Irony is when we judge others as lacking empathy

Despite
best intentions,
what we say
out of care,
concern,
or worry,
can be perceived
as aggression
by others.

photo_2020-03-20 23.56.54

“Lights On” / Seung Chan Lim (Slim) / March 20, 2020 / North Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL

 

As doth
a streetlight,
being there
for each other
with their lights on,
with nary a guarantee
of the future,
we
will get through this.

 

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Our identity,
is who we are.

No matter what anyone says,
we are
who we are.

Our self-image
is created,
when we let ourselves or others
dictate
our identity.

“You’re the athletic one
and your sister
is the smart one.”

“I’m not good
at math.”

​Men don’t cry.”​

Nobody
has the right
to dictate
our identity.

Not even ourselves.

But we can,
inadvertently,
let them.

One
of the most common emotions
founders discover
within themselves
is vengefulness.

In the presence
of vengefulness
it’s sometimes worth asking
whether our time
is best spent
on what we hate
vs
what we love.

Because sometimes
we may only have enough time
to choose
between
supporting
who or what we love
vs
hurting
who or what we hate.

Except
the lack of time
isn’t always obvious
until we explore
the question.

In fact,
we may not even realize
that we are experiencing
vengefulness
until we realize empathy
with ourselves.

In conversation,
a question worth asking
is whether we are attempting
to decrease
or increase
the number of choices
for others.

Depending on the answer,
we can often gauge
whether we are moving
in the direction of fear
or courage.

p.s: Thanks to Paul Pangaro for introducing me to the essay on Ethics and Second-Order Cybernetics that inspired this post.

 

Product
is another word
for “outcome.”

The product of
4 and 4
is 16.

When a designer designs something
the product
from the designer’s perspective
is the outcome
of their design.

When someone buys something
the product
from their perspective
is the outcome
of their purchase.

The product
people are buying
are not always
the product
we’ve designed.

There are times
when it seems so clear
that the fault
is ours.

I raised my child poorly.

I lead my company to bankruptcy.

I failed to support my spouse.

This often happens
when there are two things
equally clear
if you’re willing
to see them.

First,
is that you’re someone
who is willing
to take
responsibility.

Second,
is that you have
emotional needs.

Perhaps the need
to be forgiven.

Upon seeing these two things
clearly,
may you learn the choice
to take responsibility
for fulfilling
your own emotional needs
as well as worrying
about the emotional needs
of others.

As programmers,
it’s easy
to conflate debugging
with problem solving.

Yes,
when debugging is complete
the problem
is solved.

But while debugging,
we spend most of our time
trying to see
the code
alive.

The code
that describes a living system.
One comprised
of parts,
their relationships,
and their impact
on one another.

Seeing the code alive
is akin to comprehending
what is really going on.

Once we comprehend
what is going on
problem solving
is often
straightforward.

We often forget to do the same
when not programming.

Especially
with people.

Instead,
we jump
to problem solving.

We often assume
we can take
someone’s perspective.

Until we realize
that the perspective we took
wasn’t theirs
or that it wasn’t the one
we needed.

To make up for this
we sometimes think we can get
their perspective
by asking.

Until we realize
that people aren’t always aware
of the whereabouts
of their own perspectives.

At which point
we realize
that the only way forward
is to discover
their perspective
together
until
we realize empathy.

It’s not you.
It’s me.

The person I’m speaking to
in conversation,
that is.

It’s true.
I sometimes speak
with my past self
instead of you,
the person
in front of me.

I know
this can confuse
sometimes even anger
or frustrate
you.

When that happens,
I want you to know
that it’s not you,
it’s me.

It’s just that,
the pain
of my past experience
is simply too much
to bear.

So although
I know
that as a leader
I must do better.

There are times
when it feels
as if I must proclaim
—No, shout—
in order to remind myself
to never experience
the same pain
ever again.