My Best Teaching Is One-on-One

一対一が僕のベスト

Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.

当然、先生方と共同レッスンも、特別レッスンの指導もします。

But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.

しかし、僕の一番意味あると思っている仕事は、講義が終わってから、
一対一と
個人的にその課題の勉強を応援することです。

It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.

まあ、コンピュータプログラムにすると、得意先の方に出来上がった製品を体験させるようなことと思います。
役に立たない製品はまだ製品になっていないと同様です。

Monday, July 12, 2021

Moving Violation in Japan -- No Left Turn

 Got a ticket for a moving violation while I was out delivering mail a few days back. Here's the controlled crosswalk just before where it happened:

DANGER! DANGER!

I tried pull out the color in the traffic light with GIMP, but there was just too much ambient light for the cellphone camera to pick it out in the original image. The traffic light doesn't really have anything to do with it, anyway.

If you look carefully, there are two roads going left ahead of me here. 

(There's also one more road going right, just beyond the crosswalk, but it isn't relevant to what happened.

Also, I took this picture from the sidewalk, not the microvan I drive. You can see my empty box on its side there on the walk in front of the tree in the image above. 

The traffic officer, by the way, is standing behind the trees so I can take the picture, or perhaps around the corner on the left.)

Here's the first of the roads to the left:

Too tight to park.

This is from the other side of the crosswalk, and now you can plainly see it. The second to the left is a bit more visible on the other side of the trees. Again, the officer is standing either behind the trees or around the corner, to leave me free to take the picture.

This first road to the left is fully legal to turn on. If I were one of the motorbike crew, I'd turn left here and park right in front of the front entrance of that apartment building on the left, where I deliver between twenty and a hundred fifty pieces of mail each day. But I drive a microvan, and it'd block traffic even if I parked half on the sidewalk.

So, like a good driver, I haven't been parking there. I've been going to the next road and turning in, which means I have to walk about forty meters. But I can avoid blocking traffic. 

All good, right?

If you look carefully about the center of the above image, you'll notice a blot of blue. Here's what that blot of blue is:

What is that spot of blue?

I've been missing that sign, almost every day since they gave me this route. (Sometimes I come from the other direction, depending on what I'm  carrying. In that case, this sign doesn't matter.) 

Again, these pictures are from the sidewalk. (I'm not going to take pictures as I drive past. Playing with a camera while you drive is dangerous.) This sign is going to be more visible from the driver's seat of a vehicle. 

Not seeing and paying attention to signs like this in Japan is a no-no.

Here's where I've been turning in to park and deliver the mail, the street the white truck is about to pass, that seems to have the entrance slanting in on the left:

Go straight, young man!

If I took more pictures I could show that there are no one-way signs. This is not a one-way street coming out or anything, so turning left won't have you going the wrong way on the street. If you don't notice that sign, you're thinking that intersection is built for turning left into, right?

Well, that's what I have been thinking for the last six months or so. (My failing to obey that sign was probably part of the reason the officers were there.)

The traffic officer is standing out of the picture here, again, for me. Friendly, but firm. She even pointed up to the sign as I drove past her (about twenty minutes before I took this picture), so I would have a chance to see the sign and change my mind about turning. And not get ticketed.

If an officer is trying to tell you something, try to figure it out as fast as you can.

Here's a close-up of the sign:

Yes, that means you.
No Left Turn!

Straight arrow with no turning arrows means, "Go straight."

"Do not pass Go. Do not collect ..." No, that's a different game.

The kanji beneath it say, 「自動車・原付」 -- "JIDŌSHA/GENZUKI".

That's "AUTOMOBILES and MOTORIZED BIKES" (essentially, all motorized vehicles). 

(How you Latinize/Romanize 「原付」 is a bit subject to vagueries -- By consonant column, the second character is read in the D column, so it would be "GENDUKI" or "GENDZUKI", but the hard D goes away when you read it out loud, so it's usually Romanized as I did above, without the D.)

So. No turns. There's no road to the right at this point anyway, so it means no left turn.

Even though the street is not one-way. Even with the street built the way it is.

Yeah, the sign's a little hidden in the trees. But I've been driving past that sign every day. I've even been walking beneath it going and coming every time I park back there.

Somehow, maybe because of the construction of the road, I've just not been seeing that sign -- or maybe not been paying attention to it or not thinking that it must mean me, too.

Well, so I have to go pay a JPY 7000 fine today. Don't have to appear in court if I pay the fine. (Would I try to contest it? More below.) Just drop by a Post Office or Bank and they can transfer the money for me.

Oh. And I'm two points down for a few months. Gotta be extra careful now.

No. Points or no points. I can't afford the USD $70 equivalent any more than I can afford points. I've gotta be more careful, period.

(Oh, and, in addition to the fine, the Post Office (my employer) requires me to write a little 「始末書」 -- "shimatsu-sho"  => "take-care-of-it-note" -- a semi-formal hand-written note (in Japanese) that briefly explains that I got the ticket, that I understand why, and that I'm committed to not making the same mistake again. Unfortunately, the 始末書 will have an effect on my bonus, as well. Part of the reason I'm writing this is to help me figure out what to write in that note. Brief. Not detailed like this post at all.)

I got lucky a little later that day, and had to stop for the crosswalk signal coming from the opposite direction, right in front of the intersection in question. There was just enough time to pull out my cell phone, flick the camera on, and get this without taking the picture while I was actually moving:

Right turn okay, but watch out for pedestrians and bicycles.

(Yeah, I know. Taking pictures while stopped at a light is not something to get in the habit of doing, either.)

If you're seeing it like I've been seeing it for the past six months, there doesn't seem to be any hint of a reason for unusual controls on the intersection. It's nice and wide, and even wider coming in from the direction I had usually been coming in from.

Again, if I took more pictures, I could show that there is no sign controlling turns when traveling in the direction I was traveling when the crosswalk signal stopped me and I took this picture. Right turns in from this direction are perfectly fine, as long as you properly yield to pedestrians and bicycle riders.

Bicycle riders --

If you notice, even though I've blurred out the faces and other identifying details, there are four young school-age guys riding bikes in this picture.

This intersection is on a piece of road between an academic/shopping/light industry center and a major shopping center. Both are several hundred meters away, but the foot and bicycle traffic are both pretty heavy here. I've even had the presence of mind to think there should be more controls on the intersection because of the foot and bicycle traffic. 

But I guess I was thinking of traffic lights, not no-turn-left signs.

Upshot? Moral? Lesson?

A year and a half ago, when I started this job, I hadn't driven regularly for some ten years or so. Just making sure I didn't do anything overtly dangerous while I was getting the mail out was pushing my limits. Luckily, I didn't have too many of these more obscure kinds of traffic control situations to deal with back then. 

I've had a lot of help from co-workers and management on this job (and God), or I wouldn't have made it through the first year without getting a lot of tickets like this.

Now I've got to look harder for those blue signs while I'm driving, and be more careful to read and understand them. And watch and learn more about the less-obvious road conditions.

Either that or get my block-buster (cough) novel finished and make scads of money (cough) on my writing so I don't have to work this job to pay rent and put food on the table.

Sigh.

Better focus on understanding those road signs more better. Uhm, more carefully. Better.

(English is my native tongue. Really. Or maybe Texan.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Was Snape a Bully?

 Jesus loves the bullies, too. He wants us all to be happy, including the bullies.

⁠(I'm sure I've just stepped on some toes there, and will now get a lot of pushback, especially from people who think bullies need no defense.)

⁠But Snape is not really a bully.

Bullies believe that power is the foundation of human relationships. Snape sometimes seemed to behave that way, but he kept breaking the rules of power.


⁠He does teach us a lot about bullying and that makes his character especially poignant because our modern culture has developed a very two-dimensional view of bullies (two -dimensional view of personality in general, but especially of bullies).

