Saturday, 16 May 2009

Poetry, waste, war and leadership ...

I have just been watching a programme by Jeremy Paxman about Wilfred Owen, the English First World War poet. My mother taught Owen's poetry at school while I was growing up. It was interesting to learn that Owen's poetry only really became part of common cultural heritage in the 1960s.
Listening to the well known lines from Owen's poetry, and the less well-known lines from his letters home, I reflected on how horrifically wasteful humanity is of human beings. Yet in the crucible of desperate, vile battle poetry can sometimes flourish, even if it can take us decades to appreciate and recognise green shoots of pure genius sprouting in the terror of the battlefields.
Watching Annie Leonard's "the story of stuff" last night, I was moved in a similar way to how poetry sometimes moves me, as she described how wasteful of human beings, their lives, their dignity, their dreams and aspirations the systems are which underpin our ridiculous push to consume, buy, own and possess. I began to understand that in some ways today's consumerism is the underlying conflict which those of us fortunate to not live in present day warzones live with.
Churches too can be terribly wasteful, treating employees as commodities, putting up with the "collateral damage" of ministerial stress and congregational distress. Nine years on the ministries commission of my church have shown me how wasteful churches can be of talent, relationships, possibilities for renewal, chances for reconciliation ...
The question for church leaders from elders to archbishops, from patriarchs to sacristans is how to lead with humility and integrity, and yet also be decisive. So many of our leadership models come from the commercial warzone, are these appropriate models for the church? As the church in Europe at least becomes far less maintstream, more minority and counter-cultural will we not also need models of leadership which can inspire us and yet perhaps not necessarily offer us impossible ideals of perfection and effeciency? These issues around models of leadership and what alternatives may be vialble interest me as I work on the paper for my course in Rome.
Meanwhile I have not yet read Stephen Cottrell's Hit the Ground Kneeling nor have I looked much at the poetics of management. It strikes me though that poetics and creative theory may have more to teach us in developing new management models. As we try to be some of the green shoots of hope, creativity and beauty amidst the ongoing attrition of consumerism, perhaps the discipline, metre, craftedness and creativity of poetry may help to free up ways of perceiving what some of those models could be. Poetics may also be the way to help integrate spirituality and leadership while practising integrity and showing humility.


Anonymous said...

Jane Stranz, In response to your post on consumerism :

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Industrial Society is destroying necessary things [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land] for making unnecessary things [consumer goods].

"Growth Rate" - "Economy Rate" - "GDP"

These are figures of "Ecocide".
These are figures of "crimes against Nature".
These are figures of "destruction of Ecosystems".
These are figures of "Insanity, Abnormality and Criminality".

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].

Chief Seattle of the Indian Tribe had warned the destroyers of ecosystems way back in 1854 :

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.

To read the complete article please follow any of these links.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Delhi, India

Jane said...

Thanks for the link Sushil and best wishes with your work and campaigning.