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The affairs of men and nations

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The egos of men are a dangerous thing. From the playground at kindergarten right through to affairs of state, a man’s ego can have a lasting influence, benevolent or damaging, that goes beyond the man himself.

Men’s egos are especially dangerous when they utter public vows that they may have to repudiate sooner or later. The ego demands that the public declarations come to pass rather than be repudiated by their originators or, worse, the unforgiving march of history. Once validated, a public declaration secures the ego of the man, makes him a prophet and makes him look strong before other men but especially in the eyes of his wife and children. The problem is greater, of course, when two egos collide. Because then, there are two groups of societies to face and … two spouses! That society could be a nuclear family, a board room, an extended family, a resident’s association, political party or even an entire nation! Sometimes, it stretches across two oceans like say the Atlantic and the Indian with consequences that reverberate in the land of the Euphrates and the Tigris. It takes a strong and unyielding uncle or child to pierce the egos of the two men with a timely word of truth, followed by wisdom which may or may not be received.

That wisdom was not received for Iraq because when you publicly order a head of state to leave a country within 48 hours live on CNN, you are far from being wise. That is why society invented the phrase ‘face saver.’ A face saver is designed to, privately, give a man and his ego a way out of the hole he has dug for himself with his very public utterances. For unless that happens, his ego will keep digging and quite furiously at that. If he is awarded a face saver, the man may go home and face his wife and say;

“I let them get away with it in the interests of progress.”

His wife will then smile sweetly and say;

“I know dear. You are such a strong and wise man.”

Then there is peace at home and, by consequence, peace for the rest of society.

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