Reading & Researching Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations attempting to explore language and the meaning of words. As Wittgenstein writes “For a large class of cases — though not for all — in which we employ the word ‘meaning’ it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language" (PI 43)
I came across one passage and it made me think of leadership and the human construction of organizations with the managerial accountability hierarchy. Meaning that “leadership” as we speak and place meaning to the word, only has a meaning in the language we use to describe leadership.
Here is the passage;
The more closely we examine actual language, the greater becomes the conflict between it and our requirement. (For the crystalline purity of logic was, of course, not something I had discovered: it was a requirement.) The conflict becomes intolerable; the requirement is now in danger of becoming vacuous. – We have got on to slippery ice where this is no friction, and so, in a certain sense, the conditions are ideal; but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk: so we need friction. Back to the rough ground! (PI 107)
I see the same with our discussions of leadership. We all desire a “crystalline purity” of what leadership is…and as we continue we will never reach that ideal understanding. Because once we do “we have got on to slippery ice where there is no friction” we cease to develop and grow leaders, leadership theory, and development. The greater we keep this “friction” and accept that it is needed for us to “walk” be able to discuss and move in the direction that is appropriate to the meaning of leadership in the language we are utilizing it.
Accept that leadership is a creation of man, and we are the “friction” that moves and evolves the organizational and managerial operations of our industries, business units, teams, and selves.
michael cardus is create-learning
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