Weekly Journal Update Eleven
April 6, 2017: From 11:10am to 12:30pm, I attended class which began with a quiz on the “Meet the New Boss” module. Then, Dr. Sandridge briefly discussed the three modes of leadership: activation, orientation, and integration. During these modes, something is “sparked” in a person, putting him or her on the path to their role; the person learns about the steps, expectations, and necessary traits for his or her role; and the person must meet others and prove his or her competence in order to be recognized as a leader. The class discussed the differences between responsibility and accountability in terms of leadership. Responsibility includes what a person is supposed to do as a leader because others depend on his or her decisions. Accountability is typically relevant after something occurs, when outsiders attribute the results of an occurrence to the leader.
Dr. Sandridge asked the class what motivates people to take on the role of a leader despite the challenges that come with it. The class agreed on six general motives. The first one mentioned was the “kleos element” or for the sake of having a good reputation. This includes taking on a leadership role because one’s family members have held it before and it might be shameful to not carry on the family legacy. The second motive was philanthropia; in other words, one could help others be better with a leadership position. The third motive was to surpass other leaders; furthermore, a person believes that he or she would be a better leader than a current or past leader and/or would rather lead than be led poorly. The fourth motive was power which includes the ability to exert dominance, enjoyment from being in charge, and the exhibition of control-freak tendencies. The fifth motive was personal gain or greed for materialistic things. The sixth motive was privilege which includes being a leader because one likes the role, likes being the first to speak at events or assemblies, and likes the ability to be above the law at times. Dr. Sandridge asked the class to rank which motives we believe would be most important to us as a leader. My ranking order was the following (from most important to least): to surpass other leaders, philanthropia, kleos, personal gain, privilege, and power.
The class then read and discussed parts of book 10 of the Odyssey. Dr. Sandridge also explained to the class what the Trolley Problem is and asked us what we would do in such a situation. In the Trolley Problem, one must choose to either let five people die or save the five people but kill one person in the process. If all of the individuals involved in this problem were random people who I do not know, then I would chose to save the five people even though I would be killing one person to do so. On the other hand, if the person that I had to sacrifice was someone who I knew or cared about and the five people were unfamiliar to me, then those five would just have to die. Dr. Sandridge asked if our decision would be the same if we had to physically push someone to their death in order to save multiple people and my answer was the same as the previous one. Dr. Sandridge also asked us this hypothetical question: if you were driving a vehicle and had to either drive off of a cliff (kill yourself) or run over people on the road (to save yourself), what would you do? Like the previous situation, my decision would depend on whether I knew the people. If I knew the people I would drive off the cliff, but if they were unfamiliar to me then I would run them over to save myself. Dr. Sandridge mentioned that people are legally allowed to run over people in order to save their own lives for the sake of self-preservation. I was not at all shocked by this allowance.
Dr. Sandridge asked if in the future, when cars will drive themselves, would we tell it to run over people if it meant saving ourselves? I would expect that future cars are advanced enough to have ejection seats so that such situations are avoidable. If however I had to choose between telling my car to kill others or save myself then my decision would again depend on the people who I would have to sacrifice. Dr. Sandridge asked the class if we would votes for a leader who would chose to save five people by killing one and my answer was yes. I believe that a leader must make tough decisions that most people would not because it is a leader’s responsibility to act in the best interests of the people.
April 8, 2017: From about 11am to 3pm, I read and took notes on the module “Who Runs the World? Girls!” The main text in this module is Plutarch’s “The Virtues of Women/ The Bravery of Women,” which primarily focusses on powerful women either individually or in a group. In the preface of this text, Plutarch emphasizes that the virtues of women and the virtues of men are the same. He asserts that gender does not diminish the effects of leadership or any type of art or skill. The excerpts of women in groups commonly describe violent or waring situations were women save or defend their homeland and/or people. It included stories of women from various societies, such as the Trojan women, women of Phocis, women of Chios, women of Argos, Persian women, Celtic women, women of Melos, Etruscan women, Lycian women, etc.
