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 OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW Alexander the Great had a dominant passion as a young man-an intense dislike for his father, King Philip of Macedonia...

 OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW Alexander the Great had a dominant passion as a young man-an intense dislike for his father, King Philip of Macedonia. He hated Philip's cunning, cautious style of ruling, his bombastic speeches, his drinking and whoring, and his love of wrestling and of other wastes of time. Alexander knew he had to make hirnself the very opposite of his domineering father: He would force hirnself to be bold and reckless, he would control his tongue and be a man of few words, and he would not lose precious time in pursuit of pleasures that brought no glory. Alexander also resented the fact that Philip had conquered most of Greece: "My father will go on conquering till there is nothing extraordinary left for me to do," he once complained. While other sons of powerful men were content to inherit wealth and live a life of leisure, Alexander wanted only to outdo his father, to obliterate Philip's name from history by surpassing his accomplishments. Alexander itched to show others how superior he was to his father. A Thessalian horse-dealer once brought a prize horse named Bucephalus to seIl to Philip. None of the king's grooms could get near the horse--it was far too savage-and Philip berated the merchant for bringing him such a useless be ast. Watching the whole affair, Alexander scowled and COffimented, "What a horse they are losing for want of skill and spirit to manage hirn!" When he had said this several times,

 Philip had finally had enough, and challenged hirn to take on the horse. He called the merchant back, secretly hoping his son would have a nasty fall and leam a bitter lesson. But Alexander was the one to teach the lesson: Not only did he mount Bucephalus, he managed to ride hirn at full gallop, taming the horse that would later carry hirn all the way to India. 

The courtiers applauded wildly, but Philip seethed inside, seeing not a son but a riyal to his power. Alexander's defiance of his father grew bolder. One day the two men had a heated argument before the entire court, and Philip drew his sword as if to strike his son; having drunk too much wine, however, the king stumbled. Alexander pointed at his father and jeered, "Men of Macedonia, see there the man who is preparing to pass from Europe to Asia. He cannot pass from one table to another without falling." When Alexander was eighteen, a disgruntled courtier murdered Philip. As word of the regicide spread through Greece, city after city rose up in rebellion against their Macedonian rulers. Philip's advisers counseled Alexander, now the king, to proceed cautiously, to do as Philip had done and conquer through cunning. But Alexander would do things his way: He marched to the furthest reaches of the kingdom, suppressed the rebellious towns, and reunited the empire with brutal efficiency. As a young rebel grows older, his struggle against the father often wanes, and he gradually comes to resemble the very man he had wanted to defy.

 But Alexander' s loathing of his father did not end with Philip' s death. Once he had consolidated Greece, he set his eyes on Persia, the prize that had eluded his father, who had dreamed of conquering Asia. If he defeated the Persians, Alexander would finally surpass Philip in glory and fame. Alexander crossed into Asia with an army of 35,000 to face a Persian force numbering over a million. Before engaging the Persians in battle he passed through the town of Gordium. Here, in the town's main temple, there stood an ancient chariot tied with cords made of the rind of the cornel tree. Legend had it that any man who could undo these cords--the Gordian knot-would rule the world. Many had tried to untie the enormous and intricate knot, but none had succeeded. Alexander, seeing he could not possibly untie the knot with his bare hands, took out his sword and with one slash cut it in half. This symbolic ge sture showed the world that he would not do as others, but would blaze his own path. Against astounding odds,

 Alexander conquered the Persians. Most expected hirn to stop there-it was a great triumph, enough to secure his farne for etemity. But Alexander had the same relationship to his own deeds as he had to his father: His conquest of Persia represented the past, and he wanted never to rest on past triumphs, or to allow the past to outshine the present. He moved on to India, extending his empire beyond all known limits. Only his disgruntled and weary soldiers prevented hirn from going farther. Interpretation Alexander represents an extremely uncommon type in history: the son of a famous and successful man who manages to surpass the father in glory and power.

