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Posted on 1st November 2014
The Shang had strength in numbers and unity of purpose. But like we’ve seen so many times before, when a small group betrays the trust of the rest of the group, perversion of the Truth shortly follows.
Among the Shang, their highly ordered way of life required a ruling class to manage the society on a grand scale. The rulers of the Shang were invested with supreme political control, and were also the focal points of their oracular religion. This was a well-constructed bargain. A Shang King wielded enormous power over millions, but was also required to undergo tremendous personal sacrifice – sometime even their lives. As long as this elite maintain fidelity to Shang Truth, they would prosper.
But after flourishing for centuries, bands of the Shang elite grew jealous. They only saw the King’s power, and not the cost of it. And so they conspired to put one of their own on the throne. Once there, he attempted to turned the Shang away from the Truth. But the people would not allow it this betrayal. The resulting civil war weakened the Shang, allowing the neighboring Zhou to smash the Shang into pieces.
The Zhou set up their own dynasty in place of the Shang, paying lip service to their principles. But in reality, the Zhou perverted Shang Truth into a society of brutal repression. They copied the structure of rigid order, but used it as a mechanism of control. Now, the society existed only to enrich the elite.
The lesson here is clear - only invest power in those who are willing to shoulder the burdens of all.