But – Military Veterans trying to flaunt their ranks after retirement looks ridiculous – because once you retire – most people don’t give a damn about who you were in the past.
Whenever I see rank-conscious armed forces officers and military veterans – I remember this article I had written a few years ago on the subject...
RANKOPHILIA – FAKE “OLQ”
RANKOPHILIA means Excessive Love of Rank (or Rank-Consciousness).
The greek word “philia” means excessive liking or love.
So rankophilia means excessive love of rank (or rank-consciousness).
And – an overly rank conscious officer may be called a “rankophile”.
If you have served in the Defence Services – you will have come across “rank consciousness” – especially in the highly regimented Army – where even some Army wives are excessively rank-conscious.
I have seen some such Rank Conscious Wives (RCWs) vitiate social life in the services.
We thought that as society becomes more egalitarian – the Army would also become more “modern” – and – “rank-consciousness” would decrease.
But – surprisingly – the opposite has happened – the Army is becoming more and more rank conscious – as more and more senior officers are being afflicted by the disease of “rankophilia”.
You may recall – that – sometime ago – a picture of a General delivering a speech while standing at a lectern decorated with a vehicle star plate went viral on the social media.
A few days later – there was another hilarious picture on the social media – this time a dignitary and his wife (both in civilian clothes) were sitting on a boat (pontoon) which had an army vehicle star plate fixed proudly displaying 3 stars.
I do not know where it is proper to display army star plates and where it is improper – but – we were told that – even while sitting in a vehicle – star plates are to be displayed only when the officer is proceeding on duty dressed in proper uniform.
A fellow “Fauji” Veteran told me that “rankophilia” is reaching epidemic proportions – and nowadays – Generals are using their ingenuity at displaying their stars in all possible ways – even while in civilian clothes and in civilian areas – on golf carts, golf caps, sporting hats, mugs, jackets, doors – almost everywhere where it is possible.
(A witty veteran commented that soon Generals will tattoo stars on various parts of their bodies including on their “xxx” – Ha Ha – I leave it to your imagination...!!!)
For military officer – being rank conscious may be fine – while he is in service.
But – some of these snobbish types even try to throw around their “erstwhile” rank after retirement.
(Ha Ha – some veterans will object to the use of the term “erstwhile rank” – and say that rank is for lifetime – okay – fine – but surely – after retirement – a senior officer becomes an “erstwhile” senior officer – actually – he becomes a civilian – since your rank has no authority/power once you retire – and – you are on par with any other veteran or civilian citizen)
A few years ago – I witnessed an amusing spectacle of a retired erstwhile senior army officer trying to pull rank and jump a queue for renewing his CSD Canteen Card – despite the fact that he was now a “retired nobody”.
Of course – he was put in his place by those veterans around him – and he was curtly told to get into the queue.
The chastened rank-conscious snob beat a hasty retreat.
A friend told me that a similar scene happened in a bank during the annual “life certificate ritual” for pensioners – when a bank employee curtly told a retired General to get into the queue – while saying that – as far as the bank was concerned – all pensioners were equal.
I have seen some of these “rankophile” officers being totally ignored at veterans’ meets.
Some “smell the coffee” and mend their ways – and they mix around with everyone – while others withdraw into their shells and get isolated – and are never seen again at these veteran get-togethers.
I can say from my experience that the navy is much better than the army in this respect – and – even very senior officers quickly forget about their rank after retirement – and interact freely with everyone (In fact – many officers are not rank-conscious even while in service).
TYPES OF OFFICERS
When I was in the Defence Services (Navy) – I observed that there were Two Types of Officers:
1. GOOD OFFICERS (Genuine OLQ)
These were the confident type of officers – who carried themselves with poise and dignity – they were well-bred, polished, cultured and courteous.
These “good officers” were honest, transparent, fair and upright in their conduct – and quite humble, modest and down-to-earth in their behaviour.
These officers did not need the “crutches of rank”
In fact – by their exemplary demeanor – these officers enhanced the dignity of the rank they held.
They always put “service before self...”.
These “good officers” were role models for their juniors to admire and emulate.
They truly epitomized the term: “An Officer and a Gentleman”.
