My disillusionment comes from the fact that real life is a real pageant. When we were kids, there were distinct things that we know is good or evil. You don’t hurt others deliberately for personal gain. You work in harmony and look after each other. These are the values that I was taught to live by.
I understand now why my mother is the way she is. She built an ideal foundation in which we all thrived, where reality was purely good and there are clear repercussions for deviating away from that which is good. There are standards, and my parents held us to a high level. There are things that matter: work ethic, high grades, great work. They both continue to live these virtues.
I feel like Ryan Gosling’s character in the Ides of March.
As I said, it wasn’t like I didn’t know there was evil in the world. I know there is. I visit the CNN website and I see horrible things happening everywhere, everyday. The realization I have about group dynamics and office politics lately stems from the fact that this nasty game is in close proximity. I enter a vessel everyday that is mired. This situation is not unique to my company, but in fact, it is the system that exists everywhere. When there are humans in a group, this is what happens. The variables (prize, roles, activities involved) just differ by situation.
What is surprising to me is the things that we consider bad behaviors as kids are condoned in the real world. Bad behavior is justified to the point that it is not bad behavior anymore. It is transformed and redefined into good, or that which is prized. No one makes noise about bad activities, because everyone has bought into the idea. Everything accepts it as the reality. In fact, they jump right into it and play in the mud themselves.
I knew politics existed. I knew people talk about other people, gossip about things, create their own realities. I used to think that I wouldn’t get involved. I surrounded myself with great friends who are inherently nice, loyal, smart and positive. What I am learning is that I need to keep an ear to the ground and on the world as large. This game is something that is not beneath me. I need to join the game. This is a really pivotal point.
A keen strategy is needed. This is a complex game with a lot of players and a lot of deceiving elements.
But that doesn’t mean I throw away the values that I hold dear. In fact, I need to cling to them more strongly. In order to keep my true self. In order to protect what is most valuable. That I can only truly, openly give as a gift to those worthy in my personal life. I need a totem, a reminder of what is real.