Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A New Type Of Leadership

I have often imagined what it's like to be one of those great military leaders of antiquity or the Middle Ages: battles, bloodshed, unburied corpses gorged on by ravenous vultures - all sights of vileness and cruelty, potentially combined to end in victory though of the pyrrhic type. The risk involved is colossal.

A leader of that type has to take into consideration so many things - all of equal importance more or less - food supplies, intelligence, potential revolts, discipline, tactics, etc. Thousands of lives at stakes; the leader is but one, though his safety is not guaranteed either.

Leadership cannot escape the heroic brand it proudly bears. This is because of the charisma which graces the pages of history's great leaders: from the dvinity of Alexander to the megalomania of Napoleon. Let's face it: the battle turning heavy cavalry force is not imbued in the character of everyone. It has to be nurtured.

Why do so many children idolise great leaders of the past? Because the charisma required to lead men into the thralls of death is the same as the charisma which would fight back the bullies at school? Or young people - do they think that the charisma required to inspire an outnumbered army to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat is the same as the charisma which could help them win the heart of a woman?

Rather than an answer, this provokes another question: how many of those great leaders completely resigned themselves to the ideal of their leadership, refraining from wine and women, preferring war and politics. As such, charisma is buttressed by devotion and self-discipline.

Of course I find myself inspired by those straightforward, belligerent, vive-la-revolution sayings like, 'if you want peace, prepare for war', but I also realise that their glory is found in their realism, in their sober, down-to-earth recognition of humanity's only way to get even with death.
Sayings like that dig a hole into the concept of conformity, but it's like digging a hole in the ground - the deeper you dig, the more trapped you, yourself become. Thus you lead yourself out of conformity to lead other men into it.

You can be the leader of an army, a state, an age - it's all to do with charisma. In their leadership qualities, their charisma, devotion, self-discipline, the noblest, most abstemious prophet and the cruellest, most tyrannical dictator meet and recognise each other.
Jesus was charismatic but so was Hitler. They were both leaders in their own, particular way and they were both successful in what they set out to do, though neither of them won in the end, especially the latter. They were conjoined by their charisma however distant they were from each other in terms of their words and actions.

That is why the concept of leadership, the very idea of being such a leader is an entrancing one; but one does not have to bother with acquiring an army or instigating a coup d'etait. Why? Because the essence of leadership is the will to accomplish, and it all boils down to leading an age, an epoch - the noblest type of leadership.

Armies are slain, states are subjugated; but an age is yet more poweful and resilient because it exists in the heart, forged by the continuous, titianic clash between preservation and progress.

The leader of an age, one among many perhaps, is that spear ripping through the air with its sharp, pointy tip, carrying the freedom of man to live in an age which can be called as such; that very same spear on which is stuck and brandished a copy of the epopee which we find ourselves dreaming of living in.

We live in Africa, an intellectual one: the times are starving, the age is starving, blogs are starving, and isn't this very thought of the need of this type of leadership the key in which the requiem of the world would be composed?


At 27 August 2009 at 00:55 , Anonymous Dude said...

Ivan, you are terrible.

At 27 August 2009 at 11:31 , Blogger IPCHUK said...

A living incarnation of the man himself, you're right!

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