Tuesday, April 2, 2013
DO WE NEED A LEADER?
I was thinking about a conversation I had with someone not long ago; we covered many world issues that day, but one that has come back to me often is a simple question. The question was: do people, in general, need a leader? Must there be one sole individual responsible for not just representing, but organizing and mobilizing a concerted movement for positive change? Are the masses of unhappy and unfulfilled among us in that state due to the noticeable lack of a central figurehead - an El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Gandhi, or Dr. King – who can inspire and unite across all walks of life?
I was answered yes - that it's in our nature to either follow, or lead, and that the followers always outnumber the leaders. That's the sheep-shepherd theory. In my opinion, the answer was then, and remains today, no. Despite what may seem like evidence to the contrary, no single person is ever fully responsible for any significant change in society – stop using Hitler as a scapegoat for the evils men still do! Just clearing my throat; moving on. Much like the U.S. President, those who live under the public eye are forced to shoulder disproportionately high morals and ethics at all times – a standard so few will subject themselves to, or those they know well. This activity is a form of deification; I have a theory concerning this phenomenon. Worshiping another person or entity is akin to signing all personal responsibility over to them; if they hold the power, what can you do? In the short run, this choice of fewer decisions and letting others do the dirty work may seem to make life easier, especially since only they'd be held accountable should the stuff hit the spinning blades. In reality, all this serves to do is take life and transfer it to someone or something else. By not accepting complete responsibility for our own choices, we limit our options, opportunities, and ability to experience life. Just as an honest person probably doesn't feel a specific emotion all of the time, I imagine most people will move from follower to leader and back, based on the nature of a given situation.
One upon a millennium, many were killed simply for sharing their thoughts and opinions. In addition, most deep knowledge was hidden or kept from the masses, fostering a general climate of ignorance that many fought to overcome. In 2013, why is detachment from one's own life still the quietly encouraged norm? With the establishment of the world wide web and social networking media, information in all areas is easily accessible to people from all levels of income, all over the world. We are able to communicate with others without borders; given this degree of access and exhibition, is a symbolic leader figure what we truly need? At a time when a person can undergo a process of evolution by simply willing it, what need have we of a leadership figure, built up above the standards most are willing to set for themselves? If nothing else, surely by now we've learned to stop waiting for others to tell us the truths we already know, and can act on.
Some might say we've lacked ubiquitous personae for so long because opinions have become so divided; a lack of unity. Perhaps; true unity is innate and can neither be enacted nor subtracted, but that's another conversation. Maybe the 20Th century just convinced many would-be poster figures that if they shared too much truth openly and unedited, they could expect some bullets in their abbreviated future, and held back due to that fear. Whatever the reason, I see it as a great chance for all men to show what's truly present in the depths of their hearts and minds. If you're honestly happy being a “sheep”, more power to you. If you know you're constantly holding yourself back, and if you've denied some of you by convincing yourself to become content with less: may I ask why? Don't be scared of being more; don't be afraid of asking for more, and don't ever be too scared to shine!