Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

The Coda (Adopted from Sunday musings 3/1/15)

A friend from my post-grad program recently reminded me of the coda I shared with him some 25+ years ago. It turns out that, for the most part, I’ve continued to make most decisions using the same three simple concepts.

Knowledge is Power. Pretty obvious, that one. The guy in the know always starts every encounter with a huge advantage. The more you know the less likely you are to be ambushed, knocked on your heels. Foreknowledge begets forethought, which while not foolproof, at least should inoculate you against being fooled or looking foolish. One should not only try to have the most knowledge but also to be aware when one does not.

Perception is more important than reality. You could say this one also takes into account bias, both yours and that of others. What is the reality of human influence on the global climate, for example? Your perception of this along with any biases you may have is your version of reality. Being open to this phenomenon in yourself allows you to maintain a more critical view of your own reality. Knowing this about others around you should help to keep you from being surprised by their reactions to you and what you do and say.

Evolution is better than revolution. Slow, steady, incremental movement toward better is generally better tolerated by both participants and spectators. Face it, there’s an awful lot of carnage in any kind of revolution, and it seems as if the more disruptive the revolution the more collateral damage there is among spectators and bystanders. The violence inherent in revolution is not necessarily physical; economic disruption can feel an awful lot like a punch to the throat, eh?

This last one is kinda tricky, in part because it rides both alongside and astride the first two. Every evolution begins at some point with the equivalent of a revolution. A single genius idea launched into an entrenched system upends intellectual, economic, or some other established orthodoxy. Whether it’s a revolution or evolution depends on when you became aware of its existence and how it is changing you or your life. I’m sure the good folks at Radio Shack look at what happened to them as being trounced in a revolution, but Amazon probably barely rose to yawn.

Sometimes life is not much more than “read and react”. Like a linebacker. Maybe most times for most people. Three simple rules, a coda if you will, have helped guide me and a few folks I might have mentored once upon a time to make what feel like better decisions for us and those around us.

What’s your coda?


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