“Make the Ship Narrower”

«Make the ship narrower»

Ancient Athens thoughts about organization, participation and leadership are “modern”. In this light, the interview with Professor Morten Hansen (Berkeley) is seen (A-Magasinet Bergens Tidende 06.04.18). Keywords are, participantship, and the creation of new ideas for development. This will make life and business (society) better.

Trireme (The video below has movie after a few stills)

The Greek warship in Athens’s democratic era is a symbol of what is needed for survival and improvement; efficiency, involvement, and use of experience and expertise.

The title of this article is a quote by Professor Morten Hansen (see above). That he uses a marine example to get a point, lures to use the ship that “saved democracy.” In order to be effective, “the ship must be made narrower”. One has to prioritize and everyone can`t do everything. This means that you must be able to say no and to be notified if something is ineffective. The rowers row, and the captain (taxiarch) has skills about strategy and motivation. He has picked the best people and trained them. The crew should be able to tell about weaknesses and potentials in the improvement- processes and preparations.

In ships of this type there were 170 rowers. It was a technological masterpiece, where the crew were paid-up citizens training to be unified; 170 oars that would power the boat as fast as possible, turning, going backwards. The democratic city state; the involvement-project could otherwise be crushed by the enemy, with the Persians being the biggest threat.

Due to a person’s expertise and knowledge, hundreds of warships were built; Themistocles. He was a regular citizen who had worked and fought his way up. He had experienced the “competitor” Persians, and that they could easily destroy the Athenians if they did not do anything. It was close, but in the last blow in 479 BC. they completely crushed the three times in number slave-based Persian fleet outside Athens. The Persian ships were bigger and more difficult to maneuver, and Themistocles tactics succeeded.  This culture was carried by individuals who did have the opportunity to speak.

“To realize the need for involvement.”                                                                                           The citizen had free speech. It was the first time in world history, as we know, that a city of a certain size had the right to speak for ordinary people. All citizens should know the “organization” through participation in cultural and political life. It gave confidence. Athens were “interdisciplinary” and curious in their approach to the world and improvement. Democracy was a development project where cultural impulses were thrown into development, party and pleasure.                                                                                                 Victories were made on the basis of having the best people; training / experience, overall thinking; body and mind, courage, necessity, emotion and commitment, involvement, and anchoring in goals and “method”.

“Like White Men on Top”: Morten Hansen says “Before, there were a small group of white men who sat on top. (…) Earlier, orders have been sent from the top to the bottom of the system. (…) But diversity is necessary to survive in the future. If you do not, your business will be hanging out. It’s still not everyone who understands this. ”

Before democracy, Athens was an aristocracy. It became ineffective and old-fashioned, and the city went bankrupt. The elite crashed. It is comparable to “white men”. After democratic revolutions, people became involved. We need to extract the potential of people and culture by releasing people. And they must do that with consciousness about communication -in general.


Will diversity in itself provide a better business?”                                                                      “Only if you manage to take advantage of diversity. This means having the ability to lead a team so that diversity is expressed. There’s no point in having a woman never saying anything or which is never heard, for example. ” Hansen talks about gender quotas. My point of using this as an example is to highlight the importance of being able to express and be heard when you have knowledge, regardless of who you are.

In ancient times, they were aware that involvement increased engagement, and the formation of new ideas. History back to Homer is rich of examples. The leaders were chosen by the people, and precisely because the people were aware of the risk of choosing mistakes, they chose who they thought was competent. The leader was the servant of the people, and he had to listen to them. In ancient Athens it was about life.


“The goal is to make companies better, so that society can improve.”                                      Athens had a positive view of human nature. They were expected to contribute in a positive way. It was the first time in history that such a view formed the basis of the social organization and “formation”. But they were aware of the negative side of man. Hansen encourages and courses not to focus only profit, but also to improvement of society and for employees. During the reconstruction phase of democracy, improving the society was to improve each one. This line/philosophy and practice established our cultural base we are still harvesting, as in this article.

Freedom has its strength and weaknessess. With bad additudes one becomes a negative force that limits. There is a turning point between the freedom and participation that is positive and the one that is negative. The need is that everyone must know the knowledge and method that forms the basis for good democratic development.

This is the core knowledge of parrhesia.no