Sycophancy… This time I want to write about sycophancy, also known by the slang word ‘boot-licking’. It is a word we use frequently.
A sycophant is defined as “a person who tries to win favours from wealthy or influential people by flattering them, so that things turn out as he wishes, or so that he can continue in the status which was given to him by an organisation or in a personal relationship. A person who is subservient towards people who are above him in status, like people that have the power to dismiss him from work, remove him from the institution, prevent his promotion, or reduce his status or grade, or towards people who have an influence upon his superiors. They accept every wish of such people and approve of their views and thoughts without argument… Even if we have not witnessed it in ourselves, there most definitely are boot-lickers we know… What secret lies behind it, why does a person become a sycophant? On the other hand, why does someone become enslaved by a sycophant? Let us take a closer look… The first reason that springs to mind is insecurity; it is followed by other negative attitudes like making a habit out of living of other people, shrewdness, etc… Think about it, is there an easier or more practical way of safeguarding your interests? We witness that in some societies this behaviour has become the “norm”. I know, it crossed your mind that we are one of these societies! If generalised, sycophancy might really be a “clever” solution in an environment where a job is not given to those who are best qualified for it, where influential contacts and string-pulling are wide-spread, where rights and the law are trodden on, where the authority says “nobody but me can pass” and wants everything to be subject to its approval. But I am only joking… There is not a trace of intelligence in boot-licking. When it comes down to it, does the position he obtained in this way not make him suffer? Does not someone who knows constantly call? The responsibility lies with him and the power lies with the authority… does he not find himself stuck in between? Does he not constantly have to submit to the superior to which he once said “Yes, Sir” (The English have a very good expression for boot-licker, they call him Yes-Man)! Will it not affect his sleep? Does it not erase his personality, cancel his mental health? One has to find a different name characteristic for boot-lickers, like shrewdness, opportunism… And what about the authority that surrenders to sycophancy? Does one not develop the “You too, Brutus?” syndrome…? Will he not agonise in regret when he sees that he is being undermined? Will he not act in a manner which indicates that he will provide everything the other wants, even though he knows what kind of a person a sycophant is? Does mutual trust not find itself in temperatures below zero, like in a mortuary? One feels like saying “what a pity”… And will this game not end in disappointment? I feel like saying a word to comfort believers. Does the Lord not repeatedly warn us in strong words: “do not worship another!”, “do not attribute a partner to Him!” “Place the work in the hands of the competent”. Weather you are a believer or not, I think the last word should be these, and since we started with a slang word let us finish in slang: If you arrived at a particular point by a shortcut through boot-licking, why would anyone wait any longer, rapidly change into reverse gear to escape this lethal dilemma.