My high horse

The point of this preparation is not to write off everyone in advance. It’s that, maybe, because you’ve prepared for it, you’ll be able to act with patience, forgiveness, and understanding.

~ Ryan Holiday

Recently, someone told me — literally wrote the words, “Why don’t you get down off your high horse and get a sense of humor?”

A bit of context: They had posted a large comment, and an image which I judged to be inappropriate and which I judged added nothing to the conversation at hand. I deleted the image. Below their comment, I added, “Commentary such as this are most welcome; inappropriate, rape-y GIFs are not.” They followed with the high-horse snark, and then a longish stream of discussion by them and others broke out wherein I added nothing further to the episode. Let’s set aside the question of wether my decision to delete the image was warranted or approved by the community after-the-fact.

I found myself thinking about the difference in our behavior…

…and the next morning, I read this quote. (Wow! What an instance of confirmation bias!)

…and that led me to this conclusion:

I have intentionally climbed up onto this high horse. I am intentionally doing my best to demonstrate through my behavior that I hold myself to a high standard.

Simply report problems

https://funnelfiasco.com/blog/2018/02/15/dont-need-answer-report-problem/

Now it may turn out that what a junior employee sees as a problem that they don’t have an answer to really isn’t a problem. On the other hand, some problems are much easier to identify than they are to fix. This is particularly true with ethical and cultural problems.

~ Ben Cotton

This piece is short, so my pull-quote may not make complete sense. I don’t like to pull-quote so much that you can get away with NOT reading the source because, in general, if I’m linking to it then I think the source is important enough to be read entirely.

I digress.

Ben raises a point here that jumped out at me once I saw it. I’ve been hearing and saying that same piece of advice and, yeah… it’s wrong. Yes, if you can bring a solution (or solutions, or even a half-baked first attempt at a solution) with the problem report, great! …but do not — never under any circumstances — refrain from speaking up when you see a problem. It’s either not a problem and you’ll level up when someone explains it, or it IS a problem, or it’s a system in-built blind spot that is a problem… or… you know what? Just speak up.

Honesty

https://www.meltingasphalt.com/honesty-and-the-human-body/

Humans are the most communicative species on the planet, but we’ve come increasingly to rely on the very cheapest signals: words. The problem with words is that they aren’t a scarce resource. Which is a more honest signal of your value to a company: when your boss says, “Great job!” or when she gives you a raise?

~ Kevin Simler

I’m not sure I have a take-away from this. I don’t mean, “I’m not sure I have a take-away to share“, I mean I’m not sure I have a take-away, for me personally.

I’m sure only that this made me think.

Nutrigenomics

http://www.danielvitalis.com/rewild-yourself-podcast/eat-like-a-centenarian-culinary-genomics-amanda-archibald-95

I always think back: We were in these small foraging groups of 30-to-50 people who were part of a larger tribe, who were part of a larger language group, and we were very connected to these people. We carved that 30-to-50 up, down to nuclear families, and we carved them up into neighborhoods, and now we’ve carved that up into even smaller units, and broken families, and now individuals, and everybody’s plugged into the internet with everybody, but they’re all alone.

~ Daniel Vitalis

Daniel’s guest, Amanda Archibald, discusses what Centenarians (persons 100 years of age and beyond) eat. It’s a fun and wiiiiiiide ranging discussion about food, human civilization and society.

Dead end roads

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/05/30/the-dead-end-roads-to-manhood/

Masculinity-as-cultural-construct is one of those beliefs that sounds good in the abstract, perhaps. But I think most folks, men and women alike, feel deep in their gut that it isn’t so, isn’t desirable, and isn’t working. As someone who has examined the research and history of masculinity, I find the idea of it being wholly a cultural construct utterly untenable. It is a conclusion one can reach only by willfully ignoring large swaths of the data and the human experience.

~ Brett McKay

Masculinity is not — not “entirely”, nor even “mostly” — a social construct. I believe one is free to attempt to take on whatever role one wishes. (I see that as one of the big benefits of our current level of human progress.) But if you attempt the role of a “Man”, you do not get to simply make up what you think a Man should be.