 The reason this type is uncommon is simple: The father most often manages to amass his fortune, his kingdom, because he begins with little or nothing. A desperate urge impels hirn to succeed-he has nothing to lose by cunning and impetuousness, and has no famous father of his own to compete against. This kind of man has reason to believe in himself-to believe that his way of doing things is the best, because, after all, it worked for hirn. When a man like this has a son, he becomes domineering and oppressive, imposing his lessons on the son, who is starting off life in circumstances totally different from those in which the father hirns elf began. the study ofhis profession. After painting had become second nature to him, Pietro's only pleasure was always to be w(Jrking in his aaft ami constantly to be painting. And because he always had the dread of poverty be]!Jre his eyes, he did things to make money which he probably would not have bothered to do had he not been fon'ed to support himse/! Perhaps wealth would have closed to him and his ta/ent the path to excellence just as poverty had opened it up to him, bllt need spurred him on sinee he desired to rise from such a miserable and lowly position-if not perhaps 10 the summit and supreme heighl of excellence, Ihen al least to a point where he could have enough to live on, For this reamn, he took no notice of cold, hunger, discomfort, inconvenience, toil or shame if he could only live one day in ease and repose; and he would always say-and as if it were a proverbthat after bad weather, good weather must follow, and that during the good weather houses must be buill for shelter in times oI need, L1VES OE THE ARTISTS, GIORGIO VASARI, 1 5l l-1574 LAW 41 351 THf: PHOBLE\1 OF PA I 'I. \IOHI'I IY The sfightest aequaintanee with ehess shows one that it is a playsubstitute Jor the art oJ war and indeed it has been a Javorite recreation oJsome oJthe greatest military leaders, Jrom William the Conquemr to Napoleon. In the contest between the opposing armies the same principles oJ both strategy and tacties are displayed as in aetual war, the same Joresight and powers oJ caleulation are neeessary, the same capacity Jor divining the plans oJthe opponent, and the rigor with wh ich decisions are Jollowed by their eonsequences is, if an ything, even more ruthless. More than that, it is plain that the uneonscious motive actuating the players is not the mere love oJ pugnaeity characteristic oJ all competitive games, but the grimmer one of father-murder. It is true that the original goal of eapturing the king has been given "p, but from the point of view oJ motive there is, except in respeet oJ crudity, not appreciable change in the present goal of sterilizing him in immobility .... "Checkmate " means literally "the king is dead. " ... Our knowledge of fhe unconsciou,\' motivation of chess-playing teils us that what it represented could only have been the wish to overcome the father in an acceplable way .... It is no doubl signiji352 LAW 41 Instead of allowing the son to go in a new direction, the father will try to put hirn in his own shoes, perhaps secretly wishing the boy will fail, as Philip halfwanted to see Alexander thrown from Bucephalus_ Fathers envy their sons' youth and vigor, after all, and their desire is to control and dominate_ The sons of such men tend to become cowed and cautious, terrified of losing what their fathers have gained. 

The son will never step out of his father's shadow unless he adopts the ruthless strategy of Alexander: disparage the past, create YOUf own kingdom, put the father in the shadows instead of letting hirn do the same to you. If you cannot materially start from ground zero-it would be foolish to renounce an inheritance-you can at least begin from ground zero psychologically, by throwing off the weight of the past and charting a new direction. Alexander instinctively recognized that privileges of birth are impediments to power. Be merciless With the past, then-not only with your father and his father but with your own earlier achievements_ Only the weak rest on their laureis and dote on past triumphs; in the game of power there is never time to rest KEYS TO POWER In many ancient kingdoms, for example Bengal and Sumatra, after the king had ruled for several years his subjects would execute hirn. This was done partly as a ritual of renewal, but also to prevent hirn from growing too powerful-for the king would generally try to establish a permanent order, at the expense of other families and of his own sons. Instead of protecting the tribe and leading it in times of war, he would attempt to dominate it. And so he would be beaten to death, or executed in an elaborate ritual. Now that he was no longer around for his honors to go to his head, he could be worshipped as a god_ Meanwhile the field had been cleared for a new and youthful order to establish itself. The ambivalent, hostile attitude towards the king or father figure also finds expression in legends of heroes who do not know their father. Moses, the archetyp al man of power, was found abandoned among the bulrushes and never knew his parents; without a father to compete with hirn or limit hirn, he could attain the heights of power. Hercules had no earthly fatherhe was the son of the god Zeus. Later in his life Alexander the Great spread the story that the god Jupiter Ammon had sired hirn, not Philip of Macedon_ Legends and rituals like these eliminate the human father because he symbolizes the destructive power of the past The past prevents the young hero from creating his own world-he must do as his father did, even after that father is dead or powerless. The hero must bow and scrape before his predecessor and yield to tradition and precedent What had success in the past must be carried over to the present

, even though circumstances have greatly changed. The past also weighs the hero down with an inheritance that he is terrified of losing, making hirn timid and cautious. Power depends on the ability to fill a void, to occupy a field that has been cleared of the dead weight of the past. Only after the father figure has been properly done away with will you have the necessary space to create and establish a new order. There are several strategies you can adopt to accomplish this-variations on the execution of the king that disguise the violence of the impulse by channeling it in socially acceptable forms. Perhaps the simplest way to escape the shadow of the past is simply to belittle it,

 playing on the timeless antagonism between the generations, stirring up the young against the old. For this you need a convenient older figure to pillory. Mao Tse-tung, confronting a culture that fiercely resisted change, played on the suppressed resentment against the overbearing presence of the venerable Confucius in Chinese culture. John F. Kennedy knew the dangers of getting lost in the past; he radically distinguished his presidency from that of his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and also from the preceding decade, the 1950s, which Eisenhower personified. Kennedy, for instance, would not play the dull and fatherly game of golfa symbol of retirement and privilege, and Eisenhower's passion. Instead he played football on the White House lawn. In every aspect his administration represented vigor and youth, as opposed to the stodgy Eisenhower. Kennedy had discovered an old truth: The young are easily set against the old, since they yearn to make their own place in the world and resent the shadow of their fathers

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