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Barataria: Lasting Wisdom for Leaders via Don Quixote

The Man from La Mancha is an endearing classic. One that brings to mind valor, honesty and bravery with a little craziness thrown in for good measure.

As a fiction writer, I enjoy exploring new places – both real and imaginary. I came across the Island of Barataria, a fictional island somewhere in La Mancha, Spain. This island’s guidelines for governing struck a deep chord in me. If we all governed according to these ideas, what a wonderful world we could have! Enjoy the jaunt into Barataria.

(SOURCE: The Dictionary of Imaginary Places by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi)

Golden Fog“BARATARIA, an island somewhere in La Mancha, Spain, in a place whose name does not wish to be remembered, the only island in the world surrounded by land instead of sea.

Barataria is famous for having been governed for a week with honourable rectitude by Sancho Panza, who accompanied the ingenious knight Don Quixote throughout his travels. Sancho Panza abandoned his governorship rather abruptly, after having repelled a fearful enemy invasion, armed only with two wooden tables tied to his waist. (His comments on the island’s cuisine were rather unfavourable—he compared it to a prison diet in times of want.)


Should a traveler visiting Barataria be invited to govern the island, it will be useful to bear in mind some of the advice Don Quixote gave Sancho Panza:


First fear God: for the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and a wise man cannot err.

A man should consider what he has been and endeavor to know himself, the most difficult knowledge to acquire.

A man should not be governed by the law of his own whim.

A man should let the tears of the poor find more compassion, but not more justice, than the representations of the rich.

If the scales of justice be at any time not evenly balanced, let it be by the weight of mercy and not by that of a gift.

It is said that if a governor follows these rules, his days will be long, his fame eternal, his recompense full and his happiness unspeakable. (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de La Mancha, Madrid, 1605-15)”

Until Next Time,

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