Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two Minutes Hate

No one hates people. They only hate ideas. In order to hate other people, a person must first dehumanize them in his mind. By turning them into something quite apart from (and especially beneath) himself, he regards himself as free to treat them as something other than a person—a demon or an animal, for instance.

In perhaps the most famous scene in 1984, George Orwell describes the "Two Minutes Hate." This odious piece of propaganda is specifically crafted to whip the crowd of Party Members into a mindless, furious lather. It depicts the anti-Party icon, Emmanuel Goldstein, spouting ideologies that run contrary to what the Party Members have been told to believe.

While the "hero" of the story, Winston Smith, secretly harbors a hatred against the Party, even he cannot deviate from the frenzy of the mob around him. Intense images of the massacre of Oceana's enemies in Eastasia (Oceana had always been at war with Eastasia), provoke peals of laughter and applause from the crowd. The image of advancing enemy soldiers elicit cries of hatred. The enormous face of Goldstein (the ultimate heretic) is even described as morphing into the face of a sheep.

Despite the absurd exaggeration of this scene, Orwell hits the nail on head in spirit. The periodic "Hate" is a reminder of the inhumanity and heresy of their enemies. The strength of the Party Members' hatred of people's they have mostly never met, keeps them loyal to (or at least under the influence of) the Party in Oceana. As long as the Party can maintain irrational hatred and fear, they maintain power over every aspect of the citizens' lives.

The reality of present culture is much less obvious, even to the purveyors of today's "Two Minutes Hate" (AKA: political pundits). Regardless of the name of the party they support, these pundits engage in not-so-subtle slander of their ideological opponents that bears a striking resemblance to the "Hate." The primary protocol is to dehumanize and even demonize their opponents. Upon this foundation of filth, they build themselves a reputation as political idols.

The difficulty with the real version of the "Hate" is that it is not as obviously false or objectionable as Orwell's version. In a recent article at the Center for Social Leadership, blogger Dave Wilson sums it up this way: "[Pundits] use accurate half-truths to demonize 'the others' and make them seem less than human so that they can justify hating them."

These "half-truths" are based upon the primary lie that all their opponents, without exception, are wrong and evil. From the starting point of believing in this lie, fans necessarily see the pundit's opinion as truth. Every thing he says is based upon what his fans have chosen to believe. Their mutual hatred for their ideological opponents keeps them from straying from the "straight and narrow." They each fear the other will suspect them of doubting the faith.

But speaking in terms of legitimate religion, what a pundit says cannot fall outside what is technically accurate in reality, or the whole edifice will be shaken. When the fans begin to believe unrealistic lies, the pundit becomes a cult leader. And while most people can fall into irrational partisanship, most won't cross this line. People want to be ethical, and therefore want their spokesperson to be an ethical person as well. They want an easy truth, but they don't want fantasy.

The trouble is, there is no easy truth. The real truth is always more difficult to live by than the accurate half-truths of an extreme position. It takes more energy to spin a top than to let it settle to one side or another. The scary thing is that we have to decide for ourselves (yes, each of us!) what the truth is. There is only one truth, but we all arrive at it from different starting points.

Hatred builds a wall between you and a vast source of perspective on the truth.

On Shyness

In following with my recent track of thought about introverts and extroverts, I was thinking about the concept of "shyness." When applied to human interactions, shyness is a manifestation of fear. Someone who is shy dislikes company as the result of some injury. This can be a real or imagined injury; a physical, mental, or spiritual pain; either having occurred in the past or believed fated to happen in the future. Simply put, the shy person fears he will be worse for the interaction.

This is a symptom commonly ascribed more to introverts than to extroverts. Being naturally opposed to outgoing interactions, large groups, and dynamic conversation, this is understandable. Introverts do tend to exhibit symptoms like shyness. They even commonly possess fear of injury from human interactions. So they are therefore more shy than extroverts—it is fair to say.

However, a tendency to withdraw from social events is a part of the introvert's natural disposition. It is their personal preference, and they have build up their strengths around this fact. An introvert's skill at composing a piece of music or writing a book, or even of capturing a character on screen is a direct result of their natural ability to be the proverbial "fly on the wall." What they cannot contribute to a conversation, they put down with eloquence on the page.

So to be shy is only a minor problem for an introvert. It is a fear that is almost not worth addressing, and certainly not worth beating out of them in the name of "productivity." Indeed, an introvert who is shy does not appear greatly different from an introvert who is not shy. The difference is only perceptible in their level of confidence. An unshy introvert is not afraid to ask questions for the sake of understanding, and they often enjoy a lengthy explanation.

