Tall Poppies and Spiritual Growth

Tall Poppies Syndrome and the process of spiritual growth:

 “THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.”[1]

Tall poppies and all associated with it is a social cancer that undermines the efficacy of competent people to allow incompetent social parasites to continue to function at their own level in perpetuity at the expense of the whole of society. They do this by using the genuinely weak and infirmed as a means to validate their own shortcomings whilst actively seeking to destroy any of the competition.

Not disable – but destroy. They say: Never frighten a little man. He’ll kill you.[2]

It is in of itself a reason why the cloistered nature of the process of spiritual growth is essential. It validates: To Be Silent.

This view is harsh you may say. It takes the concepts in “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut into the realms of the disgusting and the very very real. The place where the weak, the demented, the infirmed and the Darwin awards of our world are championed by a few sly buggers who have taken the right to dictate to the rest of the planet that ALL of us must cut back our game, must deliberately celebrate and embrace the mediocre, must GIVE UP on success and continue scrabbling around in the dust as a means to make the less than successful feel better about themselves.

It is the theory that Oliver would have been slaughtered en-route to the cook and never would have asked: Please Sir, I want some more?”[3]

It is a socio-economic cancer and a disaster for society. It is one of the single most external forces of human nature determined to keep mankind under the thumb of ignorance. It is also prime mover to expel the mystic, the heretic from society.

It manifests where normal decent people are programmed to go out of their way to destroy anyone or anything that is successful. Educated people become heretics. Successful business people become pariahs. Any scholastic, business, social, family, personal, let alone personal development/success is treated as anathema to the common good and those same people go out of their way to stamp it out by any means.

The term “Tall Poppies” comes from accounts in Aristotle’s Politics and also Livy. Aristotle writes: “Periander advised Thrasybulus by cutting the tops of the tallest ears of corn, meaning that he must always put out of the way the citizens who overtop the rest.”[4]

Furthermore in Livy’s account, the Roman King, Tarquin the Proud, received a messenger from his son Sextus Tarquinius asking what he should do next in Gabii, since he had become complete ruler there. Rather than answering the messenger directly, Tarquin went into his garden, took a stick, and symbolically swept it across his garden, thus cutting off the heads of the tallest poppies that were growing there. The messenger, tired of waiting for an answer, returned to Gabii and told Sextus what he had seen. Sextus surmised that his father wished him to put to death all of the most eminent people of Gabii, which he then did.[5]

The phrase has been in current use since Jack Lang, Premier of New South Wales in Australia, described his egalitarian policies as “cutting the heads off tall poppies” in 1931. Conversely prior to becoming British Prime Minister, Dame Margaret Thatcher explained her philosophy to an American audience as “let your poppies grow tall”.[6]. Essentially “Improvise, adapt, overcome, conquer”.

Now we can understand Tarquin’s point of view in as much as dumbing down the rest of the population to remove that ambitious element that may usurp him and therefore undermine the existing stability. Ruthless but none the less effective.  In turn we all know what happened to Thatchers policies and ethos once the Blairite minions of mediocrity got hold of Old Blighty. We have also seen the same socialist stupidity at work in the USA with the concept of “No Child Left Behind” which is at direct odds of fostering ANY degree of excellence in any culture. On the one hand we have a ruler ensuring stability – on the other a determined effort to kill off innovation and any ambition to succeed at the grass roots as a means to maintain a status quo.

Perhaps we are  beginning to understand the evils of politically correct socialism as taught by our right wing nuke-toting forefathers.

“Tall Poppies” : It’s insidiousness could be see as tantamount to treason. Its’ supporters should be pilloried and then executed in the harshest manner, in public, and preferably with fire. Hopefully the grease in this pond-life grown fat on the success of other’s toil will burn all the brighter. Oh look – they are good for something.

For people to go out of their way to rip down and tear up any human need to do well goes beyond criminality. It essentially undermines us as a species. It is a crime against humanity.

We have all come to know this mechanism all to well. Any of us who have matured and as such have done very well for themselves. Need dictated that we do well particularly if we have dependants so we rise to meet the challenge  – we realise as in the immortal words of Tracey Chapman: “You leave tonight or live and die this way “[7]  – That coupled with  an odd measure of genetics, that protestant work ethic, competitiveness and a penchant for idleness that wanted the better things in life. To this end when any of us finally dropped the angst ridden teenager values, or the “pink” socialist proclivities of youth and realised “holy crap I have opposable thumbs, why the hell aren’t I running the show” we went out and made our fortune.

We took the dream and made it ours.

And have been resented by an underclass for it ever since.

Some argue that Tall Poppy Syndrome is not in fact broad resentment at other people’s success, but is rather a levelling social attitude, designed to deflate the pretensions of those who take themselves too seriously, or flaunt their success without due humility. But, since that last sentence is mostly cut & paste from Wikipedia to pad out this article, we’re going to dismiss this theory as bulldust.

If we look at Tall Poppies from a Colonial perspective – and this approach is taken because in contemporary terms it governs how the culture ticks in places like New Zealand – Tall Poppy Syndrome with regards to Kiwis tends to identify anyone who has distinguished themselves from their peers through success or achievement and tear them down, rip them up, set fire to them, and then piss on the ashes. We’ve seen this concept in practice all across the pagan community for example and generally whom ever happens to be doing the best out there has an invisible target on their head and is viciously ripped apart. IF ANYONE from outside turns up and starts doing well they will be summarily seconded to another’s cause and the outsider who means well and wants to share their success with others is promptly lead up the wrong path, and then socially destroyed as a means to maintain the status quo.

If said outsider refuses to take part from the get go – then it’s open season on the posh git concerned and the end result is the same.

Now it is unfair to assume this is a Kiwi-exclusive trend by any means – it can be said that people from every culture have some proclivity to make themselves feel big by making others feel small – but it’s an especially prominent trait in New Zealand, due largely to the same pioneer roots that made Kiwis such a strong, innovative culture in the beginning. That pioneering spirit saw any kiwi well as a motivator to push me to work hard and particularly so when they travelled overseas – always seen by others with a strong work ethic and can-do attitude – but on returning to New Zealand those very same travellers suddenly realised as a now outsider there are some serious problems in this locale.

Because they have become socialised to the work ethic and celebration of others’ success rather than vilifying it, it presents a quandary to the expat. By leaving the herd, the traveller has essentially divorced themselves from that cultural mindset and it means unlearning and casting out the new ideas in order to fit back in.

The tall poppies mechanism can work to a point in a small, agricultural community for example. But having one prominent farmer among hundreds of others just doesn’t look right. If everyone is able to work on even ground, however, they can share resources and information without one feeling like they are talking up or down to another. It works and everyone does well and it keeps people from each others’ throats. But on the world stage, and in the light of established and old traditions not to mention just common sense it is self defeating and ultimately suicide. At the very least it means that if you are undertaking a process of spiritual growth – keep your gob shut.

Like any socialist society: New Zealand has no heroes. Seriously – not one. Even dear old Barry Crump (genius of a man) was undersold on the world stage. Willie Apiata (VC) is rarely discussed these days and heaven forbid should it be mentioned the guy made it into the SAS (no mean feat by any measure) let alone being the 1st Kiwi to get the Victoria Cross since the WWII. When Kiwi’s elect for 9 long years a lack luster politically apt veteran of the worlds’ worst parliament for infighting and dirty tricks who then does NOTHING but undermine even further the cultural heritage of the now generic-cultureless-white-people™ – that’s exactly the result you get as an epitaph to 40 years of Feminist Marxism. (bless her cotton socks – but damn that’s homely) is not exactly the poster girl – and has replaced Margaret Thatcher in the mind of many an adolescent lad as the anchor to stop dead any impure thoughts (like Tits etc) .

But what contribution has said leaders made to that noble land:

Fuck all.

Imagine that – leaders that do nothing let alone make any waves, headway, or contribution to the world as a whole beside sitting behind a glass wall that reads: In case of War – Break Glass. So it is with the pagan community. A stunted, cultureless incestuous mélange of Americana, infighting and navel gazing. No change there then. But it goes further and is by far more insidious with the enforced poverty of information, let alone innovation. It celebrates its mediocrity. It goes beyond the lack standard nature of the global pagan mindset and takes it to a whole new realm of forcing others down to its’ level as well.

New Zealand like most failed socialist regimes,  is now populated by a people who have entirely lost their way, their history, their culture, in favour of Equality, biculturalism, apartheid, and an underclass kept in perpetual poverty due to the middle classed apologist stupidity of keeping people under the thumb of welfare. As such they are all the worst for it because Kiwis are now divorced from any means or ambition to retake control, let alone stand on their own two feet and feel good about it.

What a disgrace. Again Karl Marx takes a long well deserved bow.

