Leadership, crisis, and mythology
Updated: Apr 22
In the time of crisis wise leadership is critically needed. To find what qualities are most relevant during and after the crisis we could reflect on characters or figures from ancient or modern mythologies and say who will be the heros or heroines.
Who will be the best leaders to get through the crisis and, of course, who are anti-heros/anti-heroines making the crisis even worse. We then can imagine what that mythical figure would have been doing in the face of the current crisis.
I tried this way in a recent webinar on the application of Zurvan integral framework and Husraw wisdom approach in the case of the coronavirus pandemic. Interestingly the founder of the Zurvan integral framework, Dr. Sherwin Vakili, who has a good knowledge of mythology said that:
The hero is Yima and the anti-hero is Malkus.
Yima is warned about a little ice age when the entire civilization is going to be frozen and under lock-down. Such a deadly and evil winter is caused by a demon called Malkus. Lord of wisdom advises Yima to construct a Vara, a network city of bunkers, or underground enclosure. And he populates it with the fittest of men and women; and with two of every animal, bird and plant; and supply of food and water. Then seals it off from the world outside.
The full narrative is too long to write it here. But the virtues embodied or encoded by Yima and in the narrative are easy to wrap up and remember like this:
Yima uses the Magi power and extends the ground in the Vara to give more space in the crowded place to people and creatures who complain about the prolonged underground lockdown. He also provides artificial Sun and Moon to provide light, energy, and a sense of natural state of the world.
He says that Malkus is a potent natural force yet not permanent. Therefore people should cut or regulate non-essential contacts. They should sacrifice, temporarily in this ordeal or ultimate test, their valued social links. Patience is thus valued as a key virtue, helpful for avoiding unnecessary fatalities in the face of natural force.
Only people who are the fittest, healthy and flawless, physically, mentally and ethically in the entire civilization, can have a pass into the Vara of Yima. Finally Malkus is vanished, the creativity Cup of Yima is found in which the whole world is reflected and helps to balance the natural forces.
The new day in the world, Nowruz, begins by humans, not gods, with the promise of immortality. The new world emerges green anew, with better people who are innocent and unharmed after this trial by ordeal, Var, and will not die prematurely and have many disease-curing plants everywhere, primarily because of the the terrible crisis and humans' enhanced ingenuity, patient and creative struggle against such an ultimate test of resilience judged by natural forces.