To Former Bosses I Have Known

This week, our English class is reading Antigone, by Sophocles. Before now, all I knew about Antigone was that Starbucks sold a CD by an all female band called Antigone Rising. So, I was familiar with the name, if not the concept.

As seems to be the case with everything that we read in this class, the words resonate deeply with me and remind me, again and again, of the life lessons that I have learned, sometimes the hard way. Our professor and the preface in the textbook tell us that the heroine, Antigone, represents Natural Law, and that Sophocles used the story to remind the Greeks of the inherent conflict between Natural Law and Man’s Law; that, perhaps, those who would impose Man’s Law in opposition to Natural Law will inevitably lose that battle. Indeed, the introduction in the textbook says: “In the 1960’s, the story of Antigone was especially meaningful to those Americans who engaged in civil disobedience in struggles for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam.” Well, I will concede the first part of that bit of philosophy, but will quibble with the validity of the second part.

For me, the most interesting character is Creon, the king. Newly crowned, unsure of his hold on power, he is portrayed as unreasonable in his exercise of authority. He appears willing to sacrifice his family in order to maintain his authority. Unwilling to listen to the reasoned arguments of his son and advisers, he holds to a position that ultimately leads to his undoing.

Perhaps Antigone is the exemplar of adherence to a principle higher than any mortal rule. I also think that Sophocles is also trying to teach the Greeks about leadership and management. Who among us with experience in the corporate world has not worked for a person that would not listen, could not be wrong, and should never be challenged? Creon is the perfect example of the worst kind of bosses I have had. Here’s one piece of the play that really is a teachable moment:

I beg you, do not be unchangeable:
Do not believe that you alone can be right.
The man who thinks that,
The man who maintains that only he has the power
To reason correctly, when you know him, turns out empty.
It is not reason never to yield to reason.

To listen to your people, to trust what they say, to understand that it is not a sign of weakness to not have the only solution to every problem…..these are the lessons of Antigone. To all you bosses out there…….read this and try to learn from it.

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“Life’s hard, son. It’s harder when you’re stupid.” — The Duke.

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. - Joseph Addison
The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller [1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger [2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores." - Wikipedia

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