This will be the first in a series of posts on the topic of elitism. What I mean by referring to the Devil and the Elite is that the attitude that one person or class is superior in any way to another is essentially evil. What’s equally true for me is that it has no bounds. The attitude of someone holding this belief has no political, racial, socio-economic, or any other type of generalized characteristic. Elitism is an attitude held by another used to elevate their perceived superiority over others. With this in mind then, someone who may believe they hold the moral high ground can be just as elite as someone who hold a racist point of view. It all comes down to attitude and behavior. In this post, I address the general sense of what elitism is and relate it to The Devil card in Tarot.
If you can take a purely objective view of any given situation where perceived elitism is present, you’re very likely to notice it on multiple levels. For example, some would have you believe that those on the political right are elitist in a socio-economic sense and those on the left are the champions of the poor. However, if you look at things objectively, you would see that there are just as many on the political left (including Hollywood in many cases) that are wealthy and whose words and actions are elitist. It’s unlikely that many on either side of politics would voluntarily give their money, houses, cars, or lifestyle away to those less fortunate. To reinforce the point, examine charitable giving in this group and you’ll see that left or right, people choose to hold onto what they have rather than generously share it. While they are exceptions, those are equally present on both the left and right if you’re being objective.
In this example then, the socio-economic elite view themselves as in some ways better and more worthy than those with less. Further, they extend that socio-economic bubble to the world of opinion. In other words their opinion carries more weight than others. This is why you often see celebrities or politicians pushing particular agendas. However, look more closely and you find that in many cases it’s a ‘do as I say and not as I do’ mentality. They use their bully pulpit to push an agenda while retaining their perceived elite and elevated status in society.
So here is where The Devil card comes in. One of the most misunderstood cards in the Tarot, it signifies and points to forces of control and manipulation. What is puzzling is that the two figures chained to the Devil could just as easily lift the chains from their necks and walk away. Here is the paradox. When we accept the elitist status hoisted upon us by others, we embrace the chain around our neck. The news we listen to, movies we watch, what we read, and how we formulate our values are all shaped by whoever (or whatever) we place above us. The Devil is quite simply a metaphor for what we have voluntarily chosen to guide and direct our lives. We have chosen to be controlled and manipulated by a particular agenda and quite often it is an elitist icon (person or cause) that sits above us.
I’m not suggesting there are no noble causes or values. I certainly don’t ascribe to a value-less perspective. What I am suggesting though is that the underlying attitude is the key difference. When I hold a perspective as true for me, can I respect and honor the space held by someone else even if it is completely opposite? More important, can I objectively recognize the value in a different perspective and honestly acknowledge the positive elements as well as negative? This is a key step in combatting elitism.
It’s only when you have the courage to step back and objectively recognize and acknowledge who or what you’ve allowed to control and manipulate you that you can begin lifting the chain off your neck. It all starts with recognizing our own bias or preferences and begin challenging them. It also requires great courage to objectively criticize a perspective that perhaps you’ve embraced in the past. How often do we see politicians for example who speak so forcefully against something today yet their position was equally strong in the opposite position years earlier? Recognizing that any elitist is merely working to control and manipulate enables you to step back and raise the bullshit flag and call it at face value.
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