Why Argue On The Internet

It’s difficult arguing with people whose sole objective seems to be to refute, refuse and confound established facts. Even when presented with what is generally considered to be the truth arguments are brushed aside with either scorn or sarcasm (or both) to make the calmest of people want to go and kick a dustbin. Prove that the footprints and waving flag thing weren’t fabricated in some film studio lot. You can’t. You weren’t there. You lose.

Dealing with such a rationale requires special skills such as the ability to think and debate analytically even critically with split second mental agility. You could even be one of those mercilessly sharp tongued people who relish going head first into such debates with a troll but for the others, the rest of humanity, getting haplessly involved in such exchanges often ends confoundingly in bruised egos and blocked connections.

So what’s the solution? How do you reason with such logic without sacrificing firmly held beliefs? How to get out of it? Well, you could try psychology but like with teenagers it invariably backfires, antagonists are obtuse but not systematically stupid.

You could also try philosophy but again, you never know who you’re really up against and unless you know your Zeno of Elea from your Zeno of Citium it invariably ends badly.

You could also try neutralizing the Troll by letting him know you know where he lives/works, as one English rugby player did, which is OK if the troll lives down the road… You could try figuring out how you got there in the first place and discreetly leave the forum, comments section or thread. That usually works on Social Media, unless they know where you live.

Why Share Opinions On the Internet?

A wise person once said, “I’d rather be in trouble a safe distance away, than to die here for something stupid.”… Someone else said if you want to get out of trouble don’t get into trouble in the first place!

So why share opinions on the Internet? Why get drawn into a debate with a total stranger about something that isn’t worth it, that you have nothing to gain from – no really, you don’t – and no time for?

Is it because people think the Internet offers a safe haven in which they can create an avatar and be bolder, freer … more vitriolic, more aggressive in their opinions than in the real world?

An article in the Irish Times offers some insight into why and while yes, I was often mad at my parents it was a long time ago and I just don’t feel the need to rant and argue the whole day (and night) long with some stranger, surrogate parent or partner to exorcise some demon. But then, that’s what most rational people say.

So how do you explain why a nominally rational person gets all irate when a conspiracy theorist tells you that Apollo 11 was faked? Why? Mind games could be one reason. Some people just live for getting under other people’s skin and dangling a bait in some Twitter or Reddit thread is their idea of fun… Mind you, there really are people who believe the earth is flat or hollow or maybe both and that Chemtrails really are biological weapons or NASA geoengineering the weather.

Apples & Pears, a question of context

Following yet another shoot up at an American school, one social commentator, “thought leader” and prolific author commented on LinkedIn about the number of shootings in the USA comparing it with equivalent data on mass shootings in other countries. The use of statistics here was demonstrative, it was also, as one person pointed out, flawed cherry picking, lacking data on rapes in Sweden, stabbings in London and bombs in Paris.

I don’t know if the author had given any thought to comparatives, I imagine he had but his article didn’t reflect it. It would have been even more powerful, more demonstrative had he presented a complete set of statistics (Apples for Apples). It may also have neutralized the critics and deniers, although in the words of one manager from a previous job: Statistics show what you want them to show.

Fuzzy context and cursory research invariably lead to an unconvincing outcome, not to say the mother of all “pig in the muck” fights on Reddit. This is not how you are going to convince any Flat Earther, supporter of the US 02nd amendment or Ancient Alien theorist that their theory is hairbrained, faulty and debunkable.

Also, be very wary of Confirmation bias, cherry picking and comparing Apples with Pears. Context, parallels, comparisons, and data go a long way towards shutting down bias.

But the Internet, cyberspace, is more than reactions to some biased thread or some bot generated fake news article. To the joy of Internet utopians, serious, productive, altruistic, exchanges do happen, and while Master Yoda might say “For the dark side it will find you, if you look” he might also say “Others to promote good on the internet, encourage

 

Yodish translations courtesy of http://funtranslations.com/yoda

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Posted in Everyday life, Social Media, Society

Obscured by Clouds

Sometimes something happens that gets you thinking not so much about what might have been, if only… but rather about what might not be and it’s then, at that point, that you realize that the niggling feeling you’ve been experiencing is in fact the recurring dream you’ve been having squeezing its way through the more immediate problems that fill a day.

