I hate the BBC TV programme The Apprentice. There – I’ve said it and I feel quite alone is saying so! I feel alone as it’s one of the UK’s most popular TV programmes, gaining plaudits, awards and millions of viewers and it is peddled as very much the programme to watch – but I really don’t like it. I actually find it disturbing and worrying. I’d go as far as to say that it actually offends me.
The Apprentice is one of the ever increasing number of reality television shows to hit our screens. In this programme people are set tasks by Sir Alan Sugar to test various aspects of their business acumen. Each week, the candidates are divided into two teams and Sir Alan briefs them on the new task. The team appoints a project manager and this person is responsible for leading the task. After each show, the candidate who has impressed Sir Alan the least is ‘fired’ and usually in rather humiliating fashion. The goal for each candidate is to make it through all the various tasks in order to win a six figure salary as Sir Alan’s Apprentice.
Why don’t I like the programme? Because it has the affect of bringing to the surface all the aspects of the human personality that I really struggle with. Those aspects that I feel that as spiritual beings we should be moving away from. The candidates all appear to be prepared to sell their own Grandmothers if this would secure victory. Everything within the programme plays to their own ego and their inflated opinions of themselves. When they feel they’re in trouble; that is, when they feel they are in danger of being fired, the venom that spews from their mouths and the pure hatred that is sometimes evident in their body language in order to denigrate the others is nothing short of scary. Perhaps it reminds me too much of the office politics that all too often surrounds my working day.
Yet, I watch it each week. I think I watch it to convince myself that what I don’t like about it is really what I don’t like about it! Perhaps I want to see it improve; perhaps I want to see someone actually look out for someone else. Perhaps I want to see someone demonstrate a degree of understanding of another person, perhaps I want to see someone demonstrate empathy, put someone else first, recognise another for who and what they are as opposed to seeing each and every other candidate as nothing other than a back to stab and a carcass to climb over in order to get what it is they want for themselves. They feign teamwork, but in the end the single motive is about self. In other words, there is no authenticity, no transparency, everything is false.
I guess the reason I struggle is because everything about this programme challenges my own values. Some people have labelled me as naïve because of the values I hold, but I refuse to believe that other people exist merely as a means to my own gain. It is fellowship that is important, not what someone else can do for me to make me look or feel better. We should be celebrating each other, not denigrating each other.
The Apprentice appears to further popularise the misconception that we should use force to obtain our goals, that the means justify the end result. Conflict, it would appear, is fine as it brings about selfish ends, whereas what is truly important is purification, a stripping away of all the former, in order to bring about a deeper and fuller manifestation of ones Higher Self and therefore selflessness. It’s about a laying down, which, ironically, once we fully move into this arena, brings far more worth and value than one could have ever initially realised.
Domination is a theme that runs through The Apprentice, and of course this programme simply reflects where we are as a society. It’s all about survival, it’s all about profit and gain, whereas the magickal being is called to lay down and surrender, not control and dominate. Magickal power is birthed in sacrifice.
This is what Dion Fortune refers to as the death of the personality and increasingly I am beginning to understand what it is she actually means. I don’t pretend to have arrived at this point but I see more clearly than ever just what it is that is required of me in this moment in time.
Where it will lead . . . well, that has to be another story!