Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

How powerless human leaders look like (2)

30 January 2020


I made a thinking error in yesterday’s blog. Only after writing my blog, I started wondering about famous persons like Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and even people like Alexei Navalny and Greta Thunberg. Aren’t they examples of powerless leaders?

The mere fact that formal leaders fear such powerless people makes them informal leaders, albeit without any formal power. Nevertheless, formal leaders prefer labelling such informal leaders as activists, insurgents, rebels, separatists or even terrorists.

The essence in this debate is fear. In several countries, subjects (sic!) – a.k.a. citizens – fear their leaders. Such leaders (probably) fear those persons who are loved by their subjects (eg, Robin Hood). Hence, leaders who use fear as a tool for power, will fear most.

In hindsight, the above was already clear from a quote by Mahatma Gandhi in Tuesday’s blog:

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” (AZ, GR, Wiki)

A preliminary conclusion would be that powerless leaders use Love for spreading their ideas. In my view, Greta Thunberg uses fear for spreading her ideas on climate change. Alexei Navalny is a political activist in a country that lacks democracy. Both are not examples of powerless leaders.

In the eyes of the ruling Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, Jesus was just another rebel and a mere footnote in history. This historical view transpires from The Antiquities of the Jews (20 books dated to 93 AD) by Flavius Josephus (37/38 AD – 100 AD), a Jewish priest, scholar and historian, who collaborated with the ruling Romans (eg, Britannica).

I doubt that Jesus viewed himself as a leader, if only because he was aware of his fate. I suspect Jesus viewed himself as a messenger from the Supreme Being (eg, Ahura Mazda, Allah, Brahman, God, Yahweh). Others view such people as (false) prophets.

I think, feel and (start to) believe that a powerless leader is like an oxymoron (my blogs). All leaders seem to have either formal power (eg, citizens) or informal power (eg, movement). Hence, you’re either a leader or powerless. Perhaps, Jesus’ message of Love made Him an (unwilling) powerless (thought) leader.

The Message is Love (1989) by Al Green with Arthur Baker

artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Love is the message and the message is love 

From the streets to the mountains to the heavens above

(Tell everybody) Tell everybody what your dreaming of 

That love is the message and the message is love

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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