Wisdom is fleeting. Those who rely on experience and judgment shall have their sins forgiven. Those who rely on cleverness and education will have their sins retained. Go now into the midst of the war lords and promise to cut deeper than they have asked. When they return again, make them pleased a second time. And when they return a third time it will be your turn to go.
It is a sad thing to see the clan falter. It is an even sadder thing to lose brothers and sisters of like mind. But the saddest thing is to see leadership faltering. What does man do without leaders? What does man do without heroes? What does man do without idols? Let not idolatry be the end goal but let it serve its purpose. Allow it to buoy men’s hopes and plans.
It was to be a cycle. The magician does his sorcery. But instead of the assistant disappearing and re-appearing it is the leadership that disappears. It is the leaders who do not return. In their place appear pretenders. Actors they are. And not very clever ones at that. Leadership is either natural or learned; but never granted. One does not take a nepotist and knight him or her “Leader.” One does not place a self proclaimed victim in a leadership role. Self made failures are not leaders. Oh yes! The barking and growling cur can be substituted for a leader but the game does not last long. Once the pack senses the truth the false leader will be torn to shreds.
And so it goes with downsizing. A captain fights to keep his ship. A warlord fights to keep his clan. A prophet fights to keep his disciples.
But the false leaders do not fight. They are afraid. The king says “cut the strength of your unit by ten percent” and the false leader cuts fifteen percent. And the king then scratches the whiskers on his chin and thinks to himself “so he had five percent more men to spare than I thought. I wonder how much surplus he still holds.” The king conferred with his entourage for advice and they all nodded in unison.
And the king spoke thusly, “I asked you to cut ten percent of one hundred men and you gave me fifteen men. You now have eighty five men. Give me another ten percent and you will still have seventy seven and one half men”
“But sire” the false leader responded, “surely you do not wish that I cut a man in half do you?”
The wise king replied “You are a smart man. What do you propose to do?”
“You can take the whole man sire,” responded the false leader, “and I will still yield you the eight plus another four because you were so kind and understanding.”
At the next full moon the king returned without his entourage and asked for another 10 percent. The false leader stated that he had no more men to give.
“Come now,” said the king, “you always hide an extra ten or twenty men from me.”
The false leader was shifting his weight from foot to foot displaying a sense of vacillation.
Before he could give any more men, a true leader stepped forward and spoke to the king.
“Believe me sire, before this group gives up another seven men I will slay this false leader with a mace to the head. And then you, my dear king, will follow him in your joyous departure.”
The king never returned the challenge. In fact, the king never returned; period. He saw a true leader and gave him the right to run his own troops. The false leader was not heard from again.
“O ye growling and snarling king. Ripping a little flesh here and a little flesh there is dangerous. If you wish to butcher a dead beast then do it with haste, not with show. You have fooled the owl but not the hawk!”
Thus spoke Fred