A + B = E
Authority + Behaviour = Example
The irony of Stephen Sacker’s genuinely Hard Talk with John Kerry being followed by the scenes of Westminster Parliament with PM Johnson shadow boxing his accusers of lying over last year’s Christmas parties in Downing Street could not have been more vivid evidence of the draining away of authority. While internationally the survival of the planet is commanding the best diplomatic and intellectual brains, the truth of breaking discipline-demanding rules to prevent the spread of a deadly pandemic is tossed onto the rubbish heap of today’s political expedience.
Readers of The Daily Paradox know that we have been saying for several years that Authority is being whittled away. And it’s the Boris Johnson’s of this world who are doing the whittling. And along with truth goes the career of a young woman who laughed at the wrong time, who was trying to be honest and loyal at the same moment. Frankly, my heart goes out to her. She may have been silly, may even, perhaps, not have been quite up to her job. For all that I do not see why she should fry while Johnson gets a suntan.
The planet may well be destroyed by climate disaster but that is not what will destroy the human race. We will be destroyed by lies – are already being destroyed by lies. Lies at every level. When it is not politically feasible to tell the truth, when it takes a television interviewer to nail down the reality of Glasgow, when cleverness is not getting caught and stupidity is basing decisions on fantasies not facts, humanity needs to ask itself “What for?”
What is our purpose here on earth? Theft of the best for ourselves and to hell with the rest? Destruction of a planet of paradise in pursuit of excess? Abandonment of the concept of enough? Ridiculing of the power of example in favour of faster destructive weaponry? For these are the things we are doing, while delegating the Big Choices to the Boris Johnsons’ of this world. Small wonder people of integrity want to avoid high office. The smell at the top of the waste dump is nastier even than at the bottom.
Faith and Law have both tried to make sense of our being. Inevitably both have done so with their own vested interests at heart. Both have done so often with disgraceful misbehaviour, as their purpose changed from one for the benefit of humankind to one of exclusive self-interest. People collectively and en masse become mobs. You might have thought that we had learnt enough about mob rule to exclude it from our pyramids of power. It seems not. And so we build bigger and bigger pyramids until it appears that one man or one woman is running so much that they can be responsible for none of it. That’s when we fire the innocents.
The business of enterprise, of invention, of innovation is a wholesome and decent occupation when done honestly. The business of governance is a gift of self to the people who need a semblance of order and a judgment of behaviour in their daily doings. In a village of 500 people these things are carried out, not without argument, not without disagreement but in the knowledge that at the end of the day all must sit round the fire together and plan their next moves in harmony. Standards are set, judgments are made, punishments are meted out but all in the knowledge that survival for another week is the objective and happiness, the ultimate goal.
Unless humanity can find a way to translate that totally acceptable objective at a bigger scale it will come to an end. Watch the political moves soon to be enacted in your name and mine. They will lead either to a level of destruction so vast that the world as we know it will no longer exist or to a realisation that what I say above is necessary and doable.
If Authority in all its manifestations learns to Behave it will set an Example which will bring to humankind a new lease of life.
Because A + B = E.
What might your contribution be to such a mighty objective?