To be shy and an extrovert is a vastly more serious problem. An extrovert's natural disposition is to talk, share, and try to involve others. When they possess the fear that interactions will harm them, their very nature causes them pain. Imagine you are a professional downhill skier, who just witnessed someone's severe injury on the slopes. You still have a passion for skiing, but now you have fear of injury. If you allow the fear to stop you, you will never achieve your full potential at your sport.

An extrovert's life is defined by social interaction. Without the ability to interact, they lack access to the source of their passions and purpose. In a way, they are cut off from their spirits. Having given in to the fear, they become like the walking dead, and simply follow orders—eagerly, but heavy-hearted.

These people possess the natural skills to be the movers and shakers. They are the ones to open doors for others. While introverts can side-step their shyness and still follow their purpose, extroverts must rush headlong through their shyness to reach their purpose. Introverts are able to express the plight of their shyness, and even to offer solutions, and ultimately this expression becomes their dream and fulfills their purpose. Extroverts who are shy can intake these expressions, and actually put the advice to good use—their dreams demand it.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Have you ever arrived at work quite unaware of the journey from home? Your alarm goes off, and the next thing you know, you're punching in. You don't remember your breakfast, that drive through traffic, that train ride, etc. What is happening around us as we jostle our ways to press #9 in the great factory of our mechanical society?

This sensation is commonly compared to an autopilot system, by which airplanes guide themselves toward the destination without the help of a human pilot. The autopilot handles the minor course corrections which would be extremely tedious for a full-time pilot. In this way, the driver of an automobile has an internal autopilot that shields him from the tedium of habitual actions. The human autopilot tends to take over any action that is repeated on a regular basis.

This is a desirable tendency for factory owners to exploit. If they can manage to set the habit in the first place, their need to enforce the habit decreases as time wears on. It becomes virtually impossible for a person to break this sort of habit, because they are unconscious of the experience itself. This is as true of workers in the factory as it is of customers who ultimately buy the goods produced by the factory.

This is especially true when the mind's consciousness is demanded by numerous urgent matters—the flashing lights and alarms of modern society. In fact, many of these things are designed to do just that! When politicians make a big deal out of an arguably small problem, they aren't simply being foolish. They are using slight of hand. As long as the people focus on today's most urgent issue, the politicians are free to manipulate to their advantage the more long-term, important issues without destroying voter loyalty.

The more the masses (both lower and middle classes) are on an upper class autopilot, the more predictable their behavior is to the human resource and mainstream marketing industries. In other words, the more they become like clockwork in a production machine. As this state of things increases, the owners of this production machine mentally dehumanize the "cogs." Once the cogs lose all humanity in the eyes of the ruling class, they can be subject to inhumane amounts of tyranny without the slightest sympathy from their oppressors.

The solution to this problem is prevention. This is redundant once the autopilot has been firmly set. However, no regime has ever or will ever create a perfect system of oppression in this way. Always the human heart will rebel against this, opening doors of perception just as the oppression seems to be complete. Tiny "flaws" such as this tend to spread discontent which eventually erupts upon the smallest setback.

What is the most memorable thing about your drive to work? Was it that guy that ran the red light? Or was it that surprise act of good will? Certainly we'd rather have the latter, but in either case we are brought out of autopilot by the unusual—by something the system couldn't handle.

Meditate on those things that cannot be mechanized. Find them in the world around you, put them into your daily actions. Help others to notice them. Break the autopilot's cycle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


There are three classes to our society: lower, middle, and upper. The lower class is comprised of individuals who earn their living with their hands. The middle class is made up of those who earn their living with their brains. The upper class differs from these two in that they don't "earn" their living at all—they "make" their living.

The upper class is comprised of builders in the general sense. They collectively compose and execute the major changes in civilization. Their wealth is not in bank accounts, but in assets they have built. Sometimes they fund their own ventures, and sometimes they partner with investors, but their aim is to produce value.

The middle class came out of industrialization—particularly the advent of the assembly line, which needed not only laborers but also specialists and managers to oversee the operations. They work for the owners or operate a "small" business which is an extension of their individual skill and expertise.

The lower class are also ultimately the consumers of everything produced by society. Since their work does not extend beyond their physical abilities, they rarely create value greater that what they consume. They work for the owners, and also work under the managers. By definition, they create nothing and merely operate in a reactionary mode—following orders. If they ever become proactive, they cease to be lower class.

