Ch. 10.2 – Third Party-ism
Cabal, conspiracy, intrigue, plotting, rumormongering, gossip, taletelling, manipulation, ploys, secrets, cliques, factionalism, infighting, squabbling, unrest, violence, protest, and even war, uprisings, and revolution. All these have one banal yet concealed common denominator: Third Party-ism.
What is a Third Party? Very simply, it is Person C, the ‘Third Party‘, talking to Person A about Person B, when Person B is not present. Person C knows the relations between A and B are intact, they like each other and enjoy a high level of open communication. This irks Person C or gets them envious, so they scheme how to disrupt the happy scene between A and B. It’s like, I say something to you about Joe or Jill behind their back. Cannot be simpler!
We do this all the time, so what’s the big deal? Precisely! We do this all the time, and we wreck families, friendships, organizations, nations, and Mankind! That is why this is severely serious stuff.
And Third Party is The Supreme Org Buster.
How does this work, and why is it so prominent as to be the top factor in destruction of human endeavor, relations and understanding?
Two people or two groups or two nations, could easily resolve their differences and rehabilitate communication between them, after a disturbance or upset or misunderstanding, if only they were left alone to deal with the challenging situation. Normally, the two parties to the dispute would just get together and talk to each other and exchange their views on the situation at hand. In almost all cases (and I believe the ‘almost’ can be dropped), sufficient communication can bridge any chasm in understanding, provided it is conducted patiently while listening to the other party and generously granting them beingness.
When C talks to A about B, without B’s knowledge, typically they would not be gushing praise. If C talks about B behind their back, it is because they have nasty things to say, intending to damage B.
Please, dear reader, think of yourself. Think of a recent time you spoke about someone else. At work, you may have gone to boss Finch to bitch about Mitch whom you claim ditched his duties. At home, you complain to Mom/Dad about brother. Or you tell your hubby his mom is a pain. Or you complain to the missus that her dad is a miser, he won’t lend a hand with the new venture.
When a person cannot take full responsibility for a situation at hand, when they cannot see how they are sole cause over it, they naturally blame others for creating the situation which had spun out of their control. Typically, at some earlier point in time, they were in control, they took responsibility because they started this project, but now they are losing grip. And when it’s going downhill, there is always someone else to blame! The only remaining ‘out’ to stay at cause, even feeble cause, is to complain and berate – still seems like doing something; slightly better than nothing.
Between two parties there is a certain level of understanding. When they have an upset, it is usually easy to repair with goodwill and some communication. Humans, by nature, abhor tensions and have an attraction to other humans. They seek peace and calm and wish to lead their lives with minimum interruption. We refer to this as, ‘The Law of Affinity‘. People are naturally attracted to others, they usually wish for each other’s company, desire to be liked and tend to see the good in the other. This holds true until …., until person A is made afraid or even just apprehensive of person B thanks to the efforts of person C.
Third Party Type A
Dave may wish to maneuver himself into a position of more influence in the organization. Or he perceives a development that may diminish his status. Or his own production statistics are low. Or he wants a raise in salary, but budgets are always limited. Or an attractive position has opened, and Sue is also vying for it. Or there are rumors of impending layoffs and he fears being in the list. In short, as you have probably noticed, life has its challenges, competition, and struggles.
Now, Dave is determined to handle the looming threat or strengthen his bargaining position. Dave does his best to appear confident, but to ensure he has the upper hand, will whisper to Mary’s ear that Sue is not doing a good job or is derailing his own great project or, worse, is friends with an exec at the competitors and leaking out confidential data. Mary, their senior, cannot repeat to Sue what Dave said, it’s all very hush-hush and was imparted to her under promise to keep it confidential.
Devious Dave has successfully communicated to Mary about Sue, with Mary’s consent, that Sue does not know about. It is acting on Mary like a withhold – something done that must be concealed. The candid relations between Mary and Sue are compromised. Sue may feel the change in the air but will have no idea what is going on. Dave is happy to have jammed a wedge between Mary and Sue; it seems to him he has gained an advantage over Sue. Ugly? Yes, but all too common.
