OK…it was a given that I would go with that title since today is the Ides of March. Trust me, it will be my only Shakespeare quote for the month J I wasn’t necessarily going to take the obvious route with today’s post, but one of my coauthors reminded me of the day AND he wrote an excellent post yesterday about forgiveness that serves as a perfect segue into the topic of betrayal. (Cue the sinister music and dimming lights.)
Actually, this is a topic about which I happily admit I know nothing (cue the Sergeant Schulze fake German accent and cheesy mustache). Sure, I’ve had some arguments or disappointments from friends and family…undoubtedly fewer than I’ve created because of my own selfishness, stupidity or poor sense of humor…but I can’t say that I’ve ever been betrayed. So what is betrayal and why do people betray others?
Let’s look at some famous betrayers: Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, Guy Fawkes, Ephialtes of Trachis, The Rosenburgs, Kim Philby, Fredo Corleone, Aldrich Ames, The Falcon and the Snowman, Edward Snowden, and the list goes on. While the list can be grouped in a number of different ways, I think for this post’s purposes it’s useful to break it into two categories: 1) personal betrayals and 2) betrayals of nations. I think it’s useful to break it down this way because the Ides of March is both, but that is the rare exception in my opinion and exactly what makes Shakespeare so enticing to anyone not forced to study his works for homework.
Each of the authors works in the intelligence community so we attend mandatory counterintelligence training at least annually. Our community’s professionals in this realm are passionate about preventing future betrayals and have a wealth of information about the motivations of betrayers of nations but they generally fall into three categories: money, patriotism (their view) or feeling undervalued. What makes them take such a risky action in the face of well-publicized failed attempts is beyond my reasoning. It might be the fact that I’m an ENFP and my type spends a lot of time thinking through branch after branch of decisions which doesn’t allow for such myopic, self-centered actions.
The personal betrayals are even more illusory to me. Friendship inherently entails an emotional investment in another person that holds a tremendous value to me. I simply can’t imagine exchanging that over wounded feelings, ambition, money or other worldly items. This concept makes for entertaining movies (cue my favorite movie-Gladiator) and interesting plays, but I’m grateful I don’t have a Brutus in my life and hope I never experience that destructive action in my own life. I doubt I will because I know that character of my friends and I know their motivations. None of them are fueled by a desire for wealth, position, title or recognition. They do what they do because it’s the right thing to do for others-their family, their friends, their community or their nation.