All in the family?

Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton in “All in the Family”,
Tandem Productions, 1971 – 1979.

Researched, Written, Edited and Presented by
Tim & Lady M.

Foreword:

 

There are many words that are brought into play every day that are used to describe a variety of circumstances and situations and nowhere, it may be said, is this more prevalent than in our own Modern Living Vampire Culture. Whether rightly or wrongly is beside the point and this editorial is NOT meant to be an indictment of the use of any word so employed. This is a discussion piece, it is a reflection piece and, hopefully, will prompt many to take a serious look at a commonly used term to decide whether or not it is appropriate in certain instances and the possible impact of the use of such a term.

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A very common term used throughout the modern Vampire culture is ‘Family’, an innocuous enough word that occurs throughout everyday life also but what does it mean, within our specific context? Having been told, some years back now, that, “Words don’t mean what they mean in the dictionary, they mean what people think they mean…” we have been asking around a bit to find out exactly what the concept is applied to in our culture.

There have been times that I know of when people have been welcomed, lauded and embraced as “Family” but this suddenly seems to turn sour for a number of reasons and all of a sudden they are out of ‘the family’. I have seen, and heard of, people starting ‘families’ and populating said ‘families’ with unknown (to them) members… how does this equate with the normal concept of a ‘family’ unit?

 

What are the bonds that join people who have never physically met and make them decide to call themselves a family?

What is the cost when someone who is devoted to a ‘family’ they are in, and are committed to, is told, “You will do this now or you are NOT family…!” Does this have the same impact as real life family disputes? Is it somehow worse because you know that in real life families things will blow over?

There are so many questions revolving around the concept of family in the modern Vampire culture that it might almost seem that the word ‘Family’ has become as disposable, and meaningless, as many others we employ today.

With all of this “muddy water” clearly in view then, let’s consider the meaning of the term “family” in relation to the modern Vampire culture.

img. source: http://id.fanpop.com

Whichever way we choose to turn we have to accept that the word, “family”, does have a definition and an origin, those are…

Family Noun (UK)

[ C or U + sing/pl verb ] a group of people who are related to each other

Noun (US)

[ C/U ] a social group of parents, children, and sometimes grandparents, uncles, aunts, and others who are related.

Origin of family

1350–1400; Middle English familie < Latin familia a household, the slaves of a household, equivalent to famul(us) servant, slave + -ia -y3

A further defined set of explanations is given at Dictionary.com

Family [fam-uh-lee, fam-lee] noun, plural fam·i·lies.

  1. a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not:
  2. a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for:
  3. any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins:
  4. all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor.
  5. a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents, children, and servants.
  6. a group of related things or people:
  7. a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together:
  8. a group of products or product models made by the same manufacturer or producer.

 

Which also notes that;

[Slang.] A unit of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra operating in one area under a local leader.

The popular, crowd sourced Urban Dictionary carries the following definition;

family

A group of people, usually of the same blood (but do not have to be), who genuinely love, trust, care about, and look out for each other. Not to be mistaken with relatives sharing the same household who hate eachother. REAL family is a bondage that cannot be broken by any means.

img. source: renrad-news.de

 

Quite an array of things we can pick from should we choose, so, has the term been simply ‘borrowed’ or has it been ‘misappropriated’?

Does the use of the word “family” actually meet the criteria of meanings associated with the word? We all know there are many, many names for a “cohesive” unit in the VC, “Group”, “Coven”, “House”, “Order”, and “Temple” and so on and it would appear that the term “family” is generally found in usage within one or another of these units.

The fact is that within said groups/houses or whatever the official name is, there are generally found to be a number of people who have never actually physically met each other… this would seem to deny the definition wherein it is held that a family is a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not, a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for, any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins, all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor, a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents, children, and servants, a group of related things or people.

Perhaps the only definitive idea we can apply is “a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together.”  I believe the Manson Family fitted this profile…!

To gauge the understanding of the term in relation to the Culture we made contact with a number of people, whom we have had the pleasure of working with before, and put the following question to them;

“In relation to “groups” within the modern Vampire culture what do you understand the term ‘Family’ to mean?”