In the early days, the middle class was not far behind the upper class. However, this may have had less to do with the height of the upper middle class and more with underdevelopment of the upper class's assets. As industrialization matured and organizations grew larger, the divide between the middle and upper became more apparent.

The system is such that the middle class's value creating ability is limited to what they personally can do. In the beginning, it would have seemed like a better deal to work a middle class job for what was a very good salary, and leave the change-making and ownership responsibilities to those who would have made barely any more for their efforts.

However, because the middle class is dependent upon the application of their personal skills, they are limited in income by the amount of time they have to ply their trade. By contrast, since the owners' wealth is not dependent upon an application of their skills—except what's needed to induce growth—the sky is the limit. As long as they increase the value of their brand, company, or organization, they increase their net-worth.

So the only thing stopping the lower classes from performing the effort to attain higher class status, is information. Proper education from the right sources—particularly, sources demonstrating the results you want in life—is then essential to rising above economic despair.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Humility and Pride

Humility and pride are connected, though not necessarily as opposites, as one might suppose. Humility is about putting others before yourself. According to the Christian worldview, this is one of the highest virtues. However, for many in today's competitive world of work, humility is seen as a weakness. Instead, pride (or even arrogance) is seen as one of the highest virtues.

In essence, pride is nothing more than the confidence which comes from a satisfaction in one's own accomplishments. Arrogance, by contrast, lacks the genuine accomplishment that is behind this good sort of pride. When pride is warranted, but is allowed to speak for itself, this demonstrates humility. So it is possible to be both proud and humble in this sense.

Furthermore, when the development of humility is treated as a goal in itself, it is possible to be proud of your humility. This is a potential stumbling block. It is one thing to be proud of your humility with the understanding that your humble nature will make a difference, and quite another to be proud of such an accomplishment for its own sake.

To know it will make a difference, is to use it as a stepping stone to the real work. To treat it as an end with no further goal, is solely to bolster one's own ego. To be perfect for perfect's sake is to have an excuse for never daring to fail. It is easy to be humble when one has no accomplishments.

Unfortunately for the soul which tries to live life to this purpose, "no accomplishments" becomes an accomplishment. It is an accomplishment that benefits no one on Earth. It is neither applauded nor recognized—even condemnation would be a recognition. The inevitable pride that comes from this accomplishment is therefore bittersweet, leaving the soul restless and frustrated.

To what purpose are you humble? Of what are you proud? What mark do you hope to leave on the universe?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Simple Yet Profound

Simple stories are for simpletons. Complex stories are for brainiacs. Both these groups are made up of individuals who have stopped learning. Simpletons—by which I mean the ignorant, rather than the mentally retarded—have a lid on their learning. "Brainiacs"—for lack of a better term—have a sort of floor on their learning. Both groups are kept within their respective circles by gravitating to greater personal preference and mental comfort.

Even those stories that are meant primarily as entertainment, necessarily inform our understanding of the world. When we partake of fictional stories, we gravitate to what we already believe, so nothing new can be learned. The trouble with such a trend is twofold. For one, it leaves a group in the middle feeling lost. For two, it destroys the ability of all three groups to understand the world and solve its problems.

Each group clings to their ideology, wishing it were possible to obliterate the ideology of the other group—or worse, existing in complete ignorance of any ideology but its own. Any refinement of expression is only a refinement of the ideology, which for the reasons I have already mentioned is not the unbiased truth.

When media creators seek to generate profitable content, they tend to serve one group or the other. This makes good business sense, and assuming they don't intend harm, is merely a response to market demand. To be a media leader, however, a creator must be more proactive.

It is a fair approach to first master an understanding of either group (and eventually both) in order to provide them what they want. This is an "easy" way to earn revenue. With this revenue, an aspiring media leader can fund the rest of his career. A surplus of funds is vital to sustaining the "anti-gravity" needed to capture an unbiased view.

In order to rise to the top of the storytelling industry, it is necessary to dig into the depths of the human condition. The consumption of "ideology-approved" stories by one or both groups will never generate the lasting impressions that truth will. Therefore, to become a leader it is further necessary to lead and strike a balance between these two groups—to be simple, yet profound.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Winning, Losing, or Not Playing

In success-oriented media, there is a lot of talk of winning and losing. I agree that organizational systems should seek to be "win-win" as opposed to "win-lose". In a win-win structure, there is some form of transaction whereupon two sides agree to a mutual exchange of value. In a win-lose structure, the goal is to use some form of force or exploitation (however subtle) to "get the better" of the other side.