Witch hunts

https://tim.blog/2016/06/18/jamie-foxx-part-2-bringing-the-thunder/

If you ask anyone who’s read [Fahrenheit 451], that hasn’t read it in like 20 years, “What do you remember of how that came to be in the book?” They’d say, “There’s this totalitarian government.” The truth is, it was the people. It was the people who decided that any dissenting opinions that would offend specific groups in society, ought to be burned. So it was self-inflicted. I think that’s what we are doing right now. We are slowly torching the first amendment and free speech by, basically, going on these witch hunts. I think it’s the most dangerous thing in the U.S. right now.

~ Tim Ferris

Normally, the Tim Ferris show is Tim interviewing his guests. But this episode is a rebroadcast of Jamie Foxx interviewing Tim.

First, great book. Second, I’m a huge believer of the marketplace of ideas. (That’s a significant part of the reason behind my Movers Mindset podcast project.)

Treat people like human beings

http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/08/31/radicalizing-the-romanceless/

In the end what he wanted wasn’t entitlement to other people’s money, or a pity job from someone who secretly didn’t like him. All he needed to keep going was to have people acknowledge there was a problem and treat him like a frickin’ human being.

~ Scott Alexander

I’ve heard that men tend to be quick to propose solutions. That fits perfectly with my self-perception: When someone complains, or voices a concern, or raises an issue, etc., my first instinct is to try to find the root cause (or at least, a major cause) and then immediately start proposing or brain-storming solutions, things to change, action items.

It took me a long time to understand that what everyone wants, first of all, it to be understood.

Theodore Roosevelt On Citizenship

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/11/07/teddy-roosevelts-thoughts-citizenship/

Always, in any government, among any people, there are certain forces for evil that take many shapes, but which are rooted in the same base and evil characteristics of the human soul, in the evil of arrogance, of jealousy, envy, hatred; and to certain people the appeal is made to yield to one set of evil forces. To some it is made to yield to another set, and the result is equally bad in each case. The vice of arrogance, of hard and brutal indifference on the part of those with wealth toward those who have not, is a shameful and dreadful vice. It is not one whit worse than the rancorous hatred and jealousy of those who are not well off for those who are. The man, who, either by practice or precept, seeks to give to any man or withhold from him any advantage in law or society or in the workings of society or business because of wealth or poverty, is false to the traditions of this republic.

Wether you love it, or hate it, we get the government we deserve — the government we collectively earn. Each individual one of us, through our minute by minute actions, contributes to the fabric of our society.

If not “I”, then who? If I “check out”, ignore it all, or bury my head in the sand, then that is exactly my contribution to society. “NO!” I say. I’ll stand up for Morality. Ethics. Philosophy. Principles. Rights. The Rule of Law. My goal is not to “rage quit” from this Republic. I will not bitch, moan nor leave. But rather, my goal is to speak up when I’ve something positive to say, to contribute positively to society, and to engage others in meaningful discourse.

A Teaching Moment on Sexual Assault

weeklysift.com/2016/10/17/a-teaching-moment-on-sexual-assault/

This is worse than just “objectification” of women, because we would never tolerate similar thinking about actual objects: If your drive for acquisition overcomes your impulse control, you’re a thief, period. The strength of your greed does you no credit; you’re not complimenting the wealth of the people you steal from; it’s not their fault for having such nice stuff or displaying it so attractively; and we don’t give in to the inevitability of theft whenever valuable objects are visible to people who might desire them. When it comes to object-lust, self-control is the price of staying in civilization; if you can’t muster it, we’ll lock you away”

Instead of Dumbing Down

weeklysift.com/2016/09/12/instead-of-dumbing-down/

So that’s what I suggest as an alternative to dumbing down: See if you can care about your listeners or readers enough to understand why they should want to know this and what direction they can approach it from. Then work on your own understanding of the subject until you grasp it well enough to approach from that direction yourself. In the short term, that may not be as satisfying as ridiculing their stupidity, but in the long term I think it works better.