What’s Love Got to Do With It? (Unsolicited Advice from a Rich Buddha)

 

Will Wilkinson, the day after Steve Jobs’ death:

As an undergrad I was an art major. Frankly, few of my fellow art majors were talented enough to make a living at it, even after four (or more!) years of training. Sure they loved art, but in the immortal words of Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?” “Find what you love and never settle for less” is an excellent recipe for frustration and poverty. “Reconcile yourself to the limits of your talent and temperament and find the most satisfactory compromise between what you love to do and what you need to do feed your children” is rather less stirring, but it’s much better advice.

Steve Jobs’ gorgeous gadgets have no doubt helped some do what they love, and better. But mostly iStuff is so beloved because it offers such attractively pleasant diversion from the disappointment of having settled of necessity on lives we do not thoroughly love. To whom is watching Iron Man 2 on an iPad alone not settling?

For my part, I intend to be the dickens out of myself and chase my dreams like a starved coyote chases a vole because I’m so awesome there’s practically no chance this won’t turn out spectacularly well. Which is why I write blog posts for very small amounts of money in Iowa.

Will Wilkinson, a half a year later:

I think the most important thing I took away from all that time with my nose in happiness research and behavioral econ is that we overestimate the value of what we already have and so underestimate the upside of taking a chance, leaving something behind, and making a big change. Most of us end up where we are through a sort of drift. Sometimes that works out splendidly. And drift hasn’t not worked out for me. I really like what I do. But, alas, I don’t really love it. I never wanted to be a pundit or a “public intellectual.” I always wanted to be an artist of some sort and I still want that. I want to make awesome shit people love. It’s my new motto: make awesome shit people love. So here we go!

Many of the people I like and admire on the internet like and admire Will Wilkinson’s punditry. I don’t.

In fact, I count Will (there’s that first name blogger thing again) among a small group of internet pundits I avoid reading because Will’s writing reliably makes me uncivil.

And that’s a shame, because Will is a great writer, and the fact that what he writes makes we want to strangle him doesn’t blind me to that fact. I think and have thought for some time now that Will’s talents are wasted on mere punditry, and I’m happy to see he’s moving on to something more important, to him, to all of us.

So I offer Will my best wishes for happiness and success, and one (small) amendment to his new motto: Love making awesome shit people love. Love it, and don’t settle for anything less!

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121 thoughts on “What’s Love Got to Do With It? (Unsolicited Advice from a Rich Buddha)

  1. When he says “we overestimate the value of what we already have and so underestimate the upside of taking a chance”, I kinda see what he says… but all of the unhappy people I know (to a man) underestimate the value of what they already have. If you give them a present, they’re upset that you didn’t get them a different present. If you stop by to ask about their day, they’re upset that you didn’t stop by earlier or that you didn’t stop by later. When they talk about the past, it’s about how things used to be so much better than they are now… and this pattern repeats when they move to a different situation.

    I consider myself a fairly happy guy (compared to my early 20s, anyway) and when I look back at the times of my life that I had the most unhappiness, the solutions were all either unfixable by money (teenage hormones) or the amount of money required to fix them was negligible (a window air conditioning unit is the first example to come to mind and, lemme tell ya, the a/c unit that we got for $125 turned us from “augh, don’t touch me!” sleeping partners between July and September into “mmmm… that’s nice” sleeping partners). When I look to when I was happy, it was when I finally got down to the dirty work of being married to someone that I didn’t know that well and, yes, when I finally got that air conditioner. (While the generally happy people in my circle don’t have identical stories, they have family similarity.)

    All that to say: All of the people I know who are habitually unhappy? They underestimate what they have.

    All of the people I know who are habitually happy? They don’t. (And, when put in new/different circumstances, forge out new things to not underestimate.)

    Now maybe it’s easier to be a Buddha when you’ve been raised with a hell of a lot of privilege. Sure. The Bodhisattvas I know, however, do the same thing. They estimate what they have highly. They also have air conditioning.

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    • What Will is referring to is an experiment in risk-aversion were in people are offered the chance to flip a coin at better than 1:1 odds.

      As I recall, the median value at which people will take the bet is around 1.85:1, and the inference being that most people would rather keep the dollar they have than take a chance of ending up more than a dollar ahead on a 50/50 coin toss.