Strangely, many performance leaders who teach win-win principles still tend to speak in sports analogies, which are always win-lose. By necessity, one team must win and one team must lose. Even a discussion of self-mastery in the individual as a key to team victory goes by way of one team winning and one team losing.

But how can both teams win? They can't. It is an artificial system of scarcity (there being only one trophy) which is designed to force a display of performance. It neither promotes nor rewards the different ways in which the teams are valuable, it merely applauds the victor. This may be fine for performers, but it is damaging to the psyche of creators.

All this success talk using the words "winners" and "losers" implies that to succeed is to play a game well. This is not the case.

To succeed as a creator, one must master his ability to learn about the world, then subsequently compose an expression of its truths. He cannot lose so long as he does not abandon the learning process. He cannot win, because he is not playing a game. His success cannot be called a "win" any more than exploring a jungle and drafting a map can be called such.

His art is a valuable artifact, measured in quality by a group of people who seek its usefulness. A different group may value a different map—say a topographical rather than geographical one—and would therefore require the efforts of a different creator. These two creators are not in competition, they are not playing. They are merely offering a composition of a truthful perspective to those who seek it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

You Have to Not Have to to Want to

This is an intentially confusing title, so that you have to think about it. Or rather, so that you want to think about it. Reading this blog is a voluntary act, after all. Are you picking up what I'm throwing down?

In this book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink explains how incentives to perform—"carrot and stick" rewards—tend to destroy productivity. While these incentives work well for mechanical tasks, they actually reduce the quality of performance for more cognitive tasks. Actually, the science says that most people would much rather do such work for a sense of purpose. In other words, we're looking for "spiritual" rewards rather than "material" rewards.

In RSA Animate's video summary of Drive, Pink refers to a software company called Atlassian. Their approach to this problem is once a quarter to give employees 24 hours of free time to work on whatever they want to—complete autonomy. This greatly increases performance; more bugs are eliminated, new products created, etc. Essentially, this proposed solution is to give more free time wherein people don't "have to" do anything.

This method makes sense because, beyond satisfying basic living expenses, people want to follow their interests. A person has infinitely more energy to explore what they are interested in that what they are not. In a rigid system of obligations to a superior, a person might become interested in a certain lead, but neglect to follow it because of other more pressing duties. Autonomy gives him the resources to pursue what only he can see and fix.

Apparently, there is something in our hearts that sinks under the pressure of imposed responsibilities. Without the lightness and enthusiasm possible only in freedom, certain solutions cannot be seen and certainly cannot be executed. Our desire to pursue our own interests as we define them is essential to free living. It is surprising what we can achieve when we want to, but you have to not "have to" to "want to."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How Much Change is Enough?

Simply stated: the right amount. From a grocery store transaction standpoint, there is one clear answer. It is neither too much nor too little. It is a balance; a FIT state. When a clerk counts back your change, there are certain bounding elements that are external to the desires of either party. Natural laws of fairness dictate that neither party get the better of the other.

However, this is not as clear cut or universal with regards to person change. Change, in both senses, merely indicates a difference between one thing and another. In the grocery store, your change is the difference between what you owed and what you gave (a $20 bill, say). In life, your change is the difference between who you are now, and who you become through education and experience. That education—or more precisely, what you gain from it—is the difference.

While I don't believe it is possible to be over-educated in general—especially when the education is broad—it is possible to take too many things to heart. In this way, an individual can needlessly toil to change himself in areas where the benefits of such a change are not worth the cost. Each individual is different from every other individual, of course, so this process must necessarily be tailored to suit each.

For example, a person who is an extrovert might find it difficult to focus on a lecture, daydreaming of more action-centered activities. They can't wait to get out in the field—for sports, sales calls, parties, or networking. They struggle to follow endless charts and graphs, even those which accurately depict the current situation and ought to equip them of their next move. Should they be trained in the art of memorizing these graphs, or should they simply be allowed to learn from trial and error?

In the opposite case—and, I believe, a more widespread problem—a person who is an introvert finds it difficult to focus at a party, desperately planning an escape. They can't wait to get away from the action—to recover themselves; to collect, categorize, and formulate an understanding. They struggle to take in the endless tidbits of information, when the real focus is merely to meet a great many people. Should they be trained in the art of networking, or should they simply be allowed the time to fully absorb each interaction?

Ultimately, the answer to the question depends upon and understanding of where you are right now, and where you want to be at some defined point in the future. Note that while the span of time between now and a dated goal varies by the goal and the person, for everyone who has a goal it is essential to commit to the date. When you set a date for well-defined goal, and begin to understand where you are right now, you can plot a course to change.

