Really interesting thread Lorel. Insightful deliberations. Thank you for sharing.
I'm not sure exactly what you had in mind; so some of this may be off topic; but your ideas made me think of these things..
To bring up another thread from my OP:
They say, when you are ready to be a student, then the teacher will appear. That is, when you know what to look for, you know know what questions to ask, and the teacher (whoever and whatever that may be) will have answers fr you. If you do not know what you are looking for, you cannot be a student, and therefore you will not find your teacher. You don't know what to ask, the answers cannot be given to you.
On the one hand this is an insightful comment on the nature of the condition of being ready to learn; but on the other; I think it can imply that a certain type, will see and divide a 'handle' with which to grab and capture the heart of the sincere seeker. i.e. "When you know what you want to hear; someone will appear to tell you that very thing." I'm sure...this happens everywhere that there is a search for something...as you indicated. Personally I find - It is a tough thing to stay truly open and at the same time stay vigilant. ... I can see why some people become cranky old bastards who don't listen and can't hear a damn thing.
A few other thoughts (M 2 C)...
-In this life, AFAIK, the sharks and snakes will always be there. Hence the old saying to be as wise as the serpent but as harmless as the doves. (That said the doves can and do poop on people's heads from time to time).
-Eventually the true nature comes to the surface; but unfortunately sometimes it is too late. There is a saying; 'whatever is in your heart will determine what you say.'. It will come out. Eventually. Did you see "There Will be Blood"? Good movie. Just like that.
-Helping other weaker people is good. And threads like these reminding others that trickery and cunning are to dealt with..... reminds others to help where they can. I think most do, most of the time when they can.
-Silence can be interpreted in many ways. When someone is silent....in that Silence, the listener can confer the wisdom of the sage...or whatever else it is we tend to want to hear. A specific example; and in the context of, say westerners immersed in eastern martial arts, (where they don't speak the native language. Is that most of us?); if a teacher plays quiet or the role of the warrior sage; or just simply say little, or speak in circles, or deceit.... it is wise to be take stock of what is actually said, and perhaps even more importantly, what goes unsaid.
For instance; while, yes, there is the concept of the 2 digit IQ test
, it is another thing entirely for the type of politicking, power lording and fiefdom building, sniping, dishonesty, ruses, flow-chart bait and switch discussion, etc. that you mention.
-Acknowledging reality. The bullshit we are discussing ... is practiced. In the MA, any tactical endeavor, and adversaries in life, for that matter, we are instructed not to 'play the other guys` game'..but don't' be mistaken...this type of deception you talk about ... -is- the other guys` game...and, in many cases, it is just a game too. What to do? I think Dan and you nailed it up there.
-obfuscation. In Intel circles there is the concept of 'muddying the waters'. The best place to hide the counterfeit is right next to the original. That only works if you're not sure exactly what you're looking for. It is BS; but again; effective if you want to play that game... .and keep others off target. and in the dark, and to lord the information as power. blah blah blah.
In one way; yes; shame on you for being fooled (i.e. life is hard) but on the other hand; it is hard to swim with a guys foot on your head. yeah. I guess, all in all, this is a case, of sink or swim.
and to know, in life... sharks are patrolling these waters.
Knowing is half the battle.
note: The other half involves guns.
"Establish virtue and honor as your guiding principles and your will and purpose will be bound as metal to stone".
I think the best go this way.