The Western World describes the eternal conflict with words like “good versus evil,” or “God versus the Devil.” However, I would like to approach this dichotomy on different terms; namely, imagination versus fear. I do this not because the aforementioned substitutes are invalid, but rather to get to the root of the issue. It is our imagination and fear that create such constructs. They exist outside of us, yet work within us to bring awareness of what lies beyond.
To illustrate this point further I’d like to employ the Terry Gilliam film, “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.” It tells the story of an aging swashbuckler mocked by the modern generation. Reason is the new regime, and the populace is led by its proponents. Believing a sound argument to be the strongest weapon they go to war armed with exactly that. Suffice it to say things go badly and the teller of tall-tales (Munchausen) is raised from retirement to save the people.
The Baron believes in myths, monsters, and travelling to the moon. He believes, like children, in that which adults see as silly. Perhaps this is why his pre-pubescent companion is so enamored by him. Sally is pleased to find a grown-up who views the world as she does: a place where anything is possible. Raised in a place where heroes are marginalized and women are undermined, she longs for something better. Beside the Baron she is led to it. From the depths of the deep blue sea to the edge of enemy lines she is shown exactly that anything is possible.
Time has taught us the truth of this as well, and fear has balanced the scales. Possibility includes the good and the bad. It is our choice as to which will lead us. Fear too often is coupled with management, the desire to ensure stability. Like the adults presiding over Sally managers act like magnets, collecting what they are attracted to and leaving the rest behind. Caution is their axiom, an admirable guide. Yet, the sentiment when indulged in shuts the individual up, down, and off.
Risk is required to open the gates. Stability is well and good, but spinning in the same circle only digs a hole. Leadership is needed to climb out of this crater. However, it is difficult task. The Baron is just the beginning, and imagination the base. To be a great leader adventure must be superseded by a quest. To see what I mean stay tuned for the movie metaphors to come.
… To Be Continued.