⁠Teasing and bullying are the bully's way of reaching out to others, of inviting them to play. They have been raised to believe that any other sort of human interaction is weak, to the point that they don't dare interact in any other way. So it's hard for them to learn any healthier way.

⁠Then we, the rest of society, paint them as bullies, ostracize them, and refuse to give them any opportunity to learn any other way. We have to protect ourselves, we say. That makes it doubly hard for them to learn any healthier way.

⁠James was not a bully, but he didn't know how to deal with Snape. So he dropped back to power-based forms -- which is the essential form of relationship that bullies know. That doesn't make James a bully any more than Snape.

⁠Snape was just a lonely kid who wanted friends but was not allowed them. Society ostracized him and tried to force him to act the bully. Tom Riddle definitely encouraged him to become a bully.

⁠Snape had difficulty relating to people in other ways than the forms of power, but he did try to give the children of Slytherin the things he had not had. He used pecking orders when it was necessary -- because the kids that got selected into Slytherin tended to know nothing else themselves -- but he also tried to give them other ways to interact.

Much is made of how he treated Harry. I'm going from what I've known of bullies who have tried to teach me how to be a bully "for my own good" here. I can tell you that Snape did not try to teach Harry how to be a bully. He (successfully) taught him how to defend himself from bullies, and how to choose a different way.

(I guess I have to state the obvious somewhere in here: bullies can never be happy as long as they believe that power is the only way to relate with people -- as long as they insist on being bullies. God does not want bullies to remain bullies.)

⁠Ostracism is itself a form of bullying. Think about that while you think about how you hate Snape.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

So How Did You Celebrate Juneteenth?

By the time someone I follow on Twitter mentioned Juneteenth fourteen hours ago, it was already June 20th here in Japan. 

I hadn't gotten the news about the day becoming an official national holiday by act of Congress and signature of President Joe Biden, so, if I had remembered it, I would still be operating under the impression that it was an unofficial holiday.

Oh, well. 

The purpose of celebrating a holiday is not something sacred about the exact date, it's to help us recall the ideas, events, concept, goals, etc., that the holiday memorializes -- that the holiday is intended to bring out attention back to. So, the holiday has served its purpose for me this year, even if belatedly.

Here is the document memorialized:

 

Juneteenth --
Jubilee Day
Emancipation Day

 

Head Quarters District of Texas   
Galveston Texas June 19th 1865.


General Orders
   No. 3.

              The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.

                   The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

              By order of Major General Granger

                        F.W. Emery

                        Major A.A. Genl.

 

This is a memorial of the day that emancipation was officially announced in Texas.

A war had been fought. Texas had joined on the side of states retaining the right to choose for themselves about the form of indentured servitude known as chattel slavery. Slave owners who didn't understand how to transition to a new world where indentured servitude would be by terminable contract moved to Texas in large numbers, looking for refuge from the new world order.

This order should have eliminated slavery, and it gave hope to a lot of former slaves. It is that hope which is celebrated and remembered. 

And it's a hope we still all need, since indentured servitude by unconscionable contract is still with us.

If we want to break down the walls between the classes, and those in every class, including the so-called upper classes of so-called privilege that is mostly illusion, we should all want the walls broken down. If we want those walls broken down, we should all celebrate Juneteenth, to the extent that those whose natural right it is to celebrate it will allow us.


Friday, June 11, 2021

Evaluating My ISP -- YMobile

About two years ago, I decided I'd had enough of NTT Docomo's arrogance and excessively competitive attitude. And Rakuten had bought out our old wired ISP (Sannet) and was arbitrarily changing things like email addresses and raising the connection rates.

Seriously, we are letting important infrastructure become dependent on companies who can't tell the difference between healthy competition and cutthroat competition. We've been letting the cutthroats win in the market for something like thirty or forty years. Do we have a right to complain that the service has just been going downhill?

Whether we have the "right to complain" or not, how else will the cutthroats understand that we don't want cutthroat competition?

We want competition that gives us options to fit our own needs. That's a good kind of competition. It is right to complain.

