The Planner.

People thought he did plans, but he didn’t really. It was because the end result looked like a plan but that was a static view of what he actually did. Two dimensional and already dead on a piece of paper. His plans had an exact date they were born, a carefully thought through lifespan and a date on which they expired. A life. They squirmed, gestated pushed against his tummy and were living things inside him.

He gave them the spark of life because he knew precisely and instinctively where to introduce a small disturbance, a perturbation, an initial harmonic into a situation and being able to see its ripples, how each and every one of them would amplify each other. He, to a fraction of an ounce, understood people intuitively and more particularly, mass psychology, in a way that’s yet to be written down in any textbook and never will be either. That was his gift.

It was all about finding that one little innocuous point and pressing down deftly on it with the tip of a notional forefinger. A slow steady downward pressure, then holding it there at bottom just long enough, before finally snapping his hand away leaving no traces of his passing. If not held down long enough, there’d be no effect. If held down too long, a suspicious thing would result. Held down just the right amount of time and then withdrawn, then events would of their own accord start to unfold. The terrible majesty of the momentum of events would start to unroll.

Slowly but surely, the geometric increases in the amplifications of the tiny stimulus he’d introduced, achieved the desired effect. In the end, it was always the enemy’s strength, which he knew how to use against them, that destroyed them completely. Beyond a certain point, the amplifying resonance of the harmonic took over and it became inevitable; the enemy were doomed, no matter what they did. It became an unstoppable thing. The objective was always to undermine and shatter their apparent invincibility.

People thought that it was all about knowing your enemy but that was just a part of the story, you had to know how your side were going to react, just as well as the opposition. They were the only people who could undermine everything. It was so often your own side that were the real liability; they always jumped off too early at the first hopeful sign. Keeping them under control by introducing appropriate fore shocks of false dawns was just as vital, so they too had to became part of the complex equation he worked. They had to be conditioned before the main plan kicked in.

The more of the enemy and the stronger they were, the easier it actually was since it gave you more elements to work against each other, because the enemy is never as homogeneous as people think. There are always internal power struggles fueled by ambition. It didn’t really matter that they might have a superiority in resources, because it was who was making the decisions as to how those resources were to be used that were always the primary targets. Everybody else was a secondary or tertiary target, or at best a fortunate happenstance of collateral damage; a side swipe of the plan.

Once you removed those most dangerous leadership people from the board, confusion would always follow as the brutal jockeying for raw naked power began in full public view, and factoring in suitably predictable successors became part of the plan. By the time it was over, what was once a powerful monolith of an empire would become a loose aggregation of squabbling principalities each with their own little prince determined to put Humpty Dumpty back together again to their own advantage and with them in control. Once all the power grabs and back stabbings had been done, any agreement between them, which was beyond the momentarily tactical, would become impossible. That’s a mission over.

The other side also have plans which you have to learn to work with. When you’ve worked out their plan, falling into it, rolling around in it and embracing the unthinking submission of it becomes a pleasure. You now have them totally and can start to run your own contra narrative. Fall into the trap, because then they take their eye off you, and then they become your bitch.

A plan that has all the subtlety of a sledge hammer hitting you in the face will always be spotted and the requisite precautions against it put in place immediately. A plan that has the lightness of a feather falling out of a clear blue summer sky and perceived as some random act of God until it’s too late, is the sure and certain way to achieve your objective.

His plans always began with a single innocent feather.

He never wanted to be the planner, but accepted the role in the end. In business affairs, in familial affairs and even in the end personal affairs, it became him and the role he had to play on the stage of life. That certain coldness was always there, despite a deep personal feeling of betrayal of those he loved. Wriggle all you want, but there is a certain destiny a man faces at the moment of his birth and well ahead of his mother’s placenta following him out of the womb. The whole thing is already there planted in his head like a curse.

That level of understanding will in the end shatter anything other than casual relationships, unless you immediately classify most relationships as casual and stick to it, and that, while being a pretty good survival mechanism, is not a recipe for any lasting happiness. It’s people as paper tissues. Blow your nose on them and then fling; because they’ve got as little value.

Sometimes, you can win everything, and for all the people you treasure and love and are responsible for, but all you as a human being can taste is ashes in your mouth, and the sort of love for you is carefully circumscribed by them. The love is still there, but it’s guarded when it comes to you because they recognise there is in essence a stranger in their house.


Related articles by Pointman:

Intentions, profiles and predictability.

Sometimes, you don’t have to do anything but wait.

Say hello, wave goodbye.

Click for a list of other articles.


3 Responses to “The Planner.”
  1. Blackswan says:

    But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane, 
    In proving foresight may be vain: 
    The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men 
              Gang aft agley, 
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, 
              For promis’d joy! 

    Robert Burns may well have felt great empathy in his ‘poor wee timorous beastie’ mouse encounter, but he saw with great clarity what each had in common when their best-laid plans go awry.

    And then there are strategists.

    One can plan for every contingency, every foreseeable risk, but it’s the ‘unknowable’ factor in every equation that determines the outcome. That’s when a strategist comes into his own – dealing with consequences, on the ground, as they’re happening – who determines the victors and the vanquished.

    Yes, a single feather spiralling silently to earth can go unnoticed, but when it’s still attached to the bird the ensuing thud when it hits the ground is apt to get somebody’s attention.

    Pheasant pluckers take note! 🙂


    • Blackswan says:

      By the way, in Clarisse’s world perhaps her uncle was right when he declared that people, like tissues, could be wadded and flushed away. And so it is true for many in this world too, with people considered to be as expendable as any crumpled snotty tissue. Mind you, such flimsy items can serve a dual purpose – a paper nose-wipe can well serve as an arse-wipe too – and they really need to be flushed.

      However, does such intractable cynicism cause us to overlook the advantages of a fine linen handkerchief? Particularly when enhanced with the delicate embroidery of an initial, or perhaps a filigree of lace edging, such is the value of fine linen, its warp and weft giving it strength, texture and versatility. Such elegant accessories to one’s life can’t be wadded and flushed so easily.

      Not to be disposed of after their usefulness is done … they can be freshly washed and pressed, tucked into a breast pocket, and retrieved when needed to mop the damp brow of a friend in pain, dry a child’s tears, or pat grandpa’s dribbly chin when he’s had a little too much seasonal good cheer.

      Kimberly-Clark can keep their Kleenex …. give me a fine linen kerchief any day!


  2. waterside4 says:

    oh! come on guys, we really are scaling the alps of esotericism here. What possibly can a humble Irish pensioner with poetic aspirations contribute, apart from my humble admiration?


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