All in a couple of hundred words!
Ego-fodder is my term for the “audience” at any event that has not been designed for genuine cross-clique mingling. Ego-fodder is the people sat in rows listening to the sage on the stage. Ego-fodder is what is done to innocent people by….
Except… Stop the tape. It finally occurred to me today the level of collusion in this. Yes, the people at the front want their egos stoked and stroked. Yes that is endless and destructive. But the ‘audience’ wants – for the most part – to be infantilised, to be “taken care of.” We want parents to blame, we want parents who will take care of us. We surrender our autonomy, our ability to make connections, to forge (in every sense) our own paths. We allow ourselves to be seated, bored and patronised. In exchange, we get to offset responsibility for our own education, our own movement-building.
The parents (not “adults”) at the front of the room want children who will obey, and be dutiful and respectful. But it’s not as if the audience is all rushing for the door marked “adult.” Through that door are the horrible fearful rooms marked responsibility, uncertainty, self-mastery.
Better to suck the thumb, suck the dummy. Watch the powerpoint. Listen to the plenary. “There there, it was just a bad dream. Sleep. We are here to protect you.”
* With thanks to Sarah, for being ego-fodder for me. No, wait…