When acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki was asked what ultimately drove him to create his film The Wind Rises, he pointed to a quote by Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the gorgeous Zero fighter planes that were infamous during WWII for their unparalleled killing capabilities. Wracked with guilt from the pain his creations had unleashed on the world, the engineer apparently once made one of the most simple yet poignant statements to ever go unheard by the world at large:
“All I wanted to do was make something beautiful.”
Whether or not Horikoshi fully grasped his complicit nature in the devastation to come remains a point of contention. But we know one thing for sure: The moment he was selected for such an honorable task, a swirl of manipulation and distorted expectations descended upon the young man until, whether by his own design or not, he had become an instrument of war, and his planes the harbingers of terror. This illuminates a sad and universal truth: Along with all of the euphoria, affirmation and self-assuredness that accompanies leadership and prestige, crippling vulnerability and self-doubt are often not far behind. Leaders can be some of the most flawed individuals in this collection of flawed creatures we call human beings, often succumbing to the allure of trivial petulance as easily as anyone else.