Lederes metaforer om godt og ondt

Metaforbruken hos de religiøse og politiske lederne Effendi, Luther King og Mandela er tema for vinneren av tredjepremien i Ungdomskonkurransen Fritt Ord 2009.

Mate­en Leo Ram, elev ved Inter­na­tio­nal School of Stav­an­ger, vant tredje­pre­mi­en i Ung­doms­kon­kur­ran­sen Fritt Ord 2009 med bidra­get “The path we choo­se to take in life…”. Pri­sen er på 7000 kro­ner og vin­ner­ne vil i til­legg få rei­se og opp­hold i Stras­bourg høs­ten 2009 eller vår­en 2010 for å besø­ke Men­neske­ret­tig­hets­dom­sto­len og Euro­pa­par­la­men­tet. Vox Pub­li­ca pre­sen­te­rer her utdrag av Rams arbeid, hen­tet fra den avslut­ten­de ana­ly­sen og kon­klu­sjo­nen. Du kan også las­te ned bidra­get i sin hel­het (pdf, 0,1 MB).

Shog­hi Effen­di, Mar­tin Luther King and Nel­son Man­dela are three ama­zing lea­ders with dif­fe­rent back­grounds and upbrin­ging who con­front the pro­blems of the world during the 20th cen­tury and try to address them. They share many simi­la­ri­ties; they try to do somet­hing with the oppos­ing for­ces in the world they live in. And even though they con­front dif­fe­rent parts of ´evil ´- they are pas­sio­na­te about the same solu­tion. Shog­hi Effen­di is con­cerned about good ver­sus evil in socie­ty and emp­loys the meta­p­hors of light ver­sus dark­ness and success­fully explains how one can onlyover­come dark­ness with more light. Mar­tin Luther King accen­tua­tes more on the­emo­tions of love and hate, but also emp­loys the meta­p­hors of light and dark­ness andt­hat the solu­tion can only be achie­ved by love era­di­ca­ting hate. Last­ly, Nel­son­Man­de­la stres­ses the oppos­ing for­ces of free­dom ver­sus apart­heid and like the two pre­vious lea­ders, uses light and dark­ness as meta­p­hors, poin­ting out that one can only over­come apart­heid with free­dom.

All three lea­ders are refer­ring to the oppos­ing for­ces of good and evil and what huma­ni­ty must do to exchan­ge evil for good. It seems that part of their mis­sion is to estab­lish the rea­li­ty of ´evil´ in order to be able to crea­te a chan­ge. And in their speeches and their wri­tings they are able to inspi­re peop­le to belie­ve in warmth and light and good­ness and free­dom. They con­vin­ce one that light too exists, and then follow and explo­re its beauty. This is what good lea­ders do. Or is it? What exact­ly is a good lea­der? Pla­to, the Gre­ek phi­lo­so­pher, in Alle­gory of the Cave, con­temp­la­tes upon life and what we per­ce­i­ve to be true light and dark­ness. One of his main inter­pre­ta­tions is that we can­not under­stand the rea­li­ty or the truth until we have expe­ri­en­ced it and put it through prac­tice. In Alle­gory of the Cave Pla­to descri­bes what it is like for man being insi­de a cave fil­led with dark­ness and only expo­sed to light from the fire. All his rea­li­ty is insi­de that cave, and he can­not under­stand any­thing beyond it. Pla­to goes on to descri­be that if man is expo­sed to the world with “true” light from the sun, some peop­le will be fright­e­ned and run back into their fan­ta­sy, how­e­ver others will want to explo­re furt­her. Those who show inte­rest and are wil­ling to accept the new rea­li­ty are the ones who are lea­ders. Shog­hi Effen­di, Mar­tin Luther King and Nel­son Man­dela can all be said to have not only accep­ted this rea­li­ty – but truly under­sto­od it and been able to con­vin­ce others of its exist­en­ce. In a sen­se, one can ima­gi­ne that “the sun of truth” has shone its light upon them, and they have reflected this light upon the peop­le of the earth as pure, polis­hed mir­rors – dis­play­ing the suns beauty, warmth and rays of light.


