Great Crisis inspires Great Leadership

Have you ever participated in a great crisis? Probably the answer is no. Most of the people in control of the Western World as we know it, have never seen a great crisis. Or as Tyler Durden would say:

We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.

We and everyone else around is enjoys a comfortable sedentary lifestyle. Even if there is individual crisis and the associated trauma, it has been a long time that there has been a collective crisis. And why is this a challenge for us, and for the western civilization? Because great crisis is a good teacher, it requires and therefore develops great leadership.

Have you been to the Moon recently? No? And neither was anyone else. The last manned Moon landing was in 1972! About ten years before I was even born. At that time a publicly accessible Internet wasn’t even available yet. Still, this incredible feat of engineering was accomplished.

What was driving those people at those times, how did they get the capable leadership and vision to pull through such an unimaginable project? One of the driving forces was the cold war, the result of World War II, which inspired a sense of competition between superpowers. But World War II also allowed produced a vast population of veterans, pilots and officers. People that were very capable precisely because the had gone through such a great crisis. They had a sense of what was possible through conducted cooperation, and they learned to release their knowledge and energy for the good of humanity, and made the moon landing possible.

And now Civilization is at a crossroad again, we are slowly losing that practical knowledge, the world lacks people and understanding of the forces that drives it. Beneath the surface is a vast network of machines, structures and organizations, that are for a large part on autopilot operated be the ants and bees on its levers and buttons, but without any oversight or insight.

I like to compare this to the scene in Matrix 2, where Neo goes to see Councilor Harmann in the underbelly of the secret underground city. The look at large machinery, that keeps the city running, and the Councilor laments how he does not understand what exactly it is that they do, but that he knows they keep the system up.

So now we have this challenge, on the one hand, there is the desire to avoid such a gruesome experience like a worldwar again, but there is on the other hand a lack of human beings, that carry the experience of overcoming such a crisis. So how do you learn what can only be learned through crisis, and at the same time work to avoid such a crisis?

Well, that is a good question, but it is a question for another time, as I have to leave know.

But maybe, I will feel inspired to write a follow up, or a part 2.