      That’s not exactly the same thing as recognizing how fortunate your circumstances are, but I take you point.

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      • I don’t know, David.
        The lottery seems to be taking in a lot of money.
        Every time I drive by the casino, the parking lot seems pretty full.
        They could just be there for the drinks though.

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    • I think there’s two different kinds of unhappiness here. You can be unhappy because there’s something you really need to do and can’t do, or you can be unhappy because you’ve got what you need and can’t acknowledge it.

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  2. The Economist’s W.W. is hanging it up?  That is fantastic.  I have the same reaction as you: he’s a tremendous writer, and tremendously infuriating. I’m also not entirely sure why; perhaps it’s the way he endlessly with people he actually despises for their politics but just pretends to be the best of bloggy friends with. (Perhaps I project a bit.)  I too hope he finds happiness – in particular I hope he hasn’t killed it dead for himself by overstudying it.

    …But of course, it’s not true that he’s hanging it up.  He’s “continuing his pro[fessional?]-blogging,” meaning he’ll keep writing for The Economist.  I’m sure the money’s helpful, but I have a feeling that it’s also because, whatever his protests, The Game has its talons in him as deeply as it’s got them into any of us – we who come here and mix it often in spite of ourselves for less than free . And why would he give that up when he’s making money off of it?  He doesn’t want out: if he did he’d have never gotten in.  What a poser.

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  3. …endlessly needles them, I meant.  I regret the venom of this comment bit.  But not entirely.  Not that much at all, really.

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  4. I’ve been watching Will try to find himself, out loud and in public, since I believe 1994.  It’s been fun, and I’ve known him since he called himself an Objectivist.  I wish him all the best and can’t wait to read his novel.

    My only criticism is that I wish he would finish more of the projects he starts.  And yes, I’m aware that that finger points back to me as well.

    (My novel, you ask?  I did some editing this week.  It’s going to work, I think.  But I’ll need a little more time.)

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    • Wow, that’s a long time.  As for our our Erik, undertaking a journey like that in public is exacting and courageous, and deserves more respect than I gave it above.  I guess I just wouldn’t mind stumbling into a paid commentary gig for an outfit like The Economist myself, so in this economy I kind of wish he wouldn’t be quite so cavalier about having it / not having it / Meh. But I’m not a tenth the writer he is, so he can be like that and I can nurse my petty envies.

      I wish him the best.

      1994. Wow.

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    • “I’ve been watching Will try to find himself, out loud and in public, since I believe 1994. It’s been fun, and I’ve known him since he called himself an Objectivist. I wish him all the best and can’t wait to read his novel.”

      It can be interesting, unless it begins to look like some pampered, self-centered, young man who has no idea how well he has it in comparison to others less fortunate. In many cases, it’s not the fault of the navel-gazer — they really just haven’t lived through desperate times and have no idea how a lot of people actually live from day to day, so their struggles seem to them worthy of sharing with others for some reason many wouldn’t understand.

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        • I dunno.  I tend to like it when people lay out their indecisions and doubts for all to see.  I get where Mike’s coming from, but I’m not sure that I agree that there needs to be some level of suffering achieved in order for that to have any inherent worth.

          The blogeshpere has pleeeeenty of people out there loudly insisting that they know everything.  I appreciate someone willing to admit they don’t, and try to figure it out “out loud” where people can see the process.

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          • Though it’s pleasurable to see someone else honestly doubt, there’s often an element of aw-shucks-ing about this Hamlet-ising of the blogosphere.  It’s wretched rhetoric and usually a smoke screen for some seriously dishonest disagreement.

            Yes, it’s irritating to read a know it all.   I’m with Jason, though, it’s far better prose when someone just goes there directly.   At least the writer lays out his own opinion, hopefully supported by all the evidence he can summon up.   The most mendacious sort of rhetoric pulls the opposition out of context with the Tweezers of Selective Quotation.

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  5. …Also should say; I thought he was great interviewing philosophers on Blogginheads.  Great presence; very quick and facile (the good kind) in limning complex concepts for non-specialists.

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        • I grew up in Nova Scotia James. That meant I paddled my feet in an expanse of water that spans continents and drowned Atlantis. Call me a water snob but yes, I consider myself very thoroughly land locked in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. Puddles, the whole lot of them! Muddy fresh water puddles abutting right up to that huge fresh water pond the locals have the audacity to call Lake Superior. There’s plenty enough water to drown in there but what the hell, I could drown in my bath tub and people have managed to drown in only a few gallons. I can’t muster up much respect or reverence for bodies of water I’m fully capable of drinking out of (though the pollution is a different matter, yuck!).

