading but I’m hoping that things will get better for her and she will be able to take more control and be loved like Cyrus is.
Saturday, April 9th, 2016, 3pm-6pm: Reading
After class, I began to ask myself why these three loves matter so much in a ruler. I think loving people is important because without love rulers tend to be psychopathic. They use people as instruments and do not treat them as people. As history has shown, people do not respond well to being treated less than human. Also, dehumanizing people creates a dangerous world and I don’t believe the rulers should make the world and society worse.
I think a love of learning is important because it implies progression. Many of the problems that happen in the world are caused by ignorance. A lot of issues have been surrounding the anti-transgender laws being passed in North Carolina. I believe a reason for the conservative push for this law is because conservatives tend to not enjoy learning. They don’t like to learn about new issues and new people. They don’t broaden their minds and progress with the times. These cause serious problems in a world that is ever changing. I also think that in a world where technology is a huge aspect of our everyday lives, leaders that are unable to learn and utilize technology will be left in the dust.
I think the love of honor is a strange trait. I always view things like honor and glory as unnecessary. I also feel like the need to be recognized and receive glory can be very distracting. For many people though, glory or honor is what encourages them to do their best and that type of motivation can be very powerful. I also think leaders that desire glory for themselves often receive glory for their people as well and that can be very attractive for many people. I have mentioned him in previous journals, but Pablo Escobar had a strong love of honor and he wanted to bring honor to himself by bringing honor to the country of Columbia. Many poor Columbians loved Escobar because they felt that he would bring honor to Columbia. Instead he only really made himself rich and disgraced Columbia. I think it is important to understand that a love of honor can be great for a leader and their followers but can also cause many problems, it is definitely a fine line.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 11am-12:30pm: Lecture
In this lecture we discussed three questions regarding leadership and the Education of Cyrus.
How should a leader handle envy within themselves?
How does/should a leader handle envy from others?
How does a leader handle envy among others?
I found it very interesting that we discussed envy in this class and I realized that a reason why humans don’t like being ruled could be tied to envy.
Envy is such a strong human emotion that can cause a lot of problems when left unchecked.
We discussed how envy is seen throughout the Education of Cyrus. One thing we discussed about envy was how much of the envy seen in the Education of Cyrus came from a feeling of entitlement that people felt over another. In the case of the Armenian king this sense of entitlement and envy led to him murdering another person. This reminded me of a recent murder case involving envy and entitlement.
Jodi Arias killed her ex-boyfriend because he started talking to another woman after they broke up. She was very insecure and became angry after the separated. Her feelings of entitlement over him, even after they broke up led to her murdering him. Many people say that Jodi Arias was just a crazy person who snapped, but I don’t think that she was crazy in a psychological sense. I think that Arias really believed that her ex-boyfriend, Travis, was hers to have and that she was justified in killing him. This is another story in which envy left unchecked caused huge problems.
Wednesday, April 13, 5pm-9pm: Reading
In class on Tuesday, we discussed envy in the Education of Cyrus. I think envy is a very interesting emotion that many people don’t like to admit they feel. In lecture Tuesday, we discussed three questions involving envy and leadership and I have been reflecting on these questions and their implications in the Education of Cyrus.
The first question was how should a leader handle envy within themselves?
I think this is a very important question and I would like to find the answer. in the Education of Cyrus, Cyrus seems to use his envy as a motivator. It seems as if when he feels envious of someone he uses his philomatheia and just tries to learn and perfect himself. I think this is a good way of handling envy and making sure that it doesn’t become a problem within your life. For me, envy is an emotion I feel constantly. From a young age I felt envious of everyone around me because of their money. I grew up in a poor household, but I went to pretty wealthy schools all my life. Sometimes I was made fun of because of my clothes, toys, school supplies, etc. I always envied my classmates for the things that they had. This envy pushed me to pretend that I had money, so when I got to high school I got a job and quickly began spending money on nice clothes so people would think I had money. I still find myself feeling like I need to overcompensate because of my envy. Today, I feel envy, mostly, for students that are doing better in school than I am. I really envy people that have amazing GPAs because I really wish my GPA wasn’t as terrible as it is. I want to learn how I can keep this envy from making me feel bad about myself and how I can turn this envy into a positive motivator to help me increase my GPA before I graduate from Howard. I think Cyrus’ use of envy showed how I can use envy and how I should surround myself with the people I envy to help me learn how to achieve the things they have. I think that will not only help me be better, but will also help me overcome my envy.
The next question I thought about was how does/should a leader handle envy from others? This is such an important question and such an important task that faces leaders. In high school, I ran against four students for student body vice president. I won vice president, but I had to work with the four students I beat out. Two of the four students were very angry I won and made sure I knew it for the entire year. I’m actually proud to say that I handled their envy very well. I worked really hard to make them feel like I respected them and like they were an important member of student government. By the end of the year, the two students still didn’t really like me, but their envy wasn’t able to cause problems within the student government. Although they didn’t like me, I felt like the other students that I led show how I handled these two and had a lot of respect for me because of it. I actually won MVP for the year, which was voted on by the entire student government. This was a very important lesson in my life that taught me a lot about envy. Unfortunately, I did not apply this lesson my senior year when I lost the student body president race. Instead, I became very envious of the president and did everything I could to derail her. She treated me with kindness, but my envy never went away and in the end everyone’s respect for me went out the window. Like I said, envy is a very strong emotion.
The last question was how does a leader handle envy among others. I think this is a very important question and one that we see a lot throughout the Education of Cyrus. Cyrus acts as a judge in many situations throughout the Education of Cyrus and we see how he judges people based on their envy. Cyrus, to me, does not seem to have a consistent view on envy. The way he treats envy in the Assyrian king verses how he treats envy in the Armenian king are very different. In the Armenian king, Cyrus forgives his envy and excuses his behavior because of his envy. I personally don’t think that killing someone because of envy is excusable and I really disagree with Cyrus. Cyrus also deals with the Armenian king’s envy and pride by beating him up which humbles him. I do think that humbling those that are prideful and envious is important, but I don’t know if I think that physical punishment is the best way to do that. I think humility is a very strong emotion, as strong as envy and once someone feels humility they can’t feel envy. With the Assyrian king, Cyrus is not as forgiving of his envy and even says that his envy is not a justification for his actions. I think that because of this inconsistency it is hard to look at Cyrus for guidance on this question because it is not clear what Cyrus would do and what would or wouldn’t work. I think envy comes in many different forms and is created for many different reasons so dealing with envy needs to be done on a case by case basis. I do think evoking feelings of humility can rid people of envy, but getting someone to feel humility is very tricky and is different for everyone. I think trying to make someone feel humble can be very tricky because sometimes it can backfire and make someone feel more prideful, envious, and bitter.