It’s a bit like the broken light bulb/Feng Shui theory – if it’s not working, fix it – except that here your subconscious is telling you there’s a problem, that there’s possibly a solution but what it’s not yet telling you is what the problem is, where to start looking or what the solution is, you’ll have to figure that out for yourself.­

My wife says that if a dream is trying to tell you something, as recurring dreams tend to do, more often than not it’s a light bulb moment waiting to happen and when on top of that you have that niggling feeling compounding things it’s time to do something about it.

My wife also says that, even if you don’t see it, every dream has a meaning and a purpose. Find what it is, know how to read it and above all, retain it – if need be, by writing it down – because there’s nothing worse than having a “Eureka” moment then promptly forgetting about it.
By the way, yet another of my wife’s aphorisms is “Don’t sleepwalk your way through life” which I tend to translate into “Don’t wait for life to happen”. Life happens anyway but nothing is stopping you from giving it the occasional nudge.

Jack Who?

Dreams are generally two things. They are either stories or they are messages. They might even be treasure chests buried on some Jack Sparrow-esque Caribbean island waiting for you to come and dig them up but there’s one thing they are not. They are not the reserve of the romantics (no offense meant, a “been there” experience of a 20 year old, entranced by Francis Lai’s OST Bilitis).

Dreams are catalysts and valuable sources of information, they are also indicators so take a minute to look at where they are saying. For example: Have you ever frequently dreamt of standing by an open window, in an elegant English country manor house and looking out over an impeccably kept garden, being able to see the grounds albeit quite a way off into the distance but never beyond because the view was Obscured by Clouds. And then one day, you had the same dream only this time the clouds had parted giving you a glimpse of what was beyond? Speaks reams doesn’t it?

Rationale and quant by day…

When your day job is to be rational and focused on specific problems, requiring immediate solutions you tend to forget the vast quantity of information the brain actually puts to one side because it’s not needed right away. The fact is though the information is being stored in the subconscious waiting for the right moment… the right stimulus… to resurface and you’d be surprised, no, wait, on second thoughts you shouldn’t be surprised by your brain’s inherent – read ancestral – faculty for regurgitating the most aimless of images at the oddest of times for no obvious reason, and being “ancestral” they may not be totally aimless. One plausible explanation might be that tired of being jumped on by predators our ancestors learnt to act on cerebral alerts to avoid ending up in some sabre tooth tiger’s stomach.

There are ways of recalling information from the subconscious and tapping into the images your brain captures. For me, this usually, but not only, happens between two sleep cycles. It can also happen during one of those “Déjà vu” experiences and exceptional as they are, these experiences are not revelations in themselves but the hosts for something a lot more phenomenal.

So you see. You don’t have to be a Nikola Tesla or a Srinivasa Ramanujan nor draw on synthetic stimuli to have a revelation and access the wealth of valuable information your brain processes. Giving sense to a dream and finding unexpected, even unhoped for solutions to problems is a process within the reach of all… you just have to give it some thought, and, oh, good music helps too.

Posted in Everyday life

Alexa! Give me 4 Ways To Get Rich… Quick.

Scrooge McDuck meets LaLa lands

Someone once said the thing about making money is you have to be smart & lucky. Getting off your butt in the first place helps as well.

What follows is a tongue in cheek look at getting off the butt and finding ways of getting rich like those household name billionaires we all know (but without taking 30 years to build an empire or worrying about minor details such as jail time if things don’t pan out as expected). Believe me, finding the content was the easy part. Finding the title was something else.
For example, I hesitated between “Teach a man to fish, like Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos” and “How to be bigly smart & rich, like, uh, say, Bill Gates” but found the one too obscure and the other too Trumpian and Valley Girl-ish… Me (waking the Amazon Echo device): Alexa! How’s this for a title…? Alexa: Euw no, are you serious? No, it had to be pithy and profound, like “Rise And Be Healed”, something that would get the initiated nodding their heads. Sharing my plan for getting rich is good but if the title’s not right who’s going to read the post?

Interlude with a friend

Friend: Why Bill? The Gen Zs don’t know who Bill is!
Me: I know,  I’m sentimental. But Bill and I go back a long way, since ’98, or was it ’95 and with all the time, money and effort I spent on Bill I feel that, like a million others, I have a special relationship with him.
Friend: And Jeff?
Me: It’s complicated. Jeff has had a growing influence on my life in recent years and the fact that he’s sitting on top of a huge and growing pile of cash is rather motivating.
Friend: and what’s with “Give a man a fish…“?
Me: oh, you mean “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. It touches me. I once had a business associate who one day asked a local magnate how he got so rich. The magnate pulled out his wallet and handed my associate a big bill, they were in a bar so the guy probably had something else in mind. Anyway, my associate handed the bill back saying that he didn’t want the money… he did, but, well… he said he wanted to know what it takes to get rich! I don’t know what the magnate said but shortly afterwards my associate liquidated our business partnership, a restaurant, and went back to running a Pizza truck.

