The ‘they’ syndrome


“They really ought to do something about it”, said one student before our elections, pointing at the cracks in the library. Who “they” were or what “they” should do was, naturally, not specified.

It was just another example of what I have come to call the “they” syndrome after one student told me last time that she hates my articles in The Standard .

“What will you read then?” I asked. “They haven’t told me,” she said. “Who are they?” I asked curiously (I mean I haven’t written for a while since I was in a self-imposed exile).

She looked at me as if I said something peculiarly stupid. “They haven’t told me who they are, have they?” she said witheringly. I shouldn’t be so scathing. I spent 12 years in school and three more at UCU (so far) waiting patiently for them to shape my life while they deplored my lack of gumption in taking no initiatives.

When the doctor at Alan Galpin told me that they knew nothing about my fever and could not cure it (and told me to rest instead), I murmured “thank you”, hugged my pain to myself, and went away strangely assured that “they” were no wiser than me.

Any institution will have its “theys” who, everyone hopes, are taking care of the future, although, when pressed, no one is quite sure who “they” are.

“Almighty God”, we pray, and almighty He is, but that doesn’t mean He is our jack of all trades sorting out everything for us.

No, the excitement of Christianity for us is its insistence that God became man, that God works through us, that God can’t let me leave it to Him, because He is in me.

Frightening, when you think about it, but, actually, it’s what gives life its meaning and purpose. I would never want to think myself as a pre-determined doll, going through the motions in the hope of Nirvana at the end. I must be able to influence my will and ending, just as the Bible says I can. I suppose I take what’s called a high view of humankind in UCU, that is.

I go along with Dr. Ssenyonyi who said that divine seed dwells in us, and also with Athanasius (of the creed), who said, “He was humanized that we may be deified”. I refuse to be what many like doing here. If you have an issue, don’t claim “they”.

Take the high view and you give power to yourself, more things become possible. You respect the guild and senate leadership, and you read my articles.

I find, problems turn out to conceal opportunities, blocks turn into stepping stones, well, most of the time. You realize who you are and what matters.

Congratulations to all victors of the election. I’m watching you. For those that never made it, you will be fine.

Oh they told me Pius won the guild presidential race (did I use “they”?).