Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Golden statue of Netanyahu appears in Tel Aviv, jewishnews.co.uk, 06/12/2016
Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
— Daniel 3:4-6
Nebuchadnezzar has created his multi-metal dream statue as an actual statue, sixty feet tall and made entirely of gold. He then demands that every person in the kingdom bow down before this statue, in worship of him, the king. Those that fail to do so will be severely punished. Burned to death in fact. There is nothing vague about this edict. Do exactly what I tell you, or you will be cast into the fire. No exceptions, and no dialogue.
We don't have fiery furnaces in the corporate world, but we have managed to cling onto the term "fire". Do exactly what I tell you, or you will be fired. This passes as leadership, even in today's (supposedly) more compassionate world. Organisations are run on threat and intimidation. Compliance is considered to be a tool for good—the short-term good of the company and the shareholders of course, not for the employees, and probably not for the long-term. Having people be in compliance makes the managers, directors and executives feel in charge, and feel powerful. Power masks fear.
Perhaps already feeling some fear around the awesomeness of Daniel's God after the dream interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar decides to assert himself as all-powerful, lest the people start following God instead of him. Intimidation was of course the chosen technique to get such loyalty. Do what I say or die. It's so black and white, so simple, so utterly terrible. And so familiar. It's almost as if such texts as this are standard fare for business schools. They leave out the part where the arrogant ruler falls, of course. It is the method of control that is of interest. Those who rule large corporations today are not so different from those who ruled nations three thousand years ago. Caught up in short-term-profit thinking we forget that all such rulers are ultimately brought down.