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Monday 12 March 2012

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor's New Clothes obviously made a big impact on me as a child and, looking back, I can see this is where my slight mistrust of those in authority may have come from.

I was never a prefect.  In fact, my mother used to offer up a silent prayer every time I made it through another term at school without being kicked out.  I did not make my life at school easy because I questioned, somewhat doggedly I fear, authoritarian pronouncements that didn't make sense.  Rules such as your skirt had to be X inches long.  When you hit 6 foot at 13 and the rest of your peers are hovering around the 5ft 4 mark, it is only natural that your skirt is going to appear shorter than the regulation length.  Being questioned and prodded about it (and even having it measured once) was really annoying.  Really annoying.

I have carried this questioning on into my adult life.  I am not a sycophantic Wannabe, who agrees with everything just because the Pronouncer is in a position of power - I wouldn't have done well under Stalin!  Nor am I the sort who says one thing to one person in private and then, in public, pronounces the opposite in cloyingly sweet tones, for a wider audience.

If I don't understand why something is what it is, I tend to ask and expect an answer that doesn't go along the lines of "I am older than you therefore I am right" or "Because I said so".  Being able to change one's mind and viewpoint, as one's understanding of a situation becomes clearer, is the mark of a grown up.

Besides, I always thought the sight of an old man, naked, exposed, ridiculous, whilst being praised and cheered by a group of acolytes, was rather chilling.

Power is but a temporary illusion.

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