The Guest, by Albert Camus, is a thought-provoking story that encourages us to think about making wise choices with a free mind. The protagonist, Daru, is an isolated teacher who lives on a plateau, teaching irrelevant French geography to Algerian students in North Africa in the midst of war. One day, he is tasked with delivering a supposed criminal to a police station two hours away. The gendarme forces him to complete this strange task by using the excuse of war.
The gendarme’s mind is a slave to the colonial social system and lacks the ability to question the case and understand its strangeness. When the gendarme leaves, Daru is left alone with the Arab. He is at a crossroads and knows he has nothing to do with delivering an Arab to a police station in a colonized country. However, if he doesn’t, there may be consequences. Daru represents a solution in this absurd world. He leaves the choice to the Arab to run away or deliver himself to the police.
In the business world, many managers act like the gendarme and are slaves to written policies and bureaucracy, only asking their subordinates to follow the rules. However, there are a few managers like Daru who realize the situation and take action accordingly. Even rarer are managers who empower their subordinates to make decisions.
In the story, the Arab appears to make a wise decision by delivering himself to the police, but the reader is left uncertain. To empower people to make wise decisions, they must be educated. In my personal experience working with assistants for 20 years, I motivate them to read, think, study and understand the fundamental concepts of a certain field before empowering them. Knowledge and information free the mind, and with a free mind, one can make wise choices.