A Story About Deafening Control

I watched the mother of a one-year-old child feeding her son with finely ground solid food. The baby was full but there was still food on the plate enough to fill two teaspoons. The mother insisted on the baby finishing the remaining food. The child resisted, but then yielded. He could not swallow the food and suddenly threw out all his meal. The mother got angry and started cursing her son. This surprised me. The event reminded me of the old adage that you can take a horse to water, but you cannot force the horse to drink it.

I find this incident revealing. We tend to force others and we mistakenly think we have control over them. This is not true even with a baby.

Managers who use command and control think you can control. I would say that the more they tend to control the less control they shall have. They have no say in controlling the reaction of the controlled. These managers react by imposing stricter controls.

Instead of reviewing their acts these managers, blame others for their mistakes. The employees disengage and resign.

Rached ALIMI commented on my previous post “Have we ever wondered why strings sound? They resist pressure. It is from that resistance that music is born. Just like in life: it is from the ability to resist the pressure of events that our best music will be born.”

I replied, “Now I say that the more we tend to control, the resistance we create and the music that we generate shall be deafening to our ears.”

Is excessive control an act of self-deafening?

Please share your thoughts.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. Your story of the baby brought up the idea that there is a time for everything.

    The baby needs the food, but not now. Perhaps it just had a burp stuck that had to come out before there was room for more. The mother knows how much the baby usually eats and is afraid that it will loose weight if it doesn’t eat. She thinks she knows best.

    The manager thinks they know best – and perhaps they do – but the organization can also have gas stuck somewhere. It can be a change that has not yet been digested. It can be a toxic climate. It can be “aching for teeth”, a natural change that takes up energy below the surface. The manager doesn’t always know what goes on below the surface.

    The difference is in trust both up and down. The baby must trust the mother because its life depends on her being trustworthy. The mother has to learn to trust the signals the baby sends – and to have patience to move at the speed the baby needs.

    Perhaps we should only promote into leaders those who can make a baby stop crying?

  2. Once again , loved to read well articulated article . Traditionally In India and adjoining areas wooden doll dance was very popular. they were made of wood ( Kath ) hence known as Kathputali. the controller with a set of strings use to control their motion . I think you showed that as picture. so, the people who were subjected to manipulation ( control) were also known as Kathputali . People even today do not like to be classified in this class.
    the analogy of string music is much appreciated and apt.

    Excessive control or Micro Management is most undesirable and time wasting. rightly you wrote that even a small child does not accept.
    it is the leadership, when magnetize the persons around, that they think and pick such actions which will give results in desirable direction

    • Great comment, DVINOD_IN and your Indian example is absolutely fitting.

      You highlighted also an important point. Weare against excessive control, but not agains timely and mild control.

      Your comment simply “magnetized” me