“So we’re all to be Racist now are we Father?”
May 05, 2020
Back in the early days of the century, people in Britain may recall Tony Blair’s administration waking us up one morning with the news that Colonel Gadaffi and his state Libya were now our friends; that an accord had been reached by diplomats and diplomacy by which cooperation and mutual benefits between Britain and Libya had been agreed.
No whisper of any astonishing turnaround was vented in the media. I can recall zero adverse crticism of the anouncement and its implications.
Just one or two years previously Libya had been considered by Britain and its allies to be a pariah state; a perpetrator of state terrorism; and the Lockerbie affair was still rankling in many hearts and minds.
Around about this time also the man convicted of that atrocity had been released from jail and allowed home to Libya. He was said to have been released on compassionate humanitarian grounds, and that he had a terminal illness and a short time left to live.
The two events of the new accord and the release of the prisoner were never connected by the media with one another.
The two events passed without much ripple or consternation; the release of the prisoner making some waves, but little at all for the turnaround of policy towards Libya.
My title is a citation of a line spoken in an episode of a comedy series shown on British TV. A priest in a parish on a remote and small island on the coast of rural Ireland had inadvertently made gestures which might easily be interpretable to be offensive to a certain ethinic group. He had done these gestures in front of people belong to such an ethnic group.
Word travels swiftly across the island of the occurrence, and as the priest is leaving his house a local labourer passing by calls out to him, not in a spirit of criticism or of judgement, but with a manner that is seeking for guidance and saying: “So we’re all to be racist now, are we Father?”
That plain uneducated man’s desire for guidance, and his simple trust and uncritical belief in the authority and rightness of The Church, and of what The Church endorses, is the point of the satire of the show’s writers. In this case satire about The Church, not so much about the man’s need for guidance.
The latest debacle has been the social restrictions placed on citizens by government as precautions to prevent the spread of what is commonly called corona virus. Overnight the nation went from the regular day to day modes of commerce and social exchange, to a ‘social distancing’ and ‘stay at home’ sea change in how our lives are lived.
The fact is that our psyches appear to be maleable; to able to be coordinated and directed by those to whom we look for leadership; all the more so because we believe in the general authority of our leaders and that what they propose for us is to be obeyed because in general it is proposed for the sake of our general and collective good.
At the workplace in very similar ways rank and authority are managed and distributed. Normally a person is authorised and authenticated as a boss by her having been chosen at interview by those among whom are to be her peers. The newly promoted person is in near all cases automatically assigned due deferrence and obedience, by that set of others whom she is now to lead, and once she has been installed in her new position.
Rarely if ever are there even a few amongst that set who even inwardly baulk or dissent to the appointment of her to be leader of them. Many, maybe most people are happy not to lead, not to have to decide things; to have another person decide on issues, even on those issues which affect directly the persons being led.
And also there is a complete and finished superstructure of authority, authenicity, hierarchy and their arrangement; all embedded unmoveably into the social world. It is a superstructure which tends to ostracise by automated means persons who are ‘mavericks’ or ‘dissenters’, usually these people are called ‘loners’ but this is simply the case because they have no popular support, if any, of their renegade views and from others . That is to say, the act of ostracism not only ejects them, but also isolates them.
Only by assembling an opposing faction comprised of a body of persons in numbers; in short, only by raising an opposition faction, does any dissenter become able to stay within the circle, and there represent herself and her followers as being an ‘official’ source of criticism of leadership.
However when the distance in thought between a dissenter and a mainstream is too far removed so that many in the mainstream fail to to recognise her views as being valid or as sufficient to be asentted to, the necessary outcome for her is ostrcism and isolation of the dissenter.
The famous case of the late 20th century was perhaps seen in the life of Alexander Solshenitszn; the loner and dissenter who set himself up against the monolithic might of The Soviet State. However Solhenitsyn had external support from other nations opposed to Soviet politics; and this was sufficient to provide an intellelctual haven for him and his thought to be expressed without heavy repressions, suppressions, and punishments being loaded upon him by The Soviets.
Most businesses as administrations do not have ‘oppostion’ elements working within them against their internal politics; their competitors in trade or in function remain discrete political entities themselves; and are without internal influence on the adminstration of rivals. A Solhenitsyn upstart arising within say Virgin Media, or British Airways would be alone and quashed quite soon and without ceremony. Ejected is the word.
The exception to this general rule might be the arising of opposition at the top of an organisation; in which case oustings of sitting presiders by upstarts do occur and are seen fairly frequently. As political coups, as boardroom putsches.
It is perhaps this unwillingness to take on the hassle of leadership, and their choice of obeying leadership being considered a lesser of two evils; which in its placid wise way absents its adherents from the tough and bruising battles of ambition and its fierce rivalries?
A phenomenon which I believe is related to this willingness in people to be led, or rather their unwillingness to lead; concerns the issue of written directions as opposed to directions given by word of mouth.
