I was reading a book (Night Watch by Terry Pratchett) Which contained the quote, “But personal isn’t the same thing as important.” Which got me wondering, should importance be impacted by how personal the issue is? Perhaps you’re wondering how this relates to our good friend Mel.
Almost every movie with Mel Gibson contains some sort of “It’s personal” rational¹. in his movies this line of thought is portrayed as heroic and almost morally required. Now the Pratchett quote in context is rejecting vigilante justice. In the quoted context personal justice against an individual who murdered a man’s lover, whereas William Wallace was slightly different he went against an army, that is to say, a lot of individuals (who weren’t the ones who executed his wife) versus a single individual in Night Watch. I’m wondering if this is an issue of scale or something more… fundamental.
The purpose of government/religious arbitration was to proclaim consequences instead of personal justice because, and this is important, some people have a tendency to weight what personally affects them too heavily² or follow the I don’t get even, I get ahead³ mantra. If appropriately limited and viewed properly (two substantially big if’s depending) vigilante justice should be no more or less just than government issued judiciary justice under the same constraints.
Though after my recent “didn’t turn right in a right hand turn only lane” ticket of $240 +an additional $85 and a day in traffic school if I don’t want insurance costs to increase or my coworker’s recent seat-belt ticked of $140, I’m thinking the government might have lost sight of the limitations originally put into place to prevent excessive punishment for the wrongdoing committed things like, you shouldn’t harm others more than you were actually harmed a.k.a. “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”.
¹ William Wallace kicks it into high gear after the some solders attempted to rape his wife and her subsequent execution due to his intervention of said rape.
² My eye is worth two of yours, because I use mine to see.Your eyes are of less value because I don’t use yours at all.
³ Example: Fool me out of $20 and I shall fool you out of $100.
The cynics out there might chuckle at the title of this post, but there’s truth behind it. Don’t take my word for it: (via Powered by the Tubes)
A TED talk I found truly amazing.
The speaker Jane McGonigal is a game designer who recently spoke on TED. Her big idea is that the average person is going to spend about the same time playing video games by the age of 21 as they will spend in every hour of school from 5th grade to high school graduation. That means that people are spending a second education’s worth of time getting good at something. Harnessing that something could be the key to saving the world.
She goes on to lists games that she has piloted to achieve this goal and all in all it is a very inspiring talk. Everyone knows making things a game works to make them a lot less tedious and bearable. Many of us are also driven by a competitive nature. If that could be channeled into doing good for the world or even your local area that would be awesome.
My parents were anti-gaming, so I had to sneak my gaming time at friends’ houses. My wife is anti-gaming, so I have to get my gaming time in during off hours. Despite the different vectors of negative connotation for gaming in my life, I still strongly believe that gaming teaches and reinforces useful and applicable skills in real life including problem-solving (think Zelda), group collaboration (think about taking a boss down in World of Warcraft), project management (that boss in World of Warcraft might take upwards of 30+ people to work together), hand-eye coordination (there’s a correlation that surgeons who gamed more had fewer errors) and hard work (sometimes you need to grind levels to make a character more powerful, think Final Fantasy).
As Jane McGonigal mentioned in her talk, gaming avatars can represent the most ideal person we can possibly be. I think that putting hours into practicing that will benefit the entire world.
Thanks for the link Brian!
If you are passionate about good (aesthetic) design, Google is probably not the place for you.
The only company that readily comes to mind that has a true design philosophy from the top all the way down is Apple. Imagine if more companies integrated that level of commitment. What I find most interesting is how commonplace it is for engineers to make design decisions. I’m not knocking on the utility and soundness of solid feature implementation–I’m just saying that design aesthetics are very subjective and most likely not very intuitive for analytically minded people.
Nice find, Emilio!
With the ubiquity of technology, especially cameraphone technology, do you find that you are recording moments more often than simply living moments? Do you live your life “vicariously through yourself”?
Thanks @reggiewirjadi and @marilee for the link!
This American Life on NPR has a good podcast about one bad apple spoiling groups, contrary to common thought that group dynamics are more powerful than an individual. The first ten minutes or so lays out the findings of a single study. While it may not be conclusive, it does beg the question of where you fit in your organization?
Being a Twitter user myself (mikesol007), I’ve often wondered what purpose it truly serves in the context of my life. This New York Times article sums it up pretty succinctly. In a nutshell, each individual twitter by itself is meaningless, but in true gestalt fashion, as a whole, Twitter feeds give you an “ambient awareness” of what’s going on in your friends’ lives, a sort of “distant telepathy.”
One step closer to a singularity-spawned hive mind, eh?
Though this is presented as a how-to for technical interviews, I believe that the content of this 5-minute presentation can be applied to all interviews (and social situations!).
It’s plainly obvious that technical merit alone will not land you a job. For all of you interviewers/managers out there: What’s the percentage breakdown of merit vs. personality for your ideal candidate?