What do we see in this scene?
Clarke and Lexa are both the leaders of their community. Whereas Clarke comes from a “civilized” society living in space, Lexa is the young commander of a tribe of warriors residing on earth.
In this scene, the two are stuck in an old zoo, trying to escape from a ferocious gorilla.
The scene starts with both speaking about how leadership relates to making hard choices and moves later to how one becomes the leader of the tribe.
What do we learn from this scene
We’ve seen in the previous post that for the army, leadership means taking decisions. Here again, Lexa, as a warrior confirms that:
In the second part of the scene, Lexa tells Clarke that if she dies, her spirit will choose the next leader of the tribe. Whether it’s reincarnation or through divine selection, this spiritual approach to leadership brings something very new to the table. (or should we say “very old”.)
First of all, we have to understand, that this has nothing to do with being a spiritual leader like a shaman or a priest. On the other hand, the process resembles the one of the Dalai Lama who is found rather than chosen. The Dalai Lama is believed to have the power to choose the body into which he is reincarnated, meaning that the current Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of the last. This however means that the new leader will be chosen at a very young age. Moreover, the new body will be chosen based on the spirit’s vision of the future rather than existing aptitudes and personality traits. In this case, we can assume that the next leader is born. Growing up, he may be a good leader, but to become the Dalai Lama he has to be found first.
If on the other hand the spirit doesn’t get reincarnated as Clarke says, and instead chooses the next leader, then we can consider that the spirit will use its wisdom rather than vision to select the next leader, and that based on existing attributes. Therefore, we can assume the leader is not born, but instead already made and experienced. I personally believe that this second option is what Alexa meant by saying her spirit will choose wisely.
The process used by Lexa’s tribe is interesting because of the following:
1. It is not a spiritual leader who’s chosen, but a warrior leader and yet that person is chosen by a spirit.
2. The leader is selected by the previous leader; therefore the definition of what means to lead well depends of the tribe’s leadership history. The leadership role and the aptitude to lead are completely intertwined.
In American Indian tribe culture, no one person was always a leader, and many were leaders at different times. When a warrior was needed a warrior was made the leader. But when the war was over and a healer was needed to lead, he became the leader. Leadership was given to the one who was most suited to the task at a given time. Therefore the leader was selected based on his accomplishments and the requirements in the actual context. In our case, it is the wisdom of the spirit that shall decide who is most suited for the job considering the existing situation.
It would be interesting to know how the selection process is done in the physical realm. Will the next leader be chosen based on physical aptitude such as through duels? Will the spirit show a sign to the chosen one? Or will there be a spiritual ceremony where people vote such as when electing a new Pope?
Whatever the means used, this process indicates a belief that the one chosen to be the leader is the most suited person (based on the spirit’s belief). The leader is not born or made; he or she is just chosen.
In my previous post I wrote that it all depends on how we define leader and leadership. What we learn from The 100 is that it doesn’t really matter if a leader is born or made. The leader is chosen based on the context and the actual need of the community. Therefore, one can have all the required aptitudes to lead, if people (or the spirit) will not consider him to be the most suited for the job, that person will be a leader with no real flock to lead.
And yet, I believe there is more to it. Context is part of defining a leader, but we can go further.
How about you? Do you feel it makes sense? Should we add something to this post?