Mary, the boss, has accepted this clandestine information thus becoming an effect to Dave’s scheming. It may work for him in this immediate situation but throws the organization into disarray and wrecks future cooperation among the trio – Mary, Sue, and Dave.
When Mary allows herself to receive information about Sue secretly, the third party mechanism is at play. The high esteem she had for Sue is tarnished. The affinity between them is lowered and the communication disrupted. Mary now ‘knows’ something about Sue from Dave but cannot repeat it to Sue. Mary feels that she must be careful of her, she suspects her and soon the fun of working together or the ability to cooperate is shattered.
Handling Third Party Type A
The guiding rule of conduct, for any executive or team member is simple and absolute:
Never, just never, allow anyone to talk to you derogatorily about another person without that person, the target, knowing about it.
I have had this happen to me innumerable times. A person walks into my office, telling me that another is doing something that prevents them from doing their job. I immediately call the person mentioned and invite them to my office, in the presence of the one complaining. I then ask the originator of the complaint to repeat his words in front of the person under question. Magically, it all sounds different now. Some big gripe is a minor misunderstanding. The person who complained might be a bit embarrassed by this surprising turn of events but my co-workers soon all learned they can never talk to me about another, without that person knowing about it. I always call the person spoken about into my office and the mystery or secret instantly evaporates. Moreover, the two involved, the one complaining and the target of the criticism, leave my office best friends ever. They both realize talking about the other to me will not benefit them. My refusal to accept surreptitious communications guarantees healthy, open, transparent relations.
This rule of given above has kept our group working together harmoniously over many years with negligible tension or upset. Third-Party-ism should be handled immediately and adroitly at onset, so it never snowballs to a point of hurting the high level of cooperation and friendship within the org.
Third Party Type B
This is when you observe two others constantly squabbling, refusing to communicate to each other and showing deep distrust or abuse. You know that if it were just the two of them, they could talk about it and resolve their differences or remedy the upset that occurred some time ago.
But if the situation persists, and resists simple handling, there must be a third party lurking. Someone, unseen to you, and even to the two parties at each other’s throat, is fueling this conflict. You will see this at your place of work, in the best of families, and between nations. These two just detest each other, and you do not know why, yet it’s destructive to the group, or to humankind!
Third Party Type B – Investigation
What you have got to do in this situation is a Third Party Investigation, also: 3P Invest. You summon each of them separately, quietly, into your office or, if family, over coffee at home or outside. You choose a quiet and safe space. You ask Person A all about Person B. Have them tell you how much they detest that person, how bad he/she is, the terrible things B has done. You then ask A if they saw this with their own eyes or someone told them. If it is a 3P situation, then someone told them about B. If it’s something A claims he saw B do, then it’s easier to handle. Did they talk to B about this? You, conducting the 3P Invest, ask A if they asked B why they did whatever B is accused of? Normally, when there is no 3P situation, Person A would talk to person B about their misconduct. You then ask A if it’s OK with them to invite B into this conversation, do they agree to schedule another meeting for the three of you. If A refuses to even talk to B, you know there is a 3rd party involved. You ask them, who has spoken to you about B, who told you this about B.
You now do the same with Person B, asking them about A. What was said, by whom? Did you see A do something wrong? Did you say anything to A about their conduct? If not, why not? Who else said something about A?
Once you have all the data about the 3rd Party, you arrange for a meeting with A and B. You do not worry much about the 3rd Party, Person C, unless you know them and want to mention to them that their conduct is causing upset and disruption of good relations. But handling the person poisoning relations is not our object, we are attempting to restore sound relations between A and B. Person C, doing the 3rd Partying, probably knows it and does so willfully to cause damage or gain support of one against the other.
At the joint meeting with A and B, you encourage them to talk about it. You mention that you found out it was Person C that was talking to one of them, or both, about the other and fomenting distrust. You now have these two, A and B, back in communication. When they know who is meddling between them and they realize there was a third person involved, it will become a joke, they will laugh it off, and harmony will be restored. Magic but true!
