Two’s Company…

While I was largely expecting the lead stories of the last few days be about President Trump’s acquittal or even more coronabollocks, the throbbing headline bulging through the copy of most organs centred on another celebrity-out-of-the-closet disclosure. And that’s newsworthy? I’m straining to find a shit to give.

But before the woke and throbbing mass storm the stage to pop the party streamers and initiate a mutual backslapping frenzy to mark their bestowed acceptance, have a thought about a person who had to release a PR statement just to assert his identity.

That’s the society that you sculpted in your own image. So, put the celebrations on ice and resolve to do better because there’s a shed load of upheaval in this case – and in thousands like it – that now needs to be mended.

All the commentary that kicks off though does reflect the responsibilities that the self-obsessed mainstream feels that outsiders have towards them. There’s so much about how they feel about it rather than being focused on the chap and his family. It shows how twisted the world currently is.

One site announced that the chap had ‘announced that he would be gay going forward’. Who penned that piece of toss? It shouldn’t be some sort of HR-inspired corporate restructure missive. But this is how the culture of ‘oneness’ appropriates news that falls out of line as something at variance and re-engineers it to fit into their mainstream party line. Either by warping the perspective from a purely personal story to ME, ME, ME or sanitising it to a statement that you might release if you’d changed your toilet roll supplier.

Move away please, there’s nothing to see here.

Of course, others will seek to punish him by digging up any previous comments or associations that might damage his ‘gay credentials’. Yes, it really is that aberrant out there.

You see, in coming out, the guy has committed cardinal sin number one. He’s stepped away from the crowd. All of a sudden, he’s voluntarily relinquished his membership of ‘us‘ and become one of them. One of you people rather than us people.

And there lies a malaise that stretches way beyond sexuality. In many walks, diversity will be embraced only when some rotund, sweating CEO thinks he can make some money out of it or if someone thinks they’ll be punished for not embracing it.

It’s become a line of strategy, not a step change in attitude. There’s a clue to this in the way that people fall back on legal terminology and a limited set of classifications to define it. They’ll talk about sexuality, gender or ethnicity but happily hurl shade in the direction of a goth. Their interest in diversity reflects their perception of a commodity.

How ironic that our progress can actually be measured in terms of how far we’ve fallen.

In organisations, it ‘s more common than not that the moment you assert your individuality, some sycophantic corporate grunt will be earmarking a seat for you in the departure lounge. Free-thinkers are lauded only when they’re on the outside, but once they have crossed the threshold and are in, they’d better knuckle down and toe the line because the only ideas getting airtime will be those that permeate through the echo-chamber.

If you float a new thought, people feel threatened by it. You’re taking them out of their comfort one and not ‘rowing in the same direction’. Acknowledging that you are gay means that you have access to a world that is alien to others, that they cannot control. In Stepford UK, it is not enough that you are controlled by all the processes and regulations, but you have to be ‘known’. It’s the closest substitute to thought control that the mindless apes can muster. Even if they cannot determine what you are thinking, they can prepare their emotions and how they would deal with you, if you did act. Yes, they really are that insecure. Apart from the lust for filthy lucre, it’s why your data is so revered.

In the sexualities debate, that is really what underpins homophobia. For other agendas, the same mechanisms operate to marginalise and combat anybody who is different.

There’s a shed load of phobia out there and it’s not just about the aversion that manifests itself in terms of hatred. It’s the fear of the other that is unknown and cannot be controlled either externally or internally in knowing the thoughts if the perceived ‘outsider’. Think xenophobia, think any form of hate. It is all fuelled by the same fear.

Throughout our lives, we will go through cycles where we are encouraged to express ourselves and others where we have it relentlessly drummed out of us. But make no mistake, individuality only flies if you have attained enough money or power that you cannot easily be brought to heel.

Hell, I’ve working in organisations where the leadership teams would rather fail by following the obvious bullshit that is generated up through the clique than succeed but have to afford some credit to an ‘outsider’. Although it should be noted that most of them wouldn’t have known innovation if it had picked up the fax machine (that they were still figuring out how to use) and clocked them with it.

Of course, some businesses fear individuality as they do creativity because they need consistency and uniformity to achieve efficiency and quality standards, not to mention their paranoid fear of being sued. It’s all numbers, numbers, numbers, yet they fail to understand that pushing the boundaries and innovating can deliver even better and more sustainable, longer-term successes.

They just have to manage, lead, and not use processes as a poor substitute.

If companies focused more on defining boundaries and providing the freedom to innovate – and as long as everyone continued to review and evaluate progress against overarching goals – it is a balance that would see turbo-charged performance, superlative outcomes and themselves more formidably equipped to meet the challenges of the unknown. Rather than prioritising constraints of specifying what people need to do, tell them just what they can’t do and open up their potential to achieve the rest. Not only does it rocket-propel the present, it future-proofs for what is over the horizon.

So, for every person about to come out of the closet, you have a politician with fresh ideas, a manager who can see the true path to success, and the doctor with a new procedure. And as much as they will all be patted on the back and praised for their courage and ingenuity, the knives will be out.

So, good luck to those who do stand up to be counted. We should all remember that crowds are for spectacles and entertainment, not for sound judgement and effective decision-making.

And certainly not for leading your own life.

Follow them at your peril.


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