Concerning the concept of a leader: we can be a leader or hero in a situation. It doesn’t mean that we devote our life to fighting crime. But we need to prepare ourselves for a situation in which our will and view of the world will be tested. It can be a blink of an eye when our mind is occupied with the question of acting or not acting in a situation… and making the right decision. It can be a question of what career path to take. And of course, we also need principled leaders in important positions. If we don’t encourage people to become leaders, then only one type pf person will go into this position: the type of person who cares only about power. We should encourage everyone to take responsibility in his or her area of expertise, community, family, and group of friends.
Our will is between free and not free. We are as free as we know of the influences of the world. Our brain runs on a deterministic chemistry, but our consciousness is the result of a higher, recursive process. But by “higher” I don’t mean “mystical.” It is more like an emergent process, something that can only exist in its entirety and cannot be broken down scientifically without destroying it. It is as if you wanted to analyze a cloud. It looks like a distinct entity from afar, but once you get close, once you fragment it into its contents, it vanishes.
You see, once we have used philosophy and science to establish that we have free will, we can follow a whole number of values and views for our life from it. If we assumed that everyone is just the product of his or her environment, then why even bother, you can’t change yourself. Anything goes, no one is responsible for his actions. This is not the philosophy of a leader or hero.
To establish our free will, we first have to look at a number of other issues, including the objectivity of perception, language, and communication. In the end, the goal of the book series is to teach people to be leaders, but also to be able to defend their philosophy against arguments such as, “Aren’t we all just brains swimming in a laboratory of a crazy scientist?” or “Our consciousness creates reality, not the other way around. What is your proof that reality is real, and existence exists?”
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If I were to choose authors whose work relates to each of the book in the series, I would name Ayn Rand and Aristotle for the first book. Not only did each provide groundwork for philosophy, but also Ayn Rand explained the real concept of the hero and leader. Concerning the second book, which is science and theory of the mind, I will point to Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, William H. Calvin, David Bohm, and Lawrence Krauss as major influences. The third book, focusing on values and drugs, is greatly based on Ayn Rand (theory of values) as well as own views and current scientific results. I drew a lot from Karen Armstrong‘s books for the fourth book about religion and theology, and the chapter about psychology is greatly influenced by the ideas of Carl Jung, Peter S. Beagle, Joseph Campbell, and Robert Cialdini. While Ayn Rand again provided basic philosophical ideas, modern science and personality theory help us to connect with who we are and what our values actually are. Finally, for the book on art and heroism, I will draw heavily on Ayn Rand, general music theory and a number of authors of motivation books.
Some of the best-known books on leadership include:
- Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)
- The Greatest Salesman in the World (Og Mandino)
- Awaken the Giant Within (Anthony Robbins)
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey)
- The 48 Laws of Power (Robert Greene)
While each of these books and others like them, provide you with tips and tricks on how to become successful, each set success as the ultimate goal. For example, Robbins’ book claims to provide “immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial destiny.”
This is not the goal of the Philosophy for Heroes book series. Instead, this book series encourages you to sit down and think and reflect. Becoming a leader is not done by superimposing a code or mask on your identity or reprogramming your behavior. There are no quick solutions.
You become a hero by becoming a balanced person first – by being true to yourself and discovering your strengths and weaknesses. You have to visit all your past experiences and face your demons and bring them into line. You have to work at solving old emotional or intellectual conflicts. You have to learn about philosophy and science. This book series will challenge you to begin the journey to become a balanced person with a free mind… to follow your own dreams and express your own identity.
The next book (working title “Philosophy for Heroes”) will be released in multiple parts, the first one will be available in summer 2015 in English and then translated into German.
Q: “Hello Clemens, tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your story?”
A: “Life is about stories, mine revolved around wanting to know how the world works and even more so how people “work” and what their motivations are.”
Q: “ But you went into studying computer science in Karlsruhe for 7 years, not necessarily a “people person’s job”?”
A: “It’s true, I am a very “hands-on” person. To understand something, I basically need to build it, to literally “grasp” it. The computer gave me the possibility to simulate at least a small aspect of the world. Like a writer, but more real. But given my history of winning chess and math competitions, going into the mathematics and computer science direction was kind of a logical step in my own story.
Speaking of 7 years I did build a program during my time as a student of which I am very proud of. It was called “Evolution Forge”. It is an application of evolutionary algorithms with the back-then “crucial” problem of how to win strategy games like StarCraft. It also had a nice interface! My idea was to teach people about evolution while playing their favorite game. Maybe I will return into its development someday. Google just announced to basically doing the same thing. Well, aiming a little bit higher.”
Q: “Why didn’t you pursue a PhD? Wouldn’t science be ideal for someone like you? From what I have read, you worked on several papers.”
A: “Psychology, especially my own, is a fascinating subject. We are often contradictory in what we want and what we can do. So, the abstract world of science very much interests me, but ultimately, I am a dreamer and builder. I want to create, and not have titles, so I went into private business to learn the trade, first in a more traditional software company, later in a startup dealing with medical devices.”
Q: “But now you are ultimately in the people’s business, creating and directing teams.”
A: “Yes, I feel that the years in industry working in teams helped me to develop a lot. Well, also the work on my book of course, in terms of spiritual development. I have my weak sides covered and can yet again focus on my strengths. Ideas and people, with a foundation of project management, nature, and fitness. “
Q: “I think you have already dedicated a whole chapter in your book what motivated you to write it. Maybe just one question, why heroes?”
A: “In growing up, I think the two most significant experiences meeting a leader, and getting disappointed by him because the things you attribute to them are not real, they are human. I don’t want to downplay the great things people do, but there is certainly a lot attribution going on. I wanted to find an image or definition of a hero that is healthy for both sides, like something between the person who just throws himself into battle, and the person who just does his thing. Good answers are hardly ever simplistic, so I ended up needing four books to make my point.”
Q: “How can people contact you? Are you also available for a speaking engagement?”
A: “Sure! I love throwing back and forth ideas! Just drop me a line! Just contact me via my website or connect to me with one of my social media profiles.”
Q: “What will people see if they subscribe to you?”
A: “Either I use them sparingly for business updates or… Cats, and lots of them laughs
No, seriously. Well, interrupted by posts of deep insight of course, or just silliness.
I guess it’s more a laid-back atmosphere. I prefer to write well-structured documents, longer blog posts, or books, obviously, outside of social media. But I do have a thing for cute animals. They kind of represent the idea of innocence, opportunities, a fresh start, a positive attitude to life, and curiosity.”
Q: “Ok, one last question, politics?”
A: “Ah, yes, a never-ending discussion topic. I will probably end up writing a book on this topic eventually. But I think that I would trust anyone who studies this book series and gets my basic points about philosophy and psychology to make informed decisions for himself. As with all questions, we first have to ask the question if it is a valid question at all. Is there good and evil? Are there dragons? Read the fourth book of the series! ”
Q: “Intriguing! Ok, thank you for this personal interview!”
A: “Thank you for the questions!”
That’s Athena protecting an (unnamed) young hero. She is the (Greek) goddess of wisdom, craft, and war in ancient Greek mythology. “Athena is known for her calm temperament, as she moves slowly to anger. She is noted to have only fought for just reasons, and would not fight without a purpose. Athena is portrayed as an astute companion of heroes and is the patron goddess of heroic endeavour.” (wikipedia)
The statue is in Berlin on the Palace bridge. That is also where I made the photo!