Survival, Evolution and Effectiveness of Dynasties: The House of David

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Pablo Edronkin

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In order to maintain a position of leadership a dynasty can be created; those dynasties that are successful can survive for hundreds or even thousands of years. But in order to achieve that it is necessary to think in very long terms, something that ambitious leaders are rarely able to do since they are essentially selfish.

An ambitious individual seeks personal satisfaction thorough power, but creating a dynasty consists in the perpetuation and survival of power not for personal use, because it is meant to exist long before the death of the self-centred leader and hence, that person will never be able to enjoy the fruits of that vision. Thus, personal ambition and dynasties are not entirely compatible. Neither are reckless ambition and leadership.

This will determine how or whether a leader will be capable of continuing or creating a dynasty. A leader that is self-made will have to learn and understand the value of having a dynasty. A leader that has inherited a position usually will be educated on that particular aspect.

Perspectives on merit:

Thorough the history of civilization, two points of view emerged to value individual merit versus inheritance: In some societies, personal merit doesn't count at all. No matter what you achieve, if you were born on a "bad" family, you will never get away from your lowly origins. In such societies, being born in the "right" family means that even perfect idiots would get in life far more than what they would get by themselves, often at the expense of others.

Due to abuses of true oligarchies, mainly but not exclusively in the Western culture, the opposite view became fashionable. Now personal merit counts more than anything else and succession in all forms is discouraged and even punished. Take for example, inheritance taxes.

However, this is a false dichotomy because both ways of understanding merit have their own advantages and disadvantages. These days society tends to emphasize the good aspects of personal merit and forget the good aspects of the dynastic development of merit and power. It is also socially acceptable to consume and constantly renew, forgetting that "old" things are not necessarily bad, and sometimes they really add value.

Thus, now is a good opportunity to reassess the situation because due to dogma, valuable resources and possibilities are being neglected.

The problem of a modern leader in this regard is that the systems of power employed today stress rotation in office as a very important concept. Some leaders that reach power within such a system might begin to see the advantages of a dynasty as a means of keeping the power that they have attained.

However, in most cases they fail because they do not understand how from such a paradigm they might construct something entirely different. And the first misunderstanding that they suffer is the belief that by changing the rules (by-laws, charters, laws, constitutional documents, etc.) they might become autocrats. That usually fails, horribly.

A dynasty means having power to get the power, not continuous office. So, anyone interested in building one should begin by accepting the fact that it is impossible to stay in office forever because that breeds discontent and failure. Even modern monarchies have solved this problem by creating the office of the Prime Minister.

The life cycle of power

Reaching the top in any activity is certainly meritorious, but there is an essential difference between an entrepreneurial leader that constructs his power base in such a way, and another that inherits at least par of what he has because he forms part of a dynasty.

In commerce, politics, knowledge creation and of course, religion, power is the source of energy and motivation to achieve many goals, and it is axiomatic that sensing this, most leaders seek to keep it. The difference between a selfish leader, and someone who leads but is no selfish lies in the time lapse in which they can expect to conserve power and survive: Generally speaking, selfish leaders not only will not think seriously about the future except to pamper their egos, but will also make many mistakes that ultimately will destroy their own power base and themselves.

Hitler and Napoleon are good examples of selfish leaders: They both caused their own destruction, but both had superficial dynastic thoughts. Napoleon crowned himself as emperor, while Hitler dreamed about a Reich lasting a thousand years. In both cases these thoughts implied the creation of dynasties because the time involved exceeded the life expectancy of single individuals.

But in both cases these were only pipe dreams because one of the essential requisites for the formation and survival over time of a dynasty is that those individuals that become subject to the power of the dynastic rulers must not become fed up with their leaders. That is, it is almost impossible to build a dynasty and keep it in power by bloodshed and violence, by imposition. Successful dynasties have nothing to do with autocracy.

Even if in the beginning the ambitious leader obtains victories in a blitz, and if the conquest is abundant, there will not be any difference in the end: We should ad to the examples already commented, those of Alexander the Great and the Mongols. None of the empires such leaders created lasted for long, even if their military power appeared unbeatable at one time.

The life of a leader is always finite while power isn't necessarily mortal. For this reason, leaders seek to transmit power to their descendants, to their same families or clans, The question is whether they succeed or not.

The worse case scenario would be that power would not be transmitted from one successful generation to the next one. This occurs in many cases because the sons or daughters or successors – if they exist - of a given leader do not share the same views and interests, or if power is enforced brutally, and hence simply don't care or even dislike the use of power. And if there are successors interested in inheriting power, fighting will erupt many times and they will probably destroy each other, like it happened after the death of Alexander the Great.

