edwin h. friedman

The emphasis in our civilization on data, on method, on technique, and on social science catagories misdirects leaders in two ways.  First it directs them away from the reality of underlying emotional processes.  Second, as long as emotional process is ignored, so is the sense of self, which will then undercut a leader's confidence in the uniqueness of his or her own personal being.  All of this when what our civilization needs most is leaders with a bold sense of adventure.  As I noted earlier, our nation's obsession with safety ignores the fact that every American alive today benefits from centuries of risk-taking by previous generations.  While not all Americans share equally in that heritage, to the extent that anyone does, it is because every modern benefit from health to enjoyment to production has come about because Americans in previous generations put adventure before safety.  We run the risk of becoming a nation of 'skimmers' who constantly take from the top without adding significantly to its essence.


  1. Good quote! I still need to find this book you recommended and read it. Also, here is another quote, not necessarily related to this quote, but one I found and love:
    "...there is always a sanctuary more, a door that can never be forced whatever the force; a last inviolable stronghold that cannot be taken, whatever the attack. Your vote can be taken, your name, your innards, even your life. But that last stronghold can only be surrendered--and to surrender it for any reason other than love is to surrender love..."
    (Ken Kesey, "Sometimes a Great Notion")
    -Blake O.

  2. After furthur relfection, my quote does, in its own intuitive way, relate to your post - the way we Americans are adamant about control (or human beings in general) - we have a hyper sense of force/ self-reliance/ "YES WE CAN," going back to Benjamin Franklin's individualistic 13 virtues, Emerson's transcendental "Self-Reliance," and the good ol' American Dream seized by the self-made man. In the end, though, each part of this dismembers into ashes. And the endless ache remains. Only in raw surrender to adventure, which is found in Love alone from Jesus Christ, do we begin to really live.