Sunday, December 6, 2009

Loyaulté me lie

In case you don't speak old French (shame on you), I shall translate the heading (of this article) & motto of Richard III, for you. It says;

"Loyalty binds me"

Along time ago when I was very taken with the third Richard, I thought this was an admirable sentiment.

This morning I had a huge turn about in thinking.

I have struggled enormously over the past couple of months with something I won't go into. It has been one heck of an emotional ride, akin to being dragged repeatedly over very sharp rocks without protective gear. I am tired through & worn out.

However as a sleuth I have not shirked my inquisitorial duties & so have made a study of my feelings along the rocky way. The hardest bit perhaps was not understanding the whys of such intense feelings.

Anyway today I felt like I finally got my hands on the bastard in the driving seat of the jet boat that has pulled me over way too many (g)reefs!

...Oh you are just not going to believe this!! Here am I on starting off on a combined rant & personal exorcism & up pops the most amazing sync - well thank fuck for that, I thought I was going this one alone!

Here you go, this is what happened.

I went looking for a yacht, boat or ship called "Loyalty" to festoon this article with - actually I've been researching ships lately & funnily enough they have been ones pulled across rocks! Anyway I found this (& only this one!) mind you.

It's the HMS Loyalty & I thought I'd just have a wee browse of her history. Wiki had this to say about that;

"Fate: Sunk on 22 August 1944 by U-480" - aha! I thought that would raise a few historical eyebrows!

For those of you without historical eyebrows, let me give you a little clue - that was the date that 'a king called for a horse'.

Wiki tells us that 22nd August, 1485 = "The Battle of Bosworth Field, the death of Richard III and the end of the House of Plantaganet."

...and that my friends rather echoes the conclusion I came to today. That loyalty not only binds us, it can also be the the death of us.

Now I feel I have a certain experience in this matter of loyalty or what I have understood loyalty to be (& this may be the crux of the matter). It is the meaning behind the words that we swallow that seem to dictate just how much nourishment or indigestion, we are to experience.

When I swallowed 'loyalty', I swallowed a covenant. It said that once I had accepted a connection to someone, I was 'bound' to them. This bondage demanded an acceptance of their words. The trouble is that I have been gifted (or often it feels like, cursed,) with an exceptionally clear vision of other's feelings or intentions. What has resulted has been an endless splitting of myself in two - the one who sees versus the one who swallows 'words'.

Now for those of you who readily jump in here with a few words of logic to cure my silly dichotomy, let me make a small BIG statement. Logic IS bollocks. Show me where logic has ever overridden emotion & I will show you a photograph of a large herd of swine reading this article.

Let's continue.

Unbeknownst to me, this idea of loyalty has actually been surfing my semi-consciousness for a wee while now. In the research for the article that I thought I would be writing here, I found myself reading a book on QEII's (the woman, not the ship) 1953-54 world tour of her outer empiric provinces. What this unbelievable book seems to record is a loyalty fishing trip (unfortunately none got away).

The Prime Minister of NZ of the day welcomed the fisher-woman with these words;

"Your Majesty will be left in no doubt of the deep loyalty and affection which the people of New Zealand bear towards you."

...& just in case there are any sniggering Australians in the audience, here is the Queen's parting (italic) words to OZ

"Our thanks go to you all for your welcome, your hospitality and your loyalty." (Good on yer mate :)

Both this & another book in similar vein, enthused endlessley on la reigning reine's loyal subjects.

Warning if nudity or graphic images offend, please scroll past the next part, (really, really fast).

For those of you made of hardier stuff, let's look at some loyal subjects in a variety of revealing poses

Oh sorry were you expecting pictures of nakedness!

I thought we'd undress the words instead;
"Here's a couple of subjects in a fetching black & white noun get-up "early 14c., "person under control or dominion of another,"

Or how about a subjective verb-ish ensemble "late 14c., "to make (a person or nation) subject to another by force," also "to render submissive or dependent"

Doesn't it just make you feel so wanted?

Now how about loyalty (or should we spell it loyal-tie?) - "c.1400, from O.Fr. loyalté (Fr. loyauté), from O.Fr. loial, from L. legalis "legal," from lex (gen. legis "law")... Sense development in English is feudal, via notion of "faithful in carrying out legal obligations."

Perhaps we can rephrase the term loyal subjects into a more telling format - how about "a person/people who have submitted to a law that is not their own & who thereafter remain subjugated by agreeing to swallow what they are told."

It is not for no reason that loyalty has been placed upon a very great & noble pedestal

We may smirk at the strange loyalties of others

and forget to look at just where,

and to who,

we have given our own.

How many people would go to war without the feeling of loyalty to 'their country'? How many people would stay in jobs, homes, families or relationships without that overpowering sense of loyalty?

But what is it?

From where I'm trying to look, it looks for all the world like something inhuman. From over here it looks like one of them Greek gods - all shiny & big & bright with a bloody big stick behind his or her back ready to smote the first subject who shows the slightest sign of reluctance.

I'm wondering if loyalty has a numbing effect on the eyes & ears & hearts of peoplekind. I have found in my own life, a very great difficulty in seeing truthfully, what I have felt 'heartfully' - a definite reluctance to be 'disloyal', to the extent that it has sometimes taken me years to be willing to see what I already knew.

I suggest that loyalty requires possession - at least the type of loyalty of which I'm attempting to speak of. Some kind of ownership -membership is implied. You belong to someone or something. A sale of some kind has been made - "sell O.E. sellan "to give," from P.Gmc. *saljanan (cf. O.N. selja "to hand over, deliver, sell". We have handed over some part of ourselves to a country, a relationship, a family, a career, a society etc.. What's more, we are actively encouraged to do this.

But did you notice what loyal looked like when it was undressed?

"from L. legalis "legal," from lex (gen. legis "law")... Sense development in English is feudal, via notion of "faithful in carrying out legal obligations."

Why is the law & legality lurking behind loyalty? I have seen enough human kindness to know that it occurs in spite of & not because of, all things legal.

Why is loyalty to one's country deemed so important? Why is allegiance to your country's flag so sacred? Why is marriage based on sexual loyalty, while a myriad of mindless cruelties are totally tolerated? Why will people put up with years of abuse rather than speak out about what they have endured? Why do most of the population put up with the increasing restrictions to life without a whimper ? Is it because of loyalty to a world view which they have swallowed?

Is it because we have been numbed through a false ideal called loyalty? Is it because loyalty is more than an ideal? Perhaps it is a cultivated disease of the soul. I say this because there is one thing that I seem to have noticed without fail, when loyalty is part of the equation.

And that is this - where loyalty rears it's possessive head, self caring & nurturing go out the window. Loyalty seems to demand that you give of yourself, ALL of yourself. Truly I find it strange that Jesus had a problem with Peter denying him three times, when in the cause of loyalty I find I can do that to myself within the same number of minutes. And I'm bloody sure I'm not alone.

Have you noticed that the most touted of human greatlinesses always involves us denying ourselves for a greater cause? What if there are no greater causes? If loyalty has to be marketed through stories & hi-stories & moronic moral-ic media-cations, then perhaps it is not a natural human condition.

What if it is, & always has been, a far, far better thing to live & live well, than to die, (or die slowly daily) for someone else's ideals, no matter how 'Nobel' they seem to be?