Journal Entry 9

March 10, 2016

1 hour and 30 minutes of class time

Today in class we discussed what we believed a monument to stand for particularly focusing on the Martin Luther King Memorial. A monument is a type of structure that was explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event and often designed to convey historical or political information. In short a monument is an aid to memory. We then raised the question “Is the MLK Memorial a more religious monument or political?” Upon first glance of the monument Martin Luther King looks represent more of a political figure. His stance is strong, bearing broad shoulders with his arms crossed in an authoritative manner. He looks like a man in charge about to give orders to those beneath him. However after walking down both sides of the wall and reading the various quotes I

March 21, 2016

Read and took notes on Solitude and Leadership

3 hours

In October of 2009 William Deresiewicz delivered a lecture to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point, exploring the necessity for solitude in acquiring leadership. Today’s generation has only been able to learn by confirming to other peoples rules and ideas, disregarding their own thought processing. A person acquires these skills through solitude, which includes concentration on focused work using introspection. Deresiewicz stresses that we live in a world where we believe multitasking to be the most effective way of getting things done, in doing so our minds are not focused on a single idea. In order to gain full insight and acquire in depth knowledge we need to spend time working through our questions and doubts while formulating our own ideas away from the multitude of a group. When you accept everything you’re told without question, you open the door to being manipulated. I see it everyday in college; students complete all the required work on the syllabus, including extra credit, but don’t really grasp what they are learning. They are simply storing the information they learn in their short-term memory forgetting it as soon as they leave class or take an exam.

“Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things — the leaders — are the mediocrities?” (Deresiewicz) Because excellence, following the rules and learning to do things in the most thought provoking way isn’t usually what gets you to the top. What gets one to the top is a “talent for maneuvering”, by kissing up to the people above you while getting over on those below you. This is one of the main reasons we have so many ineffective individuals in leadership roles today. The people who actually acquire the right mindset and characters to lead are stuck in the middle being told what to do by someone who is less intelligent than he. The sad truth is that I feel as though you can’t rise in leadership roles in today’s generation without manipulating or stabbing someone else in the back. If you don’t acquire these attributes then your rise in leadership could be a slow one. This also may explain why many leaders share common characteristics with psychopaths. They must be able to outwit and get by on the mass while retaining their polished image. In my opinion leadership often follows a Darwinian model; the fittest typically survive the longest while those unable to adapt eventually die out.

“We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent” (Deresiewicz). Setting goals is a vital aspect of leadership. These types of hierarchies follow the same routines of being told what to do instead of thinking and making choices of their own in regards to their time in leadership.

​Challenges I face in thinking for myself

  1. Sometimes I feel as though I need guidance or an outside opinion to solidify that I am making the right decision.
  2. 2. Your opinion and the way you think is unique and different from other people, therefore others may not be too accepting of what you have to offer.
  3. 3. Negative self-talk can be defeating, resulting in irrational thoughts. Disputing your self-talk means challenging the negative and unhelpful aspect of ones life.
  4. 4. If something were to go wrong or not fall through you have no one to blame but yourself. You are responsible for the outcomes that your decisions make and this can scare many.
  5. 5. Thinking for yourself is much more time consuming than taking someone else’s idea and making it our own. By creating a raw and new idea you are challenging your mind.

March 22, 2016

1 hour and 30 minutes

Spent class time reviewing Exam one

March 22, 2016

2.5 hours studying for Exam Two

Re-read Plato’s Apology of Socrates and Xenophon’s

Key differences

Socrates was more grandiose in Plato’s version, his wisdom was much more pronounced. Xenophon’s version was less condescending than Plato’s. He did not propose outlandish outcomes but rater believed that robbery, theft, and murder were the common crimes that warranted the death penalty. Socrates claims he is person who knows nothing in Plato’s version, so it would be contradictory if. he were to have a positive Daimonion leading him. In Xenophon’s version the Oracle at Delphi tells Caerephron that no one was more just, free or prudent than Socrates. He agrees and does not go about proving the Oracle false. Xenophon’s Socrates helps people out on a more personal level than that of Plato’s. he has a desire to go out and aid those in need, not in a civic sense but instead on a more personal basis. However both are pretty loose fabrications.

March 23, 2016

2 hours 45 minutes

Re-read and reviewed Meditations by using my notes and Journal Entry 8

March 23, 2016

30 minutes

Questions we have tackled thus far about leadership

1. What does it mean to be alone with your thoughts?

2. What challenges do you arise when one has to think for their self?

3. What makes a monument more political than religious?

4. What is the difference between an intellectual/spiritual leader and a political one?

5. What are the differences in Xenophon’s Apology of Socrates compared to that of Plato’s and what do you think accounts for these differences?

6. To what extent do you have to behave psychopathically to carry out the role as a leader?

7. How does a leader have a balance of boldness and insight?

8. To what extent should leaders take risks?

9. To what degree does a leadership role need you to be a chameleon?

10. Is grandiosity always a bad thing in leadership?

11. Does a leader’s unsubstantiated confidence in their ability to lead actually make them more qualified?

12. Is it ok for leaders to hurt others in cases where the hurt is instrumental to some greater good?

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