Friday, November 6, 2009
My mentor was reading from "Gargantua" yesterday in our little literature group on Lotus island. Rabelais ( b. 1483 d. 1553) was an Eminent Elderly Eclectic Gentleman ,lawyer, cleric, physician and author. The point Rabelais addressed was the popular view, wrongly attributing the great movements in history to leadership individuals. Rabelais asserted that populations began movements at a critical time for change, and that the leadership arises as a result of the movement. I believe such a role is, as a surfrider catching the right wave, waiting on his board, seeing the wave develop out at sea, anticipating and picking it up at just the right time, standing and steering the board through the violence of the wave, avoiding getting ahead of the wave and taking a tumble. All waves eventually come to an end on the shore. All wave movements end, though they add to the changes on the shore, some more than others. Those who manage to ride the wave will end with it. When we think of Stalin, Churchill, Hitler, JF Kennedy, both the good and the bad, they caught a wave at a critical time of change and managed to stay afloat for extended periods for better or worse. Whether Devil or Messiah, we probably, as Rabelais suggested, attribute too much to the individual and not enough to the movement of change, however subtle in the first instance. Rabelais was not always rabelaisian in his writing! He speaks for today as well as yesterday! Nothing changes! Everything changes!