The Marriage of Logos and Mythos; Towards an Imaginal Worldview.
A Twofold Consciousness
In November 2009 I was invited to join several other presenters in a panel discussion at the International Leadership Association Conference in Prague Cz. entitled Leadership for Transformation: The Impact of Worldviews. The panel involved the presentation of four papers from a group of diverse presenters characterized by gender, discipline, religious and global diversity.* My paper reflected on the marriage between mythos and logos and how this ‘marriage’ can transform group fields for learning and leadership practice today. The proceedings from the panel have just been published in The Journal of Leadership Studies – Expanding Interdisciplinary Discourse, A Wiley Publication of the School of Advanced Studies of the University of Phoenix.
The paper begins with a quote by His Holiness The Dali Lama;
I think in the past, maybe, different sectors carried on more or less independently. Now today…everything is interdependent, interrelated. That’s the reality. Under these circumstances, it falls on us to work together.
Dali Lama Peace Summit and Connecting for Change. Vancouver, 2009
In the paper I suggest that The Dalai Lama speaks not only to different functions or disciplines of leadership but also to the interrelatedness of a twofold consciousness: mythos and logos. This twofold consciousness — the re- uniting of the inner vision and felt life of the mythic world together with the brightly illuminated world of logos –is where the inner world and outer world of leadership meet. It is in this overlap that a new imaginal worldview of leadership is possible, one that takes full account not only of the processes, issues and style of leadership but also the deep parallels between leadership and the mythic imagination.
The paper further suggests that re- engaging the mythic imagination gives rise to a new perception of the commons – a possibility space that holds the potential for reuniting a twofold consciousness. Viewing the commons from both a mythic and a logic perspective can contribute to the overall health and well being of the community of the whole. Such a worldview perspective transforms leadership from one rooted exclusively in a Western scientific tradition to one that is open also to wisdom from the past.
Reflections on Worldviews
Jonathan Reams a co- presenter in the forum and associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in his reflections on the logos and mythos paper, writes;
“The power of reconnecting with core levels of our being (like mythos) that have been allowed to dwindle or atrophy, in our rush to be smarter, more rational, and more efficient, can enhance our capacity for leadership profoundly… this implies a leadership that creates common spaces enabling the kind of transformation we see as necessary around us. (1)
Restoring Our Felt Life Together
For many, the legacy from our industrial past has been like a tsunami that has swept away the footings that kept us connected to these common spaces and the deepest wisdom of our imaginal life and our mythic past. With the rise of an industrial economy we found ourselves in a life out of balance. Scientific logos quickly rose to dominance and the mythic life fell into disrepute. Languages, cultures, stories, landscapes, ancient gifts and wisdom were lost– Yet as poet Gerard De Nerval once wrote ’ when you gather to plan, the universe is not there.” For the universe to be there, we will need to redirect our thinking to re-engaging the felt life of mythos and linking it to logos.
It is through the collective eye of the commons and our interdependence with one another that the twofold conscious His Holiness The Dali Lama envisioned can be restored. Once we are able to see the mythic dimension of our world we may be able to take modern thought and ancient wisdom and think them together again.
*Other contributors to the panel on Leadership For Transformation; Worldviews on Leadership included;
Panel Introduction: Nathan Harder, Professor of Organizational Leadership, Perdue University
Leadership in Islam: Ali Mohammad Mir, Associate Professor and Director of Programs at the Population Council, Islamabad, Pakistan
Ubuntu: A Transformative Leadership Philosophy: Lisa B. Ncube, Assistant Professor, Department of Organizational Leadership, College of Technology, Perdue University
Prologue and presentation on Leadership for Transformation: The Impact of a Christian Worldview: John Valk Associate Professor of Worldview Studies, Renaissance College, University of New Brunswick (Canada)
Response to ILA Panel Papers Jonathan Reams, Associate Professor Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
For Further Reading – Links and References
(1) Jonathan Reams Response for ILA Worldviews Panel Papers Journal of Leadership Studies, Volume 4, Number 3, 2010 University of Phoenix. P.88
To read the complete paper The Marriage of Logos and Mythos: Transforming Leadership please visit my publications page at pianoscapes.com
To review all the papers and commentaries from the 2009 ILA Worldview Symposium in Prague online please visit