Ch. 10.3 – Third Party-ism in Historical Perspective
The duty of the leader is to serve their group or nation, to lead to more freedom and higher Power and Prosperity of each individual citizen or group member.
Yet in the broad picture of historic events, we see leaders of nations who act to galvanize support around them, or strengthen their grip on power, by inflaming hatred or stoking fear. Fear is an emotion that can be easily stirred up. If you point at a survival threat, and you repeatedly hammer on the perils and impending doom, you can set the masses whom you dominate on a cruel witch hunt or marching onto a horrific war.
I am of German Jewish descent, so for me, the case of Adolf Hitler’s manipulation of the German people is a striking example of this. Over hundreds of years, Christian Germans and German Jews enjoyed mostly peaceful neighborly relations, sharing workplaces, activities and most institutions. Jews contributed to German culture and many fought for their motherland in the First World War. Yet Jewish communities also held their own schools, synagogues, shops, even hospitals, without interruption. So much so, that most Jews neglected their Jewish heritage, while many converted to Christianity, one notable example being Heinrich Heine. The German Jews preferred to be ‘regular’ Germans, like my mother who grew up as a German girl in Berlin without realizing she was of Jewish descent – until told so by her schoolteacher, an activist for the National-Socialist (Nazi) Party.
Life was rather peaceful for the Germans, until along came a mentally disturbed individual, Adolf Hitler, who had to find a way to seize power. He figured, rightly, that nothing can unite the German masses behind him as a menacing enemy to be immediately exterminated. The logic is simple, “We must get rid of them before they destroy us.” “The Jews are not only after our wealth but worse,” a favorite line for racists and hate-mongers, “they want our girls. If we let them mix race with us, we will no longer be pure Aryans, the highest of races.”
With this logic, it was easy to mobilize the Germans to war against the lowly impure races – not only the Jews but also homosexuals, gypsies, the Polish and Russian peoples of the inferior Slavic race, Communists, famed artists and intellectuals, who must be hastily annihilated or subjugated to serve the higher race. Needless to say, there was never any doubt that, ‘Gott ist mit uns’ (‘God is with us’). And thus began a ghastly World War II that killed tens of millions, devastated Europe and Germany itself and ultimately pushed Hitler and his cronies to suicide. Yet the underlying mechanism that made this possible is Third Party-ism, the pitting of one group against another by an evil, cunning politician.
I live in Israel. Here too we see politicians extending their hold on power by demonizing the neighbor. Israelis and Palestinians could get along great were it not for manipulative leaders preaching to their audience that ‘we’ are different and superior, we are God’s ‘Chosen People’ (each claims it says so in their Bible or Koran), the others are the inferior infidels.
The peoples of the Middle East are constantly warned that ‘they, the enemy’ are predators, after our girls to dilute our purity. Israelis are warned of the Iranian threat, “who wish to commit another holocaust against us”. And the Iranians are warned of American-Israeli imperialism and depravity. This absolute nonsense is hammered in through education systems and state-controlled media. And dare you doubt it, you are labelled, threatened, and ostracized. Courageous leaders who preached a peaceful Middle East, were promptly disposed of, see the fate of Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin.
Third-Party-ism is in full blast, world-wide, to intimidate the populace and ensure the domination of the self-proclaimed saviors. For such rulers, the nation’s children are gun fodder, since Allah/God/Jehovah commanded us the destruction of the heathen, a petty price for eternal blessings.
The organization I was once a member of (mentioned earlier in Ch. 10, The Why is God), uses another ploy, called ‘disconnection’ aimed at those declared ‘Suppressive Persons’. Since I spoke my mind and acted according to my personal integrity, I was declared a ‘suppressive person’. Immediately, all other members of this cult were forced to disconnect from me. There, anyone who maintains communication with a ‘Declared Suppressive’ is instantly declared a suppressive themself. Thus, for fear of being ‘declared’ and expelled, hundreds have severed ties from family members; parents have lost their children, and lives have been shattered.
History is full of such dreary campaigns – mass murders and genocides of whole nations by another people who were told their victims are a survival threat. In all such cases, the only one at threat was the despot who used the hate and fear buttons to secure his stranglehold over his own people.