Back to YMobile. YMobile was claiming that they could give us cheaper internet and phone if we brought it all under their umbrella. So I listened to the sales spiel and did it. Basic phone, house internet connection, and all our cell phones and my tablet.

YMobile had been pretty good about my tablet, so I thought I could trust them.

And that was a small mistake. 

It didn't end up any cheaper. Might have ended up about a thousand yen more expensive. I haven't really compared YMobile's rates to the other options.

It also left us dependent on YMobile if something should go wrong.

Like now.

Not going to get into specifics, and you can say I should know better, but the real world .... There is one phone being paid out of my account that is not my phone. And the owner of that phone would not log in to check her bill each month, so she could warn me. She warned my once a couple of months back, when she realized that she had accidentally spent about an hour and a half talking on the phone line instead of the Line voice chat line. 

I covered that charge with extra money in the account the next month.

But then this last month's bill comes in, and again it is about JPY 2500 above the base line. And I didn't have any warning, so automatic withdrawal on one of the bills from YMobile bounced.

So I tried to contact them to find out what was going on.

Nope. The local YMobile shops can't tell me. I have to call.

But, nope. Calling just tells me to get on the web and ask them to call me at a specific time.

Well, the specific time has to be chosen from the range of time when I am at work -- 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. And if you try to use the web form outside that time to reserve a time, it automatically picks a time in that range for you.

So I'm either driving or putting mail in slots for most of that range. If I'm lucky and there's no overtime, I knock off by 6:00 PM.

So I ended up with a reservation to receive a call between 11:00 AM and noon.

So an operator calls me, and she refuses to understand that I cannot talk, that I really shouldn't even be taking the time for asking for a slot after 6:00 PM. After a couple of minutes of trying to get her to give me a slot after six and her telling me she'd need to interrupt my driving later that morning to do so, I had to hang up. 

Mail waits better than drivers on the road, but only a little when you have customers that have requested delivery before noon.

No way to ask why the bill is too big without (I am told) talking to a live operator on the phone. 

Now I get a dunning notice. If I don't pay it by the third week after the original date automatic withdrawal date, they'll take the nuclear option -- shut down my house line and send out a bad credit report.

No grace period. (Docomo has a grace period.) Not clear if they'll check whether there's enough balance for a second try at the automatic withdrawal. (Docomo clearly states the date they'll try again on.) 

No time to ask questions, no time to discuss anything.

And, this is explicit in the dunning notice:

「過払い金が発生した場合は、翌月以降の請求分にて相殺いたします。」
"If an over-payment occurs, we'll balance it out on later bills."

They'll balance it out. On later bills. At their convenience. If they notice.

Okay, so I have to pay without finding out why. And then waste time on my days off to hound them until they tell me why. Or tell they won't tell me why, is my guess.

I could pay them another JPY 220 a month per phone to get an (internet-only, disappears after six months) detail listing of calls, but that would definitely make it more expensive than keeping my land phone with NTT, letting my wired internet get taken over by Rakuten, and supporting NTT Docomo with our cellphone payments. And that only works if I can get the person who owns the phone to check.

I can understand not letting me check her detailed phone record, but, although they are happy to let me set her up to auto-withdraw from my bank account, they refuse to tell me how much in advance. She has to tell me, or I just blindly put extra money in that account.

Just imagine what would happen if my mother-in-law or father-in-law were to try to deal with this.

I know, I know, I'm at fault here. Except, not. 

Not if I have to blindly keep extra money in that account, just in case.

Not if there's no way for me to find out what's going on. 

If you're considering jumping to YMobile, think twice or three times about it.

(I'll wait to tweet this and post it in my FB feed until after I waste half my next day off trying one more time to find out what's going on. I suppose I'm going to add that detailed report of calls to all the accounts, even though it will cost more.)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sex Is Not For Fun

There is this social undercurrent that you may get from "authorities" that sex is unclean, or forbidden, or dangerous!  

Exciting!

Then there is this social undercurrent that sex is fun!

Wait.

