The “dear leader” of North Korea, Kim Jong-il is dead. The dictator could not control his own heart condition. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn’t put the dear leader together again. Although he was feared by the people, I think Kim Jong-il was feeble as a man, deep down. And perhaps he knew that himself.
As everybody knows, dictatorship is a kind of defense mechanism. The very concept of a political power suggests a dependency on others, in a big way. If you don’t have other people, on whom can you exercise your earthly powers? It is not very much fun to be a dictator, if there is only one people (you!) in the nation. As a dictator you depend on your people. So much so, that it becomes a dangerous addiction before long.
Reports suggest that when Kim Jong-il succeeded his father Kim Il-sung, he was not sure of his power base. He judged, correctly, that the military was to be the key for securing power. He went on with his business of strengthening the military. The nuclear weapon, the missiles, and the rest is now history. After all, these were manifestations of the defense instinct of a feeble man, who was dependent on his people for his very existence.
At this point, I should say that there is a completely different mechanism that could be taken by a fragile existence.
Take the painting of Mona Lisa by Leonard da Vinci, on display in the Louvre in Paris, for example. As a physical entity, it is very fragile. It has no means of defending itself. If an evil will wishes to destroy it and set it on fire, it can easily do so. However, the extreme beauty of the Mona Lisa has been the strong defense machinery which has preserved the painting over the centuries. And it will be preserved thus, for all eventualities, in the centuries to come.
So here is the spectrum of self-defense for you. On one extreme, you have dictatorship, nuclear weapons, and the missiles. On the other, you have beauty. What a bewilderingly complex and enigmatic world we live in.
Kim Jong-il, 16 February 1941 – 17 December 2011 (image from Wikipedia)
Mona Lisa, circa 1503–1519 to …. (image from Wikipedia)