A performer that I enjoy listening to used the term, A Lull Between Two Crisis. It is catchy and it is correct. The rollercoaster that is our lives consists of difficulties and then a respite…and then another problem. That famous Sage Tony Soprano told his son AJ while they were enjoying a family dinner…during the last episode of the popular HBO Series, that they were having one of the good times and that they should enjoy it. Of course, shortly thereafter his daughter entered the restaurant and the screen went black…leaving us to speculate whether a crisis was about to happen.
I was thinking about leadership…as I often do…and one leadership characteristic that is essential to causing others to want to willingly follow you is…courage. Without courage, there is little to talk about. As the Bible says, ‘Without a vision, my people perish.’ Manipulation is often mistaken for leadership. When a person who is in a power position can cause others to do what they want them to do and it is primarily for the benefit of the Power Player…they have been manipulated. The Vow, an HBO program about the cult NXIVM, had its first episode of the second season last night. This is a group where women were branded and forced into sexual servitude by the cult leader Keith Raniere. The Cults attested that they were teachers of Human Potential and Development. Well…we all want to maximize our human potential and development…do we not? This Cult appealed to movie and television celebrities and the rich and powerful and well-educated. It is amazing what the human brain will accept as truth if surrounded by a persistent lie and all those with whom you fellowship…assure you that the lie is true…
Often we fall into cults while we are seeking God and meaning in our lives. We want someone to tell us the way to go and the right path for our journey. Tribal bonds are extremely strong. Even after Raniere has been imprisoned…he still has dedicated followers.
Critical thinking is essential for our success. When we turn off our brains and placidly accept what a faux leader tells us we are a bit like sheep being led to the slaughter. Hannah Arendt wrote a book The Banality Of Evil where she conculed that the Nazi Adolph Eichmann was, ‘an ordinary, rather bland, bureaucrat, who in her words, was neither perverted nor sadistic, but terrifyingly normal. He acted without any motive other than to diligently advance his career in the Nazi bureaucracy.’
Another day in the woods was my pleasure today. Many of the leaves are holding on for dear life…others have released their grip…until next year. The cold and clear autumn air is inspiring and refreshing. The Creator’s Hand is firmly on the large wheel of our lives and is steering us to safe harbor and rest and renewal.
G.K . Chesterton said, ‘We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea…and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.’