Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kindness, Applied

Hi! Happy Wednesday!

If you read yesterday's post then you might have been a little befuddled (I like that word) as to the nature of the post.

First, remember Irreni is "innovation replaces revolution, engineering not ideology".

My argument yesterday was an engineering argument for kindness. Essentially we measure everyone's capacity for kindness and promote those with the most measurable kindness into positions of leadership.

This approach is different from what the social gurus like Deepak Chopra of the day are putting out there. Mostly when one encounters these programs promoting love and kindness then one gets a program for self-improvement that is then recommended be adopted by everyone.

My blog is not about ideology but engineering. How do we work with what we have rather than trying to change people? I'm not saying people should not strive to change and to be kinder. What I'm providing is a world scale approach. What I'm saying is that calls to scale world kindness that require everyone improving their individual kindness don't scale.

If we want improved world kindness we need more than just lessons to teach people to be kinder, we need engineering.

Benjamin Franklin approached this problem of scaling personal kindness from a scientific or engineering perspective. In Franklin's autobiography he tells the story of a time in his life when he tried to eliminate all sin. He enumerated ten sins and then ran an experiment. He focused on each sin, one-at-a-time. His thinking was to cross one sin completely off the list and focusing only on that sin until he had it conquered. He would then continue down the list until all of the sins where conquered and he was sinless. The result? He found that as he moved down the list the previous ones that he had conquered came back. The moral to his story is that when something in your personality is your primary focus of change then other areas of your personality suffer and slide. People are limited in their capacity to change.

The Irreni world scale take on Franklin's moral is to:
  1. Assess who you are now.
  2. Manage who you are now.
  3. Improve where you can.
  4. Goto 1.
  5. In that order.
But if we are limited in our ability to change completely does that mean we do not have free will? One way to define free will is to first hold an ideal in your head and then decide on that ideal independent of your own emotions and personality. You may come to find such an ideal like say kindness doesn't match your personality. If you really want that ideal but are not the person to bring it about, what then?

Hmmm, first the ideal does not have to be novel or deep. For example, an alcoholic may decide to quit alcohol as an ideal. In order to quit alcohol one may need to change the people in ones life, change ones living environment, go to support groups and further manage an ideal that will always needing managed. The point is that as humans we can strive to achieve thought ideals that go against our nature.

Second, going against our nature can be applied to kindness. If one is not a particularly kind person one can still have kindness as an ideal, it just needs to be managed. Yes, you can commit to personal growth and improve your kindness. There are lots of have programs for self-improvement in this regard. But unlike with alcoholism one does not need to kick a habit when becoming more kind. One can become more kind simply by supporting those who are already kind and promoting kindness. One can be vicariously kind.  One cannot vicariously quick quit a bad habit like alcohol. The idea here is to simply recognize kindness as the ideal and manage towards it. We do not need to have everyone in the world change to be more kind, just recognize the goal and move towards it.

At the world scale level we cannot reasonably argue that everyone improve kindness as a perquisite for scaling world scale social groups. We can reasonably argue to measure and quantify kindness to the extent possible and promote those people who are naturally and practicing kind people.

I'd like to switch gears now and offer a solution you can apply in your life, right here, right now.

In engineering if something works 90% and it is the best working thing then we compensate. We don't throw it out.

When it comes to kindness with people though we do dismiss people outright when something is not perfect. For example, someone can be a really good politician for years and then have a sex affair, say something racist, sexist or otherwise be offensive and then boom! all 90% goodness forgotten.

This idea of discarding someone as a leader for being imperfect is not very kind. We need to be kinder and we need to be better engineers. Our entire system of checks-and-balances is designed to manage imperfection. Did you ever stop and ask yourself what "is" being checked and balanced" in our government? Human imperfection, of course. Kindness can be improved by us managing each other. 

What I'm offering here is a real world solution today that you can apply today to improving world kindness: don't dismiss imperfect people too soon.

Humans are susceptible to being easily, easily influenced by gotcha politics, mud slinging, character assassination and slights of imperfection.

Recognize this as an ideal and manage it. Ron Paul ran for president multiple times and in his last attempt an interviewer asked him a world scale question: how can you be president with imperfections people so easily dismiss? Ron Paul replied, "the president is not a dictator. To the extent I'm way out of the mainstream Congress will check me." Well played Ron Paul, well played.

Abraham Lincoln filed for bankruptcy seven times before he became president. Could he get elected today?

I'd like to close this post about applying kindness practically with my own personal example of Christopher Hitchens. One of my personal heroes is Christopher Hitchens. Christopher was an accomplished anti-theist until he died. I admired Christopher for this and considered him a good person for it. However, I did not admire Christopher for his warmongering and his calls for the deaths of his enemies. I consider warmongering evil.

What is fascinating about Christopher Hitchens is that his sense of agape love was quite large and all encompassing. As an anti-theist Christopher preached very strongly that secularism was the correct anti-theist response and not the criminalization of religion.  There is a debate on Youtube where Christopher is on a roll making his points. During the question and answer period one of the audience asked Christopher that if in fact he was so anti-religious then what was the right atheist response to religion...why not just advocate banning religion? Christopher's response and sense of agape love was dead on. Christopher replied that the best way to eliminate the influence of religion was to educate...and to specifically educate young women.

Right on. You walk away from Christopher's response with a great sense that he cared for everyone. Well, that is right up until a later time when Christopher was questioned about his warmongering. Then Christopher went on about how he would not, could not love his enemies and how that was utter nonsense. Christopher would also say that if your enemy wants to kill you then you kill your enemy. Ouch.

I find Christopher's warmongering not only offensive, but evil and not kind.

If Christopher were still alive today would we recommend him as a public leader? He did have a great sense of agape love with regards to his religion enemies? An yet his warmongering was evil?

The Irreni World Scale solution is an assessment of people. We assess people including Christopher Hitchens to find the right kindness fit. Christopher clearly had a sense of agape love, for everyone, and yet he also did not. From an Irreni World Scale perspective that means to promote Christopher as an anti-theist  but then not to promote him in politics regarding war.

And that is how to practically apply kindness, we manage kindness.


The future is coming!

Well come! and well met!

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