I have under­ta­ken the task of look­ing at three diver­se lea­ders in the 20th cen­tury who had never met each other and whom have very dif­fe­rent back­grounds. During my rese­arch I have come to dis­cover that they are close­ly related through their speeches and wri­tings. They have addressed many of the same issues, had the same good inten­tions, and used seve­r­al of the same meta­p­hors to descri­be the pro­blems and their solu­tions. Their pur­pose has been the bet­ter­ment of the world — to crea­te uni­ty in diver­sity — and their appeals as to how this must be accom­plis­hed also cor­re­la­tes. They have enlight­e­ned the world in emp­ha­sising that alt­hough good­ness can­not exist wit­hout evil, nor can love or free­dom exist wit­hout hate and apart­heid – it is the balance betwe­en them that mat­ters.

Today, even though tech­no­lo­gy has devel­o­ped exce­e­ding­ly well, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion has evolved beyond the bor­ders of countries, mankind’s know­led­ge and under­stan­ding of how to imple­ment the good for­ce in our aspects of life is limi­ted and on a glo­bal sca­le the expres­sions of hate and igno­ran­ce still flou­rish. The balance has still not been achie­ved on a glo­bal level, and these neg­a­ti­ve for­ces still live on. How­e­ver, we have learned from these three great men that we can only heal somet­hing with its oppo­si­te. For examp­le, if a feeling of hate should enter the heart, we can only sur­mount it with a stron­ger feeling of love. Should a thought of war come to mind, we must con­quer it with a stron­ger thought of peace. These oppos­ing for­ces are part of our lives, and one can­not live wit­hout the other. Like the stars – they con­stant­ly shi­ne, but are only visib­le to us when they are sur­roun­d­ed by dark­ness. Humanity’s job is to strengt­hen the light and become like a bril­li­ant star that under­mi­nes the dark­ness in the uni­ver­se. Today it is our job as indi­vi­duals to shi­ne the light of free­dom, love and uni­ty to each other – and to follow the examp­le and advice of these lea­ders that all lived what they preached. We must try to live and emu­la­te the light of truth that Nel­son Man­dela, Mar­tin Luther King and Shog­hi effen­di reflected to us and try to act upon it.



nsen Fr
itt Ord




  1. […] Tredje­pre­mi­en gikk til Mate­en Leo Ram fra Inter­na­tio­nal School of Stav­an­ger. Han har skre­vet opp­ga­ven “The path we choo­se to take in life…”, en ana­ly­se av meta­fo­r­bruk hos tre berøm­te lede­re. […]

  2. Jamil Dybwad says:

    Det enk­les­te er det bes­te! Alle er for kjær­lig­het, også nazis­te­ne vis­te dag­lig gle­de og kjær­lig­het til sine egne, imid­ler­tid mang­ler der en ørli­ten reflek­sjon. Men når man ved en hver anled­ning byt­ter hat med kjær­lig­het — da har man både per­son­lig og kol­lek­tivt en leve­re­gel som kan bidra til å for­and­re ver­den. Har lest essay­et — klart og poeng­tert! (Den leve­re­ge­len kjen­ner jeg opp­rin­ne­lig fra BahaUllah, f.1817, noen tid­li­ge­re?)

  3. Jeanette Livesay says:

    Youth can move the world! Mate­en Leo Ram is a bril­li­ant star that gives me hope.

  4. Mate­en, I am so impressed. Con­ti­nue im this way.
    Love from Mos­ter in Asker

  5. Tanke­vek­ken­de og inspi­re­ren­de artik­kel!
    Jeg bor selv i en del av ver­den (Bal­kan) der pro­blem­stil­lin­ge­ne Mate­en tar opp dis­ku­te­res dag­lig — i lys av århund­rer med kon­flik­ter som skyl­des etnis­ke, reli­giø­se, nasjo­na­lis­tis­ke og poli­tis­ke for­dom­mer. Man­ge av mine ven­ner og kol­le­ger, sær­lig de unge, leter etter opti­mis­me og håp om en fre­de­li­ge­re frem­tid — bl.a. sett i lys av euro­pe­isk for­ening og sam­ar­beid.

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