Conservatism

Conservatism is about conservation. It is about limiting change.

From the multitude of conversations I’ve had about the right side of politics, it seemss clear to me that the further to the right a person is, the more he or she is driven by fear. Fear of the government, fear or limitations or having freedoms or rights taken away. Fear of other cultures or unfamiliar sexual orientations – the Us versus Them. Fear of someone “in control”. Fear of change, of progression. Even fear of damnation or Hell.

It is a political belief mired in fear, of which paranoia is born. Paranoia begets conspiracy theories. From the Illuminati, “the bankers” and “reptilians” to all kinds of “Truthers”; be it 9/11, fake moon landings, hollow or flat Earth, telepathic beams from Polaris, HAARP, chemtrails or governments hiding alien life forms.

Paranoia and fear clouds the rational mind and promotes aggressive behaviour – as so often seen in online discussions with labelling of opponents, name calling, threats and the usual wide range of logical fallacies.

To have an intelligent discussion with a right-wing believer, you must first help him feel safe, or you will waste your time while he or she remains afraid.

Podcasts: Mental training, failing and getting to know Geir

Got rolling with podcasts. Brendan and I have done a few and released two so far. One is about mental training, the other about the benefits of failing. You can listen to both here: https://www.a-circle.no/podcasts

What do I do to help Mankind’s Plan B? What programming language would I save for posterity? How often do I cook dinner? Vegan much? What’s my worst side? Today Brendan decided to do one where he fired a long list of (revealing) questions at me. No preparations. Just quick answers from the top of my head, or deeper inside. You can listen to it here:

Maximum performance: Own your actions

To perform at your best, you must own your actions. You must be fully responsible for what you do and accept the effects you create 100%. Any advice from others is only as good as you own them yourself. Any method, methodology, system of belief or guidance will only help you if you can fully own them. And to own an advice or method from another, you must prove its effectiveness by your own senses. Anything less will disparage your responsibility – your ability to perform will suffer to that degree because you will be less yourself.

Be careful when you accept an advice or adhere to a method. Take care to make it your own before you start to truly rely on them for your performance.

Accomplishments is the key

Where do you get your energy? Beyond air, food, sleep and basic securities, when do you get pumped up, how do you get on fire?

Accomplishments. It’s when you accomplish something you feel is worthwhile. When you progress toward your goals, you get energy. When you move away from your goals, you are drained.

But you need energy to get stuff done. And when you are energy depleted, it can be hard to even envision getting started on some tasks, much less accomplishing something worthwhile. Even when you are well rested and fed, you can still lack initiative.

That’s when you start small. Accomplish stuff through baby steps. You do one tiny semi-worthwhile step that give you a small drop of energy. You use that drop to do another, fractionally larger step to gain a bit more energy. And so on. As long as you accomplish what you can in the situation you are, you keep gaining energy. Keep the momentum going. And you will get pumped and on fire.

But be attentive. Whenever you feel an energy drain, stop and reconsider. Do something worthwhile instead.

You get to decide what is worthwhile. You get to decide what an accomplishment is. It could be anything from taking a short walk or painting a picture to helping a friend in trouble, earning money or salvaging a country. You decide the direction, you get to feel the effect of your steps – toward your goals or away from them.

penguin_flight

 

Truth vs Emotions

Truth is what is real and factual. Application of logic yields new facts, new understanding of truth.

But logic breaks where emotions rule.

We see this easily in betting games. The term “pot committed” comes from poker. A person’s reasoning and logic goes out the window when he has committed so much money in the pot that he disregards his actual chances of winning and keeps throwing money into an already losing proposition.

We see this in science where a scientist can become so emotionally committed to a theory that no amound of contrary facts will sway him. Witness the late Fred Hoyle and his commitment to his Steady State theory. Regardless of how much evidence pointed to a Big Bang or similar theory, he kept on insisting that the universe was in a steady state.

We see this so often than in politics. People get so committed to a certain ideology that their intellect has taken a permanent leave of absence.

And of course religion. Forget the facts, the Earth is 6000 years old. Because an old book says so.

Science owns the realm of facts and truth. Politics and religion should be confined to areas where certainty is elusive – like what solutions to apply to global warming or praying for a loved one’s life. But when science comes up with a definite answer to how we should mitigate climate change, politics should step aside and let the factual solution be applied. And when the doctor with scientific certainty prescribes the medicine that will save your wife’s life, you can still pray – but you should not reject the medicine. Only when there are uncertainties regarding the medicine, then it boils down to judgement, ideology, religion or hunch. But when there is certainty, let facts and logic prevail.

Facebook discussions are rampant with emotions and virtually devoid of logic. And the way you can see this is the incessant display of logical fallacies; Straw Man, Argumentum Ad Hominem, No True Scotsman, Appeal to Authority or other Red Herrings. And the way you handle it is to keep calm, remain on the subject, observe the facts, listen carefully and stay with logic.

Logic: The science or art of exact reasoning, or of pure and formal thought, or of the laws according to which the processes of pure thinking should be conducted; the science of the formation and application of general notions; the science of generalization, judgment, classification, reasoning, and systematic arrangement; the science of correct reasoning. [1913 Webster]

Uncontrol

Businesses are concerned with controlling most aspects of operation. Finance, sales, manufacturing, logistics, projects, people, all kinds of processes, planning, even innovation. They don’t want to fail.

People are concerned with controlling most aspects of their lives. Money, job security, family time, kids, house, even vacations. We don’t want to fail.

Society is built upon the need for control. We don’t like when things spin out of control.

Control makes sure we don’t run into unknown territory. It keeps us safe.

It also hinders innovation. Precisely because it mitigates surprises by ensuring we keep out of unknown territory.

I advocate the occasional UNCONTROL. Just “letting go” may not be quite enough. We should sometimes make a conscious decision to uncontrol a situation. To really let it run its own course into uncharted territory. To let the project derail and let the sale cycle take surprising turns. To stomach the uncomfortable uncertainty, embrace failing and let new synapse paths connect.

Daring the unknown spurs innovation.