Friday, 29 March 2013

Who will lead?

Where are the great religious leaders? We have the absurd spectacle of Christians fighting each other over all things sexual, Muslims killing each other over a quarrel that should never have arisen 13 and 1/2 centuries ago, rabbis for Zionism and rabbis against Zionism, Hindutva leaders preaching Hindu 'fundamentalism', Buddhist monks fighting over which lama is the right one... Well, I suppose the Buddhists come out best with their Dalai Lama, and perhaps the new Pope will untie some sexual knots (but I doubt it). Is it because all the brightest people have been repelled by these petty conflicts and devoted themselves to the sciences? I see no necessary contradiction between the scientific approach and the true foundations of religion; science is about what you can observe from outside and religion should be about what you see from within. Perhaps the problem is with the business of leadership; people expect a leader to tell them what to think or do, when what is needed is leaders who will ask people to see for themselves. I am reading How to Live: a Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell - a wonderful book - and it has made me want to read 'On Voluntary Servitude' by his friend La Bo├ętie, which is about people's insane readiness to be led by fools.

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