Who are the new Leaders who will rise above the seeds of discord?

Dec 07, 2018

Who are the new Leaders who will rise above the seeds of discord?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
are full of passionate intensity.

William Butler Yeats

As we observe the growing chaos around us, seemingly in all parts of the globe, we cannot help but reflect upon the prophetic poem of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats, written from the growing clouds of discontent that followed World War I. Everywhere around us, we see not simply the seeds of discord planted long ago, but the fruits of their growth and development. Yeats’ words could just as easily have been written to depict events taking place today, not simply in Europe but throughout the world. We now seem to be approaching the precipice once again.

Yeats saw the growing anarchy that followed the "War to end all Wars", a time when some thought the worst times were behind them, but the reality was quite the reverse – the past
was proving yet again the ideal prologue to an even more horrific war. The Peace of Versailles had not settled the war, rather set the stage for a far greater and wider battle.

When I look around us now, I often think of Yeats and his metaphor of the falcon soaring in wider and wider circles away from the centre until, inevitably, the centre can no longer contain it. The world for the falcon and falconer had changed, the balance had shifted and there was no longer an equilibrium. Both were lost from the other. Relationships ceased to exist as before only as a form of alienation from one another.

I wonder if the world is not again adrift from its centre of gravity, being pulled in ways never intended. It seems everywhere we look those on whom we depended for stability are no longer anchored as strongly to their traditions. Leaders have lost their followers, and the oracles are unable to us who the next generation of leaders will be. Elders age without necessarily endowing their wisdom for the future. Who are the next generation of leaders? It is not easy to answer that question easily. Will we have to learn the old lessons all over again, to an even greater consequence?

There is a need for leadership development and training, one that brings about the best in humanity, one that brings potential adversaries together and does not reinforce enmity and separation. We have too many problems to solve and little time to solve them.

How many of our leaders today will be in power in ten years, or even five years from now? The answer may be surprisingly few. Putin, one of the youngest state leaders is 66. America's leaders are all in their 70s. Much of Europe faces the same challenge as does China, India and many of the countries of the Middle East. Have we prepared our nations and the global system for the future? Or are we simply set to continue the ways of the past, to repeat the lesson of Yeats' falcon and falconer, growing so far apart they no longer hear one another?
Our future cannot depend on distrust and hatred of the other. We must learn to live together if we want to solve the problems we face that threaten our survival. We cannot solve these issues unless we are able to work more closely together.

We need to look at the development of new leadership, not because the old must go, but because the old will pass on. The next generation needs to be ready to take on the mantle and lead us to a future of hope and cooperation.