The best (rulers) are those whose existence is (merely) known by the people.
The next best are those who are loved and praised.
The next best are those who are feared.
And the next are those who are despised.
It is only when one does not have enough faith in others that others will
have no faith in him.
[The great rulers] value their words highly.
They accomplish their task; they complete their work.
Nevertheless their people say that they simply follow Nature (Tzu-jan).
Two kinds of feelings were elicited by the above excerpt from the Tao-Te Ching when I read it.
Fear is the first. If one is to use the above teaching of Lao Tzu as benchmark or some kind of a model of a leader, and one is to put it alongside the present set of leaders that we have in the Philippines right now, we flunk big time. Sure there are still a few who actually pass (like Education USec Miguel Luz), but precisely it’s their being “few” which is disturbing and makes me feel afraid about the where our leaders shall bring the Philippines to. Oh, I thought of another one, Commissioner Haydee Yorac. And yes, former Captain Rene Jarque. But the sad fact is they’re both dead already. Whew! The good ones are not only rare, they must be dead too!
I hate to sound too negative. But I think I am one with many Filipinos who feel the anguish and the insecurity of our land’s future. It’s important to go through this kind of desperate situation, to really feel what the concerned citizens of this country feel. I remember the many nights when I find my self with this feeling of doom, not being able to sleep. Many nights, no kidding.
When one has leaders who are not loved and praised, not anymore feared (as evidenced by the media’s –especially Inquirer’s- depiction of them in their front pages), who can sleep well at night? I don’t even think I despise them. Despise is a reaction to an unpopular decision. Sometimes a leader has to sacrifice to be unpopular for a while, for the sake of the greater good. But from how I feel towards the majority of our present leaders, it’s not even despise that I feel towards them. I don’t even see them as leaders anymore. They’re totally hopeless. And what I am afraid of is that if they’re totally hopeless, the country will not be far behind.
But wait a minute. Did I just say we’re nearing becoming hopeless? When I first read the excerpt, honestly, that’s how I felt. But I am a man looking for that redeeming aspect. I read the excerpt again. And then there was light. Hope was the second feeling that was elicited by the excerpt.
The first line of the teaching above talks about the best leaders, those who are virtually unnoticed, those “whose existence is merely known by the people.” Perhaps, there are those leaders, who don’t reach the front pages of the dailies, or the headlines of every evening news. They are those who silently “accomplish their task; they complete their work.” These are the best leaders.
Do I know many of them? No. But that’s precisely why they are the best. Aside from not getting themselves into anomalous or scandalous positions, they don’t go around publicizing the good works that they do. These are the ones who keep to what they are naturally are, letting their actions do the talking.
This is the set of leaders, unknown for now, who will redeem our country. This is also the set of leaders whom I hope all of us are, or will become. AM+DG.