The king fears allowing his peasants to read because a man in power wishes to remain there.
He further seduces himself under the illusion that he is more worthy of being “a leader” than his peasants. He convinces himself that he is more intelligent than the masses — that the earthly possessions, social status and prestige he has acquired are indicators of this, or signs from the Almighty himself!
In times of old, an entire lifetime would pass before a king would be forced to recall his mortality — his finiteness, his simple humanity. But every king shall fall.
Today, leaders rise and fall with every democratic election cycle. The monarch has been intently reduced to a fleeting cog in a massive machine: one component of an expansive system wherein checks and balances negate even the most powerful leaders to memories in a few years’ time.
Leaders seldom remember their leadership’s mortality until it is too late. They forget because of the seducing allure of worldly attachment; because of outright addictions; because of a blinding ego. They forget, beyond all else, that leadership originates within them — and not from what they have that others (“followers”) are without.
- As such, leaders tend to grow dangerously attached to their positions, their titles, their followers, and all of the niceties and perks that come along with being “powerful.”
- They become seduced by the hand-shaking and pin-wearing; the peasants who applaud every time he enters a room and the court jesters who beg and plead at her feet.
- In the end, even the most well-intentioned of leaders forget that leadership comes from within, and not what they have acquired.
Leadership — a word that represents intrinsically human traits and qualities that we all inherently share — originates within our hearts, not our wallets; our capacities to sow and reap wisdom and compassion every day, neither by forcing our wants nor imposing desires for control upon others.
When we forget this, we think that our ability to lead comes from what is outside of ourselves: money, status, job title, followers.
When we forget this, we are no longer leaders embodying the high ideals of humanity, but kings who fear that the peasants may read.
Every king shall fall. But leadership based in love will endure infinitely.
Flickr photo credit by: epSos.de