Although there are various cultural, psychological, political, economic, social, geographic, regional, etc. factors that bring good or bad leaders to the fore, the fact that the people are responsible for the appearance of their leaders, whether elected or through a coup, should never be underestimated. The leader comes out of the people just as a plant grows out of the ground. If the soil is favorable to the plant, it goes on growing and becomes a tree, if not it becomes stunted or wilts away.
Could Stalin have ‘sprouted’ in the American soil? Or could Jefferson have succeeded in Tsarist Russia? No way. It is strange to note at this point that the Russian psyche could as recently as a few years back accommodate a tsar-type leader like Putin to lead the country. Old habits die hard.
This is, of course, my personal view of things which may not be supported by any political or social theory as far as I know; however, my intuition tells me that there may be some truth in what I am going to write.
Man is a mystery in the sense that no human being knows one’s own true inner being. When Socrates said “Know thyself” he meant that knowing oneself is an eternal journey that ends with only a partial success, for man, being an incarnation of that mystery and with again a mysterious origin, God, can never be fully understood or analyzed. The more one delves into that maze, the more uncharted seas one finds therein. In fact, to know one’s true self is to know God, according to some mystics.
And then there is such thing as innermost wish, or uncontrolled desire to do or accomplish a certain thing. Some philosophers even go as far as to say that there is no such thing as accident and that whatever happens to us in this world is the result of our inner and hidden wishes on which we have no control. We may be punishing ourselves by creating a car accident or something similar and it is the fault of this or that. We die with the most practiced physicians attending to our ills and with 100% chances to live. This is very hard to contemplate for many, but the element of mystery in us makes such phenomena plausible.
Are we then stray robots without the ability to control our acts and wishes? According to the theory of determinism which was rife in the 16th Century Europe and whose known advocate was Calvin, we may be just that. After all, the debate between determinism and free-will doesn’t seem to have been concluded in a satisfactory manner.
The leader (or any unpleasant happening for that matter) comes forth because we asked for it and prepared the way for him through our inner wishes and longings which we are unable to control; but these inner wishes have, in the first place, been fashioned and modeled by our culture, our psychological makeup, our real and imagined fears, our value system, our sense of survival, our deep feelings of guilt, our outlook, etc.
And when the leader somehow proves to be less to our liking, and he starts hurting us, we become conscious and we begin to grumble. We brought him first to the stage while in a state of collective trance and later we want him to go away when we woke up. The problem is that the moment we woke up, he had already perfected a mechanism to make us better zombies.
Ask any leader and he will tell you that his own people are just like the beasts of the field. Many leaders feel, deep inside, that they are leading a flock of dim-witted earthlings. Just try to revolt and they will spit out the truth. Ghadafi called his own people rats. Others called them terrorists. Napoleon made fun of the French as small children to be bribed with medals, many more leaders keep snarling at their own people calling them this or that.
But can such ethereal and speculative philosophy help to solve the problems that people face from time to time from their insensitive leaders or from any earthly predicament? Well, it may not solve the problem immediately, but it may help us to understand what is going on with the short and painful life we lead with our tormentors. It is only by changing ourselves that we can change the soil in which the bad leader has taken root.
In the past, people tended to pray to get rid of any real or imagined danger that threatened their lives. In a way, they were right. Now, don’t try to dismiss prayer as one of the wishful thinking of the masses. The true meaning of prayer is talking to one’s deeper self or holding a deep conversation with one’s Ego. A sort of soul-searching, a mea culpa, etc.
Even atheists pray when they talk to their conscience. After all, praying has nothing to do with religion, for mankind has prayed ever since its creation, before the invention of religion.
The deeper and more sincere such internal conversation with one’s inner being is, the better; for it can effect a change in attitude and outlook. It can reconfigure one’s thinking patterns and make one see things in quite a different way.
That could have been the reason why people prayed in the past or are doing so at present before calamities which they thought they had brought unto themselves by their disobedience to their ‘God’ or their innermost conscience. By praying, or better still, by arguing sincerely with their inner selves or coming to terms with their shortcomings, they were able to embark on a new path of looking at things and thereby succeeded to take the right action.
That brings the question of revival as the best instrument for getting rid of bad leaders and bad situations. By revival is meant making efforts to change the people’s way of looking at things. Of course, the leader being alert of any threat to his power, uses every means to foil any step taken to revitalize or energize the people. The leader wants to rule over zombies who have forgotten themselves and their rights. That’s why dictators suppress new ideas or initiatives by which the people may get their eyes opened and their minds enlightened.
In an enlightened and mentally revived circumstances, however, bad leadership has no place. A bad tree cannot grow in a good soil, so to speak.
Fighting, recrimination, destruction are all what the bad leader wants in order to thrive. The age of fighting with firearms and destructive weapons seems to have ended. What mankind needs at present is to fight with ideas and constructive thoughts, by changing itself before trying to change the political, social and economic environment, by reviving its intellect, by illuminating its darkened mind and by constructing a glorious vision for the future.
If people could have changed the soil of their hearts a long time ago, bad leaders and greedy politicians wouldn’t have survived and thrived in this world.
It behooves us therefore to try and deprive bad leaders of the chance to try to bloom and flourish in our midst, by first changing our inner beings and our outlook through sincere soul-searching and self-awakening.