Monday 20 October 2008

Member Care and Member Tear

Orwell in October--Part 2
We are exactly the people and organisations we have become.

[Animal Farm and 1984] can be read…as a strong preventive medicine against the mentality of servility, and especially against the lethal temptation to exchange freedom for security; a bargain that inevitably ends up with the surrender of both…
Christopher Hitchens, 2003, Introduction.

**Servility is a dysfunctional form of the servanthood extolled in the New Testament.
**Exchanging freedom for security is a dysfunctional form of laying down one’s life extolled in the New Testament.

Both involve the loss of the rights and responsibilities:
to speak and think freely
to tell the truth and to be told the truth
to require accountability and to request change.

Servility and the loss of freedom dehumanise us.
They necessitate self-deception and other-deception.
Organisations/groups tainted with such dysfunctions and which remain unchecked, increasingly become unsafe places to work.
Ultimately, these dysfunctions tear the members apart.
Let's call it Member Tear.
How endemic and/or epidemic is this in the mission/aid sector?
Animal Farm
Note: The context for the next five paraphrased quotes involves naivete, manipulation, and lies:

1. "Loyalty and obedience are more important than bravery."
2. "You have probably only dreamed these things, comrades.
…the animals were content to think that they had made a mistake in their thinking."
3. "I can't believe that this would happen here on our farm. I don't get it. We must be wrong. I am just going to have to work harder to solve this."
4. "The animals were one again bewildered, but with the able convincing of Squeeler they once again believed that it was their own memories that were faulty."
5. "It was easy to prove to the other animals that there was plenty of food, in spite of the actual appearances."
And now the ending of Animal Farm:
"Twelve angry voices were shouting, each of them like the other…pig shouting at man, and man shouting at pig, and pig at man again; but it had already become impossible to tell them apart. "
Reflection and Discussion
**The essence of Member Tear is to distort the truth in a way that hurts others. Comment on this assertion.

**Pigs become humans and humans become pigs. For Orwell, this means that people can and do have the propensity to become evil and exploit others. Comment on why this propensity—Member Tear-- might be hard to understand, accept, and to change.
"[Animal Farm, published in 1946] is an allegory in which animals play the roles of the Bolshevik revolutionaries and overthrow and oust the human owners of a farm, setting it up as a commune in which, at first, all animals are equal. However, class and status disparities soon emerge between the different animal species. The novel describes how a society's ideologies can be manipulated and twisted by those in positions of social and political power, including how a utopian society is made impossible by the corrupting nature of the very power necessary to create it."

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