Monday, February 14, 2011

Principles vs. Consequences vs. Being the Best

Perhaps not the most ego-gratifying way, but, I think, good way, to live, is to convince yourself that you're not special (in the healthiest way possible) and, simultaneously to try very hard to care about consequences and goals instead of principles and values.  I think on average, thinking that you're special does more harm than good, mostly because it causes you to evaluate the world in relation to your standing instead of objectively.  I realize that i'm setting forth a bit of a principle (think about consequences) but outcome matters more than principle--this should be reordered to say that we should prioritize outcome or results over principles.  We care most about outcomes when we endeavor to do things.  Again, I think, on average, a lot of fights (political, intimate, friendly) may go away if we stop thinking about our own exceptionalism (and therefore protect our own status) and also, think about coordinating with others to accomplish a goal instead of theorizing about the goal on our own.  Of course, these will sort of vary depending on the goal you have in mind. 

Mostly, I think subjective exceptionalism (and I'm making up the term) results in more principled thinking and inflexibility when we could get better results for more people faster, otherwise.  In other words, our number one enemy, both internally and collectively (when we should try to coordinate) is either our own idea that we're special (and we may be very sensitive to a lot of things and actually be special, but for the sake of increasing our own happiness, if we were actually special, it is best not to think of oneself as special, for the sheer sake of facing the world on a daily basis), or the idea that things must be done a certain way in order to get best results.

Now, having said that, we can't second guess our actions all the time.  And being stubborn, at times very stubborn, can have really solid tangible results too, so I'm let's just call this thought a capsule for right now, with more to come.

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