From Drumpf to Dumped

Streams and Mining

I think it was Warren Buffet who said, if you want to get rich don’t rely on your salary, have multiple income streams, which brings me, at last, to my own innovative plans to get rich.

Already a successful writer with two books to my name, Destination Bishkek and Twelve adventures, one journey writing is a parallel revenue stream for me, even if sales aren’t on a par with the “Da Vinci Code” or the latest pulp-fiction biography about some scurrilous 71 year real estate tycoon in Washington.

So what else is there to boost a working wage and get rich without working 24/7?
Let’s see. Running a Restaurant? I once co-owned a restaurant but honestly, the ROI is close to zero so no. Manual production? I’m not manual and anyway the bots are coming so I’ll wait and see.

What else? Ah, yes. Mining cryptocurrencies. OK, so I’m not a Sophomore with unrestricted use of campus utilities but it does sound like something potentially worth looking into, if I can convince my better half that the environmental footprint is minimal to non-existent. That said, I could try and argue that mining cryptocurrencies is less of a risk than certain other energy intensive home-grown commercial activities.

Being entrepreneurial minded and in case I can’t convince my better half that my cottage industry style cryptocurrency mining enterprise is really the way forward, I have a plan B. Besides, market studies are showing that between the utilities and the volatility of its market value the ROI on cryptocurrency mining isn’t guaranteed so maybe I’ll put that plan to one side. Anyway, remember those 19th century gold rush stories? The only people who made a fortune from gold mining where the brothel owners and the merchants, rarely the miners… besides, to paraphrase T-Boone Pickens, who, apart from funeral parlours would ever consider using “Crypto-whatever” in a marketing strategy?

Finally, I‘ve been considering trying something quite a few self-respecting suburban wannabee entrepreneurs are into: Creating an e-business, thinking up a product, inventing a brand, building a website then an e-commerce service, doing some social media marketing and then waiting for fortune to come knocking. I might just give it a try, I mean what could possibly go wrong ?

Posted in Everyday life, Publishing, Social Media, Society, Work

Ancient Alien Theories: The truth and the theory

In this post dedicated to understanding why “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel is so captivating the science fiction and Michael Moorcock fan in me thought it time to take a closer look at a couple of theories that while “entertaining” can quite easily be debunked.

Being a reasonably open-minded person and having already, as a teenager, read a selection of legends, from ancient Hindu legends to the “Chariots of the Gods”, I’ve learnt that it’s always wise to cross-reference one source with another and much as the thought of Maths being the answer to some of the greatest feats undertaken by man may seem an anticlimax in comparison, the fact is, it’s true.

As a native Brit, I could willingly support my standpoint using Stonehenge as an example but let’s take the pyramids of Giza instead, although according to some ancient alien theorists there is a (Galactic) connection between Stonehenge and the Pyramids.

Ancient aliens theorists suggest that perhaps the Annunaki descended to earth and bestowed upon the ancients the necessary wisdom, knowledge and the technical ability to, not only, build the pyramids but also to conceive, calculate and construct them in such a way that not only do they look awe-inspiring, serve as resting places for Pharaohs but they act as astronomical beacons, interconnect with a network of civilizations thousands of miles apart, in the Americas, India and South-east Asia, and perhaps serve as portals, Wormholes, for visitors from other universes* but the fact is the Annunaki didn’t intervene in their construction. Some very astute and educated men did.

* NB. To be fair, I do like the “Wormhole” theory, possibly because I read so much about it in Michael Moorcock and other authors’ works but the fact is scientists and theoretical physicists have theorized on the possible existence of a Multiverse, reachable, for example via Time/Space wormholes, ever since Einstein first introduced his concept in 1935.