           

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            •  Hah! When it comes to oceans occidental is the only way to go; I don’t count any oriental bodies of water as much competition. Also I’m a liberal and thus forward thinking; the Atlantic is an expanding force in the world of oceanic affairs. The Pacific, while currently larger, is the relentlessly shrinking refuge of the hidebound traditionalists doomed (in the next few billion years) to be turned into a sea, a straight and eventually a scrunched up mega vein of oil. And what the heck is with those typhoons? Even their hurricanes are named funny.

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        • Feugh Blaise! You’re very well travelled. Well travelled enough, I bet, to know better than to tell a boy who was raised on the grim grey shores of the North Atlantic that any water that can be found in Duluth qualifies as big enough! You’re just yanking my chain and havin some fun at my expense.  Fie, for shame!

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          • Heh.  Been up there to Duluth?   The winds on the Great Lakes are big enough to founder mighty ocean-going ships.  Ten miles offshore from anywhere on the planet is still ten miles from shore.

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            •  Oh aye I know the Lakes have plenty of water in them; but they haven’t eaten a Titanic. They didn’t host two World Wars! Hell, you can even drink them. Who can muster up reverence towards bodies of water that are potable?!?

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              • Bah I’ve sailed on all 7 oceans and there is something to be said about a nice friendly bit of water.  Some of my fondest memories from growing up is seeing how far I can get a sailboat up on edge before flipping it.

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                • The toughest water I ever sailed was the Chesapeake Bay, for it’s not all that deep up where I sailed, out of North East, Maryland.   In four fathoms of water, the wind can turn the Chesapeake into a nightmare in seconds.

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                  • I’m an utter ameture for actual sailing compared to you gents. I can’t hold a candle to those experiences. So my Atlantocentrism is not only emotional but utterly based on subjective experiences. I’m a textbook oceanist.

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              • North,

                I propose a mutual exchange of value.  You join me in the Boundary Waters and I’ll join you in a big ocean trip.  Not to prove who’s right or what’s best, but to enjoy both wonderful worlds.

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                    • Alas, vegas is a no go for me so far. The assorted social groups have me nailed down around here at the end of May for my birthday. Believe me I’m mornful about it, the idea of replicating the League convivial environment only in real time conversation without the potential of drive by trolling is enticing.

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                    • @North–We’ll be going out of Ely (not sure how many people yet; somewhere between me and 5, I think), and entering the BW at Moose River North and shooting up to Lac La Croix. Whether we go west or east from there is still uncertain, but I’m leaning toward east, coming down to Four Town Lake and out Mudro (if you happen to know the area).

                      @Tod–I would like to join you all in Vegas, but with the wife and daughter #1 going to Europe this summer, and my current status of negotiations to buy a 40 year old pontoon boat, a Vegas trip just ain’t in the cards.  Otherwise I’d go, even though I dislike Vegas (who builds a city anywhere but on a lake, river or the ocean?), and I’ve always been sadly bored by gambling.

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                    • Alas Jame I’ve never been north of Duluth so I’m unfamiliar with the BW and the entire BW excursion experience. What’s an excursion like? You boat along, sing songs, fish drink and then camp at night?

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                    • North,

                      Singing is optional. I think drinking is required, although glass containers are forbidden, so we take more adult beverages in water bottles (I’m partial to port myself).

                      But, yes, it’s canoeing and camping.  A combination of streams/rivers (no whitewater) and lakes, with some portages.  Fishing for those who like it.  Campfires in the evening.  Crapping on a fiberglass seat exposed to the open air, sometimes with a beautiful view (but out of sight of camp).  Plenty of time to relax in camp–I’m not into hard-driving trips, preferring to take it easy and enjoy myself.

                      Basically 5 days in the out of doors without all the amenities of city life. No cell phones, no radios, few people.  Appealing to some, not to others.

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                    • Sure thing. No immediate commitment is needed, but I need to start getting a count by mid-late May. Between canoe rentals, permits and food, I’m guessing it will be about $200/person, not including your gas to Ely and whatever personal items you need.

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              • Have it your way. Superior is just another puddle, incapable of sinking anything larger than a dinghy. No true Scotsman or Newfie would ever sail upon her.

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                •  Aww Blaise, I don’t mean to be too down on the Great Lakes, they pay tribute to their dear mum Queen Atlantic like all proper occidental water bodies should. I’ll admit to a certain bias as well, the Atlantic rocked me to sleep in my Grandfathers fishing boat before I was old enough to even know what she was. For a mealy mouthed agnostic like me the Atlantic is one of the places where I can go to hear God when it’s foggy and the horns blow and then… softly… later… the echoes answer back across the waves as if blown from the shores of Avalon.  I was born beside those waters; my ashes will go back to them one day when I die.

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                    • In a good bit of serendipity in many dimensions, my family were traveling on a cruise ship wherein one of the “talents” on board was a singer whose stage name was, no sh”t: J.Bird (pronounced jaybird of course). He worked one of the lounges and while relatively young, was famous for being able to play just about any song the audience would call out. As I found out by hitting them one after another, there were three that he was never allowed to sing by “the management”. Top of the list of course was, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. Once he told me he couldn’t play the first I quickly guessed the next two. For a long time on this site I was hoping our JayBird and that J.Bird were one and the same. They have similar senses of humor.

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                    • I saw the film Almost Famous on an airplane.  The end made no fishing sense, because they edited out the pivotal “characters reveal their secrets in the face of an imminent plane crash” scene.

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              • they haven’t eaten a Titanic.

                This caused me to look up the figures for the Titanic and the most famous Great Lakes shipwreck (although I don’t know that it’s the biggest), the Edmund Fitzgerald.  Holy cow, they barely compare.

                Titanic:
                Tonnage: 46,328 Gross Register Tonnage
                Length: 882′ 6″
                Beam: 92 feet

                Edmund Fitzgerald:
                Tonnage:13,632 Gross Register Tonnage
                Length: 729 feet
                Beam: 75 feet

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  6. Everyone needs a break, from time to time.  I remember reading Will Wilkinson’s Thinking Clearly about Income Inequality some while back, probably at least a year or so.   Found it again online.   Wilkinson doesn’t understand as much as he thinks he does about income inequality.   Nor, for all his supposed research do I think he understands much about happiness.  Some time among the Buddhists and simpler sorts of Christians and that sort of folk might correct these misapprehensions:  clearly he’s never met many poor people.   Maybe going back to school will reintroduce him to the pleasures of genteel poverty, not that I imagine Cato ever paid that well.

    Happiness is an after-effect, a mirage, a byproduct of living well.   Happiness doesn’t have much to do with Things.   The Stoics taught us how this works.   We do not drift through life.   Each decision prunes away all the other potential choices.   Happiness cannot be sought any more than one goes in search of love.  Like love, happiness finds you.

    Love and happiness arise from being a stand-up dude (or dude-ette, it mattereth not).  Love is being the light in the uncomprehending darkness.   We ought not “love” what we do.  Love doesn’t enter into that proposition.  Love, that poor four-letter word, carries far too much freight these days.   For all the baroque richness of the English language, our adjectives of emotion are few and anemic.

    What matters is that we are loved:  if we are on the right path and humble enough to see ourselves as we are seen, others will come to rely on us and we will come to rely on them.   From that reliance arises the certain knowledge our lives have meaning.   Even the humblest street sweeper enters into that network of reliance.  

    Homo factor, man the maker, man the doer.    Make awesome shit if that’s what you’re sposta be doing.   Just be sure in the course of doing it that others actually want what you’re making.   That was Steve Jobs’ most awesome trick, to convince us we wanted his iCrap, convinced enough to overpay for it.  Stupid creatures that we are:  we’re more interested in the conclusions of others based on the Things we carry around than the people we are.

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    • The soul of man does violence to itself, first of all when it becomes an abscess and, as it were, a tumour on the universe, so far as it can. For to be vexed at anything which happens is a separation of ourselves from nature, in some part of which the natures of all other things are contained.
      In the next place, the soul does violence to itself when it turns away from any man, or even moves toward him with the intention of injuring, such as are the souls of those who are angry.
      In the third place, the soul does violence to itself when it is overpowered by pleasure or by pain.
      Fourthly, when it plays a part, and does or says anything insincerely and untruly.
      Fifthly, when it allows any act of its own and any movement to be without an aim, and does anything thoughtlessly and without considering what it is, it being right that even the smallest things be done with reference to an end; and the end of rational animals is to follow the reason and the law of the most ancient city and polity.