That's no longer an undercurrent.

Sex sells. 

It's a cheap way to shore up your sagging sales performance rating or sagging locker-room reputation, or, well, any sagging image problem.

So everybody and their dog is selling it.

Except--

It's not cheap.

And it doesn't really shore up anything. 

Unclean, forbidden, dangerous, exciting, fun, it's all the same -- lies by partial truth.

Sex is fun! For a moment.

It releases those endorphins in the brain, and those endorphins are what recreational drugs and rock-n-roll and romance novels and fast cars and so forth are all about.

But when used as a drug, it's just like the rest of the list. When you are done, it lets you down.

Now, it doesn't let you down if you are doing it the right way for the right reasons. Using it as a safe drug is not a right reason, and it isn't safe, no matter what the people who like the easy sell tell you.

What's the right reason to have sex with someone? Well, it's a lot easier to talk about a bunch of the wrong reasons, and I'm in rant mode, so I'll talk about those first.

Sex is dangerous! 

But they also tell you we have conquered syphilis, scabies, and herpes. And then they'll say condoms! And try to tell you herpes and scabies really aren't that bad anyway, and "we" are going to conquer HIV/AIDS real soon now, ...

Even if condoms never developed pin-prick holes and such, and all the talk about conquering all the sexually transmitted diseases were for real, there is still the problem of the heat of the moment.

In the middle of the endorphin rush, you tend to do stupid things -- like taking the condom off, or convincing yourself the pill also protects against diseases, or ...

So sex really is dangerous, and not just the exciting kind of dangerous. 

That's why you should keep it within marriage. Then it's not so dangerous. (It's still dangerous enough to be an adventure, though.)

Sex is forbidden!

Well, yeah. Random sex really is forbidden if you understand the dangers. And doing things just because they are forbidden has always been a bit brain-dead, anyway.

Now, there is a class of philosophy that forbids sex except for making children, and even (in certain perversions) wants to forbid it then. Make your babies in test-tube, and use man-made drugs to get the endorphin rush, etc.

It ain't going to work. Not anywhere in the near future, and, if experimental results don't change, we really can't expect that it will ever work well enough to replace the natural way of making babies.

Sure, we can use the test-tube to help sometimes, and it's important to understand endorphins, but the whole idea of the endorphin rush is to help us overcome all the psycho-emotional mechanicalities that we tend to pile on ourselves, whether we call them "the law of Moses" or "rational behavior" or "tradition!" or whatever. 

Well, not the whole idea, but a major part of it. 

Whether you appeal to mother nature or God for your purpose, making babies is one of the purposes of sex.

Sex is unclean.

Whether it's solitary masturbation or sex between properly married partners or sex and masturbation in a group orgy, it's unclean.

This isn't just about micro-organisms and physical dirt. When you have sex, you share some intangibles, too, emotional things and intellectual things and spiritual things and social things and economic things. You share them in ways that aren't clean, and I don't mean ritually clean. But no one seems to want to talk about that, because sex sells!

Now it can be (relatively) clean, even sacred, (if still a bit stinky -- funky -- between partners properly and legally committed to each other and consenting to it.

But it's still not perfectly safe and clean within marriage. That is, even between properly married, consenting spouses, sex can be done in ways that are unnecessarily harmful to the health of one or both partners. 

And it leaves stuff behind that, if not taken care of, just get messier. Even in the best of cases, it's hard to have sex without leaving body fluids on the sheets, underwear, and various other places. If you fail to clean things up, they get sticky and smelly and moldy, and people can get sick from the funk. And if you let things go too long, it can cause real, serious disease. And, hey, you know this is not hygienic.

And the shared excitement leaves both partners with expectations that need to be fulfilled. Not taking care of those expectations tends to be emotionally non-hygienic.

Babies? Yeah, condoms do slip, or develop crease cracks and holes. Pregnancy is always a possibility between partners of the opposite gender. 

Babies are messy, too, but we don't complain about them because it's obvious they have to be messy to grow up. And we were babies once, no matter how hard we pretend we were never that uncool.

