jml's notebook

Waiting for Aragorn

I've gone on this rant to a couple of people now, so I figure I should write it up. This is more some feelings than an idea.

My general sympathies are roundhead, republican, and low church. I'm not particularly into the monarchy, aristrocracy, or a "great men" theory of history.

However, I was exposed to an extreme amount of Tolkein at an impressionable age, and that has left an indelible mark.

One of the themes in The Lord of the Rings is the glory of a good king. People ("Men" in the book) can only be their best selves when they are serving under a king who serves them and is worthy of them. Then they, in their service, strive to be worthy of their king.

I do not think this is how a modern state should be run.

And yet, in the much lower stakes world of business and building software, I do find myself and others yearning for good leaders.

Over the years I've worked with blind leaders, power-hungry leaders, spiteful leaders, well-meaning but ineffectual leaders, absentee leaders, and ill-starred leaders. Each time, I've seen people who are pouring their time, energies, and creativity into their work end up frustrated and disappointed. It's not quite "lions led by donkeys", but it's close.

I know the world is complicated and full of compromise, and I know that no perfect leader exists, and I very much believe that people often need to step up, self-organize and take responsibility.

All the same, I see around me a longing for a worthy leader. Sometimes I feel it too.