Leadership is tricky. Power is a balance. And every human is capable of ‘sharpening a stick on both ends’. Welcome to Lord of the Flies.
For this project, we had to read, you might have guessed, Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This book, though old, relates on a very deep level to our society, and how pretty much tribalism runs our society. Now, tribe is a kind of loaded word. You may be thinking of ancient man, but the actual definition of a tribe is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.” So you can see how this definition of a tribe can actually apply to our society. The driving question for this project is actually
What is the Role of Tribalism in Society?
Before we get to that, I’m going to talk about, well, the book.
THIS PORTION OF THE POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ LORD OF THE FLIES, SKIP OVER THE BOOK SECTION.
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was written to sort of make a point. He is quoted as saying “Wouldn’t it be a good idea if I wrote a book about children on an island, children who behave in the way children really would behave?”. This quote is directly attacking R. M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island. In this book three English boys, Jack, Ralph and Peterkin, are the only survivors of a shipwreck. In the book, they quickly decide on Jack as the leader, and have many great adventures with inhabitants of the surrounding islands and themselves.
Golding didn’t think that was realistic. He wrote the Lord of the Flies to show how, when unbounded by the rules of society, people will resort to savagery. In the book, it was boys who lost society, but the idea applies to all humans. He just used children because they would lose their civility sooner.
Without civilization, humans resort to savagery.
All power needs to be balanced by a shared responsibility.
Innocent people have the ability to become evil when removed from civilization.
When no longer bound by the confines of societal consequences, humans feel free to act upon their initial instincts and detach themselves from civil society.
In the absence of societal structure, humans fall back on their violent and destructive nature. A primordial instinct is released.
The book is full of symbolism. Each of the boys represent a different part of society, and the different styles of leadership. One of my favourite pieces of symbolism in the book is that of the fire. The fire, the thing Ralph clings to for most of the book, represents their ties to society, their ties to civilization. At the beginning of the book, the ties are still there, and the fire burns well. The first time the fire goes out, when they killed their first pig, they lost a part of themselves. They killed a living thing, and that took something from them. As the book goes on, the fires continue to die, until at last, there is no society left. The final fire, the one that ravages the island, has no ties to civilization. It is just destruction, chaos, and everything the boys become.
The book was very interesting. Honestly, the ending was more traumatizing than I thought it would be. There was so much more death than I thought. Also, Rodger is a total psycho. I can forgive him for the Piggy thing, but wanted to behead Ralph and mount his head on a stick is a totally different issue. Children are psycho.
As I mentioned before, the project was on tribalism, like the tribes in Lord of the Flies. Tribes run our society, groups of people brought together by common ideals. In this project, we were studying some of these tribes. Some examples of these are self help groups, gangs, fan bases, but the tribe our group decided to study was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police!
The RCMP is a very interesting tribe, and a vital one in our society. They have a recognized leader, common values, and have a great sense of pride in their identity. We were actually able to interview a retired RCMP officer, Mr. Bob Bell.
Emily- What is the identity of the RCMP? What is their image, their values, what are they trying to preserve?
Mr. Bell- The RCMP has a proud history. Formed in 1873 by the government of PM John A McDonald as the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) the objective was to protect the huge empty territory between the new provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia. There had been a massacre at Cypress Hills there was fear of US military intervention, violence against the indigenous people by whisky traders. 300 NWMP officers marched west on July 8th 1874 to protect all of those issues which they did very quickly. The NWMP became the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP) in 1904 and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1920. When the Headquarters moved from Regina to Ottawa. My last posting before I retired was in Regina and my office was that of the Commissioner of the RNWMP. Cadets are taught and immersed in that proud history, taught those values and taught to preserve the image and values of the proud history of the RCMP.
Emily- How do you think having an identity benefits the RCMP (perhaps focuses missions, gives the public role models, etc.)?
Mr. Bell- The RCMP have a world wide reputation. The iconoclastic uniform is known everywhere. With Liaison Officers at embassies around the globe the RCMP Foreign Service have contacts with police officers and investigative agencies, for two examples, the FBI in the USA and the Australian Federal Police in Australia. ( I was a liaison officer in London, England and Washington DC at different times in my career. ) So the identity of the RCMP and its members gives the public a role model in towns and villages across Canada as well as helping the RCMP in their mission worldwide.
Logan- How would you des ride the community inside the police force?
Mr. Bell- All cadet training is carried out at the RCMP Training Academy, Depot Division at Regina, Saskatchewan. Every cadet must live in the barracks. Even if your home is in Regina you have to live in. Troops are formed 32 at a time. Cadets come from every corner of Canada and the course lasts for six months. So in terms of group dynamics, each cadet troop forms an identity, comradeship, an esprit de corps and friendships which last a lifetime. I graduated more than sixty years ago and I am still in touch with troop members although the numbers get less every year. Every year there are Troop Reunions, often held at the Training Academy, fifty, forty thirty years, after graduation they get together to swop stories and compare notes about their careers. For those who have retired from the RCMP there is the RCMP Veteran’s Association across Canada one in Victoria and another further north on the Island. So that tells you about the community inside the RCMP. I ended my career as the Commanding Officer of the Training Academy and Depot Division in Regina.
Alivia- Why did you join the RCMP? Did you always know that you wanted to be a RCMP officer?
Mr. Bell- I always had an interest in police work. I was bored with my office job as a cost accountant, living in Toronto, looked into joining the RCMP and had no interest in the Toronto City Police, I wanted adventure and thought that the RCMP would be more adventurous by sending me somewhere across Canada. Got that right as the cadet from Toronto was sent to Prince Rupert as my first posting.
Our final product for this was a keynote presentation to the class. My group, which you may have been able to discern, was Logan, Emily and I. It was a very interesting group to work with, seeing as we are all leaders in our own way. But it was a successful though interesting ride, and I think our final presentation reflects that.
Overall, I think we done good. Though it was difficult at first, finding deeper messages within the text really helped me understand the book, and it’s ties to our world. I also learned a lot about the writing process. We had a lot of writing in this project, including a literary analysis test and journals, and all that writing really helps. Sometimes in projects we don’t do a lot of writing, other than the blog posts, but in this project we were able to practice our writing skills. Also, I had a lot of practice doing MLA’s, because I did all of ours for the project. I enjoyed this project because I was able to improve some of my skills that aren’t often used!