(Well, there have been, and still are, some who say children should be seen and not heard. And mean that they don't want to be bothered. This is another blind sort of philosophy.)

But the fact that babies are wonderful in spite of being messy does not mean that we should ignore the possibility of making babies when we do the sex thing. Maybe it's not a danger like getting sick, but bringing a baby into this world without even the promise of support is something we should avoid when possible. And if the burden naturally falls on the mother, it should be obvious that the father should be willing to commit to shouldering his part of the burden. And there we are back to marriage.

Oh. Pregnancy definitely can have adverse effects on health, in spite of all the wonderful medical stuff we have in our "modern" world. And all the wonderful modern contraceptives don't always prevent it happening. 

Pregnancy is also a danger of sex.

Because of those endorphins, many people want to pretend that sex should be free and easy, with or without marriage.

But we really don't need to pretend such things.

You can get endorphin rush in lots of ways besides sex. Interacting with people gives us lots of opportunities to be nice to others, and being nice to them makes them feel good (even though they may pretend they don't like to feel good), and it also makes us feel good.

Mutual appreciation is not mutual masturbation no matter how many cynics say it is. Masturbation requires getting one's hands on the sex organ, whether literally or metaphorically. Appreciation does not. 

There are plenty of ways to make each other feel good without getting into sex.

Anyway, the mutual agreement of support and exclusion made in marriage may not be perfectly iron-clad, but it's a whole lot better than the assumption that your partner-of-the-moment has probably come from some other messy tryst without bothering to clean up and is probably going to leave you without bothering to help you clean up, too.

There may be some need to talk about doing marriage the wrong way, since marriage is sometimes used as a tool of oppression.

The act of having sex itself implies commitment. You trust the other person not to bring a disease with him or her. And if there is a pregnancy, you trust the other person not to leave the one person with all the responsibility of the pregnancy. 

That's one of the reasons many states in the USA used to have laws such that "living together as a married couple" would bring about a legal condition called common-law marriage.

Random sex is extremely messy. And it's so unnecessary.

So how can sex be a good thing?

Clearly, it's primarily a good thing between people who are truly committed to each other, at times when both are agreed about doing it.

That's when it can be fun and not let you down. That's when it can be an adventure without usually killing you. 

Yeah, childbirth is still dangerous, but spouses are supposed to help each other, okay? 

Marriage isn't iron-clad safe. Life isn't iron-clad safe, either. But both can be a bit better than the alternatives.

(On reflection the morning after I posted this, I'm still being being too oblique about the most current topic on sex. So,)

What of LGBQT?

LGT sex inherently does not lead to childbirth. Female humans cannot spontaneously conceive. Whether by the design of evolution or of God, the human female body has safety mechanisms to prevent that, with at least two results I can think of. One, if getting pregnant as soon as a woman has recovered from the previous childbirth wears a woman's health out, spontaneously conception is going to wear all women out all the faster. Another, human DNA is so complex it needs the fresh recombination from a disparate source on conception, for the offspring's health.

The current state of the art relative to transexuality can only alter bodies relative to the overt sex act, and it's apparently just as well that that is all it can do. 

We cannot actually invert sex relative to conception with our present or near-future technology. 

So LGT sex is great for preventing unwanted pregnancies, right?

But it's still dangerous. And to the extent that it is promiscuous, it spreads disease. 

I'm pretty sure, from what I understand of history, that society should keep its nose out of homosexual and transsexual relationships that are not promiscuous.

Bisexuality is different. You cannot be practicing bisexual and have just one partner. 

I'm not sure what society should do about closed bisexual relationships, but open bisexuality tends overwhelmingly to be non-restrictive. That means promiscuous. That means it spreads disease. 

(Sometimes I think the whole point of bisexuality seems to be that some people don't know how to love without having sex.)

I don't know how heavily society should suppress that, but I know society should not promote it.