Some of Plutarch’s group stories were especially interesting to me. For example, I thought that the women of Chios were bold for refusing to let their men put down their arms against the Erythraeans and courageous for fighting off the Philip’s warriors when he tried to take over their city. Also, the way that the Celtic women settled the dispute between the Celtics and Carthaginians was inspiring. Furthermore, the women’s proposal for judging future disputes between the groups seems pretty practical. The story of the women of Melos was one of my favorites. They were clever to hide weapons in their garments, deceiving their enemies into believing that they were safe just because the men of Melos were unarmed. I also found the story of the women of Phocis very inspiring because the wives of Amphissa were caring enough to protect the women devotees of Dionysus when they fell asleep drunk in their market-place even though they were strangers.
April 9, 2017: From about 4pm to 6pm, I continued reading and taking notes on the module “Who Runs the World? Girls!” The excerpts of individual women commonly describe how they were able to influence men for ethical reasons or sacrifice for a greater good. It included heroic women such as Pieria, Polycrite, Lampsace, Aretaphila, Camma, Stratonice, Chiomara, etc. I enjoyed reading the story of Polycrite because she was able to successfully devise a plan to lead her people to victory in a war. She was captured and married an enemy of her people, but gained the trust of her husband and used it to inform her brothers about the ideal time to attack and defeat the enemy. The story of Stratonice was strange to me but also interesting. I could never see myself allowing my husband to have children with another women just because I could not reproduce, but I admire her for caring about her husband having successors for their kingdom. I also admire her for raising his children as if they were hers. The story of Timocleia was my favorite. Her plan to use the greed of an enemy against him to lure him into a well and use stones to bury him alive was very clever. She was also brave for standing behind her decisions and not being afraid of death after being arrested and asked to explain herself. The module also includes chapter 15 of Jeremy McInerney’s “Plutarch’s Manly Women.” This chapter evaluates Plutarch’s representations of female leaders in his writings.
April 11, 2017: From 11:25am to 12:30pm, I attended class which began with a discussion about marathons. Dr. Sandridge mentioned that he is a Boston Marathon fan and has even run in it before. He noticed that female runners tend to run in packs for most of a marathon but go their separate ways when they are close to the finish line. He also perceived that women were especially competitive in marathons compared to men. I found this interesting because I have seen these things occur in my slimnastics class. In Slimnastics, classmates jog, walk, and run almost every class and I have noticed competitiveness between women and groups of female runners.
Dr. Sandridge began a long discussion about civility. He asked the class about our views of civility, the importance of civility, and the limits of civility. In modern times, civility is a pretty obvious issue in the American society. A lack of civility is often absent in problematic issues between poles such as pro-life and pro-choice, republican and democratic, and open-mindedness and conservative religion. Dr. Sandridge asked how civility can exist when people have conflicting or very different agendas. Dr. Sandridge brought up the controversial issue of Heather Mac Donald claiming that the Black Lives Matter movement increases crime and asked if we would allow such an anti-Black Loves Matter individual to speak at Howard University.
April 12, 2017: From about 10pm to 11pm, I wrote answers to some of the questions in the module, which are the following:
· I believe that Plutarch seemed worried that readers won’t take his stories about women seriously because women had a lower status than men during his time. Nowadays, women are still treated as second class citizens in certain parts of the world but generally speaking have more power than they did during ancient times. Plutarch’s concern tells us that women were not as respected as men in the public sphere. Therefore, many may have believed that what men do is more valuable and important than what women do.
· Groups may have the same qualities as individual leader but on a larger scale. In other words, leaders in a group are able to exhibit qualities of individual leaders in a more impactful manner. Generally speaking, there is usually at least one individual in charge of the collective actions of a group. In my opinion, Plutarch’s stories of group leadership focus the success of cohesion rather than address the issue of leadership.
· Bravery, virtue, self-respect and benevolence are the qualities that I see in Plutarch’s stories that allow an individual woman to rise to a position of power. Circumstances such as war, tyranny, betrayal and imprisonment also allowed individual women to rise to a position of power.