In other cases, training might succeed for a while and so, a few generations after a leader might be able to keep power. But the problem of training as a paradigm is that in order to train an otherwise uninterested son or daughter, a leader will require that he or she should be of a somewhat weak character. This will turn against them once they become leaders. So, any dynasty based on mandatory or convenient training might last for a while, and then it will disappear unless profound changes occur. This was the case of Henry Ford and his immediate successors.

A third alternative consists in elimination: A successor simply performs a "putsch" against the current leader. Sometimes the leader is ousted, in other cases exiled, and sometimes even murdered. History is plenty of such cases. The method, aside from the fact that it is entirely questionable, has a serious downfall: fighting inside the dynasty weakens it, and in many cases such intestine wars cause the downfall of the house.

None of the methods already mentioned guarantees the survival of a dynasty, but there is a fourth alternative, and that is to construct a system of behaviour among the members of the leader's family or clan that will produce emulation. That is, the future successors will tend to behave on their own as leaders and assume their duties based on the same set of rules or values that are used by their fathers and ancestors. Succession, in this case, should be clearly defined and of there is thirst or lust for power, things will not work.

The mother of all dynasties

Despite that it is not a secret few people know it, but there is actually one dynasty that has been successful by emulation for at least for thousand years: The House of David, the ancient Jewish aristocracy. This is arguably the best example of a well-designed dynasty.

Historians and genealogists still debate how has the House of David managed to survive up to this day, and if its current representatives – or those that claim to be – are true descendants of King David of Israel. But for all practical purposes the House of David is very much alive and has a tangible impact on the world since its existence has been taken for real both by Jews and others. In brief, it is assumed that the members of the House of David are the descendants of the ancient king much as a modern Pope is assumed to be a descendant of Peter. Current evidence suggests that, but still does not confirm all the facts.

To start with, the Israelite royalty and its descendants up to this day constitute along with the Kohanim and Leviim a fairly endogamic group. Thorough centuries, people portraying titles such as HaMelekh, HaNasi, HaLevi and HaCohen married into each other's families. This process has been regulated and checked by Rabbis for centuries. We should just remember that Kohanim are subjected to very strict succession and behavioural rules. This lineage extends back to the time of the Jews in Egypt. Records and memories are kept ever since, up to this day, according to the supporters of the dynasty.

The problem, as viewed by modern science and thought, is that after such a long time it is very difficult if not impossible to cross check those records with other sources, since not many are known to have survived and hence, so far it has been impossible to dispel all kinds of doubt. However, Rabbis are the ones that back the notion of the existence of the House of David, and this has been so thorough thousands of years. Considering that at stake are the bases of the Jewish religion, they would not treat historic and religious figures such as Moses and King David lightly. That would be akin to undermining the concept of the existence of Jesus in the Christian world.

King David was himself a descendant of Moses, according to the Bible. DNA tests confirm the existence of a common ancestor around the time in which the nineteenth century of Egyptian Pharaos began, which is the time when Moses apparently lived: he was half brother of Ramesses II. There are interpretations that suggest indeed that the Davidic dynasty extends back to the Egyptian Pharaos.

All Shiite Imams descend from Princess Shahrbanu, married with one of Prophet Muhammad's descendants and daughter of the last Sassanid Shah, Yazdegard III who, in turn, was a descendant of the Jewish Exilarchs. These were, in turn, descendants from King David. The sister of Shahrbanu, Dara Izdundad, married Bustana ben Haninai, one of the Jewish Exilarchs at the end of the Sassanid era.

From then and to the present, the Davidic lineage of the Exilarchs and that of the sages of Pumbedita is said to reach the present, both among Shiites, Jews and Christians. Around the year 800 BCE some of the members of this family reached Europe. Since then, they have been assimilated into the European aristocracy.

While the current set of evidence from which such conclusions are deduced does not satisfy everyone, there is circumstantial proof that suggests that the House of David is real. Plus, probabilistic analysis certainly backs those claims with mathematics. The problem for any such claims is that there is no clear, unequivocal evidence that could in effect erase any remaining doubts. However, science advances and new discoveries are turning slowly what has been so far a tradition into a reality.

The House of David is not the only ancient dynasty around: The Japanese imperial family and the Papacy are other examples other apparently long and successful systems of power. There are aspects of both of them that too remain unanswered but from a practical point of view, they have real power on the real world because there are millions that at least believe in them.

The exact number of Davidic royals is not known but the whole dynasty had approximately 17.000 members thorough forty centuries. Today, approximately a thousand living people around the world are known to have demonstrable familiar connections to names that belong to the Davidic succession. These individuals know what they are and where do they seemingly come from, and they are in most cases pretty successful in what they do, like most known Davidic descendants.