The Regent of The Vampire Court of Dallas, Mike Burgess, suggests that;
Family is and will seem to always be one of the most common ways to describe the internal dynamic within multiple types and forms of organizations within the VC as a whole… and exists as an important part of the public/private dichotomy that exists in any community organization…a public face and a private face visible only to those inside of the group.

Personally, “family” in this sense perfectly describes what we do internally every day within the VCD…the members in our organization in particular behave and are treated as siblings – we are to lift you up the hard times, celebrate the good times, argue, make-up, and help you grow as a person if needed…this goes for even leadership – since we hold (me included) since each member’s voice with equal weight. Publically, we have our titles and the presentation to the world…while internally, this family atmosphere has been very much the central reason for our success.

It is obvious that the VCD is an enviable model, one to be emulated and one that would certainly appear to fulfil the context specific definition of a VC “family”.

 

Queen Tania Tranquilitatis of The Court of The Call of Avalon in the U.K. has a somewhat more direct opinion on the matter, she writes;

“Family to me is standing by them no matter what…

As with you and Mar and all the deception and hurt you both unfairly received from ******.

It’s standing up for the truth.

Standing by those unfairly accused by others.

Doing whatever you can to support them in any way you can.

Hugs and blessings to you both”

 

Family, and the depth of connection between the members of a family have been known to be of the most intense and intuitive kind. Siblings knowing when the other is hurt, family members exhibiting extreme feats of courage and strength when a loved one is threatened. Perfect family traits under extreme conditions, however, we must make ourselves aware of the “norm” also. As the following excerpt, at Psychology Today, reads;

“The Perfect Family

The idea of a perfect family fascinates us, even if at some level we know there’s no such thing. But by imagining that there are those who seem to have everything right, we are setting ourselves up for perpetual disappointment. Especially if we strive to mimic them.”

Do we go looking for the “perfect family” in the cyber realm? Do we imagine that a sense of being “included” in such a family is going to cure us? Prepare us? That they are going to stand by and support us? Fight for us? Do we imagine that we are going to find something that we have been missing out on in real life?

This is where it can become both tricky and dangerous. When we open up and expose ourselves to the vagaries of people we have never met and whom we know nothing of, except what they choose to portray. When we choose to put our faith in people without knowing one thing about their personal histories or agenda, surely we are opening ourselves up for the biggest kick in the balls since David Hirst hit the crossbar at 114 mph during a football match against Arsenal in 1996.

The web resource Goodtherapy.org notes;
Rejection can also result from life events not involving relationships, such as being turned down for a desired position. While any rejection can be painful, some instances of rejection may be more affecting than others. Because most humans desire social contact, and many people crave acceptance from society, being rejected can incite negative feelings and emotions.

The feeling of rejection is believed to have developed as an evolutionary tool to alert early humans who were at risk of being ostracized from the tribe they belonged to. A painful rejection from others in the tribe was likely to encourage an individual to modify any problematic behavior in order to avoid further rejection, or ostracism, from the tribe. Those who were able to avoid further rejection were more likely to survive, while those who did not find rejection to be particularly painful may not have corrected the offending behavior, making them less likely to survive. Humans have therefore evolved to experience rejection as painful.”

Could such rejection, from what is supposed to be a supportive and like-minded society, be more severe and damaging than from a real-life society where it is commonly held that no one gives a damn about anyone else?

 

Gordon Smith, Convener of the research group CLAVIS, member of HotD and Staff member at RVL, gives us his words in response to the question;
For me, Family are the people who inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves while sticking around even when we’re at our worst. Specifically within the context of Vampire culture, Family reminds us that Awakening is an ongoing process and helps keep us grounded in who we are while joining us in our explorations of who we are becoming.”

 

Is the simple fact that we share a common belief, i.e. we are modern Vampires, enough to form the bonds necessary to be considered “family” in any true and definable sense of the word or is it more of an identification within the identification that brings this about? We know that the dynamic in a real family, i.e. the “social group of parents, children, and sometimes grandparents, uncles, aunts, and others who are related”, is a complicated process that develops over a number of years, even generations, so how can we expect the same bonds to develop over any less? Is it a fact that the “bonds” that are spoken of in relation to a “a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together”, are sufficient to satisfy using the common term?

Lord Stefan Resurrectus, Patriarch of Clan Resurrectus and convener of the The first annual Elder and Leadership Conference and Summit 2019, honoured us with a brief treatise on the matter of “Family” (which can be read in the full form HERE) and one of the quotes that particularly stood out from that reads;

The VC/OVC is not so far removed from the technical definitions.  The problems are seeing each other as brethren and identifying those that are a problem/or a danger to the community as a whole.  Most of the organizations that I have dealt with, especially the more long-standing and successful, have an intrinsic sense of family regardless of their structure

He goes on to say that;

Family:

  • is there, no matter what.
  • Will defend you to the end, even if they disagree with you
  • Will tell you the truth, no matter how much it hurts
  • Will be beside you through good and bad
  • Will not betray the family no matter what

Title: “Sword Salute”
img. source: Pinterest

 

Are the ideals that Lord Stefan speaks of common to the real life family? Can anyone recall unpleasant difficulties and problems within real life families? How many can recall their biological family maintaining these strictures? How do these things compare with the, dare we say, “Pseudo-families” that exist within our culture? Is it a case of, as I suggested with the quote from Psychology Today, “…by imagining that there are those who seem to have everything right, we are setting ourselves up for perpetual disappointment.

In the end analysis, how many people have been disappointed, let down or rejected by our pseudo-families? What are the lasting effects of such rejection? Does anyone, except the victim, know or care?

In another article, entitled “Family Dynamics and Distress”, presented at Psychology Today it is noted that;
There exists at times in families, one who will do all possible to preserve the structure, no matter how dysfunctional it may be. This person often utilizes an authoritarian stance and expects their children to respect them solely for the sake of their presumed authority. Their objective is control,

Our Assistant Editor, Research Director, my wife, Lady M, writes on family;

“Family comes together in love and respect to nurture and be a part of your life through good and bad.  How does that sound?  I have people on my friend’s list on Facebook that have been there since I first opened my account, these few I consider family as for each move that I made, each mistake that I made, every time I shut down … they came looking for me to see if I was alright… if that makes a person family than it works for me. 

I have a problem with the use of the word family in the context of Groups within the VC … most of these groups are strictly “blue screen” groups that never have any face to face interaction.  People come and people go in and out of these Groups with, I believe, no more family bond than a drop of water in the ocean.  Just because there is one commonality involved with bringing people together, in my mind, does not a family make.   How can I call someone my family based on a timeline page, usually with no photo and sketchy information? 

There are other Groups within the VC that recruit you for who you are or who you know and how much information you can bring into that Group … no family vibe there, yet they will tell you all of the words you want to hear, how family is so important and that you will always have family within that social structure… until you misstep and are booted out…!  What family does that to you???

I have always, with the exception in my first paragraph, believed family to be people that you trust, honor, respect and love and have actually sat down and shared a meal with.  I also believe that family sees the best and the worst of you but they are still around with physical support, encouraging words or just a hug.”

img. source: theodysseyonline.com

In closing;

I suppose that we can’t be too sensitive can we, I mean, what’s in a word right? It’s a well-known fact that our modern culture is built on “borrowed” words, “made up” words, borderline plagiarism and fictitious imaginings. There was nothing official developed, or available at the beginning so whatever was handy came to the fore. Any attempts to quantify, define or widely explain since then have been virtual battlegrounds that have never gained what we might call consensus. The question we MUST ask ourselves, by loosely using the word family, especially where we know that there ARE vulnerable people, are we actually harming people? Are we setting people up for distress and putting them at risk of psychological harm by having them equate the pseudo-family of the VC context with the emotional connections generally experienced in real life family circumstances?

Even though attempt after attempt has been made we have been unable, collectively, to come to a universal, or even wide-ranging definition of what we modern… erm, well, whatever we are, are. Should we simply continue to muddle and mutate words to suit ourselves or should we be looking toward developing a more proper set of definitions, and terms, for use within the culture? In much the same way as we can’t truly use the word Vampire to describe those of us whom identify as such since we are not, quote, Vampire; a preternatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse, that is said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night.”

Can we, in good conscience, use the word family with impunity and without expecting damaging ramifications at times?

