In ancient times, animals and people were sacrificed in order to to cover the sins and blame of others and they were known as scapegoats. Nowadays, office politics often leads to debacles over who’s to blame for tasks that have failed. I’ve noticed that in a political office environment, the goal is not to further advance the business, but to make sure that you appear to be doing so. There is no personal gain from taking risks which leads to a big divide between employees and the company mission statement. Everyone focuses on making relationships with the right people and keeping things. EXACTLY. as. they. are.
I was watching Silicon Valley and I saw a reoccurring theme. When things go down the toilet, someone needs to take the blame. Sometimes it is so extreme that the CEO has to step down, but in the scenario created in this show, they put all the blame on one department which allowed the company to continue operating. In an odd way, scapegoats are living contradictions. At the one side they are powerless against the accusations that are flung at them and at the other end, they are the only person(s) powerful enough to diffuse a situation, making them out to be of utmost importance.
The term Scapegoat was coined in 1530 by William Tyndale who mistakenly read the Hebrew word ‘azazel’ (Canaanite demon) as ‘ezozel’ which literally translates to goat that escapes/departs.These goats were to be used as offerings and so this mistranslated version of (e)scape goat got carried into present day English and stuck. Like most things in our language, it doesn’t make sense but it continues to subsist.
In another one of my favorite shows, the twilight zone, a small neighborhood has some strange happenings and they begin to accuse each other of being aliens. This witch hunt leads to people getting killed and as they are still bickering, the scene zooms out to reveal actual aliens commenting how easy it was to create paranoia and panic by simply turning off the electricity. Conclusion, the easiest way to conquer the humans is to let people be their own worst enemies
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices – to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill – and suspicion can destroy – and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own – for the children – and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is – that these things cannot be confined – to the Twilight Zone.