This too, varies from a learn-by-doing process to a carefully composed plan. Nevertheless, the main lesson here is that when we understand our strengths, we must utilize those strengths. For every strength in our character, we have correlating weakness. Never attempt to reach a goal by changing your inherent weaknesses. While this can be done, it is rarely worth it. Weaknesses should not be ignored—they are real obstacles—but for those boulders whose destruction risks the destruction of a correlating strength—again, it's not worth dying over.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Who? or Why?

There is a difference between the way a tradition murder mystery handles the perpetrator and the way a serial killer mystery does. A bloody topic to treat so lightly, I realize. However, murder mysteries in their core construct represent the very basics of all mysteries, however nebulous the "crime" and/or the "perpetrator" be. As J.J. Abrams remarked, "Mystery is the catalyst for imagination." And imagination is very important to creativity.

In a traditional murder mystery—or "whodunnit" mystery—the identity of the perpetrator in all its parts is kept strictly a secret. A series of clues mixed with misleading evidence teases the audience with a list of suspects. For this to happen, the audience must first meet the suspects. This must be a group of people equally capable and motivated to have carried out the act—at least at first, until suspects are eliminated by new information.

To reveal that the actually killer is not a person we had met, is to have cheated the audience out of any hope of figuring it out. Incidentally, to give the audience so much information about the killer that they do figure it out is to disappoint them. A good whodunnit delicately balances the audience's desire to solve the mystery themselves with the desire to remain challenged to the last.

By contrast, a serial killer mystery is a different animal. Unlike whodunnits, serial killer mysteries like "Se7en" aren't so much about "who?" as "why?" Typically the motivating factor for the detectives is a question of "when?"—as in "when is he going to strike again?" A story of this nature becomes a thriller as they try to determine the "why?" in order to get ahead of his plan and stop him.

"Who" a serial killer is, is a "serial killer." He is defined by his MO. In other words, the real villain of these stories is not a person at all, but the diabolical plan he is executing. In this way, the structure of a serial killer story has much in common with any conspiracy or manipulation story, regardless of the presence of impending murder. When a construct is laid for a large plan which is destined to wreak havoc (by design or because of flaws) similar methods of profiling the purpose and ideology of the perpetrator(s) is used.

Therefore, this type of story tends to open the door to deeper levels of philosophical implications. In the case of "Se7en" (affiliate link) the killer's plan is to make a demonstration of the "7 Deadly Sins" of Catholic literature. The film itself invokes Dante's Inferno (affiliate link), and makes a similarly gruesome display of sin and punishment. The irony is that the killer is acting as a sort of dark angel, delivering "God's message" through sin itself—even though I rather think the creators drop the ball at the end when assigning him the deadly sin he is guilty of.

All-in-all the point is that to be fulfilling and long-lasting, fiction must involve the viewers in the process of the story. Furthermore, it must lead them to areas of thought previously unexplored. This is the essential fascination with mysteries. Superficial mysteries of the "Clue" variety make for fun entertainment, but soon all seem alike. No matter the number and style of twists, "who" is still just an average person—boring.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Impact and Influence

A while back I wrote an article entitled Force and Fallout, which touches on the concept that an artist uses his force of will to create a great work. This impact generates a fallout-like residual effect. However, the more I think about these words, the more I find myself using them in the negative. What I mean is, these words are culturally loaded to describe unfavorable circumstances more than favorable ones.

When I was composing the article, I did feel a sense that I was not communicated my idea clearly, but lacked any other words to use. In rethinking this edifice now, it seems to me that an artist's work has more of an "impact." Related words, certainly, but with different attitudes.

"Impact" seems to express a willing movement among those on which it has an impact. For whatever reason, it invokes the image of a meteor (an otherworldly object) falling to Earth. People gather out of curiosity to marvel at the strange spectacle. Why it doesn't invoke images of death and destruction, I can't say.

Rather than fallout, a meteor would generate influence. This is perhaps the fault of a multitude of science fiction plots dealing with a similar scenario. Meteor falls to Earth, people gain strange superpowers, etc. In any case, the initial impact is sure to generate ripples which change things—even a little. Word about the spectacle spreads, and more people come to view and be changed by it.

But contrast "impact" and "influence" with the original terms of "force" and "fallout," to see a very different picture. The former are set out before a willing audience, and run their course naturally. The latter are introduced in such as way as to get beyond natural defenses, and so wreak havoc.

