I lately overheard a conversation among a number of hedge-discover managers at my neighborhood caf. One particular of them, a young Turk, was creating the case that they did not deserve to be blamed for the present state of the economy. He argued that they had followed the law, taken risks, and been paid higher returns. He contended that there would constantly be winners and losers in life, and invited his fellows to join him in a toast to achievement and to not getting caught out when the walls come tumbling down.
And are these, then, the Players who claim victory in the fantastic Game? Is it they who eventually manage our society in such a way as to fuel their individual income and successes?
As a single looks about the table, they are all uniformly well tailored, effectively coifed, and self happy. Each and every is unashamedly out for number one particular, but collectively they appear to type a sort of tribe. The all share a rigid, boxlike worldview, in which a pie can only be sliced up so thinly, there are only tough facts, you either win or shed, factors are either black or white, grey is for losers and posers.
What these hedge-fund managers represent is the mixture of a linear mindset with a mob mentality and a narcissistic temperament. All 3 qualities, taken in tandem, serve to reinforce each other. Therefore linear considering, which encourages a visualising of the world in terms of its constituent components, rather than as a entire, prepares the way for narcissism. The less beholden we really feel to a community, the easier it is to see items in terms merely of private outlook and individual reward. In living our lives like this we come to assume that every person else is only out for themselves also, a mindset which encourages us to react against them before they have opportunity to react against us. By adding in the tribal dimension – the mob mentality – we tend to act on the collective level, standing up for our personal against any individual and absolutely everyone else. This causes escalation. On prime of this, the tribes in question are created up of narcissists conditioned to stand up for their own interests, so tensions will be higher and perpetually so. People inside the tribes will try either to manipulate one particular an additional for personal achieve or to undermine one particular an additional for worry of competition.
These three elements work together to produce our current worldview. The relative strength in the mix of each a single of the 3 may vary from culture to culture, but the overall impact is often the very same.
Therefore everybody who begins as portion of a tribe has the alternative to select conformity or exclusion. It is fear of exclusion which keeps the tribal community together. And example might be observed anytime 1 member of the tribe commits a morally dubious act to additional the collective interest. In order for it to succeed, the group must put on a united front so that they are all complicit. Must any member refuse to accept complicity they become outcasts, and hence a threat to the group.
This phenomenon identified its expression famously in the conspiracy to murder Julius Caesar. When Caesar fell, his physique bore wounds from the knives of each and every of the conspirators, which means that all were responsible, and none could turn against the other folks. This principle has been applied all through history, and is true of the political arena as of the gladiatorial, as correct in the enterprise globe as in the schoolyard.
The much more influence a tribe member gains, and the closer he is to the centre of the tribe, the less decision he has between complicity and exile. When he has grow to be an insider he knows as well considerably to be permitted to go into exile, for have been he to do so he may possibly discredit the myth upon which the endurance of the tribe depends. The group will not enable this, and provided its collective narcissism, any threat will be dealt with swiftly and summarily. Safety is paramount, and anyone who breaks ranks for their own ends should expect retribution. The kind this takes might differ from 1 society to the subsequent – the punishment met out by the mafia might differ from that named upon by the Church – but the principle is primarily the same.
All this does beg the query, are these manipulators really responsible for preserving the system, or are they too merely items of it? Could it be that they, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, play roles of little significance even though thinking themselves fundamental to the evolution of the drama? So intensely do they get into the myths they have come to peddle that even if the rest of us have been to escape this grand illusion, they will be trapped forever.