And people wonder why 190+ people leave New Zealand EVERY SINGLE DAY[8]. How can anyone do well at all if the culture itself conspires to thwart you at every turn. How can a country that prided itself on its alternative communities and subcultures, it ceremonial traditions in the past (Whare Ra Golden Dawn et al) offer anything to the world in that light today.

Another look at Tall Poppies Syndrome is the WHY it happens from a psychological perspective.

Albert Einstein once said:

if relativity is proved right the Germans will call me a German, the Swiss call me a Swiss citizen, and the French will call me a great scientist. If relativity is proved wrong the French will call me a Swiss, the Swiss will call me a German, and the Germans will call me a Jew.'[9]

Some dear social psychologists put together a theory known as self-categorisation theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher & Wetherell, 1987)[10] which they used to explain Einstein’s predictions. The theory proposes that people change their view of the self in order to associate themselves with prestige and/or distance themselves from failure/negativity. According to this theory, jealously would never be a drive to criticise an admired tall-poppy as this would result in a loss of personal esteem. For example, in the colonial era, some free settlers did not want to relate themselves with Australian culture because it was tainted by Convicts. As a result, they demeaned Australia and instead they prided themselves on being English. They never criticised the King or Queen of England as to do would demean their valued English identity.

As for the outsider being a tall poppy however – jealousy most definitely plays a part along with the fear of any change that such an invader to the existing fragile balance would bring. Jealousy is the ultimate destroyer. The local yokel has no need to support the outside in the slightest.

As tends to be tradition in matters arcane many of us have for a long time realised, and made it clear to anyone they make a tool for, that those things are temporary. Infused with our power and the power of the very divine itself,  they are with us until they are no longer needed, or another lesson is in the offing. In short – all tools are transient, temporary. There is no point in bitching about losing them.  Some get stolen. Some just “walk”, others we consciously give away. What form these tools take – well that’s your call dear reader. Those possessions are transient and as such realising this goes a long way to realising that jealousy of another’s tools is just being daft. To boot – if you want a thing – do the work. Either it works or really you’re just another dejected hobbiest kidding yourself – well: which is it?

But what’s the lesson here and what does it have to do with Jealousy. We can look far and wide and in turn examined our own jealousies to other family members in the past, and how now a lot of us celebrate the successes of our friends, family and colleagues. We can even look upon the successes of mine enemies and can say – “now that was a job well done”. We may not like them, but we would be a fool indeed not to respect them. So what changed in our own psyche to facilitate this.

If we read the commentary of Rashi on the Torah: He defines the word for Jealousy or Righteous Indignation (Kinah) based on its context and appearance in the Torah with respect to an individual who settles a score to avenge the vengeance of a matter.

Say what!?

So if someone is envious of my success their feelings are based in the need for vengeance? This really had me thinking and in all of this is a serious lesson. Let’s elaborate.

From the get go we must take into account the incongruity that seems to make the human character flaw of jealousy singular and unique. With every other form of lust or craving (the very things we seek to control as part of the process of spiritual growth), one seeks indulgence and eventual gratification of an urge. If the yearning isn’t satisfied, the individual may become distressed. Any distress, however, only concerns the pleasure which he did not obtain. As soon as this pleasure is availed to him, his mood reverts to its original state.

This appears not to be the case with jealousy. So what’s going on?

When one is jealous of someone for something the other possesses, the focus of his envy immediately transfers from the object he desires, to the person who possesses it. Perhaps a form of projection. The jealous individual begins to envy and then hate the person — even after he has also acquired the very same object of their desire. While he might now own the same object, the hatred that preceded this ownership is still dominant. With Tall Poppies the reaction is not a long developing one – the reaction is instant but lets look further.

So let’s look at steps establishing the foundation of jealousy.

First, our man observes an object in someone else’s possession for which he has a desire. He says to himself, “My best-friend (aka BFF) has something that I don’t.” Let’s assume for arguments sake that the individual knows nothing of how to get results – cause and effect et al so oiling the cogs of the universe is beyond their ken.

Second, he says, “I also deserve the item concerned. For my friend is no better than I.”

Now it gets interesting. In the third step, he feels that, without a doubt, he is more deserving than his friend to have possession of the item in question. With that, he begins to imagine that, in truth, this object should have been his in the first place. He now wonders, “What is this usurper doing with my object?”

