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    Ghost Ship

            The term “Ghost Ship” is one that I use to metaphorically describe any organization that appears to be real, that appears to be strong and solid, but in actuality isn’t there; it’s existence is an illusion. From the outside looking in, it looks like a real, healthy vessel. But if you examine it closely, or if you get on the ship, the truth reveals itself to you. And it’s an ugly truth.
             Most of us have some experience with this sort of system, be it a dysfunctional family, or a poorly managed place of employment, or a badly coached sports team. All three appear to serve various functions, like love, support, community, service, or achievement. And on a very superficial level, they most likely do (even the worst run sports team on the planet gets out there and plays). But just below the surface, things break down completely. The family, or the company, or the team, is just a facade.
             Imagine being out on the ocean, and seeing what appears to be a ship sailing beside you. From this distance, it looks like a great ship. It looks real. So you make your way over to it and hop on board. Now you’re on the ship. Now you’re in it. At first, all appears normal, even wonderful. But if you’re paying attention, you slowly realize that things are very different here. The ship itself has disappeared. You find yourself in a sort of nether-world where nothing makes sense, and the rules of the world don’t apply here. When you’re part of the Ghost Ship, you find that it operates by it’s own set of laws that have nothing to do with reality. That have nothing to do with truth or integrity or honesty. The Ghost Ship is it’s own completely self contained entity. It’s own, totally fucked up, completely self contained entity.
             My own experience with a Ghost Ship lead me to beg, borrow, and steal from my own sense of self in a futile attempt to make the ship real. To turn the phantom into an actual living, breathing, feeling, compassionate, loving, evolving entity. But the Ghost Ship doesn’t want to change, so I can’t change it. So I don’t try anymore. I put the energy into making myself a better person instead of trying to make something unreal real.
             My personal observations, and they are strictly mine, regarding my experience with a particular Ghost Ship are what follow....

            On the Ghost Ship, Truth is merely a commodity. It is bought and sold, traded and bartered for, depending on the whims and wishes of the buyers and sellers. On the Ghost Ship, Truth has no intrinsic worth. It’s value fluctuates and changes depending on what other commodity Truth is being sold for:usually Money or Power. So Truth has no value. But Lies are priceless.
             Lies become the gold standard. The more valuable the prize, the more valuable the Lie. And a Valuable Lie takes great effort and skill to create and sell and maintain. And the Lie becomes the “truth”. And this “truth” has value.
             To accomplish this, the Liar must work very hard and put lots of energy into lying. Good deception, is, after all, hard work. The Liar must possess certain skills and attributes. The Liar must remove self examination, self awareness, and introspection. The Liar must not accept any inconvenient facts. The Liar must delude themselves with an endless stream of rationalizations and excuses. The Liar must constantly blame somebody else for their own problems and never take responsibility for their own shortcomings or mistakes. The Liar must endlessly spin reality to always put themselves in the right. The Liar must constantly re-write history in any way that best serves their shifting and all consuming agenda.
             Above all, the Liar can not appear to be lying. The most important thing for the Liar is that they appear to be telling the truth. If they are really good at that, then they actually believe their own lies and the process becomes much easier for them. Effortless really. And then they can lie forever. And it’s easy to stay on the Ghost Ship. The Ghost Ship becomes home. And the illusions of the Ghost Ship become real. And when that happens, they are lost. They lose the ability to realize what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
             What is your desire? More money? More control? More power? To hurt or punish someone? To assassinate someone’s character? Whatever you want, the right Lies, at the right price, carefully propagated, will get it for you. That is the way of the Ghost Ship.
             Like a dollar that’s worth 20 cents one minute and a pound of gold the next, Truth offers no stability, no benchmark, no standard from which to assert right from wrong, good from bad, fair from unfair, dream from nightmare, friend from foe, real from unreal, greed from altruism, cooperation from manipulation, scarcity from abundance. There is no objective Truth. There are no objective facts. Everything is subjective. Like a dream where the people change before your eyes from one moment to the next. Where the landscape is forever shifting. And as long as one stays on this Ghost Ship, the only way to function is to surrender to the madness; to accept the insanity. The only way to make sense of it is to have no sense.
             On the Ghost Ship, the only reality is that of the ship itself. There is no outside influence that can penetrate the thick wall of denial. There is nothing that can change it. Or influence it. Or help it. You see that the Ghost Ship is sick. The Ghost Ship is sinking. The only way to save yourself is to jump off. To abandon ship. To leap into the vast, churning ocean alone, and find whatever you need out in it. Because the ship holds nothing for you anymore. Nothing but Lies. And grief. And madness.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a Love Boat full of Wrongs) Reserved.

    Reader Comments (2)

    Good writing - it reminds me of opiate addictions - someone once described the opiate-haze as feeling "in the arms of the angels" - a beautifully decorated cake which holds decay and rot and poison inside (for those of us affected thusly). "An illusion"..........Thanks for the thoughts!

    March 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commentera fellow observer

    Fellow observer, thank you for your insightful comment. The parallel to an addiction is very appropriate, as is the cake analogy. And thank you for the compliment on my writing. It's wonderful to know that I reach people, such as yourself. And that you and others reach me...


    March 29, 2009 | Registered CommenterClint Piatelli

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