Don Carlos Versus Marquis of Posa - Beyond the Mere Instrument of Rationality
HEROES AND ANTI-HEROES; EUROPEAN LITERATURE AND THE ETHICS OF LEADERSHIP, R. Ghesquiere, K.J. Ims, eds., Garant, Antwerpen, pp. 49-65, 2010
12 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2011
Date Written: February 13, 2008
In this paper, I referred to the heroes of the Schiller play of Don Carlos to illustrate: - the constraints on instrumental rationality (reason deprived of faith may prevent from establishing human dignity); - a gap as experienced in the behaviour of the heroes of the drama between noumenal and phenomenal values (error in cognition may have ethical consequences); and - the combined efforts needed in order to achieve morality (being full of courage and imagination need be complemented by technical skills, adequate to the particular conditions of every-day reality).
Don Carlos is fragile enough to be subject to attacks and challenges coming from the outward conditions of material life. He may then fall and be deprived of material benefits, or even lose his party of love. However, his fragility is most sympathetic, providing an example for the aesthetics of suffering and sacrifice, as described by Ioannes Paul II.
Interestingly, King Philip is in the same way far from adopting instrumental rationality as his son, Carlos. However, Philip, being tyrannic, cannot be loved, although some passion cannot be precluded even towards him. The difference between these two models of non-compliance with instrumental rationality can be revealed to the extent that they are compared to Marquis of Posa. Apparently, Carlos is a fun of political liberty while Philip remains part of a system of tyranny. One can conclude from the tragic story of Carlos that the sensibility and fine feelings of the infant need be combined with target-oriented rationality. The values of free trade and representative democracy – interpreted on the basis of instrumental rationality – cannot be missed in the modern history of Europe. They are, however, subject to being complemented by the gesture of compassion, devotion and moderation. Life, supported by business leadership, cannot be enjoyable and comfortable without the influential examples the heroes like Carlos may have provided us.
Keywords: Tragic and heroic dimensions of leadership
JEL Classification: M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation