The Natural Leadership of Bourdon Souls

November 7, 2013

Carillons on the Old Town Hall in Haltern am See, which is in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Photo by Arnoldius

Carillon on the Old Town Hall in Haltern am See, which is in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Photo by Arnoldius

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira likened society to a carillon. The carillon is a large musical instrument consisting of at least twenty-three cast bronze bells often suspended in bell towers and arranged to play music. To apply his metaphor, the carillon is a society or social unit, and each person is a different bell. The representative character can be compared to the bourdon or principal bell with the lowest note that sets the tone for the other secondary bells and keeps the carillon on key. From the initial ringing of the bourdon, the smaller bells resonate and find their own tone.

Winston Churchill walks through the ruins of Coventry Cathedral

Sir Winston Churchill walks through the ruins of Coventry Cathedral.
“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

“Setting the tone” means that these representative figures use their insight into the aspirations and vital flux of their social groups to orient and harmonize those around them with advice, direction, and leadership. Their principal function is to create resonance and great harmony inside given social groups. So it is that families, groups, regions, and even historic epochs have their bourdon souls who harmonize society and whose note when sounded causes others to resonate and ring out with joy in this great concert known as history.

Emmanuel, the bourdon bell at Notre-Dame de Paris.

Emmanuel, the bourdon bell at Notre-Dame de Paris.

Thus, in fulfilling their roles at all levels in society, these representative characters manage to fuse “their individual personalities with the public requirements of those roles,” an accomplishment that allows them to “demarcate specific societies and historical eras.” (*)

The role of being a bourdon soul carries a great responsibility. If taken seriously, these figures can be like saving angels succoring others. If they fail to set the right tone, others will find it especially difficult to overcome their challenges and trials, and so the course of history might well change.

Subscription12

 

(*) Robert N. Bellah et al., Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 40.

 

John Horvat II, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 202-3.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Previous post:

Next post: