Leadership & The Daunting Task of Sustainable Love!

by Administrator 24.Aug.2014 12:53:00

That love makes the world go around is a no-brainer … We all, to varying degrees, embrace love in some or other form – If we did not we would be at each other’s throats like wild beasts!

Most religions, civilized governments, corporations and families espouse love of humankind, in its broader sense, as a basic starting point.  We talk often and comfortably enough of, and indeed idealize, inclusivity, human rights and romantic love.
Why then do we cast out the more empathetic/softer side of our collective and individual psyche the moment we are threatened? Love and Fear are basic, unbidden impulses! Does this mean that we live on two parallel, exclusive levels?

When one looks at the current state of the world, we seem an enraged species – Endlessly ‘shouting hate’ at each other. Those who in such circumstances suggest empathy, forgiveness or introspection are summarily vilified as weak, naïve or gullible – While those who advocate force, punishment, vengeance etc. are considered strong and steadfast … or so it seems to me? Surely big-picture love is most needed when the going gets tough?

Where does this breakdown or separation start? Perhaps when fear strikes TRUST is the first human casualty – Walking an unknown path is difficult when beset with fear. It is understandably impossible to love without trust. Betrayal in any human relationship illustrates this on a daily micro-level.
Consider the following logic stream:

  • People who perceive themselves as seen, understood, engaged, empowered & utilized are, for the most part, fulfilled, happy and content
  • Those who feel unseen, ignored, misunderstood, overlooked/by-passed, and underutilized are to varying degrees frustrated, unhappy & despairing….?
  • In a perfect world then, a huge component of LEADERSHIP would be the ability to identify, understand, engage, empower and utilize others, to ensure, in as far as possible that we all get a fair crack at happiness/fulfillment  - Would not this be a true manifestation of ‘loving one another as we love ourselves’?

My own subjective world experience, raised by a mother who instilled the wisdom of ‘loving in spite of not because of’, prompts me to suggest that:

  • The desire to see, understand, engage and empower has its roots in fundamental caring and empathy for those around us
  • In the bigger picture, acceptance of what we see, understand, engage, empower and are able to utilize is the basis of the natural human impulse to love
  • Inability to accept and trust in the value of this desire/acceptance, brought on by fear and betrayal gives rise to discomfort, a surge of self-interest and/or greed

High capacity thinkers, feelers and creators, capable of pushing these boundaries to the limit, are often labelled in a single breath as excessive and/or negative, perhaps because they tend to awaken fear and mistrust in our consciousness.

Few would argue Nelson Mandela’s stature as a visionary world leader. He was so, not only because he suffered and emerged victorious, but because he also held true to his innate love of humankind! One wonders how, but for his intercession and Bishop Tutus’ remarkable Truth & Reconciliation Commission, how South Africa, post liberation, might have unravelled into an unimaginable catastrophe! Similarly we should not forget the example of white South Africans who, in the pre-New South Africa referendum, voted an overwhelming Yes to an uncertain future... because it was the right thing to do...

The greatest and most urgent problem of our time was to find a way of opposing evil without becoming another form of evil in the process… One had to reject corruption by suffering as much as corruption by power; be equally uncompromising and unsentimental about both. These two were the main sources of corruption in man, although there was a third, increasingly desperate contributing factor; corruption by numbers, our tendency to allow collective values to become man’s greatest values.” - Laurens van der Post, A Far-Off Place

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