As the world drowns in a plethora of narratives regarding the pandemic and the eventual outcome of the US election, old institutions fail to provide satisfying answers to the questions many people concern themselves with. No matter the outcomes, trust in the old guard will never be restored to what it once was. This begs the question of who – or what people will rely on in the future.
There is no way around the fact that the majority of people will still require leadership, whether it is outright submission or paced by a force that eludes their awareness. Some say the world is heading to an era of decentralization, and despite that there’s not a single coherent definition that is commonly accepted for this term, almost all interpretations of the term imply a defiance of the old power structures, a new hierarchical organization of the world without centralized leadership.
However, leadership has not always been centralized. It’s a new phenomena for the entire world to be able to coordinate and enforce rules set by global institutions; before this era, the world was comprised of tiny fractions that existed beyond the rule of a global entity. Whether this global entity will wither and a new age of total freedom is ushered in or not does not concern my proposition regarding leadership. With or without the centralized entity to watch over us all, the world will fracture into a multitude of communities, tribes, gatherings of humans based on a variety of features. Lines will get blurred until the outline is only a figment of the imagination of your mind.
The internet has allowed for global micro communities to flourish, no matter what topic they may base themselves around. Membership to the these communities comes both online and offline, exclusive and non-exclusive. However, with the aforementioned death of current structures of power, there is a vacuum of authority needing to be filled.
The New Leaders
It is a new world, and a new class of leaders will come to exist. It could mean the same people as before operate in different paradigms, or completely new players taking up the mantle to lead. But where are they leading us?
Leading is neither a good or a bad thing, although our culture has conditioned us to seek power as a means for reaching status, so leadership on its own is, outside of unusual circumstances, seen as a net positive on its own.
And why wouldn’t it be? You’re helping those in need after all. You psychologically empower your followers, you help them survive, you shelter them from the dangers of the world they are not ready to face.
Beware of the wolf in sheep’s skin. More and more people will be looking to seize the opportunity of filling up the power vacuums that will come about. The truly dangerous ones will create microspaces of their own to rule them as their kingdom. Because their desire to lead comes before a mission that would ultimately lead to a better future for humanity, if these predators come across power, they will stop at nothing to ensure they can wield it without any inferences from others.
The desire to lead can only be desirable if it exists as a downstream effect of a selfless desire to protect and advance others – the latter being arguably more important, because in the end, leaders will always aim towards empowering those below them to get by without their help or take up the mantle for themselves. If they do not, then they might nourish and protect you, but only as a means to isolate you from other sources of influences that could disturb the power they exercise over you.
The makings of a good leader are a highly nuanced matter, more than ever as our world becomes entangled by a chaotic nebula that, while it may provide a clearer sight once it has passed, will test its inhabitants ability to navigate chaos for the time being.
If someone pretends they know with certainty which direction the world is headed towards while also being detailed in their predictions, they’re almost certainly either a fiend or a fool. We can make educated, reasoned guesses about the future, but we can not know it beyond the potential of predicting larger macro trends. If someone is absolutely certain, they will enthusiastically lead you towards a better future – right until they’ve fallen of the cliff and taken their supporters with them.
This is why it is not an easy task to deduce whether some is fit for leadership or not, because leaders must possess a stern ability to lead with conviction based on their ability to navigate the woes of the future, but if they can’t acknowledge their fundamental inability to reliably do so, then their lack of internal discernment also means they’re not fit to lead.
I wish I could give you a blueprint for how to discern bad leaders from good leaders, and how to spot corrupted ones before it’s too late. However, I cannot do that, precisely because of the limitations I have highlighted in the paragraphs above. The acceleration of the amounts of information required to navigate the streams of the world with certainty is growing too quickly for us to keep up. The old ways will not help us see what’s ahead this time.
There is no surefire way to deduce whether someone is corrupted or not, and even if there was, how would you be able to know what good someone’s leaderships skills will be in these unprecedented times unless you are the perfectly equipped leader yourself? There are obvious cases of assessment, but if you believe the majority of leaders fall under those, then it’s highly likely that you’ve already been paced towards this thought by someone without being aware of it in the process.
The best we can do is follow our gut and hope for the best. Which means a lot will fail to come out on top of the chaos by default. Chaos will wreak its havoc upon the world. Many will get swept up and drown. What it truly is that makes you survive and thrive nobody knows for now.
Only after the fact will we be able to understand what it was that distinguished the great leaders of this era from the fatal ones. There is no map. There is no certainty. There is no stopping what’s coming. Hold onto something. Or don’t. Nobody can save you. All that’s left is to embrace the tides, and you may just end up in the eye of the storm.