Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meetings, Fairytales, Cheerleading and a Total Waste of Time

Have you ever gone to a meeting at work where it was an exercise in self-congratulatory mutual masturbation? Have you ever been to a family gathering where it's an incestuous version of speed dating where people talk about themselves in an effort to convince themselves they have a life? Or have you been in any kind of encounter where only positive thoughts are allowed? No negative waves, because it's more comfortable with our heads in the sand or is it up our asses?

All of this is really group narcissism. It's a tribe trying to reinforce not only why it should exist but why it's better than any other tribe. Think of it as an exercise in group-think conditioning.

You might belong to a family as above where when people gather, the exercise is to talk about oneself and how successful he or she is. Lots of families are like this. Generally though, there's an elephant in the room. May be uncle Ernie is a molester, may be half or more of the family are afflicted with alcoholism, or may be dad likes to smack people around. Doesn't matter. There's a narrative to paste over the dog shit like the vinyl fa├žade of that cheap woodgrain plastic film on a 1972 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate Wagon. The fairytale in this particular case is that we're all successful, therefore we're all alright.

This doesn't end at home though. With the same pooper scooper, we bring the same piece of dog shit from home into work or other organizations like church, synagogue or some other social endeavors like sports (lets not forget political parties too. Let's not leave them out of this fun.). So goes the perpetuation of the fairytale. Lots of fairytales. No one wants to be on the losing team. Come on in for the big win. Got your pom-poms?

This time the elephant isn't in the living room, but in all sorts of places. While uncle Ernie's penchant for little people isn't the problem, other things things can be like nepotism, cronyism, harassment, perfidy, parsimony, back stabbing, and all sorts of cultural penury. Some people like to call this politics. What's the narrative? What's the fairytale? What's the self-talk that no matter what the bullshit, the outside world is faced with a smile of confidence that we are all ok? It takes really strong leadership to keep the dog shit float moving. What most successful leaders have is a good case of narcissism. Even Jesus was a narcissist. Wouldn't you call someone a narcissist if they said they were the son of god? What do Jesus, Obama, Steve Jobs and Reagan have in common (and a bunch of others, go to the link below.)? All have the same basic Myers Briggs personality type, ENFJ. Basically, the charismatic bullshit artist. I am getting away from my narrative here a bit, but you need someone really good with a shovel to keep the dog shit merry go round turning. They turn that white and purple polka dot elephant into a loving little Chihuahua. They may make it disappear altogether.

Of course all of their hard work will go down the tubes if it weren't for the cheerleaders. Another term for them are groupies. Gotta love Steve Deace for that one. The cheerleaders make the fairytales, the narratives possible. Without their hard work and supplicance, none of it would be possible. Remember, every tribe has a leader, and every leader has their henchmen. Just the way it is.

Groupies of course are much more dangerous than any narcissistic leader. These are the same assholes that make everything that is bad happen. Behind every despot is a peon looking for affirmation, approbation and validation. Beware of these creeps, they will ruin your day if not your life.

So where's the poop? There's plenty of poop to go around, as anyone who has lived long enough on this planet can attest, and it's usually handed out in disproportionate servings. Your serving size is inversely proportional to your status. Not only that, but the job of those above you, particularly those in leadership (remember the narcissists), is to ensure that. In fact, repeatability and reliability of business processes are paramount in any successful business and this extends to other enterprises as well, even back to our fictitious family. Reinforcement of the narrative, the fairytale is how the family will ensure if not reflect success. If not that, then at least be in a comfortable state of denial.

Basically, the poop is everywhere you look. We are human and therefore are capable of great scatological enterprises. It almost goes without saying. The biggest mistake is to bring attention to the narrative, the fairytales, the consequences of the tribe. God forbid you not only find the poop, but point it out. The tribe does not suffer well those who fall outside the ring of believers. This is because not only must the stink of the poop not be found, it must be worshipped as well. That's right, worship the poop. Those that create the poop must be continually comfortable in their scatological enterprise. If you do point out the poop, you will be burned at the stake.

So where does this leave us in this particular narrative? Beware of poop, narcissists, groupies, and tribes? Unfortunately, we will always have to beware of these. It's human nature to want to be right, to want to be on the winning team, to want to enforce will. That's not going away anytime soon. What does this mean? One, there's a place where the poop is tolerable for each of us. There's a pile of poop meant just for you. Really. And it won't be so bad. Two, choose your fights well. Getting burned at the stake over something that one,  isn't going to change and two, something that if it did, at what price, isn't worth it. Family, friends and country, in that order. That's what you fall on your sword for. Your family really is the only tribe that matters. Ultimately, work, your favorite sports team and not even a political party matter in the sense of application of tribal bullshit. Does the GOP go to work with me everyday and fix that pile of poop? Do any of the Yankees half to leave work early to pick up my kid from band practice? Will anyone outside of my own family really give a rats ass when I take the dirt nap? No and not really to any of it.

Most shit in life is a total waste of time and fairytales, meetings and cheerleaders are no exception. They serve to enforce the will of the tribe, sometimes through delusion, sometimes through perfidy, sometimes by accident. Most of the time by shear repetition. The object is to see through the dog shit and see it for what it is. It's dog shit. Let the world go its wanton way and do what you can when you should. Don't confuse your loyalties outside your family with family. And to the diversity and why don't we all hold hands and get along crowd, the smallest minority in the universe is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Also, real change doesn't start with the tribe or the village, it always starts with one person who thinks differently. That's what Steve says, anyway.



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