Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Leading By Example

Good leaders aren’t those who tell everybody else what to do, so they alone can go on doing whatever it is they want to do, without competition and other people getting in their way. Because they are leaders rather than followers, they are the first to do what everybody else is not doing yet -- but will make increasing sense to do with the passing of time. That is the unmistakable quality of leadership -- and not the person behind, at the back of the pack, urging, pushing, and prodding those under them to do those things they themselves do not dare until everybody else has gone before them.

Unfortunately, that has been what we’ve come to know as “leadership” in Hawaii because people are fearful of not conforming and standing alone -- and in this way, nothing new can ever come into being, particularly from our leaders. They instead, will wait until somebody else tells them what to do -- and they resist all the way, because that is not how things have been done before, and they think the preservation of the old ways, is what it means to be a leader in any society, instead of those breaking new ground -- so that the many others can follow.

That is the problem of this culture -- and many others that have come before it, and disappeared entirely so that no traces of it having once existed, remain. Such was the case of the Polynesian culture of Easter Island, of which all that is known of its civilization, are identical stone images -- and nothing else. The people and their culture just vanished from the face of the earth.

The real value of diversity is the hope that somebody will do something different -- and provide another option for the members of that society, so all do not perish when confronted by a challenge for which their response is unvaryingly the same, even if unsuccessful and inadequate -- doing the same thing over and over again, but hoping for a different result. Somebody, hopefully, will have the bright idea to try something different, something unimaginable, going beyond the limits of that known and familiar universe that is now the source of only hopelessness, despair and futility.

The rationalizations, explanations and theories of what is going wrong may change with each new politician for office, but things still go wrong, rather than right. The rationalization for why things go wrong, is not the same as making things go right -- without the need for such rationalizations, explanations, apologies. That is what people come to expect in healthy, well-functioning societies -- because they are willing to consider all the options until they find something that works, and not merely settle on the first “solution,” and repeat that unvaryingly, hoping that one day it will work. Such is the mark of a pre-scientific society -- even though they may have universities, governments, institutions and high officials decorated daily and paid homage (and tribute) for their great wisdom and knowledge.

Oftentimes, the solution proposed for some of Hawaii’s great difficulties, is that if one doesn’t like it, they should just leave -- rather than try to change it. That is usually said, as a threat to accept things as they are, uncomplainingly, thinking that leaving is an impossibility because of the impossible distance to anywhere else. Only now, there is the miracle of jet planes as well as the Internet and cell phones to transport one to venues elsewhere at merely the thought of such possibilities. Yet the age-old sentinels and inquisitors of the status quo, will thereby pronounce, that one is “disqualified,” whenever one exercises an option, any other than their exclusive expectation.

That is freedom from the known. and limited -- into today’s world of finding out about everything one wishes to, even if it means leaving the “paradise,” one is told to believe one lives in. That’s how the world changes, one person at a time -- which is the only meaningful reality, and not all this nonsense about a perfect world, if only everybody conforms to the political correctness of those who desire absolute control and conformity as the only way it can ever be.