Models of VIRTUOUS LEADERs

Edouard Michelin

Edouard Michelin (1859-1940) “It is necessary to break the stone to find the hidden diamond inside” When in 1954 François...

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Edouard Michelin

Edouard Michelin (1859-1940)

“It is necessary to break the stone to find the hidden diamond inside”

When in 1954 François Michelin became manager of the Michelin company, he was 28 years old. His grandfather, Edouard Michelin, the founder of the company, died in 1940. François occupied the office of his grandfather Edouard, a small office that remained famous for its sobriety. One day, in the sixties, a retired employee was received by François Michelin in the same office. It was with great emotion that he told his boss that when he was 16 and that his job was to distribute the mail of the company, he was asked one morning to deliver a letter in person to Edouard Michelin. Very impressed, he went to Edouard 's office, who made him come in and said "Hello sir, please come in and sit down". This mark of deference on the part of the big boss had marked him deeply. These words had remained engraved to this day in his mind and in his heart. The founder of the company showed a deep respect for people regardless of their social position.
For Edouard Michelin to help man to become what he is, that's what counts above all. It was this Michelin spirit that made it possible for Marius Mignol, a typograph worker with no intellectual training, to become the inventor of the radial tire that revolutionized the entire tire industry. When he was hired, Mignol should have been sent to the factory's printing press, but Edouard Michelin spoke to the chief of staff, saying: "Do not stop at appearances. Remember that it is necessary to break the stone to find the diamond hidden inside. " Mignol was appointed to the commercial department responsible for export markets. It was there that one day Edouard Michelin noticed a curious slide rule on his table. Mignol had designed it to convert currency faster. Edouard exclaimed, "This man is a genius! ". Mignol proved to be a man of extraordinary imagination. He was transferred to the research department at a time when the conventional tire had reached its limits because of its high speed heating. To study the flow of heat in a tire, Mignol imagined the "fly cage", a tire whose sides were replaced by radial cables and widely spaced. The tire that resulted from this research proved revolutionary. It was because Edouard Michelin was interested in men more than in things that Marius Mignol could discover his talents and put them at the service of others. Fraternal humility, far from being an obstacle to the development of the company, is the condition of its success: the Michelin company is the world's largest tire manufacturer.

Herb Kelleher

Herb Kelleher (1931-2014) “Men are not 'resources', but an end in themselves.” Herb Kelleher, co-founder and former CEO of Southwest...

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Herb Kelleher

Herb Kelleher (1931-2014)

“Men are not 'resources', but an end in themselves.”

Herb Kelleher, co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines, is an example and model of magnanimity in business.

Magnanimity is a question of dreams, vision and mission. For Kelleher the dream is to open the airspace to the general public, to give the most ordinary people the opportunity to travel cheaply and in the best possible conditions. In 1971, in Texas, Kelleher created Southwest Airlines with this new and bold vision. At the heart of this vision is magnanimity. Magnanimity produces originality. Kelleher is convinced that joie de vivre must be an essential part of her company's culture. "We want our employees to be happy and feel good in their skins. The sense of humor is of paramount importance to Southwest Airlines. Employees build relationships with clients based on humor. In Southwest, candidates are hired for their sense of humor and humor is a constant, intangible principle. Kelleher involves her employees (intellectually, emotionally and spiritually) in this vision full of humanity, simplicity, humor and altruism. Kelleher practices the magnanimity that is the virtue of great men and the first specific virtue of leaders. He also practices humility, which is the virtue of service and the second specific virtue of leaders. Humility is the ambition to serve. Kelleher serves his employees. He says: "The headquarters is at the base of the pyramid, not at the top. Our job at headquarters is to produce the resources needed by those on the front line to win the battle ... We have a "Personnel Department" because we work with people. Do not call it "Human Resources Department". "Human Resources" is a concept that is reminiscent of five-year Stalinist plans." Kelleher practices accountability .It arouses the bold thinking of every employee in the company, starting with the technicians and ending with top management. Whoever submits an idea whatever it is, is sure to get an answer within a week. Kelleher practices a culture of accountability and collaboration where employees demonstrate initiative beyond the scope of their day-to-day responsibilities. "We want all our employees to be leaders. Whether they work at check-in or carry luggage, it does not matter. Everyone must set an example to others. Everyone must inspire others by his conduct. " Kelleher says, "We spend a lot of time making sure we hire people who have a spirit of service and who like to work as a team. We try to strengthen their esprit de corps by constantly keeping in touch with them and recognizing their merits. " Kelleher makes his employees leaders. He thus perpetuates the mission of his company. Continuity, like empowerment, is a sign of the leader's humility. Kelleher does not make himself indispensable. It creates the conditions for others to finish their work. He prepares his succession. Kelleher practices the specific virtues of the leader. He also practices the prudence, courage and justice that are the foundation of leadership. He practices prudence (practical wisdom). His leadership principles are indeed filled with wisdom. He says: "Employees first, then customers, thirdly shareholders. Employees first, and if handled properly they will in turn treat customers properly, and customers will come back and this will make shareholders happy. It's very simple, there is no conflict, it's a logical and natural chain ... Business schools think that there is an enigma here: who comes first? The employees ? Customers ? Shareholders ? For me the answer is clear like the moon. " Kelleher creates a service culture in which the customer satisfaction index is at the top of every airline in the United States. Kelleher also practices courage. In 1971, everyone in Texas was convinced that the creation of Southwest Airlines was crazy. Kelleher had the audacity to despise the opinion of the crowd. If daring is a manifestation of active courage , Kelleher also practices endurance, which is a manifestation of passive courage . He is patient and perseverant. For the sake of the public, it breaks airline monopolies. The monopolists rage, they engage 31 legal proceedings against him over a period of 4 years, to prevent free competition. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Kelleher maintains the line he has set for himself. He makes no compromises, despite the enormous difficulties. Kelleher practices justice, which is a virtue of character. He gives his employees what's due, creating a culture that puts employees first. It gives customers their due by lowering ticket prices and improving the quality of service. "The customer," he says, "is sometimes wrong. We do not carry this kind of customers. They are told: "Fly with another company, do not mistreat our employees". After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 Southwest refuses to lay off and reduce wages. During its history Southwest has never practiced involuntary dismissals. The company prefers to limit profits only by bending job security. "We preferred to sell a plane instead of laying off staff," says Kelleher. We have managed to reduce to 10 minutes the period from landing to boarding while the average in this area is about 50 minutes. " Herb Kelleher is a successful businessman. Southwest Airlines is the largest passenger carrier traveling within the US. Southwest is also the only airline that has continued to make profits after September 11, 2001. The culture of magnanimity and humility, grandeur and service, gave it an obvious commercial advantage. This culture is the result of the virtuous leadership of its founder, Herb Kelleher.

BADEN-POWELL

BADEN-POWELL ( 1857- 1941 ) « An officer can only be a good leader if he loves his men » Baden- Powell,...

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BADEN-POWELL

BADEN-POWELL ( 1857- 1941 )

« An officer can only be a good leader if he loves his men »

Baden- Powell, although he had a brilliant and dazzling career in the British army, is known not so much for his military achievements as for founding the Scout movement. He spent much of his childhood in the wild, watching animals in the woods, exploring With his brothers, he camps and sails, learning discipline, team spirit, self-control. An officer in the army, the first superior to whom he deals is a simple man, for whom the initiative is more important than the knowledge of the drill. Little by little, he learns the art of driving men. The virtues he enjoys most in his job are courage, resourcefulness, prudence combined with taking useful risk. In the execution of his many missions, he thinks in the first place of his men. Behind every soldier there is a man who must be respected and loved. In his command practice, he is committed to educating rather than directing. This is how he applies principles such as responsibility and internal discipline. "The soldier who is only" drilled "is perfect for the parade; for the war he is worthless. So my first concern was to give character to each of my young soldiers; that is to say, to teach them initiative, self-control, the feeling of honor and duty, responsibility, self-confidence, the spirit of observation, reasoning ". The power of the officer, according to him, makes it possible to develop in his men the virtues and qualities which will make of them good citizens: "A nation owes successes less to the force of the armaments than to the character of its citizens. For a man's success in life, character is more essential than erudition. So character is of paramount importance to a nation and to an individual. The seat of Mafeking in South Africa, late 1899, made him famous. He was besieged by the Boers in that city for 217 days, with his regiment and 1600 men, women and children. This resistance allowed the British army to disembark and liberate everyone. How was he able to achieve this feat in a city without natural defense? To deceive the besiegers over the forces he had at his disposal, he was imaginative in organizing stagings. By his tricks, he arranged for the Boers to spend very restless nights, while the British were resting. He tried to make the life of the besieged fun. When food began to fail, Baden-Powell used rations inferior to those of the soldiers. With creativity, he made sure nothing was lost. It was also at Mafeking, because he had very few soldiers, he began to assign missions to young boys. At the end of the war, he was instructed to train the South African police. He then appeals to young, intelligent, capable men of initiative, rather than to the old ones who had too much used to act only on order. He applies personal accountability. Many boys write to him asking for life advice, he encourages them first to try to do a good deed every day. But in view of the multiplication of requests and the interest it arouses, he will spend more and more time, taking these young people very seriously. Little by little, he organizes camps, he writes books, he structures what will become the Scout movement. Finally, he will resign from the army to devote himself entirely to it. For Baden-Powell, the aim of Scouting is to raise the general level of young people on several levels: development of the personality, love of God, sense of service, health, sense of the concrete. "We aim for them to reach from within rather than inculcate them from outside." The line of conduct proposed to Scouts was embodied in the Scout law, which includes only positive points and no prohibition. Baden-Powell was truly a leader, magnanimous and humble, in his desire to grow young people and men entrusted to him, to advance, so that they can then serve society.As the Duke of Connaught said, "Few men have done a greater service to humanity than Robert Baden-Powell."

Martin Luther-King

Martin Luther-King (1929-1968) “I have a dream” Martin Luther King is a wonderful example of magnanimity. Magnanimity is the virtue...

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Martin Luther-King

Martin Luther-King (1929-1968)

“I have a dream”

Martin Luther King is a wonderful example of magnanimity. Magnanimity is the virtue of persons who are at once philosophers and men of action. King was a non-violent civil rights activist for blacks in the United States. In 1963 he wrote from his Birmingham jail: "When you have seen vicious mobs lynch your fathers and mothers at will, drown your brothers and sisters with pleasure; when you have seen hate-filled policemen cursing, beating, brutalizing and even killing your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the great majority of your twenty million black brothers suffocating in the foul prison of poverty, in an opulent society; when you constantly fight the devastating feeling of being no one; then you understand why we find it so hard to wait. There comes a time when the cup is full and men can not bear to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, gentlemen, that you will understand our legitimate and inevitable impatience. Martin Luther King preached nonviolence, but he did not hesitate to practice the right anger that stimulates daring and engenders action. King tells us that gentleness is a mistake and a sin when justice and common sense require anger. In this same letter from his Birmingham jail he writes:"For years I have heard this word:Wait!.It resonates in my ear, as in every black, with a piercing familiarity. We must see with one of our eminent jurists that "justice too late is denial of justice".I almost came to the unfortunate conclusion that the big obstacle to blacks fighting for their freedom, it is not the member of the White Citizen Counciler, nor that of the Ku Klux Klan, but the moderate White.who thinks he can fix, in good paternalistic, a calendar for the liberation of another man ; who cultivates the myth of time-who-works-for-you and constantly advises the black man to wait for a more opportune moment .We waited for more than three hundred and forty In the constitutional rights of our Creator more and more, I think that bad people use time much more effectively than good people. We will have to repent in this generation, not only for the words and actions of hateful people, but for the dreadful silence of people of good will.We must use time creatively, knowing that the time has always come for do good" Avoir laissé passer l’occasion, ne pas avoir entrepris par peur ou par paresse, voilà ce qui fait souffrir plus que tout un esprit magnanime. Pour le magnanime, le mal ce n’est pas le mal que font les autres, c’est le bien que lui, personnellement, ne fait pas. Un cœur magnanime ne craint pas l’erreur : il craint l’inaction. Martin Luther King was a melancholy daring.His regular fits of melancholy prevented him from overcoming his fears and getting into action. This deeply contemplative man was the first to fight for the rights of black citizens in the United States. He organized the march to Washington for work and freedom which was a huge success. More than 250,000 people of all ethnicities met on August 28, 1963 in the face of the Lincoln Memorial, in what was the largest protest ever held in the history of the US capital. The highlight of this march was King's speech "I have a dream". This statement is considered one of the best speeches in American history. King improvised, "I'm telling you here and now, my friends, though, yes, although we face challenges today and tomorrow I always have that dream: it's a deep-seated dream in the world. American ideal. I dream that one day our country will rise and live fully the true reality of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal". Martin Luther King tells us that leadership begins with the dream. The dream is indeed the essence of magnanimity. Leaders are dreamers whose dreams translate into action. The dream of pusillanimity is a chimera. The dream of the magnanimous is a reality: it is directed towards action. On April 3, 1968, the day before his assassination, King he delivered a poignant speech with premonitory resonances: "I do not know what will happen now. We have before us difficult days. But I do not care what will happen to me, because I went to the top of the mountain. I do not worry anymore. Like everyone else, I would like to live a long time. Longevity has its price. But I do not care. I just want the will of God to be done. And it allowed me to reach the top of the mountain. I looked around me. And I saw the promised land. I may not enter it with you. But I want to let you know tonight that our people will reach the promised land. I'm happy tonight. I do not worry about anything. I do not fear any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord." Martin Luther King was a dreamer and actor, a man of grandeur and service. He infused into the heart of every American black a high sense of his own dignity. And that's what leadership is all about.

