Leaders Producing New Kinds of Leaders — COSPOLON

Steven Cleghorn
4 min readMay 24, 2024

The following was inspired by a conversation I listened to from the Planet Critical podcast titled “The Thermal Dynamics of Degrowth.”

Cumulonimbus clouds are the most energetic and destructive/violent kind of cloud. They grow, shed energy, and disappear as empires rise and fall.

The constant growth of gross domestic product (GDP) under our current economic system requires more energy and materials. We will need more oil and gas to develop and implement alternative forms of energy (second-generation nuclear fission or fusion, hydrogen, solar, whatever).

We want to produce more and think we need/want trillionaires. We will grow our economies until there are no more means to grow. Why? Some say physics, the laws of the universe, make our actions inevitable. Others say it’s human nature, while others know beyond doubt that it’s the will of God or a curse from Satan.

Living within particular limits to certain kinds of economic growth is something we can’t imagine. “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”

Wars over economic growth and energy will continue to rage. War is a uniquely human expression of growth. War requires vast sums of energy.

Castle Romeo Nuclear Explosion

To all sides, what matters most is who is in control.


We are “homo actuosus”; as consumers of vast amounts of energy, we are all “accelerationists” now. We require many things to live. Some want to see our species transformed into a mechanical machine. We want and need artificial intelligence because organic intelligence isn’t enough. We want to live forever because leaving the world to our offspring surrenders our will to power.

For life on earth, extinction is the rule, not the exception. We will live the way we are programmed to live until we pass away. Nature and technology in the form of human communication are powerful programmers of the human mind, motivating our thoughts and, by and large, governing behavior. Influential people have never had more powerful ways of programming, nudging, and directing people’s beliefs and behaviors.

How much agency an individual has depends on many mysterious things. Most of us are unaware of cultural changes. Those with the power and resources to program culture are responsible for what happens.

The people’s power is as nebulous and fleeting as bursts of emotion. A practically invisible fog of endurance and interdependence keeps people going. Tradition, faith, and habit are their refuge.

What convinces influential people to care for their habitat and those they depend on? Is it fear of revolution, competition with rivals, the incentive for personal gain, something more socially intricate, or all of these?

If there are better ways of living within our means, how do people who understand better ways convince those in power to change? Is that even possible?

I often imagine social groups organizing and meeting weekly to discuss such things and commit to pestering their leaders to listen.

“Democracy” is already owned by the major players of The Great Game: the alpha energy owners, users, and controllers. We can’t vote their attitudes out. We lack the culture that would produce the kinds of leaders to vote for. The structures and systems influential people have designed and implemented make that impossible.

People must commit to working together to convince Influential Players that doing things differently is in their best interest. People must convince them that to pass on generational power and wealth, the health and welfare of living systems must be carefully maintained.

Our leaders no longer understand the importance of deep ethical and moral concerns. We must convince them that they have lost their way. We must appeal to whatever compassion, consideration, and love they still possess. We must make them want to learn again.

“Sir, you have worked hard to get so smart-don’t stop now.”

If we can heal our leaders, we can create a culture where true leaders can develop—faithful leaders who understand the necessity of good stewardship, of maintaining the health and welfare of living systems.

Originally published at https://www.cospolon.eu on May 24, 2024.



Steven Cleghorn

I'm an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur, and a former producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong. I founded Globe Hackers Multimedia Ltd.