What Does Intrigue Solve?

The answer can be found HERE.

Now imagine that you have a problem and that problem is me. You could discuss endlessly what do about me or with me. You would be doing this behind my back. That would be akin to conspiracy and plotting. It may never occur to you that in having secret conversations about me, you would be indulging in intrigue. You could declare me “Fair Game”. But would that actually solve anything?

Assuming this was not to your taste, what would you do next?

You could hire a hit man, find a way to sue me, or attempt to reconcile the situation somehow. But how would you step out of intrigue and into some kind of inclusive dialogue? You could pretend that you had not been having conspiring dialogues about what to do with me, how to handle “the situation”. However, I would not be convinced. Where do you think things might go?

Intrigue rarely solves anything and the only thing it creates is more intrigue. There is an endless cycling of it, ad infinitum.

Having cued this up:

What do you think, can intrigue solve problems?

If so, in what ways?

Does intrigue, as I have suggested, merely generate yet more intrigue?

How does intrigue flavour the world, what does it taste like?

An angle, a pretext

If you are a keen watcher of espionage films, as I am, you might note a recurring theme. This is that when people want to do something “dodgy” they try to create an angle, a pretext, a cover story. This enables them an entrance, a semi-plausible way in; an excuse, a rationalisation. They may spend ages trying to manufacture one of these. And we might do this for a crush we have. Somehow, we engineer a “chance” meeting in the corridor. Quite why people feel the need to go to such lengths is strange, but I guess we have all done something similar, to a greater or lesser extent. The thing is that these angles, these pretexts are subject to things going wrong and the basic motive is one of deceit.

Now most of us are not taking part in a le Carré novel in our daily lives, yet we do engage in this kind of intrigue. Maybe by playing games we keep hold of our “power”. I don’t know. But that tendency to manufacture rather than being straightforward is not uncommon. In so doing we set a tone. Of course, this could be part of the fun and games of courtship, with some frisson. But game playing is game playing, and it can go wrong. Too much game playing, and we feel unable to say what it is we feel for fear of handing over “the advantage”. We may miss, by our games, that which we want or need.

We are such a clever bunch, but that is not always wise. Being so caught up in this, what we fear most is being authentic and real.  Always trying to be foxy and cunning, we may fail in our covert missions. To think and behave like the SAS behind enemy lines, in our day to day interactions, does not breed goodwill. There is an unusual tactic that may work, and that is simply saying what you want or need and asking the other person what it is they are thinking. Call me a revolutionary if you want, but maybe you might need an angle or a pretext before you could broach the subject.

Do you get my drift here?

The more “sophisticated” you are the more you will search for an angle or a pretext so that you might have plausible deniability. The sand runs fast in the hourglass. Why is this plausible deniability so important? Well it is simple, we would not want to lose face or “power”.

And so, situations go foul because of this need for an angle, a pretext.

This fear of being vulnerable wounds us more than vulnerability itself ever can. Humans are fond of self-harm. And so, time after time, we seek an angle, a pretext, a cover story.

It is a bit sad.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever lost out by seeking an angle, a pretext?

If I had been simple and straightforward, might things have worked out differently?

Is it possible that I am a slow learner?

Leaving the Shadows

If you want to be free, then you will have to leave the shadows, simple as.

Whilst one lurks in the shadows, one is tempted by the doings of shadow-world. These have to them more than a hint of sulphur. And should you have a propensity for it, the sulphur seeps and permeates, one gets nose-blind. In order to leave the shadows one needs to let go of intrigue, of spying, of plotting and related shenanigans. Best to be simple and not complex. There is for most a big fear of leaving the cosy darkness of the cloying shadows, what if people do not like me without my cloak?

The shadows offer a certain glamour and attraction. I am not sure which country made the first spy movie, but the English have something of a track record in this area. That duplicity seems to resonate. And it was through the “diplomatic” skill of divide and rule that the empire was gained. It runs deep in the blood and in the traditions. We use 007 to sell Britannia. Aston Martin’s aside, there is a shadow side to having a national hero who is a randy murdering espionage agent. But it speaks of a love of intrigue that goes deep. The UK is not alone in this…

The only way out of the shadows is to start being more WYSIWYG and less duplicitous, not an easy thing to do but well worth the effort. The less you are entangled the freer you become. You may have to sacrifice power and position, but it is whole lot less tense. In not playing eternal politics, you can chill and enjoy the world around you. Your paranoia levels start to subside. Slowly a new lightness of being is found.

This lightness of being cannot be found in the shadows, lurking and sneaking. The reason is simple, it isn’t there.

 ————

The Shadows

The Shadows are a fictional alien species in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Their homeworld is Z’ha’dum, although whether it is the world they originated from is uncertain, and they were the second race among the First Ones to be discovered and nurtured by Lorien, the “First One”. In contrast to the Vorlons, whose philosophy is represented by the question “Who are you?”, that of the Shadows is represented by the question “What do you want?”, centering towards desire rather than identity.

Year 2259

In 2259, there were increasing reports of a black, spidery ship being encountered in hyperspace, which instilled a dark fear in all who looked upon it. Meanwhile, Narn ambassador G’Kar realized that these ships were those described in the ancient writings of the Narn philosopher G’Quan, which told of a great enemy that rose to power a thousand years in the past. Known as the Shadows, they spread from their homeworld Z’ha’dum to rival the stars themselves:

“And the Spirit of Darkness moved upon the land. It screamed in the dreams of the Mindwalkers; and they fell, destroyed by it to their children and their children’s children. Then did the Darkness come to Narn until it was driven out by G’Quan and the last of the surviving Mindwalkers.”

The text is accompanied by pictures of the black ship, and ends on a chilling note:

“There is a darkness greater than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this foe we can never surrender.”

 

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