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little green alien with tie

Do Aliens Wear Ties?

What do aliens and ties have in common?  I am not talking about aliens from outer space wearing ties or ties with alien logos on them [see: Tie Warehouse].  Nor, in fact, am I talking about aliens wearing ties with aliens on them.  It is the underlying conceptualisation that humans do.  Why do people wear ties?  Well on the surface folk seem quite happy to see them as a light hearted colourful addition to the otherwise drab official clothing in business society.  But why do men wear such standard drab clothing?  Of course it is all about conformity.  Conforming to the group perception of what is normal.  Seems a rather dangerous activity to me (Remember the Third Reich!) but that's another story.  There are good reasons for conforming.  It indicates something about your position in society and even your views.  But most people are not in the business of wearing certain clothes to positively assert their allegiance or role in society.  Priests, judges, police persons and a whole lot more do wear "uniforms" to project the positive message that they "belong" to a certain group.  It is functional and quite useful.  But for most it is a question of  not appearing different rather than a positive assertion.  And why ties?  Well I have several theories and one of them is that they are both a phallic symbol and a symbol of submission.  It may seem contradictory but it is both a power thing and a submission thing.  But that is not directly related to the connection between ties and aliens.  Like most things in life they all relate to the one great harmonious balance of the universe but I digress.  The salient point is that if a man turns up without a tie to a business meeting (the sort where people wear ties) it is seen as inappropriate and not quite right.  The tie indicates that the person understands and complies with a set of norms associated with this kind of meeting.  If someone isn't wearing a tie the other people at the meeting suddenly wonder what sort of person he is.  What does he think?  What are his rules?  If we make a contract with him is he going to honour it?  Can we trust him?  Does he even know our rules?  And this begs the question: "What are the rules?"  As many an adolescent has discovered the rules are more about "appearing" to be something than "being" something.  In fact the rules are about appearance.  The rules are that you will go to great lengths to "appear" to hold the same values as the group propound.  Honesty, reliability, trust, truth and all things good like that.  But hang on a minute.  There is a paradox here.  Come to our group and do business with us if you agree to these higher values and wear a tie to indicate such to us.  Ok – I'll wear a tie!  In Britain they are offering to lend suits to unemployed people for job interviews.  How honest is that?  But really the issue is not about honesty it is about your signing a contract to be honest so that the very act of signing that contract will become your crime if anyone needs to exclude you.  It is a crafty trick and you might think this is a paranoid view.  But paranoia is the fear of an unreal threat.  This is a very real threat.  Take bankers in the current economic crisis (2009 as I write)  They are picked on and blamed.  They become scapegoats for the rest of us.  Bankers can't rip us off without our compliance.  Bankers can't rip us off unless we join in the crime of trying to make more money from less in the first place.  The greed just filters down the line.  But when the whole system comes tumbling down we all run around like headless chickens screaming "It wasn't me it was him!"  And bankers certainly wear ties.

Sometimes it feels as if those large companies have got it in for the little people (figuratively speaking).  Sometimes it feels as if the electric company or the bank, the phone company or the inland revenue are malicious and trying to do down their customers.  Part of this effect is, I'm sure, due to the scale of things.  Where as the electric company might have 10 million customers, the customer only has one electric company.  The electric company wants to check it's books.  Well, that's close to double-speak.  What they think they are doing is checking their books but what they are really doing is checking that there is nothing owing to them or that there are no errors where they are accidentally giving the electric away free.  Companies are governed by law and it is the law that they put their shareholders interests first.  Why pay someone to check to see if they are owing money to a customer?  That is a waste of resources and surely it is the customer's responsibility.  The electric company has an eagle eye for errors against it but a blind eye to errors in their favour.  It's not so much that any particular individual is maliciously seeking out only those errors but rather a policy and a procedural thing.  When errors or disputes arise the electric company has in house lawyers to deal with the issue.  Given the random spread of errors there will be some statistically stable level of errors per £100,000 say.  It is very efficient to pay lawyers, solicitors, legal beagles or whatever to work all day dealing with these legal matters.  It probably works out at something like an average of 0.1 lawyer per dispute.  They have automated letters and procedures which automatically spring into action when the computer detects an anomaly.  But it is a very different story for the customer.  Every bill has to be checked manually.  Every question or error has to be dealt with manually.  If solicitors are required then the poor customer cannot possibly be as efficient as the electric company per error.  In fact, the net result is that most customers don't spot most errors and if it comes to a dispute it is financially not viable to pursue it.  So the net effect is that the electric company is being abusive to the customer.  To give them due credit they do make an effort to redress this imbalance.  But to keep this real they are only reducing the impact.  They are not in the business of being fair to both parties with the same vigour.  It is not how our society works.

The net result of this kind of thing is that the patterned behaviour that we culture in our society thrives in institutions and companies.  They become like parasites living off the very people that keep them working.  Patterned behaviour, or Freudian Complexes, or Richard Dawkin's memes come in many forms but the salient and bothersome ones are all those weird concepts like blame and punishment, like deception (in the form of "whatever you do don't get caught lying") and they are maintained by all the little people and abused by the collective.  These contradictory and erroneous concepts and ideas can feel as if "society" or "they" are imposing them on "us" or "me".  But when you try to get a handle on them they seem ethereal, vague and they disappear in a mist of confusion.  You are accused of being paranoid when you express the view that "they" are out to get you [see Trafigura page].  But there is something correct in this.  But it is hard to grasp.  So it becomes like some alien infusion into organisations and companies and yet you can still feel it when you talk to other people because they try to suggest it is in your mind and not in the real world.  Eventually it may appear that there are aliens taking over the human race and eventually, if you persist, you will be locked up by these aliens and designated insane or malfunctioning.  But you are not wrong.  The novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey and written in 1959 is a good illustration of this process.  So in some metaphorical way aliens do exist and are occupying these human hosts ...

... AND THEY DO WEAR TIES!


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