The first group of bridge players to be diagnosed with this syndrome were intercity team captains. All too often the weakest member of the team became the target of abuse by all the others, having been scapegoated for the team's miserable and wretched performances. The syndrome inevitably affected those, who were entrusted to make " selection " decisions, but ironically the consequence of the condition meant that captains became fearfully reluctant to do so.
In every instance, they found themselves unable " to see any fault on the part of the heavily maligned team member ". However, they were also acutely aware that their status of captain was under threat, if they failed to take appropriate action to appease the baying lynch mob. So once the PPS locked in, victims with this fear-induced condition, decided that the best course of action " was to wash their hands of the whole matter ". This required them to let a more democratic process of decision making take its course......which of course allowed mob rule to take over.
Indeed, any bridge player with this affliction is usually one who has acquired power, but then aims to retain and protect it........ even if it means selling his/her soul in the process. The fact that others are allowed, on occasions, to usurp their power, is of no real concern. For clearly, what on earth is wrong about being magnanimous, and choosing to embrace the spirit of democracy whenever the thorny problem of team expulsions crops up . The wash basin therefore becomes an symbol of delegated power, rather than one which depicts power draining away down the plug-hole.
Those afflicted with PPS start to believe that power includes the right to do nothing, the right to delegate....and of course the right to hold onto power. Moreover, if the mob decision to expel a team member proves to be a big mistake, then the victims of course can avoid any subsequent flak by smugly retorting, " It's not my fault ".
But the most shocking aspect of this syndrome is how it has developed over the years within the world of bridge. A whole raft of other symptoms are now beginning to appear, which clearly affect vast numbers of rank and file club members. These associated symptoms include :
- an unwillingness to learn
- an unwillingness to examine what is happening around them
- the fatal paralysis of judgement
- the weakness of complacency
- the preferred option of passivity
The Pontius Pilate Syndrome has become a very serious and widespread problem, which needs to be addressed by those in power. But tragically, those in power are the first to be affected...... causing them to turn a blind eye, to bury their heads in the ground, and to take themselves off to the washroom ( which happens to be very place where I hang out these days ).