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The Tinkered Mind
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June 2nd, 2018
This episode references Episode 14: Sample All the Kool-Aides. If you’d like to fully understand the reference, best to check out that episode first.
I recently heard someone say that platforms like YELP and Trip Advisor have put a lot of local professional critics out of business.
Apparently, it’s easy to be a critic.
As the common adage goes: Everyone’s a critic.
It is easy to point out what is wrong.
And yet everyone wants recommendations. Everyone wants to know what is good.
“What should I do about this problem?”
We give our best advice. The straight-forward advice. We describe the path that seems to make sense.
It’s always easy to point out what is wrong.
Just because something is easy does not mean that it is correct, helpful or even appropriate.
Even if there is something obviously wrong with the advice, this does not mean that it should not be entertained. We are so quick to dismiss a friend’s ‘actionable-theory’, and yet we forget another common default:
“In theory that sounds good, but in practice....?”
But what if a so-so theory leads to an action in practice that results in something good? Something unexpected and surprising?
We know there is a disconnect between theory and practice. And yet we acknowledge it only when it caters to our lazier selves, when trying out the theory requires action: In theory that sounds good but in practice it will probably fail….so there’s no point in trying. We do the opposite, we ignore the hazy connection between theory and practice when it might require action. The friend’s theory might have flaws, but taking action on it might produce beneficial surprises, because… theory never predicts the results of practice perfectly. We ignore the fact that any action based on any theory (no matter how flawed) leads to more information than doing nothing. This is why it's good to SAMPLE ALL THE KOOL-AIDES. Sampling does not require full, devoted adherence. But it gives us far more information than doing nothing.
How about this: “It sounds like it has some flaws, but I'm going to try it anyway, just to see what happens. Just for shits and giggles.”
Usually we just want to talk, and try to make ourselves feel better via the talking. But the tiny sense of accomplishment that comes with talking things through does not last. It does not change our life. Often it's best to just shut-up and TRY something. . . anything.
Some talk can be productive. But never without succeeding actions based on theories batted around by caring people.
The critic is our easy default.
Refraining from expressing the criticizing thought. Pausing. Asking what actually might help move something forward. What actions might bring more informed answers. What experiments on reality might yield a stronger more detailed map of the world.… This is the better, difficult work.
Being a critic is easy. It’s like getting served a nice big juicy meal that required no effort. All that is required is the experience of devouring and destroying it and broadcasting whatever emotional reaction it “inspires.”
Better to be a cook, or rather: a chef.
Get in the kitchen, and throw some ingredients together and see what we can create.
It requires action.