The great struggle we face in political races and in our business practices today is not between good and evil, although it appears that way to many of us (myself often included). It is about leadership styles. Building on a decades long career spent examining differences in conceptual mindsets, Eisler clearly illustrates that the great struggle over time has been about leading from mindsets based on domination, vs. those based on partnerships. (Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives and Future, by R Eisler and D Fry). To extrapolate (Eisler may or may not agree with the next assertions): The differences in leadership styles are about power over, vs. power sharing, and can also be seen as the significant differences between using “might makes right” or “compassion and empathy” in models of governance or relational orientations.  In “might makes right” or domination mindsets, the relational orientation is hierarchal (see Powerarchy by Joy), and in many ways minimized. In partnership or common good models, the relational aspects and the general well being other Others are much more explicitly emphasized. As mentioned in other places, being able to fully see and appreciate Others has historically been problematic for many folks who 1) internalize cultural PTSD symptoms, 2) are themselves mentally ill, and/or 3) have been socialized to not experience vulnerability. Cultural norms ebb and flow To be clear: although we have had many great examples of partnership based, common good based, or altruism based leadership in modern nation states, these administrations have always manifested as a hybrid model with significant elements of power by state sanctioned force also available. In our most effective and broadly successful modern day movements, some amount of hierarchal arrangement has also always been used in addition to “purer” forms of leadership by stewardship. We need some structure as humans, and certainly hierarchies are easy ways of attaining that. And so, they are used, even in peacetime and when our democracy has been functioning well. Similarly, hybrids have also been at work even in the most obvious examples of people leading for personal benefit. When people have led for personal benefit, they have always had to share at least some power and spoils with their minions, henchmen and followers. Some group benefit does occur, even though the group may be small, and any “loyalties” are extended only in transactional terms (think mob bosses killing off minions who are disloyal to them). The implications are clear when leadership by self interest prevails. I mean look at how many career criminals are now in positions of great political power in this country and around the world. Look at how many verifiably corrupt immoral and self centered people are in positions of power within large corporations. And look at the state of mess we are in. In contrast, I believe that folks who work for the common good do so in much more….collaborative, relational and therefore fulfilling ways. And to further the emergence of
For further explorations, we can even add Dweck’s differences between fixed mindset and growth mindsets as using similar principles of “power over” vs “power with”. Going even further afield we could explore the similar issues present within the struggle between differentiation and belonging. This is a universal struggle all humans experience, as is the struggle between ego vs selfless being, or separateness vs singularity, etc.. I realize these are all framed as dualities, and are simplified in this footnote, but differentiation at its most base form in science is between two single cells.