Two possible explanations for this are that the knowledge of such origins has an inherently positive impact on their self-esteem, or that they are truly a group of people with above average abilities.

According to biblical genealogy, David descended from Moshe. The mere idea of that constitutes a powerful idea, enough to make any descendant to feel a little special. Within the existing Davidic aristocracy there are various examples of Kohanim families. That is, families in which there is a direct line of male descent from Aaron, brother of Moses. Plus, there are also Levites, descendants from the Levi tribe, to which Moses belonged.

DNA tests performed on a large number of HaKohen individuals show that they all share a common ancestor about 3.500 years ago. Moshe lived and escaped from Egypt around the year 1.500 BCE.

Several Khoanim families form part of the Davidic genealogy, like in the case of the Katzenellenbogen Rabbis – one of them even became king of Poland -, as well as other families such as Shoenberg, Guterman, Wagman, Rapaport, Kahane, Eger, etc. and it is a known fact that Kohanim and Leviim often mixed with other families considered to be Davidic, such as those of Hasidic Rebbes, descendants of Rashi, etc.

So, in one way or another, the House of David does have ancestors going back at least 3500 years - however, names have been recorded for about forty centuries – and its members belong to true royalty, starting with the fact that the House of David was a fairly long royal dynasty that mixed with Phoenician kings and Egyptian Pharaos. Plus, the Exilarchs – leaders of the Jews in exile and themselves descendants from king David – mixed with the Sassanid kings of Persia, the Gupta Maharahas, the family of the Roman Emperor Justinian and several royal houses of Europe and the Muslim world.

The effects of dynastic identity

While indeed, every family has its own history, there are not many that have one such as what is proper of the House of David. This does not only affects the way in which the members of the dynasty feel about themselves, but also influences the overall results obtained by them because by definition, power in a dynasty is transmitted and accumulated generations.

In the case of most royal dynasties of Europe, the cumulative effect was counter productive and in such a way events such as the French and Russian revolutions took place. But in the case of the Davidic dynasty the effects have been notably different, probably due to the fact that the Jewish people found hardship and exile for thousands of years and their leaders had to adapt, learn and evolve in order to survive.

In practical terms, we can understand this by imagining someone who deposits money in a bank in order to accumulate interests. If that person does not extract that money for himself but leaves those savings working all thorough his life, the total amount will grow. But if those savings were left for centuries or millennia, the original amount would become a vast fortune. Savings is what one person or family has. It is part of the personal or familiar capital. Buildings, properties and even immaterial things such as history and knowledge, traditions and so on also constitute capital because those things are what successive generations receive from prior ones. Then, after a long period of time that capital grows to significant proportions. Fortunes might get lost and made again, properties might burn, but immaterial aspects of that capital always remain and have some degree of influence on the self image, the knowledge and abilities of the members of the dynasty.

This is a very important aspect of the issue: unfortunately, it is not well understood and the wrong concepts or ideas created from that misunderstanding lie at the basis of many anti Semitic beliefs because they seem to convey the impression of a "Zionist plot", and conspiracies by "The Elders of Zion", the "Jewish Bankers" and so on in order to dominate the planet. Many people that believe in such stories and see the news of real-world events seem to see only Jews behind such events, forgetting that there are also Christians, Muslims and atheists involved. However, the only ones that are criticized are the Jews.

Uneducated people believe that since Jews are successful against all odds, and they, themselves, cannot reach the same levels of success despite that they often have more opportunities, then the Jews must be conspiring against the world order. But they fail to understand several things, starting with the fact that Jews at large are, like most people in the world, in no position to play power politics simply because they do not have the resources to do so. Only the Jewish aristocracy would be in a position to take such actions, and they represent only a fraction of the total Jewish population.

Then, the excellent performance of Jews in many activities has nothing to do with conspiracies, but an efficient mixture of values and education, that makes them very competitive regarding other ethnic or social groups.

Plus, in the case of the elite, there might be an accumulative effect on education and intelligence: The result of living for more than a hundred generations at the top of the social pyramid, with better food and resources, could simply have produced people that are better prepared than others, and that leads ultimately to a higher IQ.

This can be seen in the fact hat while Jews represent about 0,25% of the total human population, people of Jewish origin obtained about 25% of all Nobel prizes.

Another example is palpable in the case of the Israeli armed forces: A country of about seven million people keeps at bay two thousand million openly hostile Muslims. The Israeli military talent was non-existent before WWII. They had no army and no military tradition, and the IAF were formed from nothing in less than a decade, while other nations would need decades or centuries to achieve the same.