      ––Marcus Aurelius
      Meditations, II 16

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  7. seems like freddie’s characterization of you as a rich budda struck a nerve.  you tried to own it but it comes off as sour grapes.

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    • “Struck a nerve”.

      That’s one argument that has always irritated me. It basically allows me to say wicked things about you and then, when you get upset, instead of defending what I said (or apologizing for it or whatever), I just have to say “golly, must have struck a nerve”.

      I’m used to this sort of tactic from the socialist left. Well, when they aren’t bulldozing bodies into mass graves while bragging about the free health care and 100% literacy the corpses had before being re-educated by a bullet, that is.

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        • Yeah, I was kind of hoping that someone would express distaste at the example so I could use that.

          (I mean, a few months back, Freddie stopped by and complained about how the socialist left wasn’t taken seriously and I made a small joke about how “Well, maybe you shouldn’t have killed so many people.” Read the thread here! I eventually ended up apologizing to Freddie, like *TOTALLY* Beta, when I should have gone Alpha and said “I guess I struck a nerve!”)

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          • That thread is amusing.

            What’s also amusing is that I had always taken joey jo jo jo jo jo jo jo to be more of a Balloon Juice blue-teamer than a socialist. Maybe I was wrong. I suppose I couldn’t care much less, though.

            By the way, I do think libertarians tend to be a bit more hypersensitive than leftists (by which I mean people who are actually on the left of something other than Zell Miller). I suspect that this is precisely because the only representations of the left you get in mainstream American political discourse are so absurd that it’s hard to even get angry with them, whereas libertarians are to some degree engaged in that discourse. I imagine that if the left actually began to have a voice in that dicourse, misrepresentations and stereotypes would sting a little bit more, because they’d have the opportunity to do real damage.

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          • i can be both.  my name is from the simpsons.  homer comes up with a fake name of joey joe joe shabadoo junior and moe calls it the worst name he ever heard.  so i went with the worst name moe ever heard.

            or i could be a person who found this blog through sully and is sick of tribalism but has his own biases that aren’t fully congruent with a blog you guys dislike.  not that anyone asked.

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      • I wanted to add that, despite joey joe joe’s triabalistic anti-trabalist tribalism (tribalistically), I think Freddie’s jab probably did get to David: he went off on Freddie immediately, and it’s still in his head now. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing, since by “get to him” I mean it made him a little bit uncomfortable and probably made him think a bit. I don’t think that’s what doughy dough dough meant, though.

        Also, I think I mentioned this before, but every time David posts on his boat, I think of this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfISlGLNU&noredirect=1

        (If you’re watching that at work, use headphones.)

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          • What I was trying to say is that there are two (actually more, but for our purposes, two) ways of getting to people: sticking in someone’s craw, or just bugging them, making them angry every time they think about it, is one way. This, I take it, was the way that joey meant. Then there’s another way: getting to someone by throwing them for a bit of a loop, making them slightly uncomfortable, uncomfortable enough to figure out why they’re uncomfortable, if nothing else. That’s the sort of getting to someone that can make someone think about the situation in new ways. I was suggesting that it looked like it might have gotten to David in this way. Then he wrote his next post. He’s on a boat, mother fishers!

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  8. i’ll pass on considering it a gift.  the lesson i’ll take is that an opinion or observation that doesn’t comport with yours or jaybird’s must be because it is mean, was misread or not understood and is otherwise invalid.  tribalism is fun.

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    • That’s what’s so awesome about mean opinions. You can claim that the other person disagrees with them because the opinions are mean rather than because they are inaccurate. Hell, you can even argue that they’re inaccurate and all your opponent has to do is say “Golly, must have struck a nerve”.

      Which, to bring us back, is an argumentation tactic that irritates the hell out of me.

       

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    • fwiw, my own take is that if you are going to downplay others for doing the “tribalism” thing, you should at least not be the guy who comments on OPs without ever having read them.

      Often when I see a comment from you, you do not seem to argue against what the writer has said.  Rather, you seem to have said, “This person is from Team Blue, so therefore I assume his position is going to be X, so I will argue against X.”  But usually the writer never said X, and this makes you look, um… tribal.