Queer sex? If it isn't promiscuous, it still may have a problem with being too abusive -- too quick to do things that are dangerous to the health. Again, I'm not sure how much society should be involved in private decisions when promiscuity is not involved, but there are cases of queer sex where the abusive element is too much. Partner abuse becomes a social problem whether the relationship is normal or queer.

When the rainbow banner encourages us to care for and love each other in non-sexual ways, it is raised in a good cause. But when it is raised as an excuse for sexual promiscuity, it is raised in a bad cause.

(Maybe that clarifies what I'm trying to say.)

Marriage is when being forbidden really means, yes, you can -- with this one person with whom you have made the mutual (and sexually exclusive) commitments of marriage. That's when it is sacred, and not unclean. 

Sex is not just for fun.

But just because sex is not for fun doesn't mean it can't be fun -- with your properly married spouse. 

(I posted the original version of this rant back in May of 2106 in a blog behind a mature-content wall. Current conditions in the world make that wall irrelevant for this post, so I'm posting it here now, edited, to make it a little less oblique. The original, if you want to read it for some reason, can be found here, still behind that wall.)

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Some thoughts on Hanlon's Razor -- Stupidity Is Less Catching than Shared

Robert J. Hanlon had a razor of logic. 

It was a joke. 

At least, he is said to have submitted it to a joke book.

(Had to move from the Wikipedia page to his Wikiquote page to find out what joke book. He is (apparently?) quoted in one of Arthur Bloch's Murphy's Law books. Not enough information. Bit of irony in that.)

Jokes usually have a root in reality. That's what makes them funny -- they offer an unusual and amusing viewpoint of some painful point we usually take for granted.

Anger is something we take for granted. Assignment of blame is something we take for granted. Defense and revenge are also things we take way too much for granted.

The joke goes like this:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

I've also heard it said as incompetence rather than stupidity.

Either way, stupidity and incompetence are not particularly more friendly charges than malice. Different, but not a whole lot better to be saying about others, especially without solid proof.

But I note that Hanlon is not quoted as saying whose stupidity. The quote does allow being read as attributing things we don't like to mutual stupidity.

It's never good to make up rules to call yourself stupid. If you can think well enough to call yourself stupid, you are trying, even if others think you are not. And trying is the first thing that moves you beyond stupidity.

So I offer my own razor:

Better to assume both you and the other guy are less than perfect than to assume he or she is out to get you.

And I'll offer a twin to that:

If you demand perfection of the other guy, don't be surprised when he or she demands it of you.

God is an apparent exception, but our own ideas of perfection are enough removed from real perfection that it is going to be more useful to forgive the Gods for being stupid rather than decide that they are out to get you. (Or, if you don't believe you believe in God, forgive the universe for being stupid rather than assume it is has a grudge against you.)

While I'm at it, I'll offer a close cousin that is very appropriate to our current political climate:

If the other side is getting excited, they probably think they have a reason. If they think they have a reason, we really should consider the possibility that they do, and that the reason lies, in part, in us.

Anyway, in spite of the fact that real abuse and offenses occur, we should be looking for reasons to forgive instead of reasons for war -- again, noting that forgiveness and permission are separate things. 

You can forgive an abuser and still get yourself away from him or her. 

In extreme cases, you can still seek an injunction or court order stopping somebody from doing something that harms you, even while you forgive the person for being unable (for malice, stupidity, or whatever reason) to refrain from harming you if he or she gets too close to you.

We're all imperfect. Stupidity is less a disease that is catching than it is a state of being that we all share in.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Fermentation Products for Dinner

Dinner tonight:
Nattō, kim Chee, and my wife's pan bread, 
with rice and her vegetables. 

Had some fried salmon as well, but it's already in my stomach. No pics.

Will probably polish it off with yogghurt.

In other news, Trump is still a klutz, Pelosi's still a jerk, delivering mail is hard work. I'll soon start migrating my world from Facebook, Twitter, Google, Blogspot, etc. Life goes on.

Looking into Solid. Tim Berners-Lee may be on to something. The Internet was supposed to be a web of peers from