In my experience, when a paper of instruction is passed around in say a large office, and the instructions are complex and it is important for them to become due practice, there are usually about 4 or 5 persons in every 100 who are of the non-leadership and are looked-to amongst the non-leadership, to be trusted to be able to ‘translate’ this written instruction into speech which reflects its import clearly, and yet is simple or straightforward enough for everyone’s understanding to grasp with confidence.
This phenomenon represents the presence of an ‘unofficial’ leadership in the organsation. One which is not opposed to it but in fact independent of it, and in this instance of use to the official leadership.
The persons who compose this unofficial leadership are likely to be the same persons who notice volte faces such as the Libyan turnaround, and the nub of the humour in the words “So we’re all to be racist now are we Father?”
These ‘unofficial’ persons are also often educated persons, usually happy to remain without the fold of the organsiational hierarchy, and as it were stay safe behind the parapet of regular modest station in life.
They are those most likely to be the persons one could say who take a ‘philosophical’ outlook on the world, in the conversational vernacular sense of that word. Perhaps the proverb ‘Enough is as good as a feast” is sufficiently descriptive of their frame of mind and their views on ambition?
Education at work in them then, in this way allows confidence in their own abilities to ‘interpret the signs’; and often also to scry in general ‘the signs of the times’. ‘Philosophy’ in this sense allows one detatchment to observe, and prevents a person becoming overclouded by ‘interferences’ from the ‘mad mileau’ stirring-up thoughts and feelings generated by those times, and by the peoples of those times. Especially from and by those who lead those times.
All this then is the status quo. How it is.
And our recreations as a people are what they say they are: renewals of our spirits; because to be led or to lead is a drain on one’s spirit. The resigned acceptances of legitemised oppressions – who does not recognise the import of this phrase who has worked as an employee, the more menial the greater impact? The frustration of one’s will having been thwarted and one’s wishes and ambitions defeated or deferred, in the course of the normal cut and thrust of an ambitious ‘going for the top’?
Whether one is led or is leading nonetheless one is led always, irrevocably so, by one’s own hearts’ desires and by one’s own most inward feelings. Recreation then gives each on of us room for these inmost feelings and desires to be aired and vented and given a small scope – ‘getting away from it all’ is in fact going to a place where you’d prefer to be – in the mind – or in the world.
Everybody serves somebody or something then.
Authority and position and status thus are allowed by those who don’t really want the bother of bearing their heavinesses themselves. These hierarchical commanding things are also embedded, just as are the ideas of money and power deeply embedded, within our social psyches, so that they seem to us to be as real as the furniture we are sitting on and the room in which presently we are breathing. Second nature.
The setup of things, of society, is such simply because those who do feel it is worthwhile the hasstle to be rich famous powerful, to lead; have made it so – so that they obeyers obey and that all things conspire against the obeyers, especially when they do an act of rebellion – especially when it is done alone, without acomplices, by no band of comrades.
“Thou hast committed fornication; but that was in another country, and besides the wench is dead”
This saying represents the crazines of the logic behind authority and position in day to day secular life – that is to say - there is no basis for these things in fact. There is no point to which, and especially by persons ‘at the top of the tree’, anybody in authority can or would want to point out saying: “Here, ultimately, is my source for my authority” - unless of course like Lucifer they are pointing at themselves.
At least not in a world, their usual world, which has no cognisance of Jesus Christ: whose load is easy and whose burden light, who is the servant of all, and came to us in humble estate to be King of the Jews in spirit, but diametrically against the expected coming of his people to become the person, the leader who kicks out the mighty Romans from Palestine.
Yet he is and was a leader – and in one of his own paradoxes - he leads us from the front and from behind. He has shown us The Way; in his self-abnegation, humitiy, tenderness; in his suffering; trial as a miscreant; condemnation, executuion, death; and glorious resurrection to life, to bodily life. This is The Way of righteousness by way of the endurance of sufferings imposed by the world upon those whose aim is to hold to it.
He leads from behind also. He offers firm help and guidance, grace and truth, for us who wish to attempt following The Way. The gospels are our training courses and His Presence in them our tutor and preserver and source of encouragement. The Holy Spirit sent by Lord Jesus is available to be our constant companion in our learning about and following Him
Only Jesus is benevolent and authoritative Leader, and at the same time he was Incarnated as Person of no position or social standing, a Person whose Divinity and whose tenderness, and unerring eye for the thing needfully appropriate in any situation; all work together to make him The Only Source of authority and authenticity - anywhere anytime for anything.
When the guys and gals who appeal to their educations to obtain that confidence needed in making their sound interpretation to others of given written sets of instructions; this appeal that they can rely upon is a poor secular shadow of The Appeal available to Jesus as being for us All Authority -All humilty - All compassion – Justice with Mercy. Pantocrator and Shepherd.
Jesus is the guy who leads us but who also really cares about each of us individually as living souls He is The Servant to us Who leads us. Jesus is all paradox; all harmonious paradox.
Put you concerns to The Lord Jesus; ask him for his ‘translation’ of your written matters, his decisions upon your issues for you (i.e. pray to him) and you shall be asured of The Definitive Answers as your reply because they will be Righteous answers - true and faithful and gloriously merciful to everyone concerned.