Weekly Journal #9
Thursday March 10th Hour:0.0–1.5
We took a quiz over Marcus Aurelius and then began a discussion over our trip to the MLK Memorial. The question is if he is depicted more as a political leader or a spiritual leader. I thought at first that he was depicted more as a political leader than a spiritual leader, but in class I realized he is both a political and spiritual leader. We then went on to discuss some of the quotes at the memorial, whether it was more spiritual or political. A lot of the students thought that a few of the quotes were almost like versus in the bible. We talked about how he found a balance between the two in his speeches. We also went over what he was holding in his and and what he was wearing. Was it a suit to give a speech or a sermon in and his arms crossed and his eyes seemed focused and he was looking over the river. After that we went over our favorite quotes from the meditations and why they were important to us. The quote I used was from the third book and was talking about seizing the moment. I picked it as my favorite because I believe that we have something to gain everyday and that we shouldn’t dwell in the past. That we should try new things and go to new places to gain knowledge of different aspects of life.
Saturday March 12th Hour:1.5–3.0
I wanted to get my work done earlier so I read William Deresiewicz’ article “Solitude and Leadership”. What I got from the article is that Solitude means being alone in silence with your thoughts. That solitude is an important necessity of true leadership. That leadership necessitates the presence of others and leadership and aptitude, achievement, and excellence have to be different things, because the concept of leadership has no meaning. He talked about how his students didn’t seem like leaders. That because they came from such high up families they were expected to get in to great schools, do well, and get a great job. He discussed that when he was getting in to college it was much easier, that everything is intense now. You need extra extracurricular to get in to a good university. These students are trained to be excellent also called excellent sheep. He referred to a novel called “Heart of Darkness” throughout the article and began to talk about bureaucracy and how it has a negative connotation. What kind of character they reward and what kind of character they punish? He went back to the “Heart of Darkness” and discussed Marlow who had a description of a big boss with blue eyes that looked cold, faint expression of lips-stealthy, he was obeyed yet either loved or feared or respected, and inspired uneasiness. He goes back about the students who are supposed to achieve excellence and says that excellence isn’t going to help you get up the greasy pole, that what gets you up is talent for maneuvering. Then he lists kissing up and kicking down, pleasing your superiors and not taking stupid risks is what helps you get up. He begins to talk about how we have a crisis of leader ship because of the overwhelming wealth we don’t have thinkers. He gives the example of good leadership about David Petraeus who was a thinker and intellectual who has a Ph.D. from Princeton, and that even though he went to a nice university he was still able to think for himself rather that to listen to others. He had the confidents to argue his ideas even if it didn’t please his superiors. That basically we need officers who can think flexibly creatively and independently. The next think he talks about is multitasking, which he makes clear is not thinking. That you can’t concentrate on one thing. You make mistakes to correct them and you do your best thinking by slowing down and concentrating. Concentration and solitude are gathering yourself together into a single point and having to listen to yourself and what you believe in. There is an overwhelming weight of their practical responsibilities which makes them lose sight of their ideas. That there are not any distractions of peer pressure in solitude. He goes back to talk about how Marlow believes in the need to find yourself and that solitude is the way to do that. He said that cacophony is the incapability to hear your own voice. Friendship of intimate conversation can be solitude. They would have to know who you are. He ends with that solitude is the essence of leadership and that the position of the leader is u ultimately an intensely solitary lonely one and that all you really need is yourself.
Sunday March 13th Hour:3.0–4.5
I really enjoyed Deresiewicz’ article on solitude. I’ve never thought that solitude is an important aspect of leadership but it makes complete sense. When you are in solitude you aren’t influenced by anyone or anything, you are just left with your pure thoughts. This is what Deresiewicz’ means when being alone with your thoughts. You can achieve being alone with your thoughts by setting aside time everyday to reflect on your day, week, the future, etc. I am very much an introvert and enjoy spending time to myself. I do find it hard to focus just on my thoughts, I tend to get distracted by other thoughts. I guess that what he means by multitasking is not thinking. Another challenge I face is actually saying what I’m thinking. I don’t like confrontation so if what I was thinking could cause confrontation then I just wont say it. The third issue I face is letting people’s opinions affect my thinking, because even if I am not with someone I think about oh my mom wouldn’t like that, or my friends would think this. I need to work on not letting people’s opinions getting in my head when I’m trying to think or myself. The fourth issue is pushing myself. I tend to not push myself out of my comfort zone, such as I hate speaking in front of people, so I choose not to anything that involves public speaking. I am shy and don’t typically do things that would involve me to be vocal. There are times that I have something that I want to say and I know that what I want to say is right or helpful, I won’t say anything. The last thing that I struggle with in thinking for myslef is that I am afraid what I’m thinking is wrong. That my ideas and stuff could not make sense or if its possible that I mixed something up. I think that these are issues that other people face as well and that there are ways to fix them. Solitude is importants to leadership, because when you let others think for you then shouldn’t those “others” be the leaders? The whole point of having whoever as a leader is for them to make the best decisions without any bias. I thinks that others believe that having others influencing their thoughts is great leadership and helps their followers. It doesn’t though, it allows persuasive people who don’t have the best interest in the people but in themselves. They persuade the leader to go their way and it has a negative affect on the followers and the leader. It’s a lose lose situation.
Tuesday March 22nd Hour: 4.5–6
We started class off with discussing how are spring break was. A few students talked about their ASB experience. One of the students talked about how he went to Flint Michigan, and he thought that he was just going to be helping out by passing out water. He then realized that the water crisis isn’t the only issue in Flint, that the schools are terrible. He discussed how the students are told that they wont go to college and that they wont do well in life. Also that they were about to take the SAT and a lot of them didn’t know what the SAT was. He explained that the teachers aren’t giving them the assistance that the need to excel as students. He talked about how he wants to be a teacher and eventually a principal, and that he would strive to ensure that students are getting the best education and opportunities to achieve academic excellence. This other girl talked about how she lived in a nice town and didn’t really understand the issues in the inner city, and that when she went to Baltimore she got a reality check. I think that, that is why students should be involved in their communities and communities around them to understand what is going on and what needs to be fixed. After that we went over the first exam to help us for the exam next week. I think for the next exam I need to do more to have key words in my essays, such as specifics like names and dates. I also think that I need to organize my essays better to make them flow correctly, I sorta felt all over the place when taking the test. For this next text I’m going to make sure that I have notes of specifics to help me navigate though the essay. Make sure the text that I don’t know as well that I spend more time understanding them and also by reading though my notes from class as well. I hope that we can discuss the article on solitude, I would really like to hear the opinion of the other student.