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Stewart, L.H. (1991). The World Cycle of Leadership. J. Anal. Psychol., 36(4):449-459.

(1991). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 36(4):449-459

The World Cycle of Leadership

L. H. Stewart, Ph.D.

In a recent Article in the Washington Post entitled Young Gorbachev: past friends trace the roots of Mikhail Sergeyevich's ambition, David Remnick (1989), foreign correspondent in Moscow, asks the following question: What does it mean to history, for example, that Gorbachev grew up almost as an only child? His one sibling, his brother Alexander, was born 17 years after Gorbachev. This is a very astute question, which I take to be intended seriously, and I shall attempt to answer it in the course of this paper.

Some years ago, at one of the North-South Conferences of Jungian Analysts in Carmel, I presented a paper on kinship libido (Stewart 11) in which I sought to show that sibling position in the family is like an invisible envelope that is slipped over each of us at birth and determines, quite unconsciously, our outlook on a wide range of experience. A particular example I used in that paper was political leadership, though I also demonstrated that the sibling complex seems to determine attitudes and behaviour in relation to all aspects of life: art, religion, philosophy, and so on. For the purposes of this paper I shall confine my examples to politics and analytical psychology, presenting, first, a deepening and broadening of the conclusions I came to in the earlier paper, and, second, a confirmation of that earlier study through an analysis of the extraordinary social and political changes now taking place in Eastern Europe, Russia, and elsewhere.

In my original studies of political leadership (Stewart 10, 11, 12) I came to see how the interweaving of family influences and the Zeitgeist manifests in the family constellation. Recurring political crises such as war on the one hand, or social collapse on the other hand, as in the great depression, demand different qualities of leadership, and hence different leaders.

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