Jerome Lejeune

Jerome Lejeune (1926-1994) “Defend the scientific truth and the great moral truth that follows: here is my mission”. Jerome Lejeune...

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Jerome Lejeune

Jerome Lejeune (1926-1994)

“Defend the scientific truth and the great moral truth that follows: here is my mission”.

Jerome Lejeune is the French geneticist who discovered in 1958, at the age of thirty-two years, during the examination of the chromosomes of a child called "Mongolian" (Down syndrome), the existence of a chromosome in too much on the 21st pair. For the first time in the history of medicine there was a link between mental retardation and chromosomal abnormality. Professor Lejeune, one of the most admired geneticists of the twentieth century, became in the 1970s the moral leader of the movement for life in Europe. He fiercely defended the dignity of the human person at a time when parliaments and courts were usurping the divine right to decide who among the innocent should live or die. For Jerome Lejeune, the legalization of abortion has not simply been a frontal attack on the natural moral law, but also an odious expression of contempt for science. Modern genetics demonstrates that, just when the egg is fertilized by sperm, all the genetic information that defines the new individual is written in its entirety in the first cell. No other genetic data enters the egg after its initial fertilization. Thus, science asserts that a human being would not be a human being if he had not originally been conceived of as a human being. Laws legalizing abortion are based on the idea that the embryo is not a human life, but that it becomes later, an idea that is totally wrong from a scientific point of view. For Jerome Lejeune, scientific truth is something that should not be withheld from the public. "If a law is so ill-founded as to declare that the human embryo is not a human being, and that her Majesty the Queen of England was only a chimpanzee during the first fourteen days of her life, is not a law, but a manipulation of opinion. Nobody is obliged to accept science. You can say, "Well, we prefer to be ignorant, we absolutely refuse any scientific discovery." That's a point of view. I would say, it's a "politically correct" point of view in some countries, but it's an obscurantist point of view, and science abhors obscurantism." In 1981 Lejeune testifies before the American Congress. In 1982, he was elected to the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences. In 1994 he became the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life created by John Paul II the same year. In the current context of moral relativism and intellectual skepticism so dominant in European culture, the cause of Jerome Lejeune appeared doomed from the start. But, as his daughter Сlara points out,"his realism was inspired by a tremendous hope." Professor Jerome Lejeune is a remarkable example of courage in the fight for life. With the discovery of the genetic origin of Down Syndrome, he became world famous and was nominated for the Nobel Prize. Her discovery gave the hope of being able to cure one day the handicap for which this trisomy was responsible, and it opened new paths in the field little explored and unknown genetics. Dismayed by the growing UN membership in an ideological program opposed to life, he challenged the international community: "Life is a fact, not a desire ... Here we see a health institution that is transforming itself in an institution of death. Having said the truth without compromise, he told his wife, "This afternoon, I lost my Nobel Prize. To defend the scientific truth and the great moral truth that ensued from it, Jerome Lejeune had to resist the spirit of the times, in particular the revolutionary spirit of May 1968. The atmosphere in which he found himself quickly became unhealthy. Messages in big black letters appeared on the walls of the Faculty of Medicine: "Tremble Lejeune! The revolutionary student movement is watching you! Lejeune is a murderer! Kill Lejeune! Lejeune and her little monsters [that is, the children who are victims of Down Syndrome] must die! ". Pr. Lejeune was assailed verbally and physically. He was no longer receiving invitations to international conferences on genetics. Funding for his research was canceled. He was forced to close his lab and fire his research team. He, who, at the age of thirty-eight, had become the youngest professor of medicine in France and held the first chair in fundamental genetics, found himself overnight without funding, without collaborators, without an office. Abandoned by his friends and crucified by the press, reduced to the condition of pariah, he accepted this state of fact with the serenity and joy of not having yielded for a moment to the devilish shrieks of the crowd. He died on Easter Monday, 1994, after a brief agony that began on Holy Week's Wednesday. Lejeune inspired during his life many people, including King Baudouin. When in 1989 the Belgian parliament was preparing to vote on the law on abortion, King Baudouin called in consultation Jerome Lejeune to enlighten him on the decision to take. The king did not sign this law. Young people inspire, today more than ever, men and women of good will: those who are not indifferent to the moral and scientific truth. A human being is a human being since conception. He has never been and will never be a chimpanzee. Young, like all leaders, is deeply conscious of the dignity of the human person.

