The foremost characteristic of post-industrial living is the fact that; whereas, the exponential progress in the fields of informational technology and genetics had left very little room for monotheistic religion in the minds of most Westerners – due to being affected by intellectual and very often biological degradation, many of these people nevertheless continue to assess life’s emanations through the lenses of irrational religiosity.
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As it was pointed out by Carrette and King (2004): “There is widespread disillusionment within contemporary Western societies and a growing sense of disempowerment with regard to the operations of the major institutions that govern our lives” (p. 11).
This is exactly what explains the phenomenon of a so-called ‘New Age’ movement, the proponents of which are known for their tendency to indulge in sophistically sounding but essentially meaningless rhetoric about the importance of soul-nurturing, spirituality-enhancing and tree-hugging, in time free from organic-coffee-drinking.
The 2001 book Leading with soul: An uncommon journey of spirit by Bolman and Deal represents a classical example of ‘new-ageist’ thinking at its worst. In it, authors aimed at promoting a nonsensical idea that the effective leader can only be the ‘loving’ one. According to them, the functioning of modern governmental, commercial and educational organizations cannot be considered truly effective, because: “Love is largely absent in the modern corporation.
Most managers would never use the word… They shy away from love’s deeper meanings, fearing both its power and its risks” (p. 109). Nevertheless, having dedicated my life to educating others, I am being perfectly aware of a simple fact that children’s exposure to unwavering ‘love’, on the part of teachers or parents, often proves utterly counter-productive.
One does not have to be overly smart to realize why – teachers overfilled with love towards the subject of an educational process, will be naturally predisposed towards treating him or her with leniency. This is exactly why, contrary to rationale-based expectations, immigrant-parents rarely help their children to become bilingual, in full sense of this word.
The reason for this is simple – as it was pointed out by Brown and Hanlon (1970), while indulging in social interactions with their young ones, such parents tend to pay foremost attention to what they children say, as opposed to be concerned with how they say it. As the result, such children’s linguistic ability to utilize proper grammatical and stylistic forms suffers a great deal of harm – all thanks to their parents’ ‘love’.
Also, I could not disagree more with Bolman and Deal when they suggest that truly effective leaders (educators) must be ‘spiritually-aware’ type of individuals: “A return to spirituality will lead us to seek wisdom. In matters of spirit, wisdom and experience count far more than technique or strategy” (p. 175).
The sheer fallaciousness of such a suggestion appears especially self-evident for just about any teacher who understands that the concepts of ‘spirituality’ and ‘education’ are utterly incompatible. After all, the much-cherished ‘spirituality’ is best defined as nothing but simply one’s tendency to personify nature, which in turn, serves as the foremost indication of his or her intellectual primitiveness.
Why is it that the bears that injure their underbellies against stinking out tree-branch, while crawling over the log, often end up hitting that branch with their both paws, as it was alive? Because, just as it being the case with today’s new-agers, such as Bolman and Deal, bears think that the nature is indeed ‘alive’.
This is the reason why the extent of people’s intellectual primitiveness correlates with their tendency to ‘blend’ with the nature and to endow nature with ‘spiritual aliveness’ in geometrical progression – the more intellectually primitive a particular individual happened to be, the more he or she will be likely to profess the values of ‘spirituality’.
And, as we are being well aware of, the very reason why we have schools, colleges and universities, in the first place, is to provide children and adolescents with an opportunity to educate themselves, so that they would be more capable to effectively oppose nature/social environment, as the foremost precondition of attaining social prominence.
It is important to understand that the very concept of Western civilized living came to being as the result of our ancestors having grown less depended on nature. This is the reason why it is namely ‘spiritually rich’ but flea-ridden people from the Third World countries who strive to immigrate to ‘spiritually impoverished’ Western countries, and not the vice versa.
Unlike many of Western particularly ‘progressive’ new-agers, they know perfectly well that it is namely rationale-based technology and not savage ‘spirituality’, out of which high standards of living and consequentially such notions as tolerance, open-mindedness and love derive, in the first place.
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Another idea, which is being promoted by Bolman and Deal and that is being utterly inconsistent with the very concept of Western education, is that leaders (teachers) must strive to ensure that the process of people’s managing, on their part, appears deeply ritualistic: “When ritual and ceremony are authentic and attuned, they fire the imagination, evoke insight, and touch the heart.
Ceremony weaves past, present, and future into life’s ongoing tapestry. Ritual helps us to face and comprehend life’s everyday shocks, triumphs, and mysteries” (p. 117). Yet, had both authors bothered to educate themselves on the basics of biology, sociology and psychology, they would know that one’s ritualistic-mindedness is nothing but the behavioral proof of his or her evolutionary atavism (underdevelopment).
After having successfully dealt with a particular life’s challenge, savages naively expect that their ritualized experiences, in this respect, will continue to help them addressing qualitatively different challenges in the future.
For example, after having been given some gifts by American soldiers, quartered in New Haiti during the course of Pacific War, and after having been exposed to the sight of these soldiers indulging in marching exercises and constructing landing strips for planes, country’s natives had established a new highly ritualistic ‘cargo religion’.
Even up to this date, they march back and forth with bamboo sticks on their shoulders (meant to symbolize rifles), built ‘cargo planes’ out of tree-branches and naively expect that their unwavering adherence to the empty ‘cargo’ ritual will yield some practical benefits.
The intellectual arrogance and inflexibility is the actual root of a ritual – an empty form without any affiliated content, whatsoever. Therefore, it is only individuals not overly burdened with intellect, such as Bolman and Deal, who may seriously think that ritual is the pathway towards attaining a higher state of consciousness.
On the contrary – ritual is the pathway back into primeval savagery, where there can be no consciousness by definition, but only animalistic instincts. And, as I have pointed out earlier, the notion of savagery and the concept of education simply do not interrelate. For those who believe in otherwise, it would not hurt to pay a little visit to the psychiatrist.
Bolman, L. & Deal, T. (2001). Leading with soul: An uncommon journey of spirit. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Brown, R. & Hanlon, C. (1970). “Derivational complexity and order of acquisition in child speech”, In JR Hayes, ed. Cognition and the development of language. New York: Wiley.
Carrette, J. & King, R. (2004). Selling spirituality: The silent takeover of religion. New York: Routledge, 2004.