Respect

“The 1% of the 1% playing God without permission.”

Somewhere on the way to the season finale, a tragic event occurred which changed everything.

A very popular but very disturbing new series on the USA Network, Mr. Robot, is very topical and quite graphic. Those involved in making the series have made every effort to be as relevant as possible in portraying the world of The Evil Corporation and one man’s effort to “save the world” as a quite mentally ill delusional but highly proficient tech hacker. The stories themselves are quite surreal and we’re never quite sure what’s supposed to be real and what isn’t. Sometimes a production becomes a victim of its own success in unexpected ways.

The day of the scheduled season finale, an horrific event occurred: The fatal shooting of Alison Parker and Adam Ward on camera during a live broadcast:

Virginia TV News Reporter, Cameraman Shot Dead During Live Broadcast
Virginia TV News Reporter, Cameraman Shot Dead During Live Broadcast

Mr. Robot had scenes which were disturbingly similar to the actual shooting. Viewers expecting to see the season finale were greeted at the beginning of the show with a message that the season finale was postponed a week:

Mr. Robot Season Finale Postponed
Mr. Robot Season Finale Postponed

The postponement represented a sensitivity for those affected by the shooting, demonstrating respect for both the public and those intimately connected to the TV station family. This was a rather rare event which can be appreciated by those who have suffered loss. There is little more important than respect within a social context.

In fact, respect is tremendously important for the functioning of a social group. Those who are in positions of power need to have sensitivity and concern for those who have a lesser position within a group so that the social order can have viability. Those who have power and privilege within a hierarchical bureaucracy who do not have respect for those of lower caste in their ranks define a dysfunctional organization: They are the 1% of the 1% playing God without permission. In their hubris, they show contempt for those they consider beneath them, and, often, as collateral damage, those in charge may totally ignore those they consider beneath them. By their attitude of superiority, narcissism and hubris, they become the caretakers of a cult, for, without respect there can be no truly viable group — they create chaos and dissatisfaction, misery and injustice.

An indicator of the kind of respect the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia has for its own membership came to light recently at Otagosh in a blog entry of The Gospel According to Yertile. Neotherm comments:

I enjoyed your anecdote. It is very accurate. The implicit cast system you defined was a little different at AC Big Sandy. It went something like this:

Ordained Administrators
Ordained Faculty Members
Ordained Staff Members
Non-ordained Administrators
Non-ordained Faculty Members
Non-ordained Staff Members
Students
Staff Members and local church members
Feral dogs roaming campus
1-Ws

This can create dillemmas. At one time my boss was a non-ordained administrator. In fact, he was not even member of the WCG. (There was a hiring binge in pursuit of accreditation that resulted in may credentialed non-members showing up on campus.) Once a minister, who had nothing to do with our department, showed up and gave me instructions on what to do about a matter that fell within the purview of our department administrator. As a WCG member, you had to do what the minister required. This meant ignoring the non-ordained administrator who had responsibility for the department and its policies.. Even though AC received accreditation on the strength of its credentialed faculty, it was always clear that the ministry ran the show. My guess is that this “hidden government” was concealed for accrediting committee members. The fact that Don Ward was a cross-over and had a secular degree as well as an AC degree and was a minister probably kept some situations from escalating out of proportion.

I recall in a WCG congregation in the midwest years ago asking an almighty local church elder a question. He gave me an answer and I said that I agreed with what he had said. This was a big, big mistake. In an instant he was toe-to-toe with me and in my face yelling. This was at a crowded Sabbath service. I was taken aback initially but it emerged that he believed that I had no right to agree with him. I was supposed to listen to what he said and then just keep my mouth shut. Like the great Ozymandias, his decrees were above evaluation by lesser beings like myself. If I had disagreed with him, who knows what would have happened.

He later became a GCI pastor and recently retired. He had a serious anger management problem that probably needed professional therapy. But he seemed to prosper in GCI. I always felt sorry for the souls who had to be in his congregation. And I always felt that GCI Church Administration had no idea what was going on in their local congregations. I have other corroborating evidence of this latter statement.

— Neotherm

This is better understood in the light of Failed Experiment.

The Armstrongist churches of God are heavily hierarchical bureaucracies unwittingly modeled on the structure of Fortune 200 corporations where those in the ‘management’ mid level and above deal in abstracts objectifying people as portrayed by “Moral Mazes” by Robert Jackall. They are not churches at all — they are soulless church cult corporate structures of power and privilege devoid of anything that approaches mercy, equity, compassion or respect: They exist solely for the ‘profit’ of the shareholders, which is, generally speaking, the Apostle, Evangelist, Prophet or some sort of General who is all powerful, autonomous and without any accountability within the group. His delusional ideas based loosely on the daft pronouncements of the very wrong-headed Herbert Armstrong become doctrine, administered harshly and narrowly upon the helpless, but liberalized for those within the organization who have status, rank and privilege. They are at the top of their dysfunctional fiefdoms as the 1% of the 1% playing God without permission. All sorts of immoral, unethical and illegal scenarios play themselves out, such as a minister recommending that a man with a disabled son leave his son in a shopping mall so someone could find him and take care of him. We have one of the worst examples of cult gone wrong with Ronald Weinland and the PKG where he respects no one and treats them with utter contempt. The same can be said of David Pack, Roderick Meredith and Gerald Flurry. Those who expect real respect from United or CoGWA need only to bring forth a proposition they don’t like and see what happens.

Respect is essential for a healthy functional social group. It is the cult which is defined by disrespect, neglect and contempt. Those who run a cult need to be warned because you never know when some tech may start working to take you down to “save the world”. At best, you will slowly sink into entropy where you are stagnated without growth because, let’s face it, you just aren’t a healthy place to be. And you never know: People could just become dissatisfied and leave and even if they don’t, there’s not going to be much energy or enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, those who have no respect for those they consider beneath them are not likely to change. Remember though, it is appointed once for all to die. In the end, if you have no respect for others, you will eventually become irrelevant.