 

Copyright RVL 2018 (except where noted)

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

Groups, Orders, Havens, Sects and Cults

img. source: Complex.com

Ed. Note – Before we begin today I have an apology to make, yes, another one…
In the Editorial “Persona non grata in effect” I initially, incorrectly, attributed the authorship of a certain work quoted in the piece. Fortunately one of our wonderful friends came along and said, “Hey guys…” upon which my esteemed 2IC immediately remedied the situation.

I apologise sincerely for any embarrassment or inconvenience caused by my error and I promise I’ll try not to let it happen again.

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Groups, Orders, Havens, Sects and Cults

Researched, Written, Edited and Presented by 

Tim

We move, in the GVC, in many, many circles simultaneously, we inhabit various organisations both online and offline and we come to recognise, over time, sometimes disastrously, what our chosen associations actually stand for and mean. At that point we have a choice. The choice is whether we can continue calling our chosen “friends” and associates family or whether it has been a product of our hope that there is something that can give us answers we have been searching for or whether we have simply fallen in with an idea, or set of ideas, that seem to give us that integral piece of our personal jigsaw.

So, what do we see when we look around us?

img. source: flingmile

We all know what “Groups” are, collectives of people that come together to discuss ideas, debate ideas – be they the quintessential “heated debates” or sensible, calm and orderly discussions. In general groups, in this sense, contain many different views and opinions and are representative of the general manner of things that give the participants a certain sense of social involvement. Such organised gatherings may, or may not, ascribe to one of several viewpoints or they may be “focus” groups of people who come together for a specific purpose and, in this respect, foster often productive discussion. It’s an ideal that many look for but, unfortunately, don’t always find.

Beyond these “general population” groups we find a strata of gatherings that comprise Havens, Covens, Houses and the like. The change in identification will generally indicate a more secular and focused approach and ideal. The rules become a little more stringent and designed to preserve the peace, calm and order within the body for the benefit of all the members – again an ideal. It’s not a bad idea to have a set of governing regulations which members agree to abide by. This provides for the body to focus more directly on specific ideas and hypotheses, to focus more directly on the welfare of its members and, very often, you will read that the members refer to each other as family, as brother and sister, thereby engendering a closer knit unity between the members which for many can enhance the feeling of actually belonging somewhere in a world that no longer focuses on what’s best for the “family unit”. Again, not a bad thing at all… as long as it doesn’t slide across the next line.

img. source: SlideShare

 

Sect is not a dirty word…!

Sect noun [ C ] UK   /sekt/ US   /sekt/ (usually disapproving)

A religious group that has separated from a larger religion and is considered to have extreme or unusual beliefs or customs.

Hmmm… curious thought. Generally we can find solid reasons for a schism in religious orders… differences of opinion in interpretation, in practice, in application of religious tenets and a whole gamut of others. I would, and do, take the view that everyone talks to their God/s in their own way, in their own time and within their own framework of belief. The thing about that is that there is No One who has the right to tell them otherwise.

The only thing that I do object to, and I think many will agree, is any religious organisation, or institution, that causes harm to anyone in the name of their beliefs. The definition above, from the Cambridge English Dictionary, asserts that these “Sects” have either “extreme” or “unusual” beliefs or customs. Well, the Bantu Tribesmen in Africa have strange and unusual customs and beliefs… DON’T MEAN THEY’RE WRONG… just different to, say, Orthodox Jewish beliefs, Catholicism or the Anglican faith.

Don’t get me wrong here, a “Sect” that does bad things to people is just as bad as a cult but if a sect doesn’t hurt anyone aren’t they allowed to believe that the sky is green if they want?

a 1980’s UFO Cult in California
img. source: Atlas Obscura

Cults… an ugly truth?

In referring to “cults” many people will, automatically, associate the word with likes of Jim Jones and Charles Manson but is this necessarily the case?

I have long held the belief, about any structured belief system, that whatever gets you through the hard times is fine. What about the not hard times? What about the groups, societies and organisations that we choose to belong too? Why are we in them? What do they offer? What do we derive from them? Are they beneficial or toxic to us?

All questions that have been widely raised about a wide range of well-known institutions. The web resource Religious Tolerance.org has an extremely well written discourse on the matter that clearly spells out the differences in both accepted most used terminology and the concepts behind the terms. It is, it seems, a matter of some confusion and discussion when it comes to defining a cult.

I would suggest that a good number of people have seen at least one of the television documentaries that have been made about L. Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology, we, on the outside, may see it as a cult but if you talk to anyone from within they will swear up and down that it’s not that at all… it’s only when someone comes out from the controlled “within” that we can begin to get some rational and real perspective on the subject.

One resource that has been widely applied within the Pagan communities is the The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (Version 2.6, 2.7)[1] which can be found at neopagan.net

The evaluation framework clearly defines the questions that need be asked in order to demonstrate whether a group is actually a “cult-like” entity or not. The results are yielded on a sliding score scale with the lowest score possible being 18 and the highest score possible being 180, therefore the mean is 81 – the cutoff point between, say, sect and cult. If we break down the possible range between 18 and 180 we might say that from 18 to 54 is a “group”, 55 to 109 is a “sect” and 110 and above is a “cult”. Of course, you may wish to break it down further but as long as you honestly and accurately evaluate what you’re looking at and apply the evaluation clearly and in a totally unbiased way that’s fine.

Although there is no actual “result table” offered by the framework it tells you how far toward the “danger zone” you are treading.

The biggest problem with utilising this framework is that you can only do it if you have a completely clear, logical and unbiased view of the thing you are assessing… let’s assume, for example, if The Framework had been given to Susan Atkins [2] in 1969 when she aided Manson in the Tate-LaBianca murders would she have returned a clear, logical and unbiased result? Don’t believe so myself…

So, if you were asked to sit down with The Framework and apply it to a group that you are in would you be totally objective, clear and logical about it or would you give the answers that you have led to believe?

Could you take The Framework and apply it, in the same fashion, to a group that you were a member of in the past? If you had good experiences I would suggest that the result might be skewed in that way, if you had bad experiences – which are usually remembered far longer than good ones – could you give an accurate and completely unbiased response?

Let’s look at a couple of examples;

Isaac Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Framework (Ver. 2.6)

In a nutshell you will see, from the two examples given, that one represents a group with very few cult-like traits whereas the other example, at the “Cult” end of the spectrum, exhibits many of the major characteristics required to identify a cult.

img source: sylvielefrancois.com

What sort of groups are you in?

 

If you can stop for a couple of minutes, sit down, clear your mind of everything else and just think about the group you are in. Think about what happens in the group, how is it run? Who runs it and why? How do you feel when you are interacting within the group? (No matter what medium) Do you feel safe? Unsure? Comforted? Guarded? Is it something you would rather not be involved in but don’t know how to break with the group without losing all your friends?

There are many things that a group should be, controlling, dominating, censoring, disapproving and forceful… well, maybe it’s not a group at all… maybe it’s a “sect” or a “cult” but the ONLY way you’re going to know that is if you are prepared to be open minded, brutally honest and completely unbiased.

In conclusion

Cults, sects, organisations, social groups and specific interest clubs have been around since dawn of mankind pretty much, even though the word “Cult” originated with the ancient tongues, and was defined, early on, and still today, as the worship of a divine being or beings, whether that divinity be accorded by the worshippers or by mythology makes no difference, a “divine being” is not necessarily a mythical being, it can be a person, a psychological construct simply a fixation with someone or something… hell, I know people who pray to the God of Football during the English Premier League Football season… just a quiet word here, there actually isn’t a God of Football but you can find him regularly referred to in the pubs or at Finals time.

Wherever you have a focused and fixated system of recognition of an object or person as being divine you run the risk of finding a Cult. Get informed, stay informed and watch for the danger signs. The Cult Education Institute provides a clear and concise listing of the warning signs.

As I said, the big trick here is to be honest, clear headed, objective and unbiased when you do it. If you think you can do that why not give it a go? See how your “group”, “Order”, or other organisation fares under scrutiny?

Hey, you may not want to believe what comes of it, you may not want to accept what comes out of it but at least you’ll be better informed on what to watch out for in order to avoid coming unstuck and that has to be a good thing – right?

Copyright TB & RVL 2018

  1. The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (Version 2.6) Copyright © 1979, 2008 c.e., Isaac Bonewits.
  2. Oxy Gen Crimetime http://www.oxygen.com/blogs/where-are-the-members-of-charles-mansons-killer-cult-family-nowNB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

    The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

    For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

     

So, you want your own empire? Part III

Star Wars Matte Painting –
Harrison Ellenshaw
via The Art of VFX

 

Researched, Written, Edited and Presented by

Tim

Come on now, you didn’t seriously think you were going to get through this without at least one Star Wars pic did you?

Good evening ladies, gentlemen and budding group leaders, I do hope your plans and schemes are progressing well?

So, after “So, you want your own empire?” and “So, you want your own empire? Part 2” we arrive at the concluding considerations. You have your core, you have your plan, you have your structure and the operational nature of your group pinned down – congratulations, we really need to look, now, at the single most important aspect of the entire process… YOU

What sort of leader are you going to be?

In any “team”, “task group”, “social club”, online or off-line group there needs to be leadership – without proper leadership you have a puddle of “jakshit”. Many groups will, ultimately, falter, if not fail in aim and purpose for a) lack of leadership, or b) improper application of leadership.

In making your group you have obviously made the statement, “I believe that I have what it takes to be a leader.” Now, it’s time to live up to that.

Leadership styles vary greatly dependent upon circumstances, purpose, goal and personal likes/dislikes. For example, if you are asked to head up a “task group” at work to establish the operating procedures for a new corporate requirement that you do not agree with you have two choices, 1) Be professional, give it everything you’ve got in order to get ‘corporate’ exactly what they want, or, 2) Give it only so much effort as is necessary to establish the fact that Corporate wants this but lead no change in methodology to reinforce and support that requirement… Where do you stand on such things?

Leading your own “group” is an entirely different animal. You have time, creativity, best intentions and passion invested… you don’t want it to fail because if it does that will be seen as a personal reflection on you… or does it? This is one of the unrealistic, subliminal pressures that “leaders” place on themselves if they haven’t fully considered the position.

Realise several things,

  • You are NOT infallible, you are a human being (yes, I know, Vampirism etc. notwithstanding)
  • You are NOT superhuman, much as you may like to consider yourself. You will get tired, angry, emo, hungry, thirsty, sleepy, overworked, downright frustrated and all other such things that occupy everyday life… don’t fight it, let it roll over you. The harder you try and tighten your grip the more grains of sand will run through your fingers.
  • You have, hopefully, installed A STAFF, be it big or small, to share your vision and passion and to help in the administration of the “group” when you are on “downtime”.
  • Take time out for YOU… you absolutely cannot be the best for anyone else unless you are the best you can be for yourself first.

    (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

    So, with the “think about number one” under consideration, how are you going to conduct your leadership role?

    In this there are a number of choices.
    “Democratic rule (meaning “rule of the people”) Oligarchy (meaning “rule of the few”) and Autocracy (a system of government in which supreme power,both social and political, is concentrated in the hands of one person.)”

    These are the three prime states of government, your task is to choose which one you intend to apply to your particular group.

    If, for example, you were to choose “Democracy” then you would necessarily have to decide what type of democracy you are going to employ. Will it be “‘Direct Democracy’ in which the people represent themselves and vote directly for new laws and public policy? Will it be “Representative Democracy” wherein the people or citizens of a country elect representatives to create and implement public policy? Will it be a “Totalitarian Democracy” which refers to a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government?

…annnnnnnd so on and so forth…

“Nineteen Eighty-Four”
Umbrella-Rosenblum Films Production & Virgin Benelux in association with
Virgin Schallplatten and Virgin, 1984.

You may choose to simply say, “Screw y’all, I’m in charge and what I say goes…!!! End of discussion.” Hmmmm… think about that for a minute, how long do you think that will last if your members are independent, free-thinking and intelligent individuals?

You may choose to establish a “Council” of “Elders” to govern, wisely and democratically and represent, fairly and equally, all your members. In that you have to remember you can please some of the people some of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. That, unfortunately, is not possible.

