Augustus was given his title of "The Revered One" in 27 BCE by the Senate...and now that you know the REAL story, you also know that the Senate had little choice in the matter. Just or no, Augustus had unparalleled power and did do some good with it. He rebuilt Rome, created an official police force, courier system (aka post office), fire guard, army, navy and built roads that are still used today. Of course, HE didn't really do all that--all he did was use the back-breaking free labor of slaves, his military muscle to "convince" people to take on various jobs, and, to pay the necessary taxes to make it all happen. That's right. Taxes. Augustus wasn't just the first Roman Emperor, he was also one of the first rulers to develop a system of taxation.
But isn't it possible for a tyrant to also be kind and democratic? For an abuser to also be loving and supportive? Of course. All is possible within the human heart. But one who acts badly cannot be truly good without being consistent. And there lies the rub.
How many do you know who fit this dualistic conundrum? You have a friend, a family member, a lover, or a colleague who seems to have a split personality; kind and respectful in one moment, and in the next, a real nightmare. We may want to believe that the good in all people is stronger than it sometimes is, but we're only hurting ourselves when we choose to ignore the obvious. The thing is, a truly good person would be consistently good--not always patient perhaps, but still, good. When you have those individuals who seem to be almost two different people in their behavior, what you really have isn't a conflicted individual but a mediocre actor.
Indecision isn't what I'm talking about here. It's about a person who, out of one side of their mouth sings your praises while out of the other, tears you down...kind of like the first Caesar. "Oh, aren't those Senators great--they just awarded me the title of Augustus..I love those guys...," yet the next day, he'd easily send some of his Praetorian Guard to go break some Senate-neck. Scary. But not psychotic. That's kind of an excuse we offer when we don't want to admit we've been fooled. Like in poker--it's a lot like life. We think we see one thing and when we're wrong, we can lose big time. To save face, we pretend that the other person or persons who fooled us "didn't seem to be" whatever we HOPED them to be. When all it really adds up to is that the other person had a really good poker-face.
So keep that little life-lesson in mind as we move through the month of August, named after a "great" man whose greatness was only defined by the ruthless power he held over others. It was like he had a permanent royal flush...or august flush, if you prefer.
And don't take this wrong way--like emulating that kind of behavior can get you where you want to go, because no matter how history records your actions, the truth is out there. If you're a jerk, you'll always be a jerk. And people like me will see it, know it, and tell others. Though the rewards seem smaller, trust me, being a "good" person is the wild card in your hand. Five of a KIND always beats a royal flush...and by KIND, I don't just mean grace in friendship and language, I mean consistency--the type that corrupt power will ALWAYS lose to. Even if, sometimes, history tends to leave out that small detail of truth....
Enjoy your final weeks of summer! Head to the ocean one last time, swim in its depths, refresh and renew yourself for the FALL. Ironically, you may find yourself being offered more apples than you want to recognize. ;)
Until next time, dearest readers!