Posted by: David M. Hazen | March 17, 2010

The importance of detached, playful leadership

I have observed of myself and other peace-builders that we regularly create the illusion of grandiosity, that we are the only ones doing the really important work, that nobody else seems to care or support what we are doing, and that we are martyrs to the cause, an enormously impossible task which we will heroically endure anyway.

I find myself having to back off, relax, go with the flow, and humble myself again and again.  I am one 6-billionth of an entire organism that is dissolving and re-creating itself in unpredictable directions every day.  We are all (humanity) learning, and learning extremely rapidly in the context of long-term history.  Yes, we feel the urgency of species extinction deep in our souls.  This is it.  Within our lifetime, our planet will be transformed, for better or worse, and we are ultimately the ones who are able to respond (responsible), even though as individuals we did not cause this planetary disease, we can’t control it, and we can’t cure it.

The only thing we can change is ourselves.  We can give ourselves permission to be who we truly are, to do what we came here to do, and to have a wonderful adventure while doing it.  The paradox of detached playfulness in this situation is that it opens the door to the much-needed creativity and resilience that is within us, and simultaneously opens the door for those around us.  To attempt to break the door down, bust the barriers, is folly.  This is my analysis of the peace movement:  it has been too goal-oriented, task-oriented, and doomed to comparison of itself to other great achievements.  The struggle has pushed the goal away.

Given the difficulty that most people seem to have currently in making decisions about what actions to take, I am going to guess that the pressure to make decisions is only going to increase, and the importance of leadership that models sanity will become acute.  My hope, however vain it may be, is that our communication technologies will be able to rapidly disseminate sane decision-making models when the stress peaks, and thus arises the opportunity for the introduction of peace-building practices.  My hope is also that much more than we can document of the peace-building knowledge is already embedded in the non-governmental culture, waiting for just such an opportunity.

Social evolution does not occur gradually as a result of a dialectical opposition of “the movement” and “machiavellian forces.”  How depressing!  I believe it occurs in sudden jumps, revolutionary jumps if you will, with a rapid influx of attractive, new information in response to a survival threat.  I believe Buckminster Fuller, who said, “You never change anything by fighting the existing.  To change something, build a new model and make the existing obsolete!”   The new model will make sense to both, all, ends of the political spectrum, it will be a win-win, there will be no reform followed by push-back, polarization will dissolve.

It could be said that since the 1960’s there has been a rapid influx of spirituality (peace) into our culture, a dramatic shift of values, as Eastern and Western religions were blended and re-evaluated.  To me, this is the revolution that will not be televised, the revolution that has already occurred, the invisible new model.  Will increased stress make the model visible, come to the surface, will it be seen to have survival value?  Maybe!

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Responses

  1. Hi David,
    I read your comment on the DOPeace network today… actually I left a comment there myself, then followed your link here. I have gratitude for your story of courage and survival and how you contribute so sincerely now. Thanks, from a fellow traveller. I shall check back in on your blog again.
    Warm Regards
    Karen


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