When the opportunity presents, a tyrant will arise

Greetings fellow swampers and those preferring to remain dry:

I was trying to explain to my partner (business, that is) why people working for corporations are so rude, it occurred to me that the answer is universal. Why does bad behavior occur as the structure in which a person work enlarges? No, this happens not to all, but there is a certain ratio of people who become bastards when the opportunity arises. We might call it "the Alligator Ratio". In fact, this is what the concept and accompanying ratio shall be known as. Yes, Alligator Ratio. AR for short perhaps. I like the ring to that-and if you don't, I'll bite your head off. You see, I am an Alligator at heart.

So, for those of you of a scientific bent, such as professors of Western thought at Western Universities--or perhaps economists practicing their dismal things--will come with a precise number. Now, I know without a single doubt that there are those among us (or is it amongst us?) who will research this subject and arrive at a precise number. You know, like Avogadro's number or the 187th decimal of π.

Here it is, unfolded for all to learn. Martin Luther King Jr, MLK for short and for sure, was both wrong and correct when he said the arc of the future is toward justice. Yes, it is and it isn't. For some it will never be.

Dear gentles, it is the unpleasant truth that humans for the most part are inherently corruptible during life. After life ceases, even the saints corrupt. Study your philosophies, your learned books, your sheep entrails. It matters naught. Put lipstick on a pig and what do you have? A pig which will leave suspicious stains on your shirt collar when you get home to those who must be obeyed, such as a spouse.

Am I saying men are pigs? What a delicious thought, I love pork.

In words of one syllable: YES.

Actually the porcine image I prefer is the one Orwell produced on Animal Farm. All animals are equal but pigs humans are more equal.

First to the trough, porkies. Don't expect dinner to wait for you. On a diet, you protest? Polite, yes.
Yes? So, my ascetic, mindful friends, you shall starve. Even babies cry. Some never stops, no matter how much they are fed. I could name names here, but in the wishes to promote universality of my view, I pick no favorites, though others may.

Acquisitiveness is a necessity of life. Our instincts are no more profound than those of so-called lesser creatures. Has a hedgehog ever created an atomic bomb? How many hyenas can a single lion slay in one day? Will it stop at one? Or all? Is that a measure of character--or is it not? Where does one stop? Where are the limits? Who sets the limits?


Society sets the limits. But like pigs, some people are more equal than others. Those self-selected few arrogate to themselves the concepts of justice and fairness. Justice for whom? Fairness for whom?

Is life no better than Animal Farm? For many, although the intensity of viciousness is lower, there always arises those who arrogate. They do so for several reasons. Shall I list them alphabetically? Nope, too lazy, but dear reader feel free to add your own.

Why arrogation occurs, in terms conceived by the arrogators (of whom, some are indeed alligators*)

*you don't think I could pass up an opportunity like that, do you?

Arrogators are:
1. individuals inherently more knowledgeable
2. more moral
3. equipped to know universal truths, such as the one I am spouting
4. more spiritual
5. more deserving
6. kinder, as in kill-them-with-kindness
7. gentler, as in the administration of justice than you deserve--most of the time.

Sorry for the following breach: certain Rodents inevitably come to mind. But no names.

When groups form (a group ≥ 3), one becomes the leader--because "I say so". As the group enlarges, sub-leaders arise, either through promotion from above or by growing through cracks in the cement, i.e., pushing one's way "upward" to greater power, greater glory, greater fun (pardon me, while I step on your neck to get a greater share).

Expecting Emmanuel Kant here? Or Ludwig Wittgenstein? I've always preferred Sartre. My shade of darkness.

Some may wish this essay includes forays into genetics. Nah. Genetics is just a throw of the dice. 23 and me. That's how I roll. No, that's why I roll. Those unruly chromosomes with infinite permutability, yes, they explain everything. I don't have my Hopalong Cassidy decoder ring. Don't know which nucleotides must go where to make a bastard, a saint, or Caspar Milquetoast.

Shall we perhaps interrogate Mother Nature, the good ship Ontogeny? Were you born under a bad sign, or a good one? Was the weather warm and calm when you popped out of the birth canal--or perhaps sliced and yanked from it? Did mama drink while bearing you--if so, was it from a good vintage? Did dad skip out the same day you popped into the open?

Where do we find the riddle's answer? Not simply genetics. Not simply environment. Not even in the combination of both. The precise individual(s) proving the most arrogant, thus being atop the mob below, is not predictable in advance. But give the size of any aggregation, certain things are certain. Though the individuals may not be predictable in advance, one individual always rises to the top--by whatever means necessary.

By whatever means necessary.

Those means are as varied as the humans utilizing such means to power. But power, fame, and money--perhaps in that order--are the ultimate goals. The object of power is power. Do you understand?

Spin the prayer wheel faster, oh monks, because your chants are not working.

Are we doomed? Specify the time frame please.

Are we helpless?

Does shining a light in the darkness avail? A myriad of candles perhaps? Is there hope? For whom? Defined how?

Socrates was fond of asking questions, for good reason. His mistake was educating, in part, a master rogue of the Ages, one of enormous Chutzpah. Athens-to-Sparta-to-Persia-back to Athens. Socrates was sacrificed to shield the Mighty the embarrassment of having to admit they had Alcibiades in their grasp and losing control of him. Shades of 2016.

Draco? Darius? Solomon?

Who picked them? Why?

Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump. Who picked them? Please, don't tell me that either one earned it fair and square. Or Andy Yang? Or Angela Merkel? Or V.V. Putin? Take your pick.

Pick the winner in advance. Can't be done, all you learned political aficionados (including myself). But one always rises to the top. What of the Roman Troikas, to mix languages? All devolved into the rule of one. What of the Spartan dual kingship? Leonidas died--then what?

Do not expect a lowly reptile to solve this problem--is it soluble at all, or perhaps solvable?

Please, any one who solves this truth of life, guide us to ou topos. The converse of tautology, ou topos is a thing that can never be. For utopia, which is how we say ou topos today, is place nowhere. But places must be somewhere in order to exist. Ou topos cannot exist. Nor even Camelot.

9 users have voted.


mimi's picture

This is a true alligator breakfast for me. I am not sure I can eat it. But I try. Good Morning.

4 users have voted.

“Trauma is not what happens to you.
Trauma is what happens inside you,
as a result of what happens to you.”
— Dr. Gabor Maté

Alligator Ed's picture

@mimi How much risk? How much reward? I'm good at questions, mimi, but not so handy with answers.


2 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@lotlizard I would bow at your feet in awe and respect for your superior knowledge, but, pardon sir, my belly is already at the level of my knees.

I know that somewhere in a future essay of mine you will find other obscure references likewise causing awe and quick trips to Wikipedia.

2 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@Alligator Ed  
As Life and earthly reality as we experienced it first-hand vanishes a little more every day, replaced by Bernaysian fakery…

2 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@lotlizard Many years have passed since my hatchling days in the Chicago swamp. But Herr Bernays, scion of the Freud family, with his marvelous euphemistic renaming of a centuries old technique of less than lethal persuasion, has indeed helped reshape our perceptions of reality.

2 users have voted.