Ultimately, he blows reality out the window, his imagination holds sway and he enters into fantasy land angry that his friend “stole” his object. Toddler logic seems to pervade the situation: “It’s his – therefore it’s mine” or in the newly established reality  “What he has is really mine!” He now becomes enraged at the individual who “used to be his friend – that treacherous bastard” and thus we reach full circle back to Rashi’s commentary – and our jealous individual seeks vengeance — from the possessor of that object. This is the meaning of Rashi’s statement: the word kinah, commonly translated as jealousy, contains in it an overpowering component of vengeance. This is the SUCK in human nature and a good reason from a process of spiritual growth perspective to have our lusts under control.

How does this relate to Tall poppies. The theory is the same either from a social perspective or personal growth one. On the one hand the process of spiritual growth teaches us to grow, to evolve, to strive for excellence in the ever-quest for knowledge and the understanding of the great-big-whatever-it-is. By it’s very nature this forces emotional maturity, evolution, and one tends to do pretty well in life as well. As above so below.

But the world around us cannot be in the company of an established Witch, or Magician for very long and not “know” in some part of them that something is different. They see that the Witch is successful in their lives, yet the witness remains in self enforced poverty – the idiotic proclivity of contemporary paganism. Yet they see the magician build their tower, gain power and popularity and froth at how unfair it all is.

This determination is moronic. If you are to be successful as a parent, as an employee, as a boss, as a leader then it requires prerequisites founded in depth of character. In like manner a man successful in life tends to be successful in the circle – the relationship is symbiotic. Then in contrast we look to the eternal sisters of suffering who are perpetually victimised by life, the government, their families, their so called friends. The same people are always under attack, always being harassed, always the target of the psychic vampire and never do they look to the common denominator.

But we cannot as intelligent people forget the regrettable nature of many of these people is to be contentious, nasty, and vengeful throughout their meagre existence on this earth. They want to be the boss; they seek public acclaim and recognition. If someone else receives the public respect they feel belongs to them, they become uptight and distressed. They plot. They engage in disparaging speech and slander. This is their revenge against their own short comings. This placates and succours their anger. But not only do they tittle-tattle, they want to listen to it — any gossip, as long as it belittles and disgraces the individual who is the subject of their envy. Envy is the root of gossip. Look to the people that are the root of gossip and see a tragedy of humanity indeed. Shun them for they are – a pestilence – and in doing so perhaps their herd mentality will be over ridden and they will perchance open their eyes to their own short comings.

Jealousy, hatred, slander, vengeance – these are the roots of Tall Poppies Syndrome — all are expressed because our neighbour, our friend, our family has something that we would also like to have. It never enters our wits that perhaps we do not merit it, or that we did not work hard enough for it. It is reinforced and made impenetrable through generations of social programming and a socially acceptable veneer of humility we call the working class ethic. That pride in being the bottom of the barrel, knowing it, and giving the bird to the aristocracy not because the toff bastards have all the money – but because we can’t be arsed getting off ours to take control and realise this shortcoming in our character. It happens instantly with Tall poppies because that is the programmed response.

Stimulus: Posh Shoes – Response – must be a prick – I shall now persecute him

Posh Bike – must be a prick – I shall now persecute him and threaten to kill him and his family.

Stimulus: – Human being living a good healthy debt free life, works hard, has a great family, well developed network of friends, support and part of a strong spiritual community = Response:- heresy most foul – EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE!!!!

Simple really in all it’s utter tragedy.



[1] Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut

[2] Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist

[3] Heinlein: Excerpts from the Notebooks of  Lazarus Long, “Time Enough  For Love”


[4] Aristotle’s Politics (Book 5, Chapter 10)

[5] Livius, Titus. “The Earliest Legends: 1.54”. The History of Rome, Vol. I. University of Virginia Library: Electronic Text Center. http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=Liv1His.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=54&division=div2.

[6] Comfort, Nicholas (1993). Brewer’s Politics. Cassell. p. 599. ISBN 0304340855.

[8] http://search.stats.govt.nz/search?w=migration

[9] American icons: an encyclopedia of the people, places, and things …, Volume 1 By Dennis Hall, Susan G. Hall

[10] Self-categorisation theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher & Wetherell, 1987)

The Torah with the Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (RaSh”I) commentary

You too can celebrate the mediocre: http://www.kiwianarama.co.nz/

Or have a good whinge on: http://www.expatexposed.com about how the rest of the planet is getting wise to kiwiana horsefeathers

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