Leadership has had a long tradition of being focused on the material aspect of life. It is even a measure of success: “’Cause we are living in a material world…the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mr. Right,” as a famous singer once said. However, this focus on the material aspect of life did not produce respect for something more fundamental, that is, the inherent dignity of the human being.
Over the years, there has always been a discussion about what leadership should focus on. In “The Threepenny Opera” (1928), Bertolt Brecht ** wrote: “First comes a full stomach, then comes ethics.” Notwithstanding the fact that while the world now has an abundance of food, there is a lack of ethics. How do we explain this? Is the focus on the material world producing and exposing the very (material) problems needed to be solved?
Most leaders focus on, and show concerns (sometimes sincere) for, the material goals such as ending poverty, hunger, diseases, improving health care, housing, sanitation, etc. The UN Millennium Development Goals program was an attempt to do something on this materialistic level. When this ended in 2015, it was followed by the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” initiative.
However, the deplorable materialistic conditions around the world are the consequences of the lack of focus on the immaterial factors: empathy, inclusive thinking, having a moral compass, integrity–to summarize: a lack of ethics.
The lack of focus on these essential immaterialistic factors is the fundamental cause of an ongoing situation in which human dignity is disrespected. A world culture has developed in which what was once traditionally “Abnormal” has become the “New Normal”. Man has become his own enemy, a fear that Thomas Hobbes *** warned us about.
The New Normal
This “New Normal” (NN) produced the bank crisis alias greed, through which, as a consequence, many lost their homes. It produced the migrant crisis not only in Europe, which we watched on TV while eating chips. We witnessed how women and children’s dead bodies washed ashore, and how those who survived were mistreated and disrespected by many leaders. The New Normal produced leaders defending their material situation against the powerless and helpless–with barbed wire at borders, with the police firing gunshots and teargas at kids and (elder) women in the Europe of Human Rights.
This “New Normal” produced a culture of decay of national and international institutions, which originally were founded on immaterial norms and values to guard against that very decay.
The “New Normal” made Democracy – intended so that we, the people, can take ownership of our destiny by being taken seriously by leadership – into deMockcracy. In so doing, making a mock of the system developed for humanizing civilization. The New Normal used the system to demonize others thus turning it into deMONcracy; or even cashing in on it, turning it into DEMONEYcracy; or looking at we, the people, as crazy when asked to comply to moral standards: demoCRAZY.
This “New Normal” misuses Human Rights to promote human wrongs.
From the Home to the World: Women’s Role
Time for Change, for a new direction! For leadership rooted in Moral values, just as in the home. This is the sustainable choice. Women have a central role to play on the world stage by bringing the moral values that they instill in their family within the home, out to the world stage: the moral values, which are in the home as simple as grandma’s apple pie.
Bertolt Brecht is proven wrong by history: the “moral mess” in the world is caused by those who had more than enough to eat. Though the famous singer is right: “we are living in a material world,” this, however has shown to disrespect human dignity. Time for change is overdue! Change! My hope is that in the near future, we shall sing: “We are living in an immaterial world and I am an immaterial girl…”
Let’s make this our goal (song) for the Women’s New Leadership Culture for Peace and Development.
You are welcome to join the choir. If you are already a member, just keep singing along.
*Famous singer: Madonna; **Bertolt Brecht 1898-1956,German poet,playwright; ***Thomas Hobbes 1588-1679 English philosopher,founder modern political philosophy.
The above is a prepared presentation for the Global Peace Convention 2017. Changes in actual delivery may not be reflected.