Sunday, August 2, 2009
Who Da Man?
My good friend Staylo (http://anomalogue.com/blog & http://syneticbrand.com/) sent me the following fable:
The captain of a lost ship reasoned thusly:
“If I were at my destination I would no longer be lost. What separates me from my destination is distance. Distance is traversed through the rowing of my oarsman.
“If it is untraversed distance keeping me from my destination and the responsibility for traversing distance belongs to the oarsmen, it is obvious that my oarmen are to blame for our being lost!”
So the captain ordered his navigator and all his officers to report immediately to the galley. He called the oarsmen before them, rebuked them and had them flogged. Then every man, officer and crew alike, grabbed an oar, and together they sat straining in the dark, rowing and rowing and rowing and rowing across the distance.
After some discussion, I sent him the quote below:
"It is the greatest houses and the tallest trees that gods bring low with bolts of thunder. For the Gods love to thwart whatever is greater than the rest. They do not suffer pride in anyone but themselves"
I'm not sure if Herotodus knew of "The Man" but it sure sounds like it to me.
I see the main idea is to relate the "Gods" to "men in power", e.g., The Man. One of the main signatures of The Man is to crush the bright lights of those whom they can in order to illustrate what "power" is to them (not intelligence, merit or any other aspect worthless to them). The Man seeks to reward those he can control and dominate and will be forever limited in this fashion because he is mortally afraid of being seen as "less than" the ones he is accompanied by.
Staylo more so thought the quote was about hubris and pride in men and spoke about the tower of Babyl. I can see his point, but I like to think my interpretation is more the intended one.... Or maybe I'm just obsessed with the concept of the man...
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell posits that people who let their outlook be impacted by a sense that those in power (e.g., the Man) can crush them curtail their likelihood of achieving success and leading an impactful life.
Herein lies the safe zone...
1) Acknowledge that The Man exists and navigate accordingly
2) Acknowledge that The Man only has power over what you grant him and act accordingly.
1) Denial of the Man - Garbage
2) Fear of the Man - Garbage
3) Fight the Power (intelligently) - Like it
PS - Big props to my man Brant Barton for one of my favorite Halloween costumes ever. He showed up in a 3 piece pinstripe suit with vampire fangs - i.e., The Man!
Well, it's 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.