These Officers displayed Genuine “Officer-Like-Qualities” (OLQ)
2. CAREERIST STATUS CONSCIOUS SNOB (Fake OLQ)
Then there were the insecure type – who were excessively rank conscious – haughty show-offs who believed in the dictum:
“Boot your Juniors and Boot-lick your Seniors...”
They were unabashed ambitious careerists – who put “self before service...”
For them – their rank and status were everything.
For these insecure types – rank, promotion and their military career was the “be-all and end-all” of their life.
They knew – in their hearts – that they lacked genuine “Officer Like Qualities” or OLQ.
So they faked OLQ.
These snobs faked OLQ by using bluff and bluster, pulling rank and overdoing the “Rank Has Its Privileges” or RHIP syndrome.
These Officers displayed FAKE Officer-Like-Qualities (OLQ)
For these “Fake OLQ” types – rank was everything – because they knew – that – without the crutches of rank – they were Zero.
So – they wanted to get promoted at any cost – and they were prepared to go to any extent – and stoop to any level – in order to achieve their sole aim of getting promoted to high rank.
It is this insecure and ambitious type of careerist officers – who often misuse their rank – and get involved in scams, scandals and unethical acts and tarnish the good name of the service.
Such careerists may get promoted to high rank – but by their unethical conduct – they terribly damage the reputation of the entire service.
Snobbish and pretentious behaviour is a sign of Low Self-Esteem.
Yes – Low Self–Esteem that is the root cause of RANKOPHILIA (Excessive Love of Rank or Rank Consciousness)
Rankophilia is “Fake OLQ”
As I told you at the beginning – the greek word “philia” means excessive liking or love.
So – “rankophilia” means excessive love for rank
And – an overly rank-conscious officer may be called a “rankophile”
A STORY FOR RANKOPHILES
Do you see individuals with inflated egos, status-conscious people, pompous persons, egotistical snobs and rankophiles around you – individuals who seem to be afflicted with rankophilia...?
Maybe you can tell them this “inspirational story” – in the hope that they will introspect, reflect – and change for the better.
DROP YOUR EGO
(AN INSPIRATIONAL STORY FOR STATUS CONSCIOUS SNOBS)
Keichu, the great Zen teacher of the Meiji era, was the head of Tofuku, a cathedral in Kyoto. One day the Governor of Kyoto called on him for the first time.
He gave his visiting card to the attendant and sought audience with Keichu.
The attendant went inside and presented the visiting card of the Governor to Keichu.
The visiting card had the following words engraved on it:
The Zen Teacher Keichu looked at the visiting card and said to the attendant:
“I have no business with such a fellow. I do not want to meet him. Just tell him to get out of here...” The attendant carried the visiting card back to the Governor with apologies.
The attendant told Governor Kitagi what the Zen Teacher Keichu had said.
Governor Kitagi said:
“I made a mistake. I will correct my error...”
The Governor asked the attendant for a pencil.
The attendant gave the Governor a pencil.
Then – Governor Kitagi took the visiting card – and – with the pencil – Governor Kitagaki scratched out the words “GOVERNOR OF KYOTO”.
Yes – Governor Kitagi scratched out the words “GOVERNOR OF KYOTO”
Now – the visiting card carried only his name:
Governor Kitagaki then gave the visiting card back to the attendant and said to him:
“Please take this visiting card to your teacher – and ask him again – if he would please give me an audience...”
The Zen Teacher Keichu saw the visiting card and exclaimed with happiness:
“Oh – it’s that Kitagaki...? I want to see that fellow. Send him inside immediately...”
MORAL OF THE STORY
So – that’s the secret of how to overcome rankophilia.
If you want to get rid of RANKOPHILIA – just DROP YOUR RANK and DROP YOUR EGO.
Yes – while in service – and – especially after retirement:
DROP YOUR RANK – and – DROP YOUR EGO
Why is everyone so obsessed with rank, status, power, wealth, fame and other egoistic trappings...?
Your INDIVIDUAL QUALITIES matter much more than your RANK.
Your EXTERNAL RANK will go away one day
Your INTRINSIC WORTH will remain with you forever – and maybe – it will be remembered as your LEGACY.
And – once you retire – what matters more are your PRESENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS – rather than your PAST RANK – which is irrelevant in modern egalitarian society.
Dear Reader: Do you agree...?
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