While both are a surprise, an "impact" is welcome, while "force" is unwelcome. Furthermore, "influence" is voluntary according the value of the impact. In other words, a meteor is only interesting for a short period of time after which it's just a rock. "Fallout" is not restricted by natural barriers because it has been forced past the audience's defensive filters—either by overwhelming them or by exploiting a weakness in them.

Many well-meaning "artists" exploit emotional channels, rely heavily on pervasive media, and/or lobby for government programs to get their message across. They want to change the world for the better. The trouble is, each person or minority group that tries to do this has a specific definition of what a better world looks like. When an idea is forced upon a populace—perfect as it may be for many—it necessary creates a fallout of animosity and other degenerative epidemics.

When people are allowed to choose, many will say "no" to perfectly good ideas. This is normal. If it's truly a good idea, they'll come around eventually.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Some people swear by the guidance of "signs." By this, of course, I am not talking about road signs. I am talking about coincidences which, in a certain context, can be thought of as an indicator of either correct or incorrect action. Sometimes these refer back to a choice that was made, and seem to define whether or not it was a good choice.

More often, however, people are fixated on signs that foretell something about a coming choice, or the results of a present choice. Part of this is fear. We try to externalize a decision we don't want to make. Therefore, we attach the decision to some arbitrary coincidence and call it "the will of God," etc.

The other part, is wisely differing to the "still small voice" within. Most of the time, difficult choices have a logical answer. The problem arises when emotions get involved. I should note here that emotions have their own brand of "logic," and must be considered as part of the decision.

When emotions are attached to a decision, fear clouds judgement. Our tendency is to make haste to relieve the tension by going with the loudest choice—the emotional one. Usually, we already know this is the wrong the choice, or there would be no indecision in the first place. What we need is something to crystalize the right choice, so it can withstand the flurry of noisy fears.

It is actually impossible to externalize a personal decision using anything other than another thinking person. In the absence of a qualified mentor, we look to signs to give us the extra push we need. I often flip a coin to make menial decisions—ones where I don't think I care about the outcome, but need to make some choice.

The interesting thing about this custom of coin-flipping is that it reveals the truly internal nature of such a process of decision making. Next time you try this, pay attention to your own feelings. I've been divided between two choices, flipped a coin (to externalize the decision), then felt I'd rather do the opposite choice. The coin's landing (the sign) doesn't control you, it merely reveals the choice you knew was right in the first place.

Use signs wisely. Don't follow blindly, but let them reveal the path.

Friday, October 1, 2010

September '10: The Month in Posts

Now is the time of the month when I have tasked myself to reexamining my previous posts. Both to weed out the bad and incomplete and to select the best of the best. This month has been on of the most difficult months for me to select the best from the rest. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am humbly proud of the compositions that have flowed through me. All that I can say with confidence is that I'm getting really good at capturing my own thoughts in writing—whether or not I am communicating clearly to others, and whether or not I am correct, remains to be seen.

Composition and Execution, part 1 - September 5, 2010
In my last post, I arrived at the conclusion that the fundamental difference between what I call "creators" and "performers" is in their focus on either composition or execution, respectively. I think it will be valuable to further explore the implications of this conclusion for a variety of societal roles. (read more)

Parental Guidance - September 7, 2010
"Parental Guidance" implies the parents' involvement. It is not meant to serve merely as a gauge of whether or not a child is allowed to watch something. It is as foolish to keep difficult media from a child who may learn lessons from it, as it is to blindly hand any media to a child regardless of the content's rating or the child's preparedness. Media is not a babysitter! (read more)

Initiative and Ambition - September 15, 2010
There is a myth that creative people don't like to take initiative. In today's execution-focused, performance-based world of work, initiative is seen mostly as an interpersonal quality which sets a leader apart from the rest. In reality, creative people simply have a less visible form of initiative. Because they compose a work as their primary form of productive action, initiative isn't seen by outsiders until the work is completed. And even then, it isn't appreciated on its own merit, but dismissed as "you have to start somewhere." (read more)

"Revenge of the Introvert" - September 28, 2010
The success culture in the United States is extremely biased toward performance, or "the playing of a prescribed game." This entails some manner of competition between people or teams, and focuses heavily on sales and marketing. All-in-all this requires skills native predominantly to the extravert. This means that a great number of introverts are being forced or are forcing themselves into roles (particularly at work) that are "counter-dispositional." Either that, or they settle for mediocrity at work, keeping their passions as hobbies. (read more)