I am taking a course on the moral dimensions of leadership. One of the assignments for the course is to find a historical figure that represents an example of moral leadership. As I was meditating this morning it occurred to me I don’t want to find a historical figure to hold up as an example of all that is right in the world.
Part of my reasoning is the fact I am uncomfortable with the idea of putting individuals on a pedestal. It feels too much like idolatry and I find that repulsive. Another thing I find problematic is the fact historical figures tend to have their persona’s streamlined to fit nicely into a convenient category with little regard for the many dimensions of the human experience. Invariably a historian will come along and reveal a side of the individual that casts a cloud over the credibility of the work they are most famous for.
I think I’ll just stick with the wealth of knowledge and experience we have accumulated from historical figures and not dig too deep into their personal lives.