Cowardice, despite being perhaps the most human characteristic, being unique to our own species, is the one which we detest the most. To underline the point: When was the last time you encountered anyone who freely confessed to being a coward?
Cowardice is a witch’s brew of fear and denial. That part we share with our cousins in the animal kingdom is fear; the denial is unique to our species. It is not difficult to imagine how this sets us up for a kind of vicious circle – the more we detest our cowardice, the more we must escape from it, the more we deny it, the stronger it grows.
In the past, the world was simpler; we were not buffered by technology against the elements. It was far more difficult to hide from our own fear, and fool ourselves into believing ourselves to be elevated beings, immune to the baser impulses. Today, given sufficient sums of money we can completely insulate ourselves from our own cowardice. This then allows it to flourish and grow to proportions that were permitted to but a select few in the past.
Cowardice is the perfect soil for the manipulator to plant their seeds. The more cowardly the individual, the greater their denial, the greater their need to believe they are the polar opposite of what they truly are. This provides the manipulator with the perfect vehicle to perform their magic. They insinuate themselves into the coward’s psyche with flattering words directed towards their specific weakness. They will happily encourage those who are weak to see their fear and cupidity as wisdom and generosity, their selfishness as martyrdom. Like a drug pusher they endeavor to create dependence upon themselves, maintaining this process until their hooks are deeply planted and they can confidently lead their victim by the nose, in any direction that suits their own ends.
The Game has precisely this impact, but on a grand scale. It weakens the moral fiber of the average man. Being tribal animals, our response to adversity is very much dependent upon how we perceive those around us are likely to react. If we’re in a subway full of people and one man wields a knife, if we believe that those around us will take action, the likelihood of us joining the charge is pretty good. However, if we believe the opposite to be the case- that should we act, we’re likely find ourselves alone and unarmed against an aggressor who is angry, desperate, with little to lose, the likelihood that we will take action is next to none.
The combination of the undermining of the individual together with the related cynicism regarding the lack of backbone in those around them creates a one-two combination that sets a downward spiral in motion in society. This kind of society is likely to be compliant, likely to readily accept restrictions to their freedom, likely to happily march in whatever direction the powers would have it march in. Also, it will enthusiastically consume any and all attempts at misdirection concocted to distract the ranks and file from seeing what is really going on.
Ironically, this is, in some sense, an act of kindness on the part of the Players because most of us seem to go to great lengths to avoid seeing that what we do not wish to see –our own weakness, our own complicity, our own cowardice!
Some of us are born heroes. Conversely, some of us are born cowards. But for the vast majority of us, we must struggle with our demons and our weaknesses in order to do the right thing, act nobly, each day.