Covid-19, a symptom of world’s trauma?
There is a general law in the universe that a vacuum will always be filled. It is the same with leadership and power. If a vacuum fills with power, there is little room for leadership and vice versa. Repairing is only possible by creating a vacuum again and allowing it to be refilled.
The special thing about this is that filling with power or filling with leadership are actually comparable, say parallel systems, that take place according to similar processes, but fundamentally have a different origin and a different outcome.
Let me explain that a bit. Many books about decision-making processes speak of power or leadership within a decision-making process. But this ignores the fact that a decision-making process itself is the exercise of power or leadership.
Crozier wrote about power in 1961 “(…) power can neither be suppressed nor ignored. It stems from the impossibility of eliminating uncertainty, in the context of bounded rationality which is ours. In such a context, the power of A over B depends on A’s ability to predict B’s behavior and on the uncertainty of B about A’s behavior. As long as the requirements of action create situations of uncertainty, the individuals who have to face them have power over those who are affected by the results of their choice ”.
So power has an origin in uncertainty. People or groups fight for control of the ultimate strategic sources of uncertainties, and their fates in the group struggle depend on their ability to control these. The ones that cope most effectively with the most uncertainty have the most power, since coping reduces the impact of uncertainty, a shock absorber function. Coping may be by prevention or by absorption. By coping a pseudo certainty is being created for others, what otherwise would be contingencies. Since avoidance of uncertainty is not possible, it is all about coping, what matters. Reducing the uncertainty is not the same as reducing the impact of uncertainty. Uncertainty that always will exist for those seeking power. The impact is highly influenced by the centrality of the uncertainty, the possibilities to avoid it.
The situation, in which certain individuals control variables unpredictable to the other people has an only partial objective foundation. It is man-made and socially crested, but is nevertheless not arbitrary. It is the indirect result of the power struggle within society and people that by routinization will try to cope with uncertainty, to create a situation where there appears to be no uncertainty. Through information or absorption they define how the uncertainty which does occur shall be coped with. But how does this affect power since it does not eliminate uncertainty itself? What it does is increasing substitutability.
The centrality and substitutability of the uncertainty create dependence of others. And it depends on the political skills and energy of the people how successful those other people will be in exercising power. Whereas power is always a power relationship and where that relationship is missing, control systems will take over. Power will be created in forms of ideology, politics, expertise of personal and bureaucratic control systems.
How about Leadership? Leadership can be suppressed and ignored. It is far from rational and stems from being certain in the context of bounded rationality which is ours. In such a context, the Leadership of A is not going over B. It does not depend on A’s ability to predict B’s behavior and on the uncertainty of B about A’s behavior. Is stems from the inner certainty A has in himself, and acting accordingly. So leadership has an origin in certainty. Certainty that lets you act as if there is no uncertainty. Leadership as a kind of duality of power.
Leaders don’t fight for control of the ultimate strategic sources of uncertainties, and do not depend on their ability to control these. They don’t cope, they act from certainty as if uncertainty is non-existent. They experience no impact of uncertainty.
Leadership is not man-made and socially crested, but is universal, stems from the power of the heart, the connection to the universe. It stems from following one’s heart, free from uncertainty.
But leadership is often hampered. As an indirect result of the power struggle within society. People that are shattered by the uncertainty and feelings of uncertainty created by others. Created to define how the uncertainty which does occur shall be coped with. An endless stream of pressure to impose insecurity, as it were. What it does is increasing substitutability. The centrality and substitutability of the certainty leadership creates, will lead to independence of others, independent of the political skills and energy of the people that try to control them. No power will be created, no ideology, no politics, no false expertise or personal and bureaucratic control systems.
Where power is always a power relationship and where that relationship is missing, control systems exist that have taken control, is leadership within people themselves, connected to their own heart, the certain energy of what is and will be.
Can leadership be pushed away by power? Can leadership also go together with power? Yes but it depends on trauma. This sounds mystical, but let me explain this by the story of Erik and Genesys because this not only shows what I mean, but also gives a key to restoring leadership.
Erik, the beautiful large Friesian horse from one of my other stories. Straightforward, no trauma. A gelding who is leader of his herd. Erik looks, Erik lets go, Erik intervenes when necessary, but only then. The herd gives him his place, let him go first. If there is any tramp in the herd, he will assert himself. Subtle, sometimes only with the movement of an ear. There is no uncertainty for Erik. He does. No stress, no hassle.
And then Genesys, from the other story. Traumatized, but strong and powerful. When Erik is taken out of the herd by us, Genesys feels responsible for the herd. Driven by uncertainty, he exercises his power. Kicks here, bites there, creates his space with physical pressure. And it is only through the uncertainty of others about his behavior that he gets his space.
Erik is guided by his intuition, Genesys by his insecurity. Erik chooses his strategy, Genesys is stuck in his survival strategy.
Because of these different ways of acting, where the trauma of Genesys lets him go for power instead of leadership, these horses are extremely suitable to be representative in a system setup. Without bias by human representatives, they show where the certainties and uncertainties are in the system.
Power-relations cannot be developed in situations where no one can affect the behavior of others. Leadership does. Leadership is about choice, freedom of the heart, being certain of what is and will be.
Uncertainties can be hyped and lead to power processes. Certainties cannot and lead to leadership. When existing structures are challenged, like the COVID-19 situation, new vacuums occur. Vacuums that will be filled. But how? Insecurity is created by power of information or authority. Experts are leading, not because of leadership, but because of their expertise. And people that feel that power are trying to reduce the power-gap and become less dependent on these experts and to create power for themselves. This power reduction tendency always occurs. People will try to reduce the power gap with those having more power and increase their own power over those with less power. That’s why people ignore so many government measures like within the COVID-19-period.
In that way
power is addictive and this tendency is only restricted by behavioral cost. Cost
that are inherent in the process, the things you have to give in, the energy
you have to invest or the trade-off you have to make. Or e.g. the penalties
people get when ignoring the lock-down.
But the strange thing with power of expertise is that sharing expertise just will diminish the power of the expert and most probably politics will take over, by politicians or even by the expert themselves. They will try to restore their power. Create uncertainty by fear or by other means.
And how does society react? They don’s see it, they don’t want to see it. Society is traumatised by so many years of social media, by the fear or missing out, not belonging. Trauma, that makes them vulnerable for power and power processes.
And where is leadership in all this? Only if you want to see it, you will see where it is. You will feel the certainty, embrace the freedom of choice. The choice of your heart …
But can you see when traumas rule your world?