Chapter 33 - Leadership, Respect & Honor - Strength for the Journey
Our society, so dominated as it is by dominance, displays an insatiable lust for conflict. While we are ever seeking the next opponent, we have abandoned the principal purpose of conflict, that of self-embetterment (replaced, chiefly, with much self-embitterment). Today, mastery is viewed primarily in terms of external factors & achievements. We constantly strive to conquer each other, as a desperate escape from pressures caused by our deep lack of Self-mastery.
In this dog-eat-dog world, we dare not allow others to become worthy opponents, as we are more afraid of defeat now, than the disrepute of bullying. Hurting the weak is a great dishonor, not only to others, but to ourselves, no matter what society attempts to teach us. Better to arm one's enemy with Self-respect, than to belittle him (or her). Even in the world of conflict, there is a 'right' way, and an incorrect path. The motto 'Death Before Dishonor' reflects this Truth. To die in battle fighting for duty (ref: Bhagavad Gita) is far preferable to the shame of harming the defenseless.
Regardless of whether you still live for conflict, or desire peace, it is wise to develop fellow leaders. We must encourage & build up even our strongest critics & enemies. A well-matched opponent provides the only honorable form of engagement.
Daily we put down, disregard, and undervalue our fellow humans. This, as psychologists will undoubtedly state, is a massive case of projection. We treat others as we feel we deserve to be treated. This represents something of a reverse Golden Rule, and reflection upon our lives in light of this Truth will bear much fruit (personal Wisdom).
If one wishes to become strong, one must have great adversity. We must begin to appreciate & respect those who disagree with us, or we will become weak prey, falling as casualties before our own self-delusions. Further, we must start promoting leadership in a widespread manner, throughout each & every strata of our world.
Those who feel empowered in their own lives are rarely dangerous to others. The Self-respecting man (or woman) poses little threat to anyone else. By treating other cultures, religions, worldviews, segments of society, and each other without respect, we create monsters & dragons for us to slay. He (or she) who, feeling worthless, has nothing left to lose, will seek out trouble, conflict, and wholesale destruction. This is as true of nations & groups as it is of individuals.
True Security relies not on better locks, longer passwords, or self-defense classes, but upon an internal peace & a willingness to maintain a constant state of open communication with others. Diplomacy works only when all parties respect & value each other as BEings created by Divine fiat, irrespective of any & all past deeds.
As long as we refuse to learn to Forgive in our personal lives, we will always have wars, interpersonal ugliness, and drama. Open communication requires the efforts of all parties concerned, if any party is unwilling to negotiate, be respectful, or honest, there is only one wise solution: Disengagement. Let others BE, for it is not our place to end the conflicts of others by force, as this places us in the role of an aggressor, prolonging the cycle of injustice.
It is unwise (and unhelpful) to attempt to change someone else, or to convince them to change. Simply state the facts as kindly, concisely, and firmly as possible, and then walk away. Ensure you always remain willing to re-engage if/when the other party is prepared to be respectful. This requires, demonstrates, and ensures True leadership, courage, honest communication, personal empowerment, an open heart, and a clear conscience.