Monday, January 16, 2017

The Fine Art of Bullying

Bully.  They have been with us from the beginning of time.  They are like a infestation of which  humanity just won't rid itself.  They are the antagonist in almost every film and show.  Campaigns are waged against the whole concept of bullying.  It infects all institutions.  It is in our entertainment, our governments, our literature , our schools and workplaces, out social circles, and even in our houses of worship.  Bullies have a shrewd way of manipulation and intimidation.  The very best are true artist, veritable svengalis of power and influence.  The best bullies convince you they are not bullies.  They convince if you join them that you too are not really a bully.

I want to distinguish between thugs and bullies.  Thugs love mayhem and violence.  They love to inflict terror.  Fear is their game.  They are mindless bullies.  They own their thuggery with a sense of pride.  Their needs are immediate and quickly sated.  They are the army for the true bullies.  The muscle.  The thug wants you to fear them.  Fear is not enough for the bully, though.  The bully plays a longer game.  The bully wants dominance and unquestioned obedience.  The bully wants surrender of your will to theirs.  The bully doesn't merely want occasionally beat you up,  they either want complete adherence or complete destruction.  The bully will utilize whatever they can get their hands on to enforce their will.  They will usurp authority to get their ends.  They will seize control of service apparati and morph them into bludgeons.

The true bully is all about disinformation.  Deceit is the name of the game.  The true bully believes their own deceit.  The bully grooms by feeding on the need for love and acceptance.  Alas, though, any kindness shown comes with an exacting price: a surrender of free will.  The bully will get you to do what you think is wrong.  He will violate you and make you think you asked for it.  Dirty little secrets and lies keep the bullies victims and associates in line.  The only truth the bully cares about is their own wants and desires.  They are pure selfishness playing a deadly game to manipulate the world completely to their liking. 

The most convincing bullies wrap themselves in a cause.  Causes draw people.  Causes form a common bond that makes the dissemination of propaganda and deceit possible.  The bully stirs emotions.  He or she will use explosive language to whip up the emotions of the followers.  Truth be damned, it is all about exciting people.  The bully finds scapegoats, usually people who disagree with them, to put a focus on whom to intimidate or eradicate.  Any method of achieving this is permissible.  Their army of thugs do the dirty work.  They are the assassins and rioters.  They are also largely disposable, for the true bully sees his or her thugs as disposable tools.

The bully utilizes strength for power and not for service.  This makes sense as the selfish nature of the bully sees all things in service of him or her.  Everything exists for the bully's pleasure.  He sates the thugs by allowing them to participate in this in so far as they don't take anything he wants.  A thug needs to know his limitations. Bullies will destroy thugs on a whim.  The only thing a bully truly creates is other bullies...every action has an opposite and equal reaction.  Debate is little more than an exchange of live ammunition.

A bully will call anyone who disagrees with him and has the power to stand up to him a bully.  The bully can no have no rival.  He will sick his thugs on the rival using any means necessary.  He will paint his opponent as a bully because he believes he is a bully.  Bullies can very adept at identifying every other bully but themselves...they are on the side on the angles in their own minds.  What distinguishes a true leader from a bully is that the leader acts in concern for others and not themselves.

The true leader is selfless.  He or she sees their job as exposing the truth and letting people decide for themselves.  A leader doesn't need to be agreed with immediately.  A true leader doesn't need to call names or destroy those who disagree with him.  No, he understands the truth can defend itself.  The true leader is all about the truth, even when that truth challenges the leader.  The bully demands everyone else change, the leader never puts himself above change.  The true leader is not threatened by being disagreed with nor does he capitulate the truth.  The leader is not concerned first with your loyalty, no, he is concerned with your welfare.  The true leader is patient and  has perseverance. The true leader does not act by force, but by being forthright.    The true leader doesn't need thugs to enforce his reign.

Being a true leader is also an art.  A much harder art than being a bully.  The bully looks to themselves.  A true leader looks beyond themselves.The true leader shows restraint and models disciplined behavior. The true leader doesn't need ideological enemies to make him or her to look good.  The true leader needs truth.  The true leader doesn't want you to be his mindless follower, but wants you to be his friend.  He doesn't want to keep you down, but to lift you up.  Violence is not his tool, truth is.  The bully calls names and publicly humiliates those who disagree with him or her as their default.  A leader might well have to call out outrageous behavior and call something that which it is, he might have flip some tables and fight back evil.  They do so to protect those being harmed.
However, their default is towards exposing the truth and allowing the truth to draw people freely.

When we look at what we write and what we say, humility and brutal truth about ourselves must be the measure by which we judge our actions.  What motivates my words?  Am I offended that someone is not doing what I want?  Am I offended because someone doesn't agree with me?   Is what I say, do, or write motivated to make people believe what I want?  Will I call out people and whip up emotions against people?  Being a leader or a bully can be a very fine line.  We can be for the truth without destroying others.  We can lay out ideals without assigning malevolent motivations upon those who disagree with us.  We can be charitable even in the application of unpopular truths.  We can  refrain from name calling ( the tool exclusively of the bully). Sometimes, though, a brood of vipers is a brood of vipers. We can refrain from whipping up emotions and defining scapegoats.  The leader is the servant of the truth.  The true leader does not see those around to be manipulated but to be cared for.  Which one are you?          

1 comment:

  1. You hit the nail on the head with your description of bullying. I never realized that I was being bullied until Sr Mary Elizabeth pointed it out to me. She insisted that I not tolerate it and stand up for myself. I did just that ( don't argue with my sister), and the turmoil stopped. Many poignant thoughts brought forth on this essay!