Does Intrigue Liberate?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sadly, many workplaces are hotbeds of politics, gossip and intrigue. It seems to be a part of “normal” everyday life. And to some extent or other we all engage in it. We want to know who are the “movers and shakers”, who is shagging who and who has made an arse of themselves at the Christmas do. Rumours get spread, people get spied upon and each tit-bit is assessed for the amount of potential leverage it may confer. And now we have electronic intrigue in which snippets are available on this lovely thing called the internet. We can monitor people we know, our exes, people we hold a grudge against, and that monitoring can quite quickly turn over into an obsessive stalking. I’ll make a statement here:

When we gather together to gossip about another being, that is bullying.

Of course, the degree of bullying depends upon motives. As a rule of thumb, the more secretive we are about something the dodgier the motive. We know when we are being “naughty” and are up to no good. We may say a whole bunch of shit about someone behind their back which we would never say to their face. This is duplicity. It is also intrigue. Now it doesn’t take a genius to work out that what is done under cover, in the shadows, is not light. It is pretty fucking simple, anything done in the darkness is a dark thing. Yet we all stray into this darkness and justify it to ourselves, maybe because there is some weird salacious pleasure in it.

It the darkness shadows grow.

This word secret is a big turn on for many. Victoria knew this when she made a lingerie line. Secrets entice and arouse, they draw people into the forbidden fruit. Some drool about secrets and secret knowledge, whether that be carnal or otherwise. How fascinated we are by secrets may vary, but words like cunning, although glamorous, are not uplifting. Look around you, who do you know is secretive, furtive and paranoid about having their secrets revealed. Maybe one of your male colleagues is wearing some of Victoria’s produce under his suit? We all have some secrets. But how many secrets we have relates to our degree of openness. Some have entire Swiss-bank-vaults-full-of-secrets. They are perennially afraid of being found out, ergo paranoid. To have secrets is to live in fear.

Duplicity and spying is a national fascination in the UK. Why else would we have James Bond as a kind of national hero? And now we have the putative poisoning of a former agent hitting the headlines. If you play intrigue games, you are going to get intrigue results.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

To set up a hypothetical example. In writing a blog, I have become “fair game”. Anyone can in principle read this blog, monitor it and otherwise stalk me, should they so wish. Only they would know their motives for so doing. Some sane people read this blog and act as grown-ups, in that from time to time they may “like” a post or follow me. This is harmless. And I do have a quick look at the blog of everyone who leaves a calling card, so to speak. There is no intrigue, people read some stuff, and should the whim take them, they press a button, simple. Others however may be visiting the blog for motives far less benign and for reasons of intrigue which may then give rise to gossip. There is very simple problem. On the off chance that they may wish to interact with me, how are they going to broach the subject of their intrigue? What might my response be? Will I be flattered? But when the immediacy of intrigue calls longer term thinking never enters in.

That is the problem with intrigue. It can become default behaviour. And if we visit intrigue upon others then by the law of reciprocity, a.k.a. Karma, so shall it be visited upon us.

One can make a case for state intrigue but as individuals we are not state. The only thing we can control is our own behaviours and orientations. We can choose not to play that game. And the more of us who do this, the less intrigue there will be. We can say; “no not me, I am not going to do that dodgy shit! I am not a perv.. I am not a salacious voyeur.”

It is up to each of us as to how we wish to live our lives.

So, I ask this question again:

Does intrigue ever bring liberation for us an individual cognate being?

If we stopped might we feel a whole lot better about ourselves?

Making Shit Up 2


Alone until she dies, Bessie Bighead, hired help, born in
the workhouse, smelling of the cowshed, snores bass and
gruff on a couch of straw in a loft in Salt Lake Farm and
picks a posy of daisies in Sunday Meadow to put on the grave
of Gomer Owen who kissed her once by the pig-sty when she
wasn’t looking and never kissed her again although she was
looking all the time.

