First, have a Transcendent Vision: You need a vision that is grand. Don’t have one? Study those that do. Study philosophy and theology, and what I’d call ‘good fiction’ (which is also, controversial fiction)
Second, have Transcendent Standards: You need rational prejudices, such as Truth, Goodness, and Justice.
Third, have a Transcendent Stability: You’re a lighthouse, not a superman. As a leader, you don’t have to be able to do everything. Rather, you have to be a stable point that directs the parts towards the whole. You guessed it…you need a stable transcendent vision to do this. You need convictions that are invincible. Recommendation, start with the great Leaders.
Books to Read to Get a Vision:
- Epic Fantasy Books (really? Yes) It is said that Alexander the great slept with the Iliad under his pillow. Probably an exaggeration, but the fact that he had a heroic image before him, from Homer, is clear, and is consistent with his teacher Aristotle’s tutelage, where the development of virtue requires exemplars.
- Personal Favorites: The Pendragon Cycle 5 Book Set “Taliesin”, “Merlin”, “Arthur”, “Pendragon” and “Grail” (The Pendragon Cycle, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series (some don’t like it because it is both graphic and moralizing. I concede the violence can be a bit gratuitous, but the moralizing is great. Even if you disagree with his philosophy, it is stimulating)
- Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) is actually pretty good. It wrestles with good and evil, heroism, and of course magic.
- Read your Bible and the stories of the martyrs (really? Yes)
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Books to Read to Get Transcendent Standards:
- Read good philosophy books that explain why Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, are objective features of reality (is this a contentious statement? Yes, but I do believe that this is right)
- Read about great military struggles. (I reject universal pacifism and hold that some violence is justified
Books to Read to Get Stability:
- The Enchiridion by Epictetus (ancient Greek Stoic philosopher)
- Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Job from the Bible
I have found that stability comes with mental preparation, mentorship, and rigorous reflection. This requires investment. Even reading fiction is a kind of investment. If you take the stories seriously, in the sense you are a character in a story, and not just escaping from your daily grind. For instance, you have priorities, aims, standards, and a vision of reality that motivates you. Are you heroic? Why not? If you take good stories seriously, then they are not mere stories, but hypothetical thought-experiments for your actual life. Resolve to be the hero: take the necessary steps, and you’ll become the leader that you invest yourself in.
Thanks for listening. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.
I am a philosopher that is interested in what makes life worth living, what is worth pursuing, and how we can learn from the past. I believe that good philosophy benefits everyone and that there should be philosophers that present philosophy to those outside of the academy.