“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.’” ~ Henry Ford
“I had been looking for leaders, but I realized leadership is about being the first to act.” ~ Edward Snowden
“Whatever occurs in the confused mind
is regarded as workable.
It is a fearless proclamation;
the Lion’s Roar.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa
This is the age of Politically-correct Fear-based Well-intentioned Dumbed-down Social-Media-fueled Busyness-riddled Theistic Aggression.
This is the age of The Wisdom of the Mob. This is an age of Cowardice in Leadership. Leaders still lead, of course—they just do so from the selfish safety of private corporations or corrupt governments, without any dialogue with We the People.
But it’s our fault. We demand Gandhi in the board room. We demand Maya Angelou as President. We demand the Dalai Lama as CEO. Heck, we got our idol in 2008, and he turned out to be…human. You know, pretty good. He’s checked a lot off the list of what we’d been yearning for—and yet, because he’s not Jesus-like, leaving flowers in his footsteps, we tear him down off a throne of our own construct.
Theism is rampant. Theism is about abdicating responsibility to those above—hero-worship—and, theism is about tearing down those we’ve set above us.
The sad thing is, it’s no good for us. The head of Zappos is so entranced with politically-correct leadership (“holacracy”) that he lives in a trailer and pays himself 35K. Meanwhile, his disgruntled staff (not fooled by his show—they know he’s a demi-billionaire thanks to his selling-out to Amazon) are quitting the company because it’s so confusingly run (by good intentions, I’m sure).
Naropa University, formerly the home of politically-incorrect artists and the “sparks where East meets West,” and still a wonderful institute, is so bowed by politically-correct fear that students run roughshod over its leadership…and it allows them to do so.
My city of Boulder, long an innovative hub of kindness, progressivism and environmental leadership, can’t even put in some bike lanes without calling it an “experiment” and cowering before the anger of its status-quo-happy citizens who, my god, have lost 90 seconds on their commute (though they might gain as much if a few of us jump from our cars to our bikes, and in so doing curb climate change and lose a few pounds in this nation beset by diabetes and obesity—and yes, even “fit” Colorado would have been the fattest state in the US only 20 years ago).
But: President Obama just, finally, took bold action on Climate Change—and I am reminded that there is still a place for risk, for genuine leadership. For that is what leadership is—going first. And to applaud him for this is not to put him on a pedestal. Forget the pedestal. Life is too wonderful for black and white, good and evil, theism and abdication of responsibility. We must work for our change. As FDR reminded his constituents: “I want to do it, now make me do it—show me the public support.” [paraphrase]
This world needs genuine leadership.
We can all be leaders in our own lives. We have to be willing to say, “who knows—but I’ve listened and studied the situation, and let’s go for it. Let’s do this.” Leadership listens, but it does not ask for permission. In an age when PC has run amok, but corruption flowers, we must learn to relax where we are tight, smile where we frown, but also command where we cower. Decisiveness can be compassion.
We must regain the “confidence to go beyond hesitation,” and a sense of “not afraid to be a fool,” as Chögyam Trungpa put it.
We will never make everyone happy trying to make everyone happy. We must remember our duty to serve the greater good—and that requires bravery, and tenderness both.
Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,
The Garuda symbolizes outrageousness: the quality of being willing to jump into limitless space. The calligraphy at the bottom reads: “The Proclamation of Truth is Fearless.” For more: follow @waylonlewis on Instagram.