Eric Liddell

Eric Liddell (1902-1945) “God made me fast”. Eric Liddell, the Scottish athlete who won the 400m gold medal at the...

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Eric Liddell

Eric Liddell (1902-1945)

“God made me fast”.

Eric Liddell, the Scottish athlete who won the 400m gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics and one of the heroes of the film Chariots of Fires (1981), was one day overturned by one of his competitors at the start of a race. Discontented, he hesitated a moment to get up.Mais l’espérance ne s’arrête pas aux obstacles, elle voit au-delà d’eux le grand bien espéré, et c’est lui qu’elle vise And with his head thrown back and his mouth wide open, Liddell starts after his competitors who have taken 20 meters ahead, catches them before the finish, triumphs, and collapses on the ground out of breath. Hope is a joyous impulse, because it carries in itself a joy, which is not yet the joy of possession, but which is the taste of the effort where the faculty is exercised full, the joy of the research which has already found, which already, in some way, possesses in its own moment the goodness to which it aspires, the joy at last of discovery and conquest which feeds on novelty itself. Liddell, a deeply religious man, used to say, "When I run, I feel His pleasure." Eric Liddell was aware of his talent: "I believe that God created me for something, but He also gave me speed." Liddell was a missionary, and as a missionary he died in China in a Japanese concentration camp in 1945. But he was also aware of his speed, a talent he had no intention of to waste. At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, he refused to compete in the 100-meter race, which was his specialty, because the final was contested on a Sunday. But that did not stop him from training for several months to compete in other races and get the gold medal in the 400 meters after breaking the world record. Liddell teaches us an important thing, a major characteristic of leadership: magnanimity should not be separated from humility. The more we are aware of our personal greatness, the more we must recognize that greatness is a gift from God. Magnanimity without humility is not magnanimity; it is a lie whose personal consequences can only be catastrophic. Magnanimity is inseparable from humility. In terms of human tasks, man has the right and the duty to put his trust in himself (magnanimity), not forgetting that he holds from God the human forces in which he puts his trust (humility). The momentum of the magnanimity that engages man in his task as a man must always be accompanied by the recoil of the humility that draws him to allow him to see God beyond him. To the exaltation of man in his task must always be joined his lowering before God. Liddell is a model of virtuous leadership in the fields of sport and religion.

Corazon Aquino

Corazon Aquino (1933-2009) “ Without true values, a democracy is only a confederation of lunatics. ” Corazon Aquino, President of...

