TGIF: No Truth!

A few days ago I was at a conference in Montreal, and a Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?”

I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites…but the sectarianism that has destroyed nation-states in the Middle East is now infecting us.”…

So when I got home, I called my teacher and friend Dov Seidman…and asked him what he thought was happening to us.

“What we’re experiencing is an assault on the very foundations of our society and democracy — the twin pillars of truth and trust,” Seidman responded. “What makes us Americans is that we signed up to have a relationship with ideals that are greater than us and with truths that we agreed were so self-evident they would be the foundation of our shared journey toward a more perfect union — and of respectful disagreement along the way…

But when there is no “we” anymore, because “we” no longer share basic truths, Seidman argued, “then there is no legitimate authority and no unifying basis for our continued association.”…

While our system can’t function without leaders with formal authority, what makes it really work, he added, is “when leaders occupying those formal positions — from business to politics to schools to sports — have moral authority. Leaders with moral authority understand what they can demand of others and what they must inspire in them. They also understand that formal authority can be won or seized, but moral authority has to be earned every day by how they lead. And we don’t have enough of these leaders.”

In fact, we have so few we’ve forgotten what they look like. Leaders with moral authority have several things in common, said Seidman: “They trust people with the truth — however bright or dark. They’re animated by values — especially humility — and principles of probity, so they do the right things, especially when they’re difficult or unpopular. And they enlist people in noble purposes and onto journeys worthy of their dedication.”

~ Thomas L. Friedman, excerpts from Where Did the People Go (NY Times, June 21, 2017)


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: “We are living in a time when lies are sanctioned. We have always lived in that time, but now the lies are publicly, rhetorically sanctioned. And something tribal has happened, which means that nobody gives a shit whether ­somebody’s lying or not because he’s on my side or she’s on my side. In the end, will truth matter? Of course truth will matter. Truth isn’t relative. But there’s going to be a great sacrifice on the way to getting truth to matter to us again, to finding out why it does, and God knows what shape that sacrifice will take.” By Ali Smith, from the Art of Fiction No. 236 (The Paris Review, Summer 2017)
  • Portrait: (via mennyfox55)

But a man’s life comes full circle; you can learn

english bull terrier,pup,puppy

Laddie was a useful dog on the farm for the next few years, and there were moments when he did good things and we understood each other— once we sorted two ewes that we needed for a show off a hundred others we didn’t need in a field and walked them home. But it was a rare moment, and I always knew he wasn’t as good as he should have been. Sometimes he’d run home when I lost my temper and shouted at him. He lost trust in me. I knew whose fault it was. Mine. I knew that I’d let him down. I look back and think he would have made a good dog if I had known a bit more. But a man’s life comes full circle; you can learn, and do better than your past. I am determined not to make the same mistakes again.

~ James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape.


Notes:

I wish I had not been so reserved*

baby-lemur-cute-jump-adorable-gif

*Joseph Cornell’s final words: “I wish I had not been so reserved.”


Sources: Gif/Photograph – gifak-net. Quote Source: hyperallergic.com via invisiblestories

O.K., I’m going to trust you, I think, yes…

breakfast


Source: gifak

The differences are at the 5% level. That’s pretty good.

Craig Newmark

What surprises me, in a way, is how almost universally people are trustworthy and good. There are problems, and sometimes people bicker, which is a pain in the ass, but people are good. No matter what your religious background, we share pretty much the same values. There are some minor differences that we disagree on, but the differences are at the 5 percent level. That’s pretty good.

~ Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigs List in Founders at Work


Quote: Brainpickings. Photograph: bigmarketingsmallbusiness

Evolution? Not.

trust-chart


Source: Plotly via I Love Charts

Good to be wrong

black and white,portrait,

It’s my third email of the day.
I’m reading.
A member on the team is getting accolades.
I flashback to a conversation with his manager three years ago.

He’s rough. Not sure he has it. Big Risk.
“There’s talent there. Trust me.”

I send him a note: “I’m proud we’re on the same team.”

Seconds later my email is flashing with his reply.

You made my day.”

I push my chair back.

And turn my back to my desk and stare out the window.

Good to be wrong.


Image Credit


saudade

yakamoz-moon-reflection-word-definition

kazehikaruj-breeze-spring-word [Read more…]

Making Same Mistakes. Certainly.

Power, Jeffrey Pfeffer

We’re back to work after a wonderful two week siesta with the family.  No travel.  No stress.  Just watching movies, eating and napping sprinkled with a well intentioned but woefully under-executed exercise regimen.  Time to shift gears to work-mode.  A post I came across during my vacation by Eric Barker @ “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” reminded me of an earlier conversation with a bright (very), ivy league educated, younger colleague.  He posed these following questions:

You have achieved modest success in your career, what key learnings can you share?  (Modest?  Do I ooze underachievement?)

I’m sure you have made mistakes along the way?  Would you mind sharing?  (Why not start with the wins?  Is it that obvious that this captain has weathered too many rough seas?)

Have you made repeated mistakes in the same area and why?  (Cringing. How does he know? Do all ex-collegiate hockey players have a reputation of diving into the same scrum and looking for trouble?)

What tips would you share with someone just starting their career?  (In contrast to me, that is, one who is just finishing or finished?)

[Read more…]

Oxytocin: Why some of us are caring, some cruel, some generous, some greedy…

From The Wall Street Journal: The Trust Molecule.  A few choice excerpts from worthy article:

Why are some of us caring and some of us cruel, some generous and some greedy?

Could a single molecule—one chemical substance—lie at the very center of our moral lives?

Research that I have done over the past decade suggests that a chemical messenger called oxytocin accounts for why some people give freely of themselves and others are coldhearted louts, why some people cheat and steal and others you can trust with your life…

More strikingly, we found that you don’t need to shoot a chemical up someone’s nose…or even give them a hug in order to create the surge in oxytocin that leads to more generous behavior. To trigger this "moral molecule," all you have to do is give someone a sign of trust. When one person extends himself to another in a trusting way—by, say, giving money—the person being trusted experiences a surge in oxytocin that makes her less likely to hold back and less likely to cheat. Which is another way of saying that the feeling of being trusted makes a person more…trustworthy. Which, over time, makes other people more inclined to trust, which in turn…

[Read more…]

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