Giambattista Vico on Anacyclosis and the Cycle of Collapse
Giambattista Vico is a very strong proponent of the monarchy forms of governance (rule by one). Still, his insight on anacyclosis is useful.
The monarchical form was introduced in accordance with this eternal natural royal law, felt by all the nations which recognize in Augustus the founder of the Roman monarchy. … Pomponius, in his brief history of Roman law, discussing the royal law of which we speak, described it for us in the wellconsidered phrase: rebus ipsis dictantibus, regna condita “kingdoms were founded at the dictation of things themselves”.
This natural royal law is conceived under this natural formula of eternal utility: Since in the free commonwealths all look out for their own private interests, into the service of which they press their public arms at the risk of ruin to their nations, to preserve the latter from destruction a single man must arise, as Augustus did at Rome, and take all public concerns by force of arms into his own hands, leaving his subjects free to look after their private affairs and after just so much public business, and of just such kinds, as the monarch may entrust to them. Thus are the peoples saved when they would otherwise rush to their own destruction. In this truth the professors of modern law concur when they say that universitates sub rege habentur loco privatorum–“corporations are treated as private persons under the king”–because the majority of the citizens no longer concern themselves with the public welfare. Tacitus, most learned in the natural law of nations, points out as much in his Annals within the family of the Caesars itself, by this order of human civil ideas: As the death of Augustus became imminent, pauci bona libertatis incassum disserere–“a few spoke in vain of the blessings of liberty”; as soon as Tiberius came, omnes principis iussa ad spectare–“all looked to the commands of the emperor”; under the three subsequent Caesars first came incuria or indifference and finally ignorantia reipublicae tanquam alienae, ignorance of public affairs as something foreign. Thus, as the citizens have become aliens in their own nations, it becomes necessary for the monarchs to sustain and represent the latter in their own persons. Now in free commonwealths if a powerful man is to become monarch the people must take his side, and for that reason monarchies are by nature popularly governed: first through the laws by which the monarchs seek to make their subjects all equal; then by that property of monarchies whereby sovereigns humble the powerful and thus keep the masses safe and free from their oppressions; further by that other property of keeping the multitude satisfied and content as regards the necessaries of life and the enjoyment of natural liberty; and finally by the privileges conceded by monarchs to entire classes (called privileges of liberty) or to particular persons by awarding extraordinary civil honors to men of exceptional merit (these being singular laws dictated by natural equity). Hence monarchy is the form of government best adapted to human nature when reason is fully developed, as we have said before.[i]
Vico is right in many contexts, but has lacked the historical insight of the twentieth century in regards to the damage that rule by one’s can cause and the inability for certain populations to truly “take his [the one’s] side” to be popularly governed.
For our use, what Vico uncovered was the fact that the average citizen that only looks out for their own private interests is the problem, which is certainly true. Individualism is a plague that destroys families and communities.
Our idea aims to correct this glaring issue with rule by many systems, without having to resort to trying to stabilize a rule by one (authoritarian) approach.
[i] Giambattista Vico. The New Science. 1725.