The dictionary has something to say, here. The definition of complaisance in one of the sources I checked is this: com·plai·sance (k m-pl s ns, -z ns) n. The inclination to comply willingly with the wishes of others; amiability. complaisance [kəmˈpleɪzəns] n
Sheep and cattle are complaisant. As long as the grass is green and no wolves wander near, they are content to stand, even in the rain, outdoors and munch, moving only when the grass might grow too short, or the piles of ordure they produce a little too high. From time to time the tender ones are carted off to “somewhere”. No one of them left behind really notices or cares very much what that means for them.
The grass is green.
The shepherd’s whistle pierces the still air and the dogs are let in upon them, to run them here or there. But, the sheep know. The promise always is greener grass beyond the next gate. This has been the way. Always forward.
The shepherd never lies. So the sheep willingly obey. And, from time to time the tender ones are carted off to “somewhere”. No one looks up. The grass is green.
Soon, they will go forward once more, their slow ramble from green bit to green bit temporarily interrupted by the shepherd’s whistle, the little dogs busy at their backs and the frenzied nip at the slackers.
But the grass is always greener there, wherever there may be. The sheep neither know nor care. That the shepherd knows, and that is enough. Did the sheep once know? It is too much to think about.
The grass is always greener after the sheep have gone forward..
And, the way is downhill. Going forward is always easier when the direction is down.
Too late, alas. The cliff. Too late.
One , the last, turns before the plunge into darkness, and sees. There was no grass at all. The dogs smile. The shepherd lied.
But the sheep have been complaisant. They have been willing. They believed, if it can be said that sheep are able to believe. Some few may have even thought they were making a good choice. And why not? Every time they moved it was forward. It was green. It was down.
It was down.
Every change they made was a change to a better place.
Until the cliff.
“We believed unto death,” cry the sheep falling.
Now, I will beat you on the head until it hurts.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another’s vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages.
But, what is it when it leads to debt, weakness and death?
To whom do children in our schools now sing? Whose face appears on our flag? To whom do the sheep-like look for their “things”? Who promises them greener pastures?
How close is the cliff? Can you see its edge?