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Corazon Aquino

Corazon Aquino (1933-2009)

“ Without true values, a democracy is only a confederation of lunatics. ”

Corazon Aquino, President of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992, is a good example of virtuous leadership. After the assassination of her husband, the popular Senator Begnino Aquino, Cory Aquino became the keystone of the opposition to autocratic President Ferdinand Marcos. With most Filipinos convinced that the government had ordered the death of her husband, Aquino suddenly announced his intention to confront Marcos in the 1986 presidential elections. The official result of the vote gave Marcos the winner, but the massive fraud was too obvious. Both candidates claimed victory. Hundreds of thousands of Cory Aquino fans invaded the streets in a massive demonstration of popular power. The country united against him, the army refusing to intervene to support him, Marcos had to flee abroad. "I assumed the powers of the dictatorship the time needed to abolish them," Cory Aquino commented a few years later. "I had absolute power, but I used it in moderation. I created independent courts of justice to challenge my absolute power and a parliament to suppress it. " At a time when democracy is considered a god by many Western intellectuals, Cory Aquino claims that she does not accept the idea of ​​democracy for the sake of democracy: "Without true values, a democracy is a confederation of fools, "she says. Aquino practiced humility in his way of governing. According to her, collegiality is a moral principle that applies in business as well as in politics: "The ability to work effectively with others", she says, "to listen to different points of view, to credit them with a sincerity equal to those of one's own points of view, to have the flexibility to accommodate the justified worries of others, all this represents an important quality for anyone who wishes to serve others. It is an expression of the spirit of service. How could one claim to have a genuine spirit of solidarity with the people in general, if one is incapable of operational solidarity with the people with whom one works every day? " During the election campaign against Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator accused him of not being prepared to govern because she was a stay-at-home mother. Yet it was this housewife who won the elections, sent Marcos into exile, and allowed the Philippine fund to transform fundamentally. At a time when politics fell into the hands of a caste, an establishment that uses itself rather than serving others, Aquino shows the world that a mother of Family is often better prepared for politics than professional politicians who have long lost the sense of greatness and service. Cory Aquino was a remarkable example of sincerity, simplicity and integrity in politics. She served her country for six years, and chose not to represent herself. Filipinos still consider it today as the leader who unified their nation.

Thomas More

Thomas More (1478-1535) “The purity of my conscience.That's the source of my jubilation” To remain true to his conscience, Sir...

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Thomas More

Thomas More (1478-1535)

“The purity of my conscience.That's the source of my jubilation”

To remain true to his conscience, Sir Thomas More, the great humanist and Lord Chancellor of King Henry VIII, refused to recognize the latter as the self-proclaimed leader of a new church of his own invention. Although cruelly treated during the fifteen months he was incarcerated at the Tower of London which preceded his beheading, and despite the opposition of his king, bishops of England, most of his friends, and even his whole family (including from his beloved daughter Margaret), Thomas More remained strong in his convictions. More was a shining example of joy and friendship, two inseparable virtues. Here is his portrait drawn up by his friend Erasmus: "His face is in harmony with his character, he is kind and cheerful, without risk of buffoonery. More seems born for friendship, he is the most faithful and constant friend. When he meets a sincere person according to his heart, he delights in his company and his conversation, as if these things were for him the main charm of existence. In a word, if you are looking for a model of friendship, you will not find any better than More." More is a good model of blood enduring. He was always smiling, joking, communicative. But he was also deep, steady and faithful. Although he was temperamentally sanguine, and his friendship with the king was sacred to him, he sacrificed everything and endured everything to save the integrity of his conscience. For Thomas, politics is a much higher concept than the search for power and personal advantage. Politics is a form of service that requires professionalism, a specific preparation through the study of history, law, culture, and especially human nature: its size and fragility. After completing his law studies, Thomas spent many days in the early hours of his day studying the classical and Christian tradition in order to find real solutions to the problems of life. The magnanimity of Thomas More is summed up in a few words: "The dignity of my Consciousness! Thomas bravely opposed the attempts of the ruling power to manipulate his conscience, that eternal temptation of rulers who do not recognize any power above themselves. To remain faithful to irrevocable principles, on which depend the dignity of the man, the happiness of the people and a decent civil society, Thomas sacrificed all that the world could offer him. He had only to reach out. "The purity of my conscience,he said,here is the source of my jubilation.Thomas practiced justice in the name of truth and conscience,writes William Shakespeare in his last play King Henry VIII . For Thomas politics can not be separated from morality.Comme Socrate, Thomas refusa de se laisser manipuler par la foule. Il refusa tout compromis. Le sens de la dignité humaine : voilà ce en quoi consiste fundamental la magnanimity. Thomas More was the most virtuous person England has ever known,writes Jonathan Swift 200 years after the death of Sir Thomas. Chesterton, meanwhile, will write in 1929:"Thomas More represents a fundamental turning point.It is more important today than at any other time since his death. But its real importance is in 100 years that we will see it." Many know the famous sentence of Lord Acton: "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. In reality, power helps virtuous people to grow up. The power did not corrupt Thomas More. On the contrary, it was in the exercise of power that Thomas More became Saint Thomas More.