The Case of The Golden Ratio

Taking a break from all this Science Fiction & Fantasy I sat down one Sunday afternoon and watched a documentary about Athens and specifically the restoration of the Acropolis. While I will happily tour a museum, stare at the work of any Florentine Renaissance Painter or visit the Amphitheatre of El Jem in Tunisia I am not a romantic nostalgic of the 17th & 18th Century “Grand Tour” , nor am I an architect, an archaeologist, an academician, a mathematician or even overly interested in stone and mortar so what piqued my interest about this particular documentary?

The easy answer is I love antique History, well actually History in general but more than that I love antique stories with a twist, stories of epic battles, Heraclian labours, golden fleece and of course, wooden horses, Homer’s the Odyssey and the Iliad saw to that. But more than that I’m interested in engaging, inexplicable stories that need some thinking about to understand and, yes I see you coming with “Here we go, he’s twisting it back to the “Ancient Aliens” thing” but bear with me.

In circa 450 BC the ancient Greeks set about constructing the Parthenon, a building worthy of a goddess with a certain Pericles as “Project Manager” and like the Egyptians, the Greek architects used a technique that eluded architects, archaeologists, and academicians until a mathematician stumbled upon the answer when renovation of the Parthenon started some 30-40 years ago.

As with the Pyramids, the architects drawing the plans for the Parthenon used a calculus later made famous by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio and of course Leonardo da Vinci, to not only assure the precision of the construction but also assure the optical aspect of it, i.e. assuring the appearance of a perfect symmetry when in fact the top of the columns curve inwards.

And the technique used? The Golden Ratio! Explanation. According to one ancient Greek mathematician, the Golden Ratio is, and I quote “nothing more than a straight line that is said to have been cut in extreme and mean ratio when, as the whole line is to the greater segment, so is the greater to the lesser…” You can’t get much simpler than that.

But as I said, I’m no architect, archaeologist or academician and was more interested in literature than maths at school so what made this subject so interesting? It was the way in which everyone involved was amazed at the precision of the angles, curves and dimensions and how they must have kicked themselves, more than once, when the saw how ingenious the ancient Greeks needed to be to get the job done. Yes, it was hard labour but it would have been much harder and taken a lot longer to complete had they not used the Golden Ratio.

As with the Pyramids or Stonehenge, it wasn’t the Annunaki, the “Greys” or Nephilim giants who built these edifices and perhaps other sites, such as the ancient Bolivian ruins of Tiwanaku and PumaPunkus, but a group of inspired and erudite men, every bit as intelligent as we are today, with an abundance of material, and labour, but little time and no other data processing technology than a ruler, string, pens, geometry and perhaps an ancient calculator of some undocumented but completely human design.

Acknowledgments: I would like to thank all the sites I’ve linked to in this post for the wealth of information I could have got from Wikipedia but found more fun and more educational on their sites.

Posted in Everyday life, Myths & Legends, Society

An evergreen from 2009: Squaring up for things to come

Isn’t internet an amazing place? This is an old blog I wrote in 2009 using another avatar… once on the web, always on the web.

Starscreamer133

A black hole into which all matter be sucked.

Squaring up for things to come

July 25

Strange how time works! Summer holidays now seem like a long time ago… whereas it only seems like just a year ago, not two, since I got married but there you go and here I am, busy living life today, neither overly thinking of the past, nor musing over the distant future. Starting back at work in June, after a month’s absence, was more like picking things up after a long weekend. The problems were still there except that what had seemed way off in the future before the holidays, with bags of time for thought and preparation, was now much nearer… and decisions, hard ones, would soon have to be made.

Coming back and knowing what was in store got me thinking about my own immediate future as well as that of my team. Would the team still be there in 6 months? Would I? Should I anticipate or even precipitate? Rather rhetorical and philosophical questions because being responsible for a team of ±10 culturally different, free thinking, free speaking members I am supposed… no, it’s expected of me, and rightly so… to anticipate and know into what we’re heading and gently nudge the team there… Nudge them there? Yeah! Get to know my team!

So, in all logic, I know the time is coming when I will have to face up to some lively meetings with my team, notably when the axe finally falls and it certainly will. I also know the fore-coming announcement will confirm them in their conviction that, like lambs to the altar, they are being offered up in sacrifice to improve cost optimization, “re-equilibrate” off-shoring to “Right Shoring” and shore up stock options. Then, at that precise moment in time – and with the selective and retentive memory I have – I will not fail to recall certain recent events to their instigators, instigators who had along the way tried and failed to destabilize me, failed in their actions because of misinformation and misconceptions, failed for the wrong, misguided numbrilistic reasons.

