Rethinking politeness

Politeness may be beneficial when navigating social systems, showing deference and respect, and reducing anxiety with decorum. Yet it is also a set of protocols. It mediates personal interactions until you can no longer be sure exactly who somebody is: politeness can be a mask, disguising the real you.

Negative Identification

How much of our identity do we form around what we are not? This would be negative identification, keeping us concentrated on what we loathe or despise rather than focused on what we love. This is not a new idea, just one that I need to be reminded of on occasion: your focus determines who …

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The gift of spite

You can give somebody, your children for instance, the gift of having somebody to spite, allowing yourself to be the target of animosity. If we say "you can become whatever you want," we abdicate reality for dreams. This locates future failure inside of the person: if they fail, it is shamefully on them for not …

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Inflationary equality

In a more subtle (often subconscious) version of “deflect deny discredit” the person who initially hurts another will justify causing pain by claiming prior wounding. By inflating their previous pain to match your current pain they are no longer at fault: your pain is retroactively deserved. Feelings cannot be quantified or objectively measured, which allows …

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The long-awaited payoff

There are days when your accumulated foibles, your crafted predilections, and adherence to productive systems syncs up into a harmonious payoff. There are days where any request made of you feels effortless as you respond easily, flowing through the day. And you realize you are pretty damn good at this life thing.

The benefit of irrationality

To be unique we appear irrational against the norms of society. But norms shift to abnormal in another place or among another group. To encourage unique individuals we must enable the ability to pursue irrational ideas. After all, unique ways of thinking from irrational pursuits may be our salvation. Yet, knowledge and strange ideas, without …

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