Alexandre Solzhenitsyn

Alexandre Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) “I wanted to be the memory ... the memory of a people victim of an unspeakable tragedy.”...

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Alexandre Solzhenitsyn

Alexandre Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

“I wanted to be the memory ... the memory of a people victim of an unspeakable tragedy.”

Literature, like politics, the business world, science and religion, is a privileged field for the exercise of magnanimity. Very shortly after his arrest by the Soviet political police, Alexander Solzhenitsyn grasped the meaning and scope of his mission: to become the powerful and universal voice of the millions of innocent people, victims of communism. "I will publish everything! I will utter everything! From the dynamite piled up in the boxes of the Lubyanka, to the calls in the steppe camps in the middle of winter, in the name of all the strangles, all the shots, all the deaths of hunger, the deaths of cold. Solzhenitsyn realized he had to shout the truth, "as long as the little calf does not break its neck against the oak, unless the oak starts to crack, it does not fall. Unlikely eventuality, but that I admit, however, quite. A writer who set such a high goal in such a place and at such a time was for Russia and for the whole world an extraordinary sign of hope. The Russian poetess Olga Sedakova, who reads Solzhenitsyn in samizdat,testifies:"This information on the unimaginable extent of the evil provoked by communism, this information communicated by Solzhenitsyn and likely to pulverize an ill-prepared person , did not exhaust the content of the message. By their very existence and their rhythm, the writings of Solzhenitsyn made us understand in the depths of our being that an evil, even of this size, and even if well armed, is not all powerful! This is what amazed us more than anything: a man alone faced with a system, almost cosmic, of lies, stupidity, cruelty and destruction. Such a situation occurs only once a millennium. And in each sentence, we perceived which side was the victory. A victory not triumphal, like those that knew this regime, but a victory paschal, the one that passes from death to life. In The Gulag Archipelago,men turned into camp dust resurrected, a country resuscitated, the truth resurrected. This resurrection force capable of exploding the universe, no one could have transmitted it as well. The resurrection of the truth in man - and the truth about man - when such a thing was totally impossible. " Solzhenitsyn is a remarkable example of endurance. He resisted for several decades the pressure of a totalitarian regime that had sworn to annihilate it. Solzhenitsyn's reputation was great in Russia and abroad as long as he limited himself to criticizing Stalin, as in his first work.A Day of Ivan Denisovich.This was perfectly in keeping with the aims of Khrushchev, who at the time was leading a campaign against Stalin's cult of personality. It was also suitable for philanthropic intellectuals in the West, who admired the October revolution, but thought that Stalin had betrayed it. In his subsequent works, Solzhenitsyn clearly stated that he was opposed not only to Stalin but also to Lenin and the October Revolution. He even rejected the February Revolution and did not hesitate to expose his heterodox views in his Open Letter to the Leaders of the Soviet Union.He thus attracted the enmity of the Soviet regime and the legions of Western intellectuals, its former supporters, sympathizers of the revolutionary cause. Exiled in the West, Solzhenitsyn faced the misunderstanding and derision caused by his refusal to pledge allegiance to materialistic ideals popular in the 1970s. The growing army of his detractors, who found intolerable a world view contradicting theirs, soon an enemy of all liberty and progress. Solzhenitsyn does not falter. Solzhenitsyn was a deeply magnanimous being. He possessed a high sense of his own dignity at a time when the totalitarian Soviet regime was flouting this dignity in an unknown way until now. Solzhenitsyn's mission can be summed up in these words:"I wanted to be the memory; the memory of a people victim of an unspeakable tragedy." Solzhenitsyn's most talented contemporaries, captivated by Solzhenitsyn the writer, did not hide their shock at the meeting of the Solzhenitsyn man. Anna Akhmatova, the Russian poet and Nobel Prize winner for literature writes: "A light bearer! We had forgotten that such people still existed.A surprising being.A great man." Not only did Solzhenitsyn inform the world of the reality and extent of the evil that threatened him, but he also changed the lives of so many. By the example of his life he restored in their hearts the hope and the sense of dignity.

