This is the fifth in a series relating to Corruption within the King Country local politics, in which I have pinged two leaders within the Ruapehu District Council, the Mayor and the CEO, claiming (indeed actually showing) that their conduct is unethical – both towards me and professionally on behalf of the community they represent. In this post I detail the basis for natural ethics and explain the solution to that nasty little thing called human “pride”. Enjoy.
In a previous post I explained that human “pride” was the root cause of the woes that mankind brings upon himself. Male, female; young, old; yesterday, tomorrow . . . the ubiquitous ‘gunk’ of pride messes with good, which, theoretically, is the natural way.
If pride is the problem then logically humility is the solution, so let’s apply this into first a hypothetical, then into an actual social interaction.
Humility, the Solution
In a relationship when things go wrong, counsellors will often suggest that the word, “Sorry!” is the key to restoring intimacy. The reason that this is so effective is that it represents a reduction in ego, which is normally the cause of conflict.
In a local body or political situation this is the same. Should a mayor who is threatened by an obnoxious blogger “come down” and use that little phrase “Sorry” it depowers the perceived aggression and enables constructive conversation. If, and this is only if, there is goodwill then good things can result – the dodgy Lotto application RDC put out could potentially be tweaked or withdrawn (if the matter was serious enough) and the council could be seen to have strong ethics. Hell’s teeth, I’d love to see a million bucks come into the town, but I wouldn’t touch a bar of it if it was obtained under false pretenses. In a criminal setting this is called “Receiving” and it’s a crime. Don’t think that it’s moral just because it’s the council who does it either! Nope. Morality doesn’t bend for power according to the Master.
This then is the key to any human engagement – reduction of pride is commensurate with the increase in humility. Someone ‘up himself’ deceives himself first (pride makes him think he’s better or more powerful or more righteous because he has that power) then he attempts to deceive others (to gain or to retain that which he seeks – glory, power, whatever). Someone willing to apologise, humble themselves and serve others can (again IF there is goodwill) achieve more by lifting their adversary than by taking them down.
This concept of consciously putting ourselves down is foreign to the modern mindset, but I alluded to it as normal within society a few generations ago – we chose back then to serve, consciously, and this built trust in our troops, or our children, wife, employees or neighbours. Don’t think though that this is easy or natural. Sometimes it is damned hard work to give, especially in a global environment of greed, and worship of self or if we have been hurt.
The Christian World-view
The Christian message is that the Master set the example for us, and that we have the perfect model from which to base our conduct. I do not see the modern Christian conduct aligned closely with the Master’s in the slightest and most nominal and many in-your-face Christians deserve the contempt they get, but the principles (ethics) upon which Jesus built His life of example, and His teaching is universal and to my take, valid & true.
Put in the vernacular, most of don’t have a problem with Jesus, or His teachings but we do have with religion and “the church” – most of us are not stupid.
When RDC misrepresents the facts in an formal application this is a breach of the core ethical principles that have been accepted for eons. Lying is wrong, period. Doing so is a form of theft – we are attempting to gain ahead of others on the basis of a fraud. Sure most too will do the same with their applications (hiking the perceived value of a project and then getting the donor to pay for it all wasn’t invented in 2019 by one crooked CEO, I can tell you!) but injustice can be caused at a corporate or local body level just as much as in a classroom, home or workplace.
I wish to share the consequences now of an application of this principle of the RDC consciously choosing to do the right thing – of bringing humility into an environment where politics is the norm. Rather than hammering away at the same old topic of the Lotto application I will take a different contentious local topic which the RDC is currently struggling with – the Taumarunui War Memorial Hall.
Taumarunui Memorial Hall
Last week in the local rag an Owhango gal, Clare Grattan wrote a letter to the editor seeking support for the council’s continued investment into this public facility. She claims that the hall has excellent acoustics, that its facilities are sound and that it is a valuable commodity and should not be demolished. On the surface, I concur.
Apparently it was a valuable item at the time it was built too, funded by the community at great effort and done in the name of 170 locals (boys I presume) who lost their lives in the Second World War – hence the name “War Memorial” Hall. I don’t share the same sentiments over memorials as many because I think TPTB manipulated generations back then and today into warfare with deception, but I do respect others’ right to honour their fallen.
