Sphinx by Mia Steingraeber
Decipher me or be devoured.
A minor autobiographical digression from natural leadership to regular politics.
Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Since primary school I have had a personal story of being chosen as representant of groups. Later, I came to understood this as the core of the political experience – representativity.
I never enjoyed the fact that much, but in the schooling micro social environment we can still see natural leadership being given, not taken.
Natural leadership is given, not taken, and it occurs so spontaneously that you end up not being able to refuse. It happens.
From this experience, I developed a perspective on the heart of leadership and politics that evolved with time.
In primary school, politics seemed to be related to the capacity of articulating language, written and spoken.
It is the moment when children are learning to communicate, and a good communicator will be a natural leader.
During the transition from primary to high school, communication somehow developed, the capacity of logical thinking was essential, but not only logical thinking, it needed to be transmitted with a dose of empathy and charisma.
During high school until university, my most important lesson on leadership was the ability to serve.
Normally high school is a minefield of growing egos and vanities, but with service you could reach everyone and skip the social bombing or bullying.
Basically, until university, the natural path of leadership had some clear pillars to me.
- Communication skills.
- Capacity of logical thinking.
- Empathy and charisma.
- A pinch of good humor and emotional malleability.
That was it.
When I arrived to university, though, things really started to change. I don’t know in other countries, but in Brasil, universities are already a nucleus of political activity.
Everything changed so drastically.
From this moment on, I learned politics without natural leadership – what I call political articulation.
The leader now was the political articulator, who knew how to conciliate many different reasons, demands and converge them into few interests – the main interest was to convince, to influence in order to control.
At this level it is still a game of convinciment, influence and control. Power for power.
Later it degenerates and assumes other biases, like political favouring, personal or financial gains, circumvention of rules and laws, etc.
It, then, comes to a point that the politician or the political leader is far from being the natural leader, but the best persuader or deceiver and the one who has the skill of skipping responsibility for deceiving or wrong doing. Also the one who gathers more financial resources, licit or illicit. We know money and power hold hands.
Unfortunately, the essence of politics, which should be natural leadership and representativity, gets corrupted into the ability of persuading, deceiving, stealing, and skipping responsibility; for those who crave power and control.
The natural leaders, or the empathic servers end up moving away from politics, because it becomes incompatible with their nature and principles.
I don’t know how humanity can solve its political dilemma. This piece is only a minor autobiographical digression, but it is pretty like – decipher me or be devoured!
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.