Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War
I am not a classically trained man, having successfully avoided Shakespeare most of my life. But even an ignorant man, such that I am, is eventually exposed to Shakespearian clichés during the normal course of his life. The title of this piece is one such example that has crossed my path on several occasions, the latest being last night as Mrs. Cog and I watched the final episode of the second season of Netflix’s “House of Cards”.
What interesting propaganda that ‘programming’ is; the depiction of husband and wife sociopaths as almost human, possibly even endearing, certainly flawed and vulnerable at times. While sharing this series with Mrs. Cog over the last few weeks, what continuously fascinated me was how they both were able to near seamlessly cast aside the ‘normal’ confines of morality, duty and honor for political expediency and the pursuit of power.
This included at times an open marriage, though not necessarily simply in pursuit of mindless carnal pleasure. Each marriage ‘partner’ understood their own role in the marriage ‘business’, and while it was obvious that they loved and were devoted to each other, they both understood that ‘political expediency’ required certain sacrifices or undertakings unique to their sex, position or capability.
When called upon to do so, both understood that it was just ‘business’ (though there was nothing wrong with taking a little pleasure in your business) and in fact at times the act itself, whatever it may be, was discussed and planned between the two partners prior to being executed. Of particular note, there were often veiled references to an agreement between them made years, decades, ago that each would from time to time be called upon to step outside the traditional bounds of marriage, law, and what you and I might refer to as ‘common decency’, in order to further their shared goal………power.
If anything this non-traditional approach seemed to bind them even closer to one another. The very actions that might tear a ‘normal’ relationship asunder seemed at times to strengthen theirs, apparently because they both shared a common goal and understood that in order to succeed, or at least to greatly improve their chances of success, they would need, individually and collectively, to do what nearly all others would not.
Interestingly, what you and I might label as flaws of character they saw as assets to be used against those of us more encumbered by social graces and a disabling moral conscience. As I was once told by someone who was trying to ‘inspire’ me, successful people do the things unsuccessful people will not. Of course he wasn’t advocating transgressing moral or legal boundaries, just picking up the damn phone and making another cold call, thus the true reason for my abject failure in life. Clearly I have no killer instinct.
While most who watch this couple in action might consider them horribly dysfunctional, and I most certainly would not desire a relationship such as that with Mrs. Cog, the process as depicted of single minded pursuit of power by those whom we would label as sociopaths was fascinating to watch. And judging by what I see, hear and read coming out of Wall Street, Washington DC and multinational corporate boardrooms, as well as other centers of power all over the globe, this fictional portrayal is completely believable.
We morally self constrained peons are in so much trouble.
The phrase “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war” was uttered by the principal character of “House of Cards” at a critical juncture, when it became clear that after years of careful planning, backstabbing, shifting political alliances and general mayhem, all in the pursuit of power, everything was in jeopardy of falling apart. The choice was clear; to throw caution to the wind and put it all on the table, or be cast aside as useless debris, expected collateral damage among the mid level omnipotent during the never ending War between the Gods.
In an earlier scene, when informed by the husband that the situation was precarious and he was losing control, the wife, indignant that the husband was letting her down, angrily told him that he was scared and to do whatever it took to make it happen. This was clearly an equal partnership and one of the partners had just dressed down the other. It was business, no more, no less. Get to work!
Fortified, emboldened and now fearless, a plan was cobbled together and flawlessly executed not to wrestle power from the hands of another, but to enable it so that the ‘other’ willingly, almost gratefully, handed power to him. In the end, the now self deposed leader thanked the sociopath for all his help and support as he handed the reins of power to his ‘friend’, blissfully unaware of what actually had just happened and who the enemy really was. Simply brilliant and so familiar to anyone who carefully watches the modern day social control systems in action.
I did a little research into the “Cry Havoc” phrase this morning. While the context in which it was spoken essentially defined the meaning, I wanted to understand where it came from and how it was originally used. William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” is where this particular utterance originated, though it seems there are several interpretations as to what exactly was being said.
‘Havoc’ was, and hopefully no longer is among ‘civilized’ war machines, a military order permitting the seizure of spoil after a victory. It could also be seen as simply a metaphorical use to declare that war or combat had begun. To ‘let slip’ meant to unleash or release, while the ‘dogs of war’ could either be a literal interpretation of ‘war dogs’ or more likely the release of soldiers of war from ‘moral’ and/or legal constraints in order to rape, pillage and plunder.
After all, one must ‘pay’ the soldiers any way you can if you don’t want them to turn on you. Doing so in this manner centuries, millennium, ago was an accepted ‘business’ practice and just the way the world worked. In fact, while I may for the most part be ignorant of Shakespeare (I watched “Shakespeare in Love”….does that count?) I am not uninformed of world history over the last several thousands of years…….at least the widely accepted ‘written-by-the-winners’ version disseminated by the education control system.
Even if certain events or outcomes as outlined by mainstream ‘history’ textbooks did not actually play out as outlined, the methods used and the mindset adopted by the participants was, and is, very real. “We the People’ bemoan the corruption, lawlessness, cronyism, collusion, deception, the wholesale rape, pillage and plunder by the 1% for the 1% as abhorrent and entirely unacceptable. Seen from the perspective of world history, such a point of view might be a tad naïve.
Are the present-day actions of the 1% so outrageous that they should be hung from the rafters, or the nearest stout oak tree limb if a glorious public spectacle is required, for their egregious transgressions? Or have “We the People” been slowly and carefully domesticated over the last few centuries, psychologically conditioned and genetically bred for mindless passivity in the face of danger, then recently fattened up (literally and figuratively) for slaughter because killing time is near?
All I truly know is that my only defense in the face of such destructive behavior by those presently in power is to face them with a clear mind and a strong heart. And to do this I must shed myself of many, if not all, of my preconceived notions of how the world works based upon how I was propagandized into believing it should work. If I feed at the trough, because that is what all cattle do, then I will be slaughtered in the killing house, because that is what all cattle do.
There are no magic bullets to load, no red pills to swallow, no charismatic leader to follow to the Promised Land. We have been, and continue to be, leveraged in such a way as to willingly, gratefully even, hand over our own sovereign power to those who, in turn, will use it to lead us into the slaughter house. I, for one, am no longer willing to do so. How about you?
Free the mind and spirit, and the body will naturally follow.
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