Great Nature’s perfect gene pool.

Pompey Pompey 2_40962106_portsmouth-getty416  A community, a team, needs a blend of all qualities. Luckily, the gene pool, expressing the wisdom of great nature, provides just that.

Our community football club, for instance, will need a left winger and a right winger (ho, ho, but the political analogy is the point). It will need a striker, and strikers are notoriously selfish and arrogant (not all, but many). They have to be individualists with cast iron self-belief and absolute ruthlessness. The team will also need a selfless water-carrier, always willing and available to help out his colleagues, taking short passes, giving short passes, running and running. In the middle it will need a couple of tough guys who won’t give an inch, tackle hard, and dominate (code for bullies). It helps to have an artist who can see a reverse pass before anyone else, or mesmerise the full back with his dribbling skills. The defenders need a socialist group ethic, all for one and one for all, work as a unit and cover for each other. The goalie, of course, will be mad.

You need individualists and collective team players, artists and bullies, selfish players and selfless ones, and respect for each of these contributions. In the boardroom you need a finance director who says, “No,” to people with good ideas for spending money. You need a hard-nosed business-savvy Chairman, who may lack charm and sensitivity but keeps the vulnerable club pushing forward bullishly. But you will also find on the staff many people who supply the kindness and sensitivity, help others where it is needed, act as emollient mediators and effectively become the imaginative lubrication for the rigid moving parts.

The leadership must respect the blend of all types and qualities, not govern for one group and label the other group as baddies. A team made up entirely of ruthless arrogant individualists would not win many games, but a team with none of them wouldn’t either. Great nature – through the gene pool – proffers the right number, and the leadership would be well advised to go with the flow of nature and see its job as blending and facilitating, not imposing one idea of a footballer.

Paranoids have a contribution to make, always alert to threats, suspicious of the opposition and the authorities, watching for others taking advantage. Laid back happy people have a contribution to make, calming the worst fears and reassuring rabbits. Romantics and cynics, grim number-crunchers and idealists are all needed to get the perfect blend for a complex human enterprise, and all are there.

It is a terrible category error to imagine that all the people of one personality type, or one economic type, or one working type, or one attitude type, or one class are bad, – even the insensitive bullies. They all have their parts to play if you can integrate them harmoniously. The category errors associated with “left” and “right” bedevil our political discourse and could easily be eliminated by a little philosophical discussion in schools. What kind of horrible team would you end up with if you tried to build it only of left wingers? It would not be able to defend for toffee.

Relax your fixed categories. A touch here and a word there will ease along a wonderful variety of qualities in the people you find around you, and you need them all.

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