And really, how often do we get the opportunity to put those with a certain level of power over us to the test? It could really end up costing us. Such people are often in charge of the paycheck we receive every week. They often hold certain offices or are otherwise influential, and we become scared of their prominence. They may be in law enforcement, and it's 2012, and we're no longer naïve with regards to that aspect of the cities and towns in which we live. Making a member of law enforcement upset or to feel vengeful towards us could have serious repercussions, and most of us are simply afraid of what can happen in such instances.
We have families, mortgages, car payments, repairs, rent, utilities, taxes and things to try and think ahead for, like the kids college and retirement. Most of us never have the opportunity to see just how intelligent or not those in positions of power over us really are. We simply can't risk the luxury of putting such things to the test or even thinking about it, nor can anyone we know.
Even reality TV is scripted. The daily news we get covers the same five stories, as though that's all they were allowed to carry, despite the many millions of newsworthy occurrences around the world daily. And despite how free we think our news media is, there is always a filter. The day of the investigative journalist is almost over, and reporters and interviewers have the same constraints as the rest of us. So when would we get such an opportunity? Very few of us do, though if we pay close enough attention and read between the lines, we can pick up a good deal.
As it so happens I did, when I was a student at the University of Connecticut's Landscape Architecture Department. I found myself being harassed by a group of people, and one of those involved, that all those involved in harassing me followed, and that did much of the planning, turned out to be one of the people I got to observe and even test. The person's name was Ed.
Ed assumed a position of authority because he was in many ways granted it, without going into too many specifics with regards to that right now (you can read more about it by clicking the link at the end of the article). People looked up to him because of his position, and, as he was given support by many others of those that harassed me, his position of power over me and others to an extent was confirmed.
The main goal of those people harassing me was to get me out of the degree program we were in. They were trying not to be too blatant, and they wanted to give themselves enough plausible deniability that bringing charges against them would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. There were people with power over them, and they didn't want to get in trouble with them.
The way they tried to get me out was through creating a hostile environment, and by using the planning of and implementation of strategies and tactics intended to get me to feel stressed, harassed, emotionally, psychologically and even physically isolated, angry, scared and more. The purpose of this was to create a certain intolerable level of stress to get me to either quit, drop out or get kicked out as a result of the situation they were hoping I would feel was unbearable.
Though I did find it harsh, I had no choice but to press on. So I decided to study what they were doing, how and when, and to come up with my own tactics and strategies to fight back and finish school. That was where test measurement number one of their intelligence happened for me to observe and test. Once I started fighting back via my own strategic efforts, and they became aware of it, they registered obvious surprise. That was my first indication these guys weren't as smart as I, and others, had assumed. Any smart individual endeavoring to implement such elaborate plans so as not to get caught, surely would have considered the possibility I would fight back.
Only people with serious blind spots would miss that entirely or be so willfully foolish. If they are scared of getting caught, as they obviously were, only fools would say, “that'll never happen” to something that so obviously could.
Part of Ed's role was to befriend me, and then pass on what he learned about me, where my head was at during that time, what I planned academically in the long term and short term and basic personal stuff. I didn't realize it until it had been going on for some time, as I didn't fully comprehend how seriously prejudiced my harassers were at first.
That's where I began to learn even more about their actual intelligence. Once I realized how serious they were, and they knew it, I tried to distance myself from Ed. I was then forced into contact with him often, via group projects, etc. Also the professors that were involved would often hand out half the list of requirements for the project to people, like Ed, that were involved in harassing me. With certain people the idea was to purposefully, and openly ensure I would not get all the requirements. Thus, I was assured not to get as good a grade as I would have gotten otherwise, and they could make an open spectacle out of it when that came to fruition. That was all about ego, and fortunately mine wasn't so big that such a move would send me over the rails and off the handle.
When they were handed to Ed, the idea was to try and use Ed to distract me, mislead me and figure me out. I knew all this, so I simply implemented counter strategies and tactics and did the same and then some.
By doing so I discovered that, though people had considered Ed and those like him smart with regard to what they were doing at least, they really weren't as smart as people thought. In fact, they tended to be easily fooled and missed a lot. I was able to use such moments and handicaps to my advantage. It wasn't that I was necessarily smarter, just that they weren't as smart as they thought they were or that each other were. I guess the truly smart people are smart enough to stay away from people like Ed and the others whenever they can.
Either way, I graduated and found a way to overcome them. It wasn't above average smarts, as I don't posses them. It wasn't being better prepared going in, as I had no formal training in such matters, and never tried thinking up those kind of strategies and counter strategies before, as I had no need. It's simply the reality that people in positions of power just aren't always as smart as we think they are or should or would be. Sometimes, however fortunate or unfortunate it may be, the truth is they are just plain Editots.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to