I was browsing today the publications index of the Harvard Business Review and found 960 articles dedicated to the subject of leadership. Years of publications. If only one of these articles were complete, in the sense that it addressed not only the subject of leadership but also the causes of the total lack of leadership in Western societies! “One real teacher would save the University,” was once the call to action of the Peruvian essayist J.M Mariátegui. How true it was.
And it is always the case that there is something missing in academic and pseudo-academic publications like the HBR, where you can find an endless flow of counselling and advise but you simultaneously know –if only because you watch the news– that there are no leaders anymore.
And essentially this is because the professions and “academia” talk only to themselves. They are essentially self-referential and repeat the known, accepted discourse, with as many twists of interpretation as possible within the accepted paradigms. Leadership discourses define “leadership” practices within and only within the modern corporate or bureaucratic environment, incapable of any transformative thinking. Is there any surprise in that they have reached the end of the line at an historical level?
We see this exercise of discourse in many professions, where publication and “debate” are also a product of the default system. The meaning is the product, and there is no meaning that cannot be arrived at that is not the justification of the process of “academic” and “business” publication itself. (Remember: “The medium is the message.”)
So the real parameters of this world are those of recreation of the current pre-conceptions, trends and formulae. Not the understanding of why these same discourses keep us within the path of decadence.
See it for yourself. You can find the index here: