Every leader today labors under a profound sense of guilt. The demands are so incessant and the uncertainties ahead so imponderable that he lives all the time with the crushing feeling that he is leaving many things undone and frittering away his energy in trivialities.

Parents are not sure how their children will turn out; university administrators cannot guarantee that a dark spirit will not suddenly sweep across the ranks of faculty and students alike; business leaders plan with confidence, but always with the debilitating feeling that something uncanny could suddenly turn up and upset all their planning; thinkers are bombarded from every side by a babel of tongues; scientists cannot keep up with what is happening in their narrowest fields, let alone in adjacent domains; statesmen, in a world shrunk into the closest neighborhood, can hardly adjust to the multiplicity of events and the suddenness with which they pop up everywhere. The result is the feeling that—as the psalmist put it—“all the foundations of the earth are out of course” (Ps. 82:5). There is a sense of helplessness, of inadequacy, of fatalism, of giving up.

The challenge is simply too great. Man was not made to face so much. There is no correspondence between man’s capacity and the magnitude of the challenge. We simply cannot do justice to everything. Man is weighed today and found utterly wanting. And when we make a selection, or when a selection is forced upon us, we smart at what we left out. It haunts us the rest of our lives. Since injustice is inevitable, since we cannot help disregarding many, many things, our conscience becomes stricken, and the soul wilts under the consciousness of guilt. We appear to assume responsibility for the entire world. But ...

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