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Sociopolitics

549 words // 10 min. read

Dunning-Kruger-Effect

This post is dedicated to all of the people out there who are too “shy” to voice for themselves (either socially or publicly) and who are tortured by this fact because they know they have something special to share with the world.

It’s also dedicated to the sensitive people who push past these fears and use their voice anyway.

I remember finding out about the psychological concept of the Dunning-Kruger effect and having a major epiphany about why our society is the way it is. This one idea sheds a big light on the reason why we have so many smart people who tend to save their opinions for their close friends or their journals, instead of taking a stand publicly when they are perhaps most needed.

Put simply, the Dunning-Kruger effect is a subtle bias in our society, wherein smart people don’t step up to the proverbial mic because they are smart and self-aware enough to know that there are other people out there who are more qualified to speak on the topic, and thus they defer the podium to these “other smarter people.” This is noble and everything but the problem is that MOST of the smart people end up withholding their influence on society, and the result is that we have a lot of very unaware and under-qualified people voicing instead.

So basically, we have smart people deferring to other smart people who are also deferring, and you have a large (important) subset of the population who doesn’t voice out of self-awareness. And then we all have issues with our “leaders.”

There’s a corollary effect also, where an incompetent person can’t recognize their own incompetence because they are…. incompetent… which is why you see a lot of inflated ego-based people at the podium, people who literally cannot see their true place in society – which is not a place of greatness, but in fact a place of trumped up self-importance.

As Bertrand Russell put it, “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

I see this one idea as a huge reason why the smart and sensitive people out there have a sacred duty to use their voice to influence conversations as they come up. Whether that be in person when you have a chance to redirect an ignorant discussion or online where you can influence hundreds of people in your network with a single comment or post is beside the point. You have a voice and it’s connected to a clear conscience and a pure heart. This alone makes it necessary that you speak up, as so many who use their voice are driven by ignorance instead…

We live in dire times. Many people are going to lose hope and hide from the uncertainty and keep discussions “comfortable” out of fear. But if we have strong, loving, sensitive people out there pushing past their comfort zones and taking stands about important issues, even at the risk of making people uncomfortable, then we just might get somewhere now won’t we!

Use your voice. Make it loud. Speak from the depths of the wellspring in your heart. The collective consciousness is waiting patiently for you to emerge.

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389 words // 5 min. read

 

inner world

One thing I spend a lot of time thinking about is the inner world vs. the outer world. Like, you have an inner world with its own laws, and its own color palette, and I have my inner world, and everyone you know has an inner world, and the basic fact of the matter is that NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW WHAT YOURS IS LIKE.

So in thinking about all of the richness of your internal reality – your challenges, your beautiful views on life, your language style and mannerisms, your experiences – there is a certain pointlessness that could manifest, thinking about the fact that no one – even the closest of lovers, the best of friends, the wisest of mentors – will ever come to know the landscape inside of you. Even with the best of storytelling skills, the most colorful of language, the greatest prowess in articulation – you will always be alone.

Pointlessness is only one reactionary outcome that’s possible of course. You could experience depression or excitement, motivation or dejection, determination or disregard. Whatever. The point is, aloneness is magical. Aloneness is true. Maybe the only true thing that ever existed!

But what is perhaps most interesting about all of this is that the only way to get closer to the possibility of knowing someone else or having someone else know you is in the excellence by which you can communicate. Communication opens a channel that allows connection. And in so far as you refine your ability to communicate – a lifelong study – is how close someone will ever get to knowing you.

Yeah, I said it – it’s all up to you! I once heard the quote that “the burden of communication is on the one trying to say something.” As in, if someone doesn’t understand you, it’s because of YOU – your approach, your word choice, your focus, your tone of voice, your body language. Not because they’re not listening, or they don’t care, or they aren’t hearing you right. You must focus on what you are doing. You must make them care to hear it. It is only up to you.

You want to feel connected? It’s up to you to express yourself. It’s up to you to tell your story, make your claim, stand up for yourself… to find your voice and use it.

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393 words // 5 min. read

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For my first post I am covering a regrettable aspect of modern American society: the lost practice of apprenticeship. According to Wikipedia, it was a practice developed in the late Middle Ages, and afforded the apprentice free food, lodging, and training by a master in exchange for work. Also according to Wikipedia, “the number of apprenticeships has declined greatly in the United States in the modern era.” And that’s because it’s been replaced with the concept of “internships” – free labor in exchange for…. experience in bitch work.

Personally I have always sought out the advice and guidance of those much older than me. I figure that they have learned lessons through mistakes that I can bypass, if I am receptive to those lessons. I have been blessed by the wisdom and training of mentors, especially professionally. There are mindsets I have adopted from their gentle guidance which afford me expansion beyond what would have been possible to my mind otherwise.

Not so in the modern-day internship. You don’t sit by the photographer and learn techniques on Photoshop. You don’t get to watch the fashion designer at work and he or she doesn’t explain their choices to you. You don’t even get to sit in on meetings while the executives negotiate a business deal. Instead, you are in the copy room, fetching lattes, replying to emails. Miserable and undervalued, and unpaid for your efforts. You are the workhorse pulling the plow for other peoples’ crops.

Well I think that’s a piss-poor way to show the young that they have value! Know that you are capable of so much more. You could start working to become a photographer if that’s your thing, or you could start a sewing group or just start making your own clothing until you can take orders for money, or you could ask every businessperson you know for help with your negotiation skills. The keys are that you recognize your own potential and that you work toward your goal.

And many times older people are very happy to have a young person who is eager for shaping. Ask for help and you will receive it. Ask for feedback and you may wince when you receive it, but you will grow through it. And you will expand, expand, expand. The wisdom of the ages must be passed down– do your part and ask for it!

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