Respect and Familiarity

Every person wants to be respected, and every person wants to be liked – generalities for sake of explanation.

To be respected, a person must command respect. A person needs to exhibit a personal sphere, a boundary no other person is permitted to cross. To exhibit is to exert; to gain respect a person must demonstrate an ability to influence circumstances and surroundings, including other people.

But, nobody like the person who pushes on others. To be liked by a person is to establish connection with a person. Connection is a two-way experience, each into each other.

Contradiction? But what else is life?

Anecdotes:

1).   In high school I knew a girl 3 years older than I, the older sister of a close friend. Among peers she was known as a Bitch; people knew not to step on her toes, and they listened to what she said. My friends and I were often at her house, visiting her brother. And she was bossy towards us, demanding; she was a harsh critic and an innovator of insults. She kept us in line: we respected her. And as months passed she began to joke with us. She’d buy us beer. She got me a job life-guarding at the beach she worked at. We would drink beer together, on the rainy beach days, and then drive to her college after work to drink more beer. She taught me how to kill digger wasps with a wiffle-ball bat. She was a Major Bitch to many, and a Damn Good Friend to most.

2).   Our warehouse at work shares a parking-lot with several other small, commercial warehouses. I work for an organic lawn care company – all organic, which is why I felt it would be okay to dump excess liquid fertilizer in the parking-lot. The parking-lot has its own storm-drain. My boss was there, and had no complaints. But the boss of another warehouse did. The fertilizer was more sludge than liquid: unexpected. The rain, instead of washing the sludge away, turned the parking-lot into a mud pit. I was alone at work when the boss from across the parking-lot came in, demanding to know what all of this muck was, and why it was in his warehouse. His voice was raised, asking what I was going to do about this, wanting to know who was going to clean his truck bay. I spent an hour hosing down the parking-lot. The aggrieved warehouse-owner came back out. He explained his van drivers had tracked it into his truck bay. I apologized. He made a joke about Frank Sinatra even singing off-key sometimes. He said he wasn’t mad, that he liked our company and would power-wash by his warehouse tomorrow. He complained about the landlord not having put in a second storm-drain, which would have obviated the mess, and many messes prior to. He was an aggrieved, demanding individual, who became a commiserating acquaintance.

Summation: It is sometimes best to first show the fist, but be sure to later show the palm.

 

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Possibilities and Capitalism

Capitalism gets a lot of justified criticism – conglomerations own everything, banks submerge economies, pharmaceutical CEO’s drastically raise prices for profit. But everything in extreme is detrimentalit’s difficult to justify the categorical denunciation of capitalism.

So I won’t do it. Basic capitalism is using private capital to produce goods or services for a fee: using money to make money. It sounds like a Private Pyle, but it’s not inherently bad; using money to make money can be positive or negative.

Private Pyle, from Full Metal Jacket

 

 

Money is the quantification of our possibilities: the more money you have, the more you can do.

You can use your possibilities to further pursue more of your own possibilities – you inherit one million dollars and decide to turn it into ten million by opening a plastics factory. To keep the plastics factory operating, you need a product that’s superior to the cheap China-crap, and you develop better plastic. Your one million dollars is now one billion dollars and you’ve given 10,000 people full-time jobs and revolutionized materials science in the process. You’ve expanded the possibilities of the human race. (Very Ayn Randian.)

You can also further your own possibilities by limiting the possibilities of others. You can slander your competition, or you can purchase your competition, or you can use your money to gut a company, or you can use your possibilities to persuade legislators to over-regulate your competition, or to deregulate your own business. You’ve now expanded your own possibilities by limiting the possibilities of others, and you’re a total asshole with a yacht.

There’s an ethical conundrum —>  What of the CEO that revolutionizes the digital age (expanding possibilities for everyone) but then uses brutal labor in a foreign country and practices engineered obsolescence to keep people buying: isn’t this person expanding more possibilities than he takes? But isn’t he also expanding his own possibilities by limiting those of others, for instance, limiting the possibilities of all the people buying a new Iphone every six months, or the domestic manufacturers who lose their jobs?

Capitalism works excessively well when people open possibilities for themselves by opening possibilities for others, even if this is only a consequence and not a goal, and capitalism becomes destructive when people open possibilities for themselves by closing possibilities for others (Subprimes, TPP, Martin Shkreli).

When people use their Ego (their will, their power, their possibilities) for others, everyone benefits. When people use their Ego to benefit themselves, ie, they greedily build a plastics factory to get super rich – even though they’re only doing it for themselves, they’re giving possibilities to a lot of other people in the process (Ayn Rand again).

But, of course, Martin Shkreli.

Capitalist societies are prosperous and just when people use their Egos to benefit others (open a plastics factory that’s owned by the workers) – and would at least be far less shitty if people would stop expanding their own possibilities by limiting the possibilities of others (purchase and then gut the competing plastics factory).