I think that “leaders” have one thing in common – perhaps I mean “bad leaders”, of all ilks… national, commercial, religious, etc… and it is this…
They are adamant !!
I’ve met, and know, several people who, once they state something – let’s call it “a fact”, then that’s it, and they will not waiver from that point. They are absolutely set in stone, that the fact, which they have stated, is incontrovertible.
I find this perpetually astonishing… and it seems to me that in many instances, the “fact” stated, is more of an opinion… or just simply “something I read”, or “something someone once told me”, or something which has melted so deeply into our collective cultural psyche that we take it as read.
I’ve been in plenty of scenarios where the “fact” stated was… in fact… wrong, incorrect and erroneous (yes, I know… don’t you just love tautology when you’re trying to make a point).
Trying to recall a particular instance. There are a lot. However… let’s go with this one.
I’m a horticulturalist, I work with plants… have done for nigh on fifteen years, and before that was a keen amateur. I’ve read a ridiculous number of books about horticulture, and have been practicing the art (there’s a hint there) for a long time.
I believe that I have a natural empathy with plants… I understand them, and they respond to this. I know what they need, and I know what they want, and I care enough to make sure… within the parameters of what I also want… that I give this to them.
So when I was told… adamantly… by someone who is considered a horticulture “expert”, that if two plants “touch each-other” – that they will start to die !!!!!
I thought, as I collected my jaw from the floor…
WHAT ??? Ex-Squeeze me??? Are you talking complete and utter crap or what ???
I didn’t say this. I’m actually quite polite, and although I was thinking, “Oh My Lord, what a load of old bollocks”… I just said, “I don’t think that’s right”.
The “Expert” continued… “Yes (and get this, he actually said this)… it’s a horticultural fact”.
I thought – are you mentally mental ??? I mean for goodness sake… that’s the sort of thing that not even someone who knows almost nothing about plants would say. What I mean is, that a complete rank amateur in horticulture would almost instinctively know that this is complete and utter bullshit.
So I wondered if I had misunderstood what this person… ahem ahem, do excuse me, I mean “expert” had said.
He was blustering at this point. Which is a sure sign that someone knows that they’ve just said something so wrong it defies the laws of wrongevity (made that word up… did you notice?), but is too arrogant to retract.
This is only one example of the Adam Ant Syndrome – as I have come to dub it in my own head.
It happens all the time, and each time it has me flummoxed. My polite Ness says out loud “Hmmm… what a very interesting point of view you have, let me be sure to mull this over when time and circumstance allow”.
My proper brain is going… “Oh fuck, how can you stand there looking all defiant, almost challenging me to contradict you… and being so smug and adamant when you’ve just said the stupidest fucking thing in the world ever, and moreover – you know it”.
What then happens, because people who know better often also have better manners… I will simply cave, because it just isn’t worth the effort being that rude to someone who is that stupid and that adamant !!
I guess it’s when adamancy turns to fundamentalism that the real problems begin.
It’s when a religious, political or business “leader” states something which many of the smarter people in the world realise is total nonsense, or is simply a misguided matter of belief, or opinion posing as absolute undeniable fact… that’s where it becomes important to stand them down.
I have to say also that I don’t equate adamancy with strength… all too often it brings power… of some sort, to it’s espouser, but certainly not genuine strength… in fact it is emblematic of a lack thereof.
To not allow flexibility in ones thought and utterances, and to not – when questioned – be able to consider the possibility that one might be wrong, incorrect, or erroneous (!) is a manifestation of a kind of weakness.
Oh, and one other thing… just because someone says something louder, more often, and with a more adamantine quality… that does not make it correct…
Question it… question it all… keep questioning it all, always.
Rooshkie… still asking the questions… x.