Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

The Meaning-making of Dag Hammarskjöld

Kristian Stålne

Abstract: Dag Hammarskjöld, United Nations’ second Secretary-General 1954-1961, is getting recent attention for two reasons: he is going to front the new Swedish 1000-kronor note, the highest value; and this September it was 50 years since he was killed in an airplane crash in UN service in Congo. With that event, the most successful career in an international service that a Swede has ever had was terminated prematurely, a service that would set an unmistakable imprint on the UN organization as well as on the world stage of politics. But what made Dag Hammarskjöld such an exceptional leader and how did he view the world and his role in it? He was not only exceptional as a leader and world-centric visionary; he was also a mystic and an aesthetician with a highly analytic mind. What is unique is the fact that large parts of his thinking and personal struggling are available to the world through a dense material of his speeches and personal writings. This has made it possible to analyse the stages of development represented in them. Using ego development theory, described by Jane Loevinger as well as Robert Kegan, I offer the analysis that his writings, including during his most severe personal crisis, indicate he passed through a transition between the individualist and autonomous stages.

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