But nobody with the power to contain the crisis stepped up to the plate; everyone who could and should have acted declared that it was someone else’s responsibility.
What happened before will happen again. Why? It's easy, really - because we assume we're better than our forefathers and therefore don't need to learn from their mistakes. We figure that the rules don't apply to us, that we can make up reality as we go along. We want the control, but not the responsibility. Then, when we start falling into the same traps as those who came before us, we confabulate justifications for why it's not our fault.
That's when our leaders start to outsource leadership. But who leads when leaders follow? Where do we look to?
If you follow my blog and have some background in religion/pop culture/mythology, you'll notice I constantly throw in little references to stories, characters, themes from sources as varied as the Koran, the Popol Vuh, Taoism, Inception, BSG, etc. These references aren't random or whimsical; to me, there is a strong current of metaphor in human culture that is feeling the same elephant from different perspectives (and I'm hardly the first to recognize this). From a linguistic point of view, this makes sense - we all do come from the same place, but how we understand our world is determined by our experience.
That's the big lesson of history - no person is an island, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link, we can only move forward together. Leadership isn't about being in charge, it's about empowering others. We're all pieces of one social puzzle; when we overcome the fear of loss of self, we can see that the whole truly is more than the sum of its parts. Then we can consciously realize our greater potential.
Or, to quote Sheppard:
It's been 6 days and we're all still waiting. Waiting for someone to come. But what if they don't? We have to stop waiting. We need to start figuring things out.
We can't do this. Every man for himself is not going to work. It's time to start organizing. We need to figure out how we're going to survive here.
If you don't want to go, then find another way to contribute. Last week most of us were strangers. But we're all here now. And God knows how long we're going to be here. But if we can't live together, we're going to die alone.
True leadership never comes from without - it emerges from within.
It's time we all start leading.