In fact the hall from what I can gather has been pretty much a white elephant as the years have gone by. I’ve seen it used for one Maori wedding. I’ve seen the Police conducting their training in it but it sits unused most of the time. Apparently the council has something up its sleeve that can justify its demolition and if it hasn’t been condemned it likely will be. I know how councils work – if they want it gone they’ll get a report that condemns it, then bingo – they have the ‘excuse’ to get rid of it.
Now the way that pride interferes is that it prevents the little people from knowing what the ‘big’ people know. Big people do not want the little people to know the real score. Their fear is that if they let people know the real score, then there could be a loss to their power, and this can often mean money although it is just as often ego. It is though almost always related to power.
When or if the mayor (or his sidekick CEO) humbles themselves and coughs up a report that says the roof and gable ends have asbestos but the rest of the building is asbestos free, then he can open the challenge up to ideas for its use, the supporters of the hall to get into it and actually do something constructive with it and for the town.
Can you see the small glimmer of hope here? I’m not saying that anything like this is easy, nor automated for success, nor that the hall SHOULD be saved, I’m just saying that the introduction of humility into a tense situation brings about the possibility of hope.
It is essential in a conflict situation to bring humility, for it is always pride that causes us to fall – always.
The ‘Joys’ of Conflict
Now, that said, I deal with conflict professionally all the time. I create conflict and use conflict consciously for commercial purposes. I try to do this ethically and warn others of what I am doing and why beforehand and let them cause their own problems and this is largely very successful.
When I assist others in a conflict situation I can also deliberately escalate matters as a conscious technique to polarise, to define the issues, to shock others out of (or as often as not into) illegal behaviour, to increase the odds of resolution with pressure and then in the event that a matter does escalate to litigation or a court situation, it potentially increases the financial return to my clients – as long as I’ve done my homework and . . . please listen here to this please . . . I choose to be humble.
We’re involved in a conflict here in Taumarunui with the local Museum Trust and the same thing applies. If it goes to court the trustees who breached trust will all be personally liable which, if our case has legs and gains the nod from a judge, has the potential to return our trust substantially more than otherwise, especially if malice can be proven as well. This is not macabre clinical coldness, BTW, this is just simply standing up for justice for an old man who clearly didn’t deserve what he was dished up by people in power who made some big bad decisions.
When it’s all about me, I lose, even though I think I’m the bigshot. When I park my ego, I can achieve miracles. When people who are hurting want something from me and I reach out to help them, it is SO EASY to put them down. That’s the worst thing I can do. When I say, “OK let’s do this!” and those clients or friends know that they have a friend at their side then the world is their oyster.
Humility is NOT the same as giving in. Humility is the key though to achieving what is ours/yours by right. There is a misconception that Christians should be meek and just soak it all up. Tell that to Christ as He whipped the *rse of the money-lenders that prevented the little people coming into the courts of the Temple that He especially structured – just for them.
OMG, if you could have seen the fire in His eyes way back then, or the venom that He spat at those who dared to harm the little ones He treasured so much, or the gross contempt He had for the arrogant who ignored the needy . . .
Humility is the antidote to pride. Saying sorry is the most commonly used technique to achieve that practically, certainly in the Western world. Polynesian and other ethnic cultures do this in a different way. It does NOT mean that we give up what is ours by natural right but it does open the doors to conflict resolution and the development of constructive human endeavour. Humilty BTW is also a command, not a feeling, thus it requires obedience which is a conscious choice of the will.
Am I talking to those imaginary pigs flying past my window, or do I have your attention?
Thanks for swinging by and I trust that you’ve either learned something or enjoyed the read. In the next post in this series I explain the human consequences of corruption like I have shown, trying not to get the violins too would up!
King Country Corruption Series
- King Country Corruption 1. TMT Scandal Deepens
- King Country Corruption 2. A Flawed Lotto Application
- King Country Corruption 3. Report on Flawed RDC Lotto Application
- King Country Corruption 4. Behind The Scenes
- King Country Corruption 5. The Solution
- King Country Corruption 6. The Consequences
- King Country Corruption 7. Suing Taumarunui Museum Trust