The other determining factor in the make-up of a Council is, how many members do you have? Do you have 10, 20, 30? Up to Twenty persons and I would suggest you do not have need of a Council, it’s simply going to annoy people who don’t get put on “The Council”

Let’s say you have 50 or 100 members, now you’re starting to get into the realm of “Council” country. Managing a group of this size, and keeping it relevant and up-to-date can’t be done by one or two people, not effectively and if that happens you will see stagnation and boredom setting in, then people start drifting away.

Running a group is a juggling act, it’s kinda like being a parent, a confidante, a besty and a priest all rolled into one. Be advised, it is NOT easy, never will be. You WILL end up doing most of the work, along with a trusted 2 or 3 admins and you will find that, unless you can create a vibrant, stimulating and creative atmosphere, that there may be 100 on your membership list but only 15 or 20 will regularly be active at any given time.

This is the position where you need to re-examine the role, meaning, goals and aims of the group.

Img. source: Eastham Vacation Guide/ Robin Lehr

You can’t just make a sandcastle on a beach and hope it’s just gonna stay there by itself – social groups are the same.

Your decision of leadership style and practices will, ultimately, be the “make or break” of your group and so it becomes, as I said, the single most important consideration in forming a new group. From your “tiny acorn” we are all hoping “mighty oaks” will grow but don’t bet your house on it… so to speak.

The decision you make will also determine what sort of people your group is going to attract as members.

If you have a basic anarcho-thrash fest group governed by a sarcastic “upper echelon” then you will attract rat-bags, walking-attitude machines and mouths without brains.

If you have a quiet, well regulated, comfortable group then you will attract the relaxed, intelligent and respectable people… yes, you’ll get hordes of rat-bags, coat-tail riders and trolls coming along but with proper membership methodology you’ll be able to deal with the riff-raff easily.


Simply put, “as ye sow, so shall ye reap”.

As “Leader” of the group, house, enclave, order or whatever your organisation is it will be up to you to not only represent your “group” in the public arena but you will need to ensure that your co-leaders can do the same. If you want to run into the crowded space yelling, “I’m King/Queen Shinybritches Pre-eminent Scallywag the 3rd of the Munificent Royal Principality of Narcissism”wellummm…no one’s gonna actually stop ya.

I can pretty much guarantee that almost everyone’s going to sit at their monitors and do one of several things;

Breathe out a profane name directed at you and go someplace else.

Laugh hysterically and call their spouse/S.O. to the monitor and say, “OMFG… Look at this dick/shit/crap (insert preferred profanity)…!!!”

Groan loudly, outwardly, and write you off as an insane and completely unreasonable member of the race of Homo-Sapiens-Sapiens-Vampyrus.

Mutter (with or without eye-rolling) “Fuck me sideways, not again…!!!”, and leave for the refrigerator/television/book/s.o or other, more stimulating, endeavours.

TRUTH.

Your approach to your new found leadership role is going to require tact, diplomacy, discretion and intelligence or you will find that you and your entire group will be, by and large, ignored except for those folks YOU think are nuts.

In this it is absolutely no different to finding “street cred” – you prove yourself to be a sane and reasonable person and leader, you engage, sensibly, with the greater culture and you exercise respect and remember you are NOT the almighty’s greatest gift to Vampire kind (btw, a great many of us don’t even attribute the almighty… be careful there too eh?)

Reputation is built up over time, if you want a good one, or, alternatively, pretty much overnight if you want a bad one. FIRST IMPRESSIONS are vital here.

In conclusion:

If someone were to ask me what are the five most important thing a leader needs to do I would draw on over 20 years of experience in management roles and I would say to them,

1)   Be fair but be firm. Apply the rules equally across the board.

2)   Don’t start fights that you have no hope of winning, in fact, just don’t start fights.

3)   Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, people will see through you straightaway.

4)   Trust yourself, stick to your guns but if you’re found in the wrong ADMIT it.

5)   Give RESPECT to get RESPECT, it’s not an automatic right.

Outside of that your group, any group will, hopefully be a fluid, dynamic and ever changing entity, go with it, roll with it, be flexible and adapt your plan to accommodate the changing needs of your members and your co-leaders. That will give you the vibrant and pro-active base on which you will build your glittering Empire.

Img. source: SSQQ.com

Good fortune…!

Copyright RVL, 2018

Refs:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_forms_of_government

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