(Also published in the Huffington Post) Are these times too absurd to address issues rationally? Are we in times so serious and fragile that it is inappropriate to make light of them? Is resistance to threat our only choice, or can this be a time to renew principles and practices that remind us of our shared humanity? Wisdom is not about final answers but about a willingness to engage and a capacity to discern what is needed in the moment. Collective wisdom is about how we do this together.
Seeking wisdom is also about listening, especially from within — to sense what is right action, what wounds may need to be addressed, what relationships help us navigate turbulent times. For me, it is also about finding a creative edge, pushing me to the brink of psychological comfort. In a few weeks, I will be announcing public programs that I will be co-convening involving collective wisdom practices and sacred leadership. However, I also feel a compelling need to address the collective shadow, finding ways to walk a fine line between reason and absurdity, collective danger and collective awakening.
I woke up recently with a startling question: What would Adolf Hitler think of contemporary times and particularly of our new president? Initially, the writing was dark and amplified some of my personal fears. The absurdity of my own premise was not being realized. A colleague reminded me that my readers would consciously or unconsciously understand that Hitler self-destructed, as has every dictator, tyrant, autocrat, despot, and authoritarian ruler. Of course, not immediately and not without devastating consequences, but the nature of malignant narcissism, a central feature of the despot’s personality, is not a recipe for organizational competence, let alone social cohesion.
And so I am publishing my rendition of fake news – a transmission from the netherworld in which an unrepentant but lonely Hitler seeks to become Trump’s advisor. I hope readers will find in it both satire’s cutting edge and just enough absurdity to be able to step back and take a deep breath.