(Picture – Reopening rebuilt Kindergarten (pre-school) in Ukraine)
The former President of Malawi, in an interview at an International Development Forum, described leadership as a love affair between the leader and the people. Some suggest that even for her this was a bit of a stretch.
This philosophy could be the foundation for a “brave new world” for this twenty first century, one that has gotten off to a rocky start with hatred and abuse in abundance. In a world driven by materialism and unfettered greed, fear is the focus rather than compassion and care; both elements of any loving relationship.
History is filled with disasters as a result of hatred. A deeper look though, would discover the ever abiding occurrences of love prevailing through each and every catastrophe. These won’t necessarily be found in history textbooks or political campaigns, but can be discovered in the works of artists, writers, and poets.
Perhaps this is the reason that such professions get little financial support, while aggressive sports and wars appear to be so appealing to those in power. Fear has always been the weapon of choice by those seeking power and control and the reason most religions translate the messages of love espoused by the prophets into a message of fear and reprisal (if not in this life, in the next).
Why in the twenty first century are there such imbalances of hatred over love, contempt over respect, indifference over compassion?
People live in a world of plenty, yet the imbalances of wealth, even the basics of food and shelter, are worse than any time in history.
Most people have access to information and knowledge far beyond any other era in human history. The world has a vast abundance of technology and tools, yet much of the world is experiencing desperate poverty, hardship and unbearable and primitive living conditions.
In such an advanced society with unrestrained opportunities for enlightenment many are experiencing the most vivid darkness in the history of humankind. It is time to examine the foundation of this darkness and the “fear” that drives so much of the injustice and travesty afflicting so much of the world.
It is time to examine deeply the true spirituality of being human and our connectivity to each other and to the whole universe. Pope Francis suggested “In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious”.
There is a need for a renewal in belief, not belief based on creed, ideology of religious or political affiliation and neither based on nationality or ethnicity. But, a belief founded on the reality of human compassion and care, which entails love for each other and the world and universe that afford us life.
Our minds are powerful influences on our actions and the beliefs accepted and espoused. Minds are much influenced, sometimes controlled, by what we hear and see throughout our lives. They are also the repository of all of our fears.
I believe that our spirit is something different, both incomprehensible, yet fundamentally part of our very being and existentially tied to the source that is life.
The twenty first century, is still in its infancy. It can be one of enlightenment, where there is recognition of the total disregard for natural and human resources through waste, war and neglect; and a new path chosen. The other option may be one of regression to the very primitive beginnings of human existence.
This is where the words of the former Malawian President “leadership as a love affair” resonate and require much contemplation and consideration.
Many paths are available to each and every human on this planet, not only to those who aspire or become leaders. True leadership, if genuine, honest and sincere, is a relationship of balance, cooperation and care between those that would lead and those that will be led.
This is where enlightenment fits, as we relinquish our fears and anger and embrace a fundamental belief in human existence founded on love. This is the very foundation of the human spirit that is promoted in so many aspects of our lives, and not just by religions.
Written by Bill Pardy
October 29th, 2015