Project 313 – Post No. 096

Would you rather deal with someone you don’t like but really knows what they’re doing or someone you like and get along with but isn’t competent? 

It’s not an idle question. 

In all manner of interactions and dealing with different professions, this is a relevant and often ignored question. Call it the Dr. House problem. 

Mentioning Dr. House is also relevant because some people prefer dealing with charlatans strictly on the merit they like them better or feel more comfortable than dealing with professionals who might actually know something. 

Sometimes people prefer hearing lies rather than face uncomfortable facts. True in the medical profession but also politics, religion . . . even friendships. 

I mean, sure . . . given two equally competent individuals, give me the one who’s not a jerk. But, my liking someone loses out to me getting competent help or someone telling it to me straight. Someone telling me the truth — no matter how harsh or how painful — is always preferable to someone feeding me lies or “sparing” me from the truth.  

I mean, I probably won’t like it. It might even take me a while to process and come to term with it. No one likes being told they come across as jerks, or that they are ugly, or that most people hate them, or that people think they talk too much, or . . . did I already mention being a jerk?

But, hearing criticism at least gives me . . . er . . . one a chance to address some of my . . . er . . . I mean, their faults. If I’m not healthy, I’d rather hear not only the optimistic outlook but also what might be at the other end of the scale. If I come across as a jerk, I rather someone tells it to my face than behind my back. 

This is not just idle chatter . . . I see it as extremely relevant in today’s social and political environment. I think we’re in danger of losing the ability to speak truthfully with each other.

I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the American public . . . if I look at the news, I think we’re far enough along that we’re not coming back from it.

“It” a euphemism for “Royally Screwed”.

If I listen to podcasts (and I do) I hear voices of reason and compromise that give me a measure of hope. 

Podcasts? Yep. 

“Pft!” you say. 

Below are Fox News’s average live+ same day numbers for Q1 2018 (they beat out the other pundits, hence why I mention them here):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 2,479,000 total viewers / 494,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  1,445,000 total viewers /  300,000 A25-54

Joe Rogen podcast: podcast downloads and youtube views per month: 2014 – 11 million and 4 million. 2016 – 22.5 million and 7.5 million. (Feb)2017 – 66.5 million and 23.5 million. He averages four podcasts per week. 

Get this: unlike cable news where “in-depth” segments average six minutes or so, Rogan’s podcasts are sometimes three hours long. And they aren’t indoctrinations. He questions his quests, lets them express their views in detail and if there are two guests, their discussions are in-depth and exhaustive. Also, no topic is sacred and all opinions are expressed honestly. 

I also listen to Sam Harris and, recently, select Rubin Reports. For relaxation, I listen to Philosophize This, Literature and History, Very Bad Wizards, and a few writing-related podcasts. 

Here’s what’s important about these podcasts; I don’t have to agree with either the hosts or the guests or what they stand for, but I will hear different sides expressed and challenged without acrimony or people trying to out-shout each other.

You can’t generalize the positions of the hosts and guests. Oh, sure, you can if you’re willing to stoop to dishonest characterization, but it’s your loss and you should be aware that it puts you in the realm of  . . . well, idiots. You also can’t charge them with shying away from meeting and discussing issues in depth with people they don’t agree with. Sam Harris, especially, goes out of his way to invite guests with opposing views. Not to yell at them, but to both learn what he might be missing and evaluate the opposing argument against his own.  

Finally, the audiences for these podcasts are growing and — most of all — they’re audiences willing to tune in to two hours of discussions about relevant topics by examining underlying philosophical, sociological, political, religious, historical, and psychological drivers. 

In other words, everything Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, NYT, et. al no longer offer. 

Some of these discussions are at the level of doctoral dissertations but in plain English . . . and millions of people are tuning in. You’re definitely not being talked-down to; you are both asked to think and trusted that you will do so honestly. You might still disagree with what you hear, but you’ll know much more about what you disagree with and also what you agree with. 

One final thing . . . you can actually hear someone be convinced by a better argument than they put forth and completely change their view on a given topic of discussion. Obviously, not every day, but it happens; it happens every time the argument on one side is substantially better than the other side and the people involved are honest. 

Yes, many more millions are tuning in to see what the Kardashians are doing . . . that’s the sad part.

But, the small spark of hope in the dark tunnel ahead — at least for me — is that a large number of people seem hungry for and are willing to listen to smart, in-depth, and reasoned discussions about difficult topics and challenges we face in the political and social arenas.  

I sure hope that spark grows. 

And now, the photo:

Project 313 096

That’s the same crystal from a few posts ago only now presented in B&W. The interesting thing is that while the camera resolved all the surface scratches, my eyes didn’t notice them. To the casual glance, it looked like a clear crystal.

That is the benefit of a close examination of any subject . . . you’ll “see” much more than you had first realized with just a casual perusal. 

I like the dissection of this popular phrase. 

Whenever I heard it as intended to instill a measure of confidence, I always wished for a person who both knew and remembered more than I ever knew about a subject.

Well, I’ve just hit 1,100 words . . . let me just leave you with this imagery about When Id, Ego, and Superego Harmonize.

When Id, Ego, and Superego Harmonize

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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