While on holiday, and free of day-to-day work problems, thought was given to my current position and alternatives. I’d initiated contact with a company in Beijing and although it wasn’t so much a serious contact as a trial to refine my communication – from the decisive “Elevator message” to the more “expansive” résumé (Where I am coming from what else would you expect?) – for future contacts… who knows it could have come to something and if it had, with wife and furniture, I would have been off in a flash… but it didn’t and I’m still here, browsing through other potential contacts and eyeing network feeds because like a lot of my peers I believe in being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right person.

So. With that thought in mind, and my eye on the network discussion feeds, I’m squaring up for a stormy autumn and believe me, whatever may come and from whatever direction it may come from (to paraphrase a famous Swedish singer talking of his divorce to his no less famous Swedish singer wife) it will all be experience and useful matter for a Blog!!!

Posted in Everyday life

The World’s Worst Advice On… Giving Advice

“All advice can only be a product of the man of the man who gives it”
Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

As someone who has, in pursuit of more money and a better life, uprooted wife, cat, and fish tank several times over the years, take it from me: Heeding advice from others about, say, going beyond your comfort zone, or anything else really, is risky business, doubly so if you are toying with the idea of going to work in another country.

Defining and redefining your comfort zone is a very individual and unique experience and if it fails, it’s your call. There is no “one size fits all”, no one single school of thought, no one diktat. There is, however, an abundance of advice, “White Noise” I call it and it can be deafening so let’s be clear about it, ill-considered advice can jeopardize a golden opportunity… Change management? I’ve been there…

For years I had a career in a sector where mobility is, up to a certain point, part and parcel of the career plan, the more key brands you have on your CV the more chance you have a getting a better position (not too many positions though otherwise, questions start getting asked) until you reach the point where you’ve either made it or some serious thought needs to be given to a career plan that looked so promising not long before.

Milestones

We’ve all had them. After reaching one milestone, a period of introspection, quite a few bread and butter jobs and counselling from professionals, I decided to transition to the IT/PC sector, with specific soft and hard skills acquired along the way helping to facilitate and consolidate a move, counselled by professionals, I didn’t regret. N.B. It’s important to note that I, and I alone, chose to act upon the expert advice I’d been given, I didn’t act on comments I’d read on a popular professional social media site, it didn’t exist then anyway, or advice from the delivery hero guy, no offense dude.

Fast forward a few years and another milestone was reached. The chosen new career was moving ahead nicely and soon headhunters, career advisors and other “Experts” started taking an interest and offering invariably dismissible advice. But from the triage, the idea of geographical mobility and relocation started offering interesting perspectives. For some, job mobility is a no-brainer. You pack your things and you’re off, it’s as simple as that. For others, it’s a move that needs looking into seriously, more so as the years progress and the responsibilities pile up, and for others, out of the question!

So what are the potential obstacles? Homeowner? Check! … Kids at school? Check! … Wife/SO has a good job? Check! … Member of the local XYZ association/club/team? Check! Etc and so on. Depending on your state of mind that’s either a daunting challenge or one you relish. In all this, it’s important to remember that each situation is unique. Advice that may be relevant for someone else may not be for you. Whatever your decision, it’s crucial to keep in mind that in the end, it’s you, and you alone, who must bear the responsibility for your decisions.

 

Those Sweet Sounding Sirens

Finally, beware of people offering advice who start, or finish a sentence with “In my opinion”, “Honestly”, “Frankly”, “Personally” or ”I may be wrong but…” By preposing words of advice with such disclaimers, even the most well-meaning people are effectively disengaging themselves from any moral, technical or legal responsibility should things not work out the way you planned. Listen politely, or not, but remember that in any litigation and unless you had a written contract with a bona fide consultant you don’t have a leg to stand on. If you really want to be sure about your next move, especially when considering relocating to another country, ask a certified expert. Such people exist. The decision is still yours but at least you’ll be basing it on facts.

My advice to you? Don’t ask a neighbour or the delivery hero guy for advice. At a stretch, read a blog on LinkedIn and weigh the pros and cons but above all, go seek professional, experienced counsel then make your decision… Frankly, you won’t regret it.

Posted in Everyday life, Society, Work

So you want to be a leader!

David Ben-Gurion once said he understood what it was to be a leader the day he realised there was nobody left but him to lead the way.

With the wealth of modern-day examples, so often highlighted by this business school or that economic forum, who’d a thought that David Ben-Gurion would have been the example that first came to mind when I started writing this post. Given my origins, Winston Churchill would have seemed more appropriate but there you are, each of us has a role model or a paradigm that has, whether we’ve understood it or not, had such a strong influence on our way of interpreting leadership.

Ben-Gurion’s reflection on what being a leader meant to him is powerful yet simple. It came at a crucial moment as he realised that it fell to him and him alone to assume the responsibility and to assure the perrenity of a cause.

Enough of Steve, find yourself

Today, aspiring managers can learn about what, in theory, it takes to make a good leader, e.g. company values, applied ethics, one’s ethos, governance, empathy, experience, etc. They are all lessons worth learning, even if a certain triage is then needed to see clear but nothing prepares you for leadership like a challenge. Analysing the causes and effects of a crisis, determining the options & solutions and understanding that’s it’s you, not the guy next door, who has to assume the responsibility, especially when it’s painful, that’s being a leader.

A managing director once told me, it’s better to be regularly confronted with crisis situations and learn how to negotiate them, even at the cost of losing some feathers, than having it easy and then not knowing how to negotiate a crisis when it does happen. Being a leader is about making sure things go well and, as I read again recently, relying on more on delegation rather than micro-management, because what’s the point of having an employee if you don’t trust them to do the job.

What keeps you awake at night?

On the surface the rather banal question “What keeps you awake at night?” can hide a more significant purpose, that of seeing what’s occupying or pre-occupying a manager at any given time. It really is a rather subtle method of testing the aptitude of a manager to fulfill the role. Has a manager measured the importance, breadth, and depth of their role? Looked at all the angles, considered all the permutations & ramifications, outcomes & consequences and generally understood the scope of the job they’ve been assigned?

There’s one in each of us…

Is there a standard school of thought or a recommendation on how to be a leader? Should a leader show the way, lead from behind, or be everywhere at the same time, omnipresent and yet letting others do their job? Should a leader dominate, delegate or dispense guidance? Is the sign of a good leader knowing when to use all available levers? Here again, there is a multitude of “experts” spouting voicing opinions on the subject, look no further than here but seriously, for having read what the experts say, as well as from personal experience, the answer is no. It happens, and then it’s for you to step out of the anonymity and assure the transformation.

And if you have doubts about being a leader, feel coerced or influenced by others, are anxious about succeeding or feel you’re an impostor look to your role model or favourite paradigm and assume. You will grow into the role of leader as it will grow on you.

Meg and Elon, you and me.

The longer you look the more you will see all sorts of leaders, from the benevolent-looking patriarchs, and matriarchs, exuding business acumen …queue for the “quintessential” Steve Jobs quotation… to the mercurial, catch-me-if-you-can, entrepreneurs, always two step ahead of the curve. And then there’s the ordinary Joe & Jane Team Leader, invariably a step of two behind the curve – or so it seems, worrying about attaining objectives, assuring deliveries, filling quotas and mastering margins; slip-sliding between the strategy and the tactical, learning that having risen from the ranks, yesterday’s pals are today’s responsibilities and that diplomacy, tact, empathy, and politics go hand in hand with skills, experience, and expertise.

So who actually would want to be a leader? How do you become one? Where to start? Well, sometimes, mostly, it’s through blood, sweat, and tears. Sometimes, it’s just by being in the right place at the right time or maybe in the wrong place at the right time.

Post Scriptum. Empathy: The fall from grace?

There was a time, not so very long ago when empathy was hailed as the discipline to use to support, not just leaders and managers but also for employees with aspirations in their everyday relations with others but then recently voices have been raised against empathy accusing it of being a cold callous tactic used to exploit situations others are in. Contrary to sympathy, the caring and understanding for the suffering of others, or compassion, the act of suffering together, empathy was synonym with the ability to objectively understand and relate to another’s standpoint. It allowed you to look at and determine where the other person stood (c.f. that rather banal “how’s it going” question?) and process that knowledge to achieve results.

Now it seems, this is not the case and those speaking out against the, by me, generally accepted and logical purpose of empathy, consider empathy and the use of Emotional Intelligence as a callous exploitation of a situation, invariably at the expense of others, to further their own hidden agenda. To the antagonists, I’d just like to say this: Use a tool, any tool badly and it will cut you. Use a tool the right way and it will do the job it was designed for.

(edited to include citation “Against empathy”)

Posted in Everyday life, Society, Work