The 4 Horsemen of Marvel’s Apocalypse captivated me reading about the exploits of the X-Men in the mid 90s. An attempt is made here to understand collusion alongside the characters of the four Horsemen.
secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy in order to deceive others.
“the armed forces were working in collusion with drug traffickers”
conspiracy, connivance, complicity, intrigue, plotting, secret understanding, collaboration, scheming
“there has been collusion between the security forces and paramilitary groups”
The Four Horsemen
War – Conflict, Aggression, Destruction
Pestilence – Disease, Poverty, Bitterness
Famine – Paucity, Lack of growth, Waste
Death – The End?
War, Famine, Pestilence, Death,
The leader – Apocalypse and his battles with the X-Men transported me from the ongoing contests of growing up amongst a landscape that was foreign to me. Recognising that a civil war was being waged and I was an unwilling yet active participant.
Cambridgeshire of the late 80s -brushes with intolerance and parochial identities troubled my big city sensibilities.
I saw the battles of Professor X and the X-Men as great examples of battling their times experiences of misunderstanding, intolerance, bigotry and ignorance against mutants as similar to my own; facing prejudice, stereotyping and poverty.
They battled the forces of perceived evil valiantly wearing their newly designed uniforms and with powers they were born with or had augmented. Either by chance encounters or deliberately designed by other super beings.
I faced my adversarial experiences with nothing more than dreams, humour, art and staying within my very narrow lane.
War the 1st of the Four Horsemen
Not so anymore. The lane has changed to a hyperlinked expessway. I have earned my own superpower. After working at a young people’s cafe as a project manager/youth worker, training as a counsellor, over 10 years being involved with the criminal justice service in London. With insightful observations, purposeful listening and curious person centred questioning, my appreciation of life’s challenges has grown.
I am now able to peer behind the curtain, on a number of levels of human endeavour: including historical legacy and achievement, sociological factors, financial impacts of choice and *philo-psychological matters. Providing a way of perceiving life through lenses that recognise hidden games within games.
One game that I recognise is the act of collusion. We may all have been guilty of agreeing to someone or something that would usually be dismissed or flat out refused.
The art of collusion is that it invites individuals to agree with someone that normally would be told No! Ego strength may be low, energy could be zapped from a long hard day, agreeing could be seen as the quickest way to get the person to shut up and leave you alone. Think of the whiney kid asking for sweets or ice cream or the latest console game for the nth time. We know we shouldn’t but to bring halt to the noise we agree and then offer excuses that soothe the guilty consciousness that kicks in with unhelpful comments.
Pestilence of the Four Horsemen
Collusion usually holds all in a pact like agreement that usually is unbreakable. Until something significant happens. The event usually piques through defences and invites those in the confused circle to question their motives. These motives and the associated guilt that starts to get stirred up can be enough to disturb the pack. When events are undeniable, disastrous and invite others who are not involved to wince and question the sanity of those involved in the collusive acts, a breakthrough may well be achieved. Think of the Stanford Prison Experiment, the Abu Graib Prison exposé, Guantanamo Bay or your favourite celebrity tv show: TOWIE, Love Island, Celebrity big Brother, The Apprentice, the Great British Bake Off… Are we all participants of collusion by watching and switching off the parts of ourselves that thinks and feels? Saying it’s just a TV show, it’s harmless, it’s just entertainment. Note the defence and the denial…
Collusion is a part of our working lives and inserts itself as a part of most companies way of operating. Simply seducing workers to believe that this is a way of getting things done. Think about the last time a person in the organisation was bullied, overstepped, not had their opinions heard or validated by others and a collusive pact formed to not hear any more from that employee. Denying that employee, a colleague, space, time, validity to share their points. Then, that employee labelled a troublemaker, someone not playing ball, a misfit, a person unwilling to play in the game the company has asserted as the right one to be played.
Famine the 3rd Horseman of Apocalypse
The point arrived at is the ‘troublemaker’ has every right to make noise about what they see as wrong or unjust or unethical or not in the best interests of the company or those that the organisation serves. Ultimately a reflective company would attempt to listen to the person with the suggestions/comments and seek to understand what is to be adjusted to make that employee content with the operation, or suggested new ways of doing things.
A collusive pact does not do this. It destroys the persons that are attempting to better the organisation or the way the company does things. Tarnishing the labelled persons and remaining wrong and strong. Throwing shade rather than accepting other ideas or another way of doing things is a cowardly act. Insidious and spite filled. As Luke Roberts once said, if people or a company are unwilling to recognise and respond to changing environments, they are doomed.
The Archangel Death the 4th Horseman
As a mutant team Apocalypse’s collection of War, Pestilence, Famine and Death brought doom. The 4 Horse Men are a perfect depiction of a company’s attempt to avoid recession, regression, conflict and collapse. Mistrust, illness, en masse staff departure and recruitment of new staff members are often a result of a number of factors happening within an organisation. With the domino effect in motion those involved with the collusive pact attempt to fast fix gaps in the provision of services. Leading to new challenges and difficulties for all. Within an ever diminishing circle of cause effect and reaction and not looking beyond the next crises companies can take a while to reverse the rot.
In order to change direction, first one must stop… The challenge for some is when?
A number of media sources that discuss collusion and integrity.
This American Life – Airport
Serial S3 – You in the Red Shirt
Well-being Ivan Robertson Carey Cooper
TED Talks Radio Hour Quiet