Saturday Morning Quote #8: A solution for our crisis in leadership
We are currently experiencing a crisis in leadership. It’s plain that allowing JDs and MBAs to run the show was a grave error – they are simply the wrong sort of people. Why? Because they are not musicians.
Sir Thomas Elyot (c. 1490 – 1546) was known as a diplomat in the court of Henry VIII. He was also a humanist and contemporary of St. Thomas More (1478 – 1535), sharing More’s enlightened views on such things as the education of women. Elyot authored a handful of books on medicine and moral philosophy, including The Boke named the Governour (1531), a treatise outlining the proper education of a person of noble rank who was destined to rule. Dedicated to Henry VIII, the book was, alas, published too late to affect that particular king’s leadership and morals, but certainly had an influence on the education of Henry’s children.
Elyot describes how and why it is necessary for a ruler to understand the the concept of harmony as a metaphor for the ideal state:
…[H]e shall commend the perfect understanding of music, declaring how necessary it is for the better attaining the knowledge of a public weal, which as I before said, is made of an order of estates and degrees, and by reason thereof containeth in it a perfect harmony: which he shall afterward more perfectly understand, when he shall happen to read the books of Plato and Aristotle of public weals: wherein be written diverse examples of music and geometry. In this form may a wise and circumspect tutor adapt the pleasant science of music to a necessary and laudable purpose.
As our global economy daily deteriorates beyond the point of repair, it is time to take a long hard look at our leadership. We have been fooled into allowing non-musicians to become leaders of nations.
In the past, music was always considered a science, the study of which informed an educated person as to the balance of numbers, proportion and aesthetics. Knowledge of music was essential, not only for recreation and pastime, but also to develop a sense of empathy and human understanding.
It seems our leaders today have bought into the misguided idea that music is something less than what history tells us. And even the most patient and apologetic liberal pundits are coming around to see things as they are: The word ‘Hope’ was a great close to an electioneering slogan but it appears to have been abandoned in favor of hype.