THE BLOG

Trust Us: We Are the Organization!

"I won't belong to any organization that would have me as a member."

--Groucho Marx

I guess these days we all try to make sense of the corporate-provided US "news," given the bombardment of "information" that assaults us every second via the media, new and old, both social or -- I guess that's what it was before Facebook and Twitter -- anti/non-social.

Below some pessimistic thoughts about what we see on the Internet/TV/print, in a century that regrettably does little to inspire optimism thus far:

BP's CEO Tony Hayward and the oil spill in the Gulf; General McChrystal and his "team America" in Afghanistan; Crescenzio Sepe, "the archbishop of Naples, ... accused of taking kickbacks when he headed the Propaganda Fide -- that's the body which handles the Vatican's vast property porfolio which funds much of the Catholic Church's missionary work."

All these persons, God bless 'em, are members of vast, insular organizations with their hermetic subdivisions (a corporation and its many layers of "management"; a military within-a-military; a church's propaganda arm) that have their own inner workings, agendas and priorities.

The "small people" -- persons not working for these organizations but under their impact/control -- are all too often seen by these organizations -- and their sublayers -- as "outsiders" (respectively, as consumers, civilians, and captive souls) whose main value to the organization is how they can be used for the greater profit/control/survival of the organization.

I should note, as an aside, that the term "small people," uttered by English-challenged Swedish BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg (was he referring, among others, to the President of the United States?), may have been a reflection of a "humanistic" education on his part: perhaps he was "translating" into the international lingua franca (the language formerly known as English) the term, popolo minuto, "craftsmen and labourers," according to a University of Calgary website, "who were forbidden to organize into guilds. Since, in many communes, guild membership was a prerequisite for political office, the popolo minuto were effectively excluded from involvement in civic government. This discrimination generated much of the civic restlessness that characterized Italian politics in the late Middle Ages and beyond."

But I digress. Back to my main point: An organization, at its worst, uses/abuses the "small people" primarily for the benefit -- financial, political, "spiritual," depending on the nature of organization -- of the various "niches" of the organization, which (unfortunately, but as a rule)despise one another but, when push comes to shove, will stand up for the organization as a whole to protect their own narrow privileges within the organization -- and in the rest of society.

The organizations claim, perhaps rightly at times, that they fulfill our needs. BP justifies its existence to the public by suggesting the "small people" want oil-powered motion (we drill for you, even if we believe, truly believe, in "beyond petroleum"); the US military contends ordinary citizens want protection (we kill for you, but we spare Afghan/Iraqi women and children); the Catholic Church (what would St. Francis of Assisi think of its 21st century incarnation, which fails properly to deal with child abuse by its priests?), says mere mortals want eternal salvation (we illuminate illusions for you, but that's to keep you away from hell).

So the Organization Says We Are Serving You, despite oil spills, disastrous wars, and corruption. Through PR/psyops/"religious" ceremonies ("public diplomacy" as they see it) Organizations proclaim, over, over, and over again, that The Organization Has the Answer.

This is the kind of propaganda which we "small people," perceived as such by the worst of CEOs, generals, and archbishops of this world, so frequently, often blindly, accept (see Jacques Ellul), in order to find emotional comfort in our chaotic age -- an era marked by an explosive mixture of excessive technological "rationality" and sheer societal madness.