It seems to me that one of the bigger problems facing us all – and yeah, there’s a lot of them and most of them are nasty buggers – is that when it comes to the people who are supposed to be leading the mess, there’s no “there” there.
It’s a political failing, sure, since so much of the process to get someone into political power is based on image and perception that said process becomes intensely vulnerable to someone who is nothing but image and perception. That said, when it starts to look like empty suits all the way down, things are not looking good.
I don’t know what, if anything, anyone can do about it. Those humongous media conglomerates spend large fortunes to make small ones and to reinforce the whole image uber alles thing – and the movers behind the scenes really don’t want anyone working it out. Not to mention, when you’ve got more than two or three people in one place for any reason, you’re going to get politics.
Worse, the politics actually get nastier when the stakes are small. You ain’t seen vicious until you’ve seen the internal politics of a women’s craft group. There’s a reason those sewing circles are circles – it means nobody has their back to anyone else, because if you turn your back in one of them you’re guaranteed to get at least one pair of finely crafted sewing scissors lodged in there.
Sadly, no amount of determined hermiting can keep me away from the unpleasant realities of politics. It just isn’t possible: politics are built into human nature, since there are always going to be people who prefer to manipulate others rather than do things for themselves, and there are always going to be people who prey on others.
I’d like there to be a simple, easy fix for all of this that doesn’t involve genocide but as far as I can tell as long as there are humans, the flaws of human nature will be with us.
Which is not to say it’s all bad/evil/horrible and we should self-flagellate regularly in penance for being part of such a horrible species. Bugger that for a lark.
Pratchett said it in one of his books (sod if I remember which one). Part of being human is that as well as depths of depravity that would sicken the average demon there are heights of goodness that can outshine the angels. Sometimes in the same individual (actually as often as not in the same individual – just think of who was responsible for the first reasonable laws against cruelty to animals and try not to wince). Or, as Pratchett commented more than once, rising ape meets falling angel.
We’ve got the same physical urges as any other animal, and the same ability to follow them without concern for anything other than our own gratification. But we’ve also got the ability to choose not to let said urges cause harm to others, even when there’s a part of us that really wants to cause harm.
It comes down to who we want to be – the kind of person we want to be. If we want to be what other people think we should be, there’s a good chance we’re going to be empty suits driven by the whims of whatever passes for opinion polls in our circle of acquaintances.
The alternative can get ugly when people are in a lemming mood, but ultimately… well, at least in my view I reckon it’s a good thing to know what things you will (and won’t) accept and hold to the kind of person you believe you should be. Most of the time, it works (as long as the kind of person you believe you should be is not someone that’s going to go out slaughtering people in job lots. That tends to be somewhat counterproductive in the long run and will usually get you put down rather quickly).
(In a case of subject whiplash, today’s picture is the floral arrangement one of my sisters sent for my birthday this week. It’s the umpty umpth anniversary of my 18th birthday)