Fiodor Dostoïevski

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) " The man is an enigma. This enigma must be exposed ". At the age of 18,...

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Fiodor Dostoïevski

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)

" The man is an enigma. This enigma must be exposed ".

At the age of 18, Dostoevsky had already formulated his vital mission: "Man is an enigma. This enigma must be exposed. And if I spend my life laying it bare, do not tell me I'm wasting my time. I am working on this enigma because I want to be a man. "I want to be a man." Dostoevsky possessed a keen sense of human dignity. At the age of 29, on the eve of his Siberian exile (for having participated in the political plot of the members of Petrachevski's circle, he wrote to his brother: "Brother, I do not despair, I do not get discouraged. life in us, and not in the outside.After me there will be people, and be a man among the people, and always remain, in all kinds of misfortunes, without being discouraged and without falling, that's what life is about, that's its meaning, and that idea is rooted in my pulpit and my blood. " In Dostoevsky the meaning of man is linked to the meaning of Christ. On the scaffold, a minute before the simulacrum of hanging, he approached his friend Spechniov and whispered in his ear in French these words of great intimacy: in a few moments "we will be with Christ". At the age of 33, just out of prison, Dostoevsky made a definitive choice in favor of Christ. In prison "I understood myself.I understood Christ.I understood the Russian man.Do not tell me that I do not know the people.I know him, it's him I received again in my soul Christ, whom I had known in the paternal home when I was a child, but whom I had lost, when I became a "Western liberal." At a time of unbelief and doubt, Dostoevsky was going against the grain. Choosing Christ was something very daring, but even more daring was choosing a deeply human Christ. Dostoevsky is fascinated by the humanity of Christ, by his perfect human nature. "I composed my Creed, in which everything is clear and holy. It is very simple, here it is: to believe that there is nothing more beautiful, more profound, more sympathetic, more reasonable, stronger and more perfect than Christ.Better still, if someone demonstrated that Christ is outside the truth, and that indeed the truth was outside of Christ, I would rather remain with Christ than with truth. Dostoevsky has no need of a deity who has not become a man, of a truth which has not been made pulpit. For him Christ is the ideal and perfect man, and not only a God and Savior. At a time when it was customary to insist on the omnipotence and severity of God, this attitude was extremely new and daring. His vision of the "radiant personality of Christ" Dostoevsky owes it to the prison where he read the gospel, the only book once authorized in prison. Dostoevsky believes in man because he believes in the God made man. In his tragic fall man discovers the face of Christ, radiant, merciful, deeply human. He discovers his dignity and his divine filiation, he purifies himself and saves himself through suffering and penance. For Dostoevsky the man is the center. "What interests Dostoevsky," Berdiaev writes, "are people, and only people, with their feelings and thoughts. The cities and their atmosphere, the dirty and disgusting inns are only signs, symbols of the inner and spiritual world of man, the reflection of his inner destiny. In Dostoyevsky's novels, everything converges on a key character and this key character converges on everything and everyone. This character is an enigma and all must discover his secret. Dostoevsky is a Christian: all his works are imbued with Christianity. His themes are the God-Man and the man-god, the man and the devil, piety and revolt against God, beauty and nihilism, faith and reason, freedom and evil, suffering and rebellion, sin and repentance, death and resurrection. These are profoundly Christian themes and at the same time profoundly universal. Dostoevsky is an anthropologist. It takes us out of the closed circle of psychologism to direct our consciousness to eternal questions. Dostoevsky knows that the dignity of man manifests itself in its fullness not in the psychological field, but in the spiritual and religious space. Dostoevsky is a giant. His influence is still huge today. It is surprisingly surprising: it depicts the anthropological catastrophes that threaten the world.