Dylan Thomas “Under Milk Wood”


Gossip can be a killer, it can ruin careers and wreck livelihoods, but people persist, and they persist. And they trust and believe. Writing yesterday about the stories I have heard bout myself, I was reminded of a conversation I had at a party, with a man younger than me, he started out praising me for all the women I was supposed to have shagged. Somewhat surprised I encouraged him to list. His list was very extensive, and it had many names on it, which I had most definitely not. It was mostly wrong. What does one do? If you deny it, it isn’t believed; if you ignore it is seen as a verification.

Nobody else really knows what goes on between two people. And the reporting of the events may vary. If a woman makes herself available and you don’t take them up on their offer it can go badly, and some people will make false claims. They may want to be associated with you or they may not. Some women do make notch on the bed post claims. And once you have something of a reputation, either as a man or a woman, it tends to get overblown. I know that, over the years, I have had many more “offers” than I have taken. A woman spurned etc. The whole area is a bit of a minefield. Many carry agendas, sometimes these are vindictive.

Once a rumour or rumours get started, the snowball effect takes hold. The rumours grow and get larger, they are impossible to stop particularly when you are absent. A while back I had an interest in collective nouns. What is the collective noun for a group of academics? A gossip of academics. This collective noun applies to pretty much any group of people; we could have a gossip of bankers, a gossip of models.

Yah this gossip shit…it can ruin.

Intrigue or Freedom?

Humans have more than a little fascination with intrigue, they find it intriguing. It is based in the complex socio-political and ambition driven hunt for temporal power, and it is related to hierarchical positional advancement. These form the basis for the plots of many a thriller, drama or even science fiction story. There always, it seems, has to be some intrigue. Without intrigue there would be no soap operas and it is intrigue that provides the gossip which enables people to sell newspapers. If you have a fondness for intrigue, you can see it on all sides, even when it isn’t there. If you play with a straight bat so to speak, it isn’t seen like that. {There is a marked tendency for selective perception} This desire to / for gossip is planetary and many like to know who is knobbing who, who are the shakers and movers, who is going up, who is going down and who wins the prizes. Some enjoy political drama, like the House of Cards.

Does intrigue ever bring freedom for those so engaged?

The thing about intrigue is that it can be very time consuming and can divert away from the business of liberation from self. It is a temptation, a glamour and a distraction. Intrigue and gossip are doings or habits which many have. And in some organisations, one has to watch one’s back because all kind of shenanigans are at work and in play. One could say that these socio-political games underpin modern society, it goes a whole lot further back than that. The drivers are power, money and position, which in turn can offer “privileges”.

Do these sound like liberation or freedom to you?

One makes a decision to hunt these or to hunt freedom. It seems that whenever you get even a few people together these power games start. Even in “ethical” organisations like churches or charities, there is always some kind of power dynamic. It can lead to petty tyranny or large-scale tyranny.  I don’t know if, at the current time, it is possible to have an organisation without some intrigue. I suspect not.

Intrigue is based at the level of the personality and not the soul. It is temporal in orientation and impermanent. One could say that it is often Ego driven, but there are other motives too. One cannot stop gossip and intrigue from happening. The less you engage in socio-political game playing the more likely it is that you will become the subject of gossip and intrigue. People like to make shit up and if there is no socio-political threat from you, they are more at ease doing this. If you don’t play “the game”, you can almost guarantee that people will gossip about you. In extremis not playing the game can get you crucified or burned at the stake and not simply in a metaphorical sense.

Can any freedom be found in listening to and/or propagating gossip?

For gossip is one of the major pillars of intrigue, it can be the “fact” base relied upon by the purveyors of intrigue. The tales around the campfire, the jungle drums, Chinese whispers and the grapevine are all known to be very reliable sources of information and truth, after all. In the cold war we had propaganda and now we have so called fake news. What is a being to do? Well we can but examine and act upon our own love of intrigue and gossip. For whilst there is a market there will always be a supply. A demand will be met by a purveyor. Where there is no demand, there is no supply.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi