Mind your own business

Wayne Weedon
Food for Thought

We may not always get what we want, but we usually get what we are asking for. Philosophers, historians, lecturers, and authors have been telling the world about this natural law for thousands of years. Socrates stated that people have been brainwashed into thinking their actions do not dictate their future. Many university students become anguished when, through their studies, they learn that society has been dishonest with them. They come to realise that their actions are speaking much louder than their words. We can plead as much as we want, we can have candlelight vigils, and prayer meetings, but, if our actions are contradictory, we will receive the contradiction. We will reap what we sow.

Bertolt Brecht, William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, and Henrik Ibsen, encouraged their audiences to remove their blinders and look at themselves in a mirror to see exactly what they are asking for. The French Oligarchy were astonished that anyone would want to cut their heads off. They could not understand how, for years, through their actions, they had been provoking the peasants to revolt. Charles Dickens described how, to the privileged society, the revolution, “was as if it were the only harvest ever known under the skies that had not been sown – as if nothing had ever been done, or omitted to be done, that had led to it.” 

American football from the 1920s. Photo courtesy US Library of Congress.

What are we asking for when we participate in “healthy competition”? Many people have been maimed and killed while participating in “healthy competition”? Were their actions asking for their outcome?

The Olympic Games began in Ancient Greece where, because slaves were taking care of business at home, male citizens were able to abandon their families and form all-male misogynist communities in order to promote their biggest industry, the conquest and enslavement of other nations. At puberty, boys joined one of these communities. Every day was spent studying and practising the arts of fighting, conquering, subjugating, and ruling other nations. Greek men held the first Olympic Games where competitions between communities were demonstrations of combat which often ended in death for the losers. Like a real war, females were not allowed anywhere near the games, and, like wild animals, all competitors were stark-naked.

Our modern society continues playing games of war while declaring them to be forms of “healthy competition”. What effect does football and hockey have on our society? Wayne Gretzky is a hero, but heroes are mythological creatures. In real life, for every hero created, we have thousands of sacrificial sheep, most of whom are skimmed off at a very young age. Many of the others linger on the sidelines, wishing and hoping to obtain a few minutes of fame. These foot soldiers sharpen their skills at being protectors, enforcers and goons, and they usually end up in early graves. Myths are created by deceptive promotion, charlatans, and swindlers. Money and power are the usual motives. 

In a type of antinominalism, hockey teaches young boys that nothing is sacred. Hockey creates bullies and teaches our young boys that winning is more important than co-operating and getting along with others. Hockey teaches our boys to handle life’s problems with anger, rage, and retaliation. 

We have created a society of competitors who often believe that the best defence is offense. We see this in politicians, who, rather than doing something about weeds in their own gardens, will run around the world pointing out weeds in other gardens. Why are we going to the Ukraine and to Québec demanding justice when we have wrongs in our own back yard? What if we divorced ourselves from NATO and brought our troops home? Could they not help Canada with monitoring our own borders, helping to police our communities, fighting forest fires, and helping in pandemics? 

Over one-hundred years ago, the learned historian, John Richard Green, detailed how, from the beginning of written history, we have been living in endless war and retaliation. Aggression has been part of our society for so long, it has become ingrained to the point it is now invisible to most of the population. Green advised that we must turn from the adulation of warriors and the bedizened glory of martial strife to the majesty of the common people and to the more glorious victories of peace. Green could clearly see that war mongering and competition breed deep-seated aggressions which build up to explode in harmful ways. Green suggested that we must change our attitudes in order to convert from a society of aggression to a society of friendliness and co-operation. Was he on a more healthy track? That is food for thought. 

• • •

Several of Wayne Douglas Weedon’s novels are available for free download in various formats at https://archive.org. 

• • • 

Wayne Weedon is an Indigenous Manitoba writer of novels and short stories. To sample his wonderful work go to Wattpad.com.