In today’s narcissistic era, everyone thinks they are the best and smartest. Recent election campaigns in several western countries have highlighted the issue of leadership, or, more specifically, who is fit to lead. While many people want to reach the top of the pyramid, few are willing to take responsibility that comes with it. And even before we discuss responsibility, we must define what it means to be a leader, especially if we expect that leader to take us to a better tomorrow.
As just said, the key trait of a leader must be the willingness to take responsibility. At every level, in every place and in every society, someone must be in charge, take the lead, but with others’ support. Without meeting these requirements, society cannot survive. However, successful leaders cannot be people whose ego drives them to power. Instead, it must be someone who can understand the needs, goals, and requirements of the specific society that one aspires to lead.
The necessity to have someone in charge is rooted deep in nature. One force governs all the systems of reality. This force divides into countless elements that are grouped together and form units. And in each unit, from the smallest to the largest, there is a leader, something or someone who is in charge. That is, someone needs to take responsibility, to lead, to see that the organism, or the team, the company, or country is heading in the right direction.
People’s drive to dominate others is natural and obvious. However, true responsibility stems not from wanting to dominate over others and patronize them, but from feeling others’ pains and wanting to improve their situation, to genuinely help them.
Being responsible individuals requires learning. Our inherent nature is inconsiderate and exploitative. Caring for others and taking responsibility for their well-being not in order to benefit ourselves, but truly for the sake of others, takes learning. To achieve this, we must first come to know the desirable connection that we need to establish in the particular system that we want to lead. If we look at nature, we will see that all the elements—still, vegetative, and animate—are intertwined harmoniously, and together create the fabric of existence. If we can establish similar relationships among us, too, where each element supports the thriving of all the other elements in society, we will transform the society for the better.
In such a society, people’s responsibility is to show others that they care about human connections, that others matter to them, and that they are trying to advance everyone toward an even more connected state.
Clearly, there will be problems along the way. Building warmth and mutual responsibility among inherently self-centered beings is no small feat. But if we make an honest attempt to build it, we will discover the one force that governs all of nature, since that force is a force of giving, creating, projecting, and when we try to become like it, we begin to resonate with it and therefore feel it.
The world is connected. We are, as Marshall McLuhan referred to it, a “global village.” We are dependent on each other, influence each other, and it is only going to become more so in the future.
Therefore, those who understand it and take upon themselves to promote consideration and mutual responsibility among everyone will be regarded as responsible individuals. In the future, they will be society’s leaders.
When society adopts this attitude, we will begin to rise above our narrow-minded and self-centered perception and become similar to the one force that has created everything. This is really our goal, to develop the same qualities as the force that has created and governs creation. When we develop them, we will become like it, there will be no limit to our wisdom and power, and we will become the true leaders of the world.
World leaders appear on screen during a virtual Climate Summit, seen from the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 22, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner