Group Sabotage

Sabotage is not just a personal undertaking, but one that can involve a group of folks, like the gathering-of-idiots example in the bit on personal sabotage written previously. And again, like personal sabotage, group sabotage could actually be a guiding light—a wake-up call that the body-whatever is wandering off trail.

In writing this, I’m not attacking our lives or our institutions. I’m wondering how we might utilize the feedback that seems to be running rampant—who among us is satisfied with the way governments work, education, politics, and so on?

Could it be that our exhaustion from trying to navigate bureaucracies is because bureaucracies suck? Could it be that we believe it’s largely a waste of time trying to get our organizations to be much more effective and efficient? So we endure. And we pass along enduing to our progeny. SNAFUs and FUBARs are part of the lexicon in dealing with our institutions as well as a weird kind of acceptance that it’s just the way it is. When that happens, we tend to cease paying much attention, though the effects of our institutions and our inattention continue to clobber us.

Surviving is riding point, not thriving. Our bodies, whether corporal or corporate will indeed go into surviving mode when it has to. The fact that it has to can be informative—assuming we survive. If a scuba-diver nears drowning because they didn’t pay attention to their equipment or the equipment was faulty, breathing becomes the only focus. However, the mess is a bit of feedback about how to thrive.

That’s worked with war, right? How is it that we practice such incredible historical amnesia that we just keep doing the same things while renouncing those kinds of actions. War may be necessary for folks who don’t know how to wage anything else, but therein lies a bit of feedback. How did we sabotage ourselves to get to the point of war? And who cares. New generations don’t have the experience of war their ancestors did. And if we have as part of our institution the necessity of a quest (think conquering evil), we’ve got to have an enemy and that enemy has to be someone besides ourselves.

Huge sabotage, yet one full of information about our psychic machinations. I’m not suggesting we all become history majors, I’m suggesting we pay attention. We’re not working well, we’re not thriving—we’re surviving, but at what expense? Putting a new saddle on a dead horse doesn’t make the ride any better.

Okay, it’s easy to criticize (well, not so easy to criticize constructively)—so what to do? Institutional changes don’t begin with the institution, they begin with individuals. If enough individuals change behaviors, institutions will become different. Whatever group you’re a part of, make it easier for folks to navigate your group. That’s it. If there is no effective, efficient institutional policy, make it easier for others anyway! If you’re tired because of your efforts, remember to rest—remember you don’t have to throw every starfish back into the sea or save every puppy or kitten. But stop resenting and start doing! If it looks like you’re really going to lose your job or your health because you’re making it easier for others to navigate your institution, become part of the underground movement. Sometimes being invisible is a good way to get things done.

Our resentment in dealing with institutions is shouting at us loud and clear. We created and perpetuate our institutions whether consciously or unconsciously. We’re sabotaging ourselves—and I maintain with good cause. We’re not sabotaging the life we want, we’re sabotaging the life we don’t want. That’s a huge distinction. Whenever we are undermining ourselves, we have to ask what we’re afraid of. I say we’re afraid of continuing to ride a dead horse and on some level, we know it.

Well, this is just words on paper, but it is a doing and I’m putting it out there. I’ll fight some more at school, railing against too many committees with too large a membership and too many trying to be the one to pull Excalibur out of the stone proving them to be the anointed one. We’re all anointed, albeit it only shows at different times. I’ll come home and rest, eventually retire, live another life in post-retirement, and then pass away. But I’m not leaving quietly, even if I prefer being semi-invisible. And I’m not holding my way up as the way. Change begins with us and we do it in different ways. This is part of my way. What’s part of yours?

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