Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Legendary Leadership: Striking the Spark

Arthur could find the golden beam of hope in defeat, the single glimmer of blue in the storm-fretted sky. It was this that made him such a winning leader—the kind of man for whom other men gladly lay down their lives.  Arthur’s enthusiasm and assurance were the flint and steel to the dry tender of men’s hearts. Once he learned to strike the spark, he could set the flame any time he chose. 
- Arthur, Stephen R Lawhead

Legendary leaders have hope when all others despair. Where the average person sees a closed door, leaders see possibilities. When plans go awry and the masses of men give way to confusion, leaders see a Better Way Forward. When darkness falls on the minds of others and the vision sinks into impenetrable darkness, leaders see the vision as clear as the day it was revealed to them.

For such leaders, this is not a case of failing to deal with reality. The door is closed, the plan is not working, and darkness has descended. (Leaders know the difference between the plan and the vision: The plan is flexible, the vision is primary.) This the leader readily acknowledges. He simply sees more than the troops. Remember: when all others are blind, the guy who sees either is or becomes a leader.

Leaders are realists, for they too have experienced confusion and hardship. As Lawhead’s Merlin notes regarding Arthur’s early years, “For even then he was beginning to display that rarest of qualities: a joy inspired by hardship, deepened by adversity, and exalted by tragedy.” Leaders suffer, as do we all. What sets them apart is what they do with their sufferings.  They do not give up or in; they do not become victims of circumstances. They endure and keep moving forward toward the vision, with joy and hope.

Certainly there are those within the ranks who do the same. A true leader, however, can “strike the spark” so as to rally the troops in times of hardship. It’s admirable to maintain my poise and post in times of adversity but if I can’t inspire my followers to hold steady in times of adversity, then I am not a leader. There is no shame here: it’s only a case of dealing with my reality.

Closed doors, failed plans, and confusion among the troops, are all part of following after the vision, maintaining the Quest. Yet, for a leader, nothing ever clouds the vision of the intended outcome or thwarts their ability to open’s men’s eyes to see “the single glimmer of blue in the storm-fretted sky.”

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018


I’ve never been a fan of the word “precious.” Other than when quoting Gollum (from “The Lord of the Rings” fame), I steer clear of it. For whatever reason, when I hear it coming out of a man’s mouth it gives me the creeps. But THIS word – presh-E-osity. O my.

Noun: Over refinement in art, music, or language, especially in the choice of words; fastidiousness

When I first ran across the word, I thought of a great synonym. Anybody? Anybody?

Think of the potential for your blog, Wilson.

“Preciosity and Mental Health”
Thesis Having a phobic response to the words of others to the extent of demanding safe places is a sign of a severe immaturity that can quickly turn into a mental disorder. The fact that our nation’s universities have become safe havens for the precious doesn’t bode well for our future. (Reference narcissism and arrested development.)

“Preciosity and the First Amendment”
Thesis Marx understood the necessity of policing language to clear the way for totalitarianism. Controlling language is the pathway to controlling thoughts. Defense: First Amendment. (Grab Orwell’s 1984)

“Poking the Precious”
Thesis While I do not believe this ought to be our go to method of dealing with preciosity, it should be part of our repertoire. I can think of few things more effective for deflating the egos of self-regarding preeners than poking fun at them. Think of it as a discipling technique for toughening up the hides of the overly sensitive.

“The Poison of Preciosity”
Thesis Preciosity is a poison that infects the heart of our freedoms and severely restricts the oxygen needed for free flowing, no-holds-barred discourse. It is the death knell for healthy relationships, the spirit of community, and social cohesion. (Drive home the fact that inoculation begins at home. Illustration: I’m 12 years old.. Dad and I were going at it, tooth and nail. My feelings are hurt. I start crying. Dad: Tears are not an argument, son.)

Ideas for blog posts abound!

When you think of preciosity, picture Gollum stroking, not “the one ring that binds them all,” but, rather, his delicate sensitivities and ego, and repeating, “My preciouuusss …” over and over again. Remember how this corrupted his soul. Look at his twisted and mangled body that mirrors his inward condition. Now tell me whether or not this is a mental disorder that we need to take seriously.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mindless Moments

So, here I am, after years of seeking to live in the moment, and I find myself “in a place where I don’t know where I am.” (The great American philosopher, Homer Simpson.) What happened was that, over and over again, I was pulled along by the mindless moment without my ever actually making a deliberative choice. Having been led by the moment, I’m a product of past reactions, fancies, and impulses; a jumbled up mix of incongruous beliefs, principles, and goals, many of which I am not even aware of possessing. My principles, my personality, and my beliefs about God, others, the world, and my self, have all morphed into being without my ever having much of a conscious thought on the matter.

Having been shaped by mindless moments, I am foreign to myself.

Questions like, “Who are you?” make me uncomfortable. I draw a blank … and then pop smoke with a confusing, errrr, deeeep religious metaphor or some pseudo-philosophical or psychological maxim - what was it I read in a Hallmark card the other day? – hoping that, if nothing else, the sheer volume of words will cower the questioner.

When I am asked what I believe, I share my feelings on the matter. After all, all I have are feelings, as I haven’t spent any time studying and deliberating. If the questioner is a Feeler, we’ll argue about whose feelings are morally superior, without of course any reference to facts, history, logic, or ethical standards. If, on the other hand, he asks me about the basis or rationale behind my feelings, I turn up the volume and throw a word-salad in his face. Or accuse him of having no heart.

“My philosophy of life?” I’ve found that mumbling something about “love” usually does the trick here, unless I get some wise guy who wants me to describe what love looks like in my day-to-day life. “I’m nice to every one I meet, Cretin.”

And may the gods save me from any one who wants to converse about Goodness, Truth, or Reality. What in the world does any of this have to do with my life? Damn. I hope I didn’t say this with my outside voice. I don’t want to get into an argument.

Talking about this airy-fairy stuff makes my brain hurt.

If my interrogator gets up on his high horse and pushes for answers then my go-to retort is,

“’Goodness’ is defined by culture.”

“All truth is personal truth.”

(Cue Dreamy, philosophical tone) There is no such thing as reality, only personal perceptions.”

Drop mic. Exit stage left.

Of course, I haven’t actually thought through any of this, except memorizing a few lines from quotes I found online from Postmodernism for Dummies, so at all costs avoid questions regarding classifying terms, defining words, or the like. Daaaamn youuuu Socrateeees. Ancient white-guy logic: who needs it. What matters is that I stay away from those who cause my brain to hurt and that I feel good about myself. Isn’t that what life’s all about anyway?

Wait a minute. I do have a philosophy of life!

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018