The great profusion of bankers and financiers among Jews originates in the fact that in the past Jews were not allowed to have properties or dedicate themselves to traditional activities such as agriculture. So, they invented their own venues or took advantage of those that were not exploited by Gentiles. Mathematics are used in finance and banking, but doing calculations is an excellent exercise for the mind. Thus, after centuries of math calculations, they naturally became good in science and technology.

By attempting to thwart Jewish attempts at getting a life in medieval Europe, local authorities and the population at large actually forced Jews to become very good at the few things that they were still able to do. This, combined with the kind of vision that a different perception of time based not in the span of their own generation but a whole dynasty that they know that they are part from, gives them the ability to take advantage of opportunities long before these become evident to other people who does not have the same kind of education or mentality.

The same reasons that make it impossible to others to see those opportunities that these smarter individuals see constitute the pretexts used to judge them. Conspiracy theories that attempt to explain in various esoteric ways the "evilness" of these Jews originate in utter ignorance.

For example, one thing described by the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a favourite conspiracy book, is that the leaders of this global conspiracy always meet at the Prague Jewish cemetery. However, anyone who has been in Prague during the winter would know that there are better places to get together, especially at night and if you are in fact a millionaire.

Then, since Kohanim are religiously prohibited to enter in contact with dead bodies, it wouldn't make sense for themselves to ask others to join them precisely where they cannot be. Those that wrote "The Protocols" - a demonstrated forgery – did not even bother to research a little into the habits of those that they pretended to judge and attack.

When a chess master confronts several adversaries that are less able and beats them all, no conspiracy takes place. The master simple anticipates the moves and tactics of the other players and plans ahead in ways that they cannot fathom. The same happens in this case. Frustration and impotence are the motors of the resentment and anger that a relentless winner generates among less-able rivals.

From banking families like the Rothschilds emerged not only financiers but also artists and actors, like in the case of the Ephrussi bankers. From the Wertheimer and Oppenheimer families from Germany appeared the De Beers family, as well as the creator of the first atomic bomb. In Poland, the Natanson bankers produced many descendants that were thinkers, creators and eminences in science. The Kronenberg family from Warsaw produced also scientists, cinema directors and musicians, and from the Skowronek banking clan appeared scientists, explorers, decorated military officers, writers and musicians, including a girl that with only five years of age played piano at the Warsaw Philarmonic. Considering that the lineages of Stalin and Hitler only produced two diabolic individuals, it is easy to see why they were so resentful.

There are three important aspects to consider about the Davidic families: They are all Judeo-Christian or Muslim, so the idea of a Jewish conspiracy becomes in all cases an absurdity: moreover: The dynasty is far older than the Zionist movement and precedes it for thousands of years. We have to say that the afjective "Zionist" is used today as a politically-correct way do derisively address the Jews by part of anti – Semitic and downrightly nazi people always keen on doing imaginative fault-finding among the Jews and venting their hatred towards them.

Then, they are all familiarly related, and lastly, that not even all the money in the world would have been enough to produce so many scientists and artists over more than a hundred generations because talent is not something that can be bought with a bank or railroad. In order to do that, talent must run inherently in the family. Goethe said once: "In order to achieve something, first you have to be something. We have to thank Dante, but lest not forget that there are many centuries of civilization and culture behind him, and the fortune of the Rothschild family wasn’t attained in only one generation".

Centuries ago, the precursors of these families produced a vast amount of cultural heritage. The are all related to and descend from rabbinical dynasties like the Katzenellenbogen clan, and families like Alter, Rottenberg, Teomim, Luria, Eisels, Kalonymus, Soloveitchik, Caro, Bacharach, Landau, Loew, Klepfisz, Guterman, etc. and in turn, many Rabbis from these families spanning centuries produced a large collection of books and treatises. The cultural, scientific, artistic and financial contribution of the Davidic dynasty to mankind exceeds those of several countries.

Banking is not for everyone: having lots of money is not enough. Managing a bank requires talent and experience, and if there are many bankers among the Jewish aristocracy, it is so simply because there is a lot of talent and skill among its members. For those not educated to a sufficient degree to understand the nature and dynamics of the resources needed to build a dynasty, this might appear to them like the people who live in a box that we call a TV set look like to a primitive who has never seen television. That is, magical answers, fantastic and dark deeds are invented to explain facts beyond comprehension. That is how they finally reach the conclusion that there must be a conspiracy somewhere.

Hatred against the Jews is quite odd, considering that given the results that they get in many aspects, they constitute an archetype to be emulated. What needs to be done in order to create a successful dynasty is to attain power wisely and use the same recipe again for a sufficiently long period of time: There is no need to invent anything in this regard, only to imitate the House of David.

Dynasties; pencil, 2012, by Pablo Edronkin.
Dynasties; pencil, 2012, by Pablo Edronkin.

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