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      • Often when I see a comment from you, you do not seem to argue against what the writer has said.  Rather, you seem to have said, “This person is from Team Blue, so therefore I assume his position is going to be X, so I will argue against X.”  But usually the writer never said X, and this makes you look, um… tribal.

        That’s exactly what I was thinking. My only encounter with Joey Jo Squared involved him coming into a conversation in the middle, seeing who I was arguing against (Elias, maybe?), deciding it meant I was a conservative, and ignoring anything I’d said. Tribalism is as tribalism does.

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        • i’m not sure i decided you were a conservative.  honestly, it’s not that interesting to me to “know” how someone self labels.  what you write speaks for itself and if i’m wrong, i’m wrong and we all move on.  or i try to move on and you hold it against me.  which is fine as well.

          i have noticed around here that there is a lot of pivoting to “process” (including but not limited to “civility” or “you didn’t understand what i may have failed to properly explain”) in lieu of addressing an argument.

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  9. objectively mean?  or subjectively mean so that you can avoid the content of them?  cause that dodge irritates me.

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    • If we can go back to the actual content of the accusation, what are we stuck with?

      Was it another case of Freddie being Freddie?

      If it is… well, I can see why “must have struck a nerve!” would be the go-to argument. If it’s not, then having your opening argument be little more than than “must have struck a nerve!” is doing a disservice to your middle and closing arguments.

      (Then again, if my main criticisms of another person were “they like sex and boats”, I could easily see how others would see that I am exposing far more of myself than I am exposing of the person I’m criticizing.)

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      • exactly, freddie being freddie, complete with his background and upbringing that differs mightily from rich buddha.  rich buddha sez:  “be like me everyone, grab the brass ring!”  that is fine but freddie opined that not everyone is similarly situated as a rich buddha.  rich buddha walks it back and apologizes (which should have been adequate).  now rich buddha is trying to own the term and i supposed it was because he didn’t like being called out like that.  i acknowledge that my supposition does not = fact, but it sure as hell seems that way to me.

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        • As insightful as Freddy’s background might have made him, he should also keep in mind that there are more ways to be insightful than the one he was given by his upbringing.

          (Edited by Jaybird: this was a lot harsher than I liked after I walked away. I was trying to strike a nerve and ended up hitting my own. So I edited the comment.)

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          • i don’t think anyone would disagree (even freddie).  i didn’t take what he wrote to say, “do just like i did” or “be just like me”.    i did take it to say that while david’s goal is worthwhile, it is extremely trite to say that the journey toward that goal is the same for everyone, as long as they fully commit and want it badly enough.

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            • I think that he argued that Personal Integrity was one of the highest virtues and that one should stick with it even in the face of being fired for, yes, Personal Integrity… and was talking about this having quit one job and starting another.

              Now, I’m a sucker for the domestic analogy (when I worked at the restaurant, I kept seeing life in restaurant terms… “life is a lot like baking bread”) and always dig it when people give their own domestic analogies. I am usually thrilled when it comes to pep talks that say “hey! You can be what you want to be, all you have to do is believe!” Why? Because there are situations where you’re going to win no matter what, situations where you’re going to lose no matter what, and nothing can be done about those. Nothing at all.

              What *CAN* be changed are the grey ones and the number one thing that will change the grey ones? One’s attitude towards tackling them. Bust your ass and fail? Well, you would have failed no matter what, right?

              Bust your ass and succeed? That’s worth singing a song about (even if you would have succeeded no matter what).

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              • i don’t disagree about attitude.  i do think that one’s ability to fully commit to a dream has to account for the conditions on the ground–kids, financial obligations, ill family members, etc.  sometimes those concerns unfairly force one down a path they would rather not take.  some people will say, “what a pussy, just go for your dreams and the rest will work out”.  others will say, “only a selfish bastard would abandon his existing obligations to chase a dream at the expense of others”.  of course there are many positions between those poles.

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              • Because there are situations where you’re going to win no matter what, situations where you’re going to lose no matter what, and nothing can be done about those. Nothing at all. What *CAN* be changed are the grey ones and the number one thing that will change the grey ones?

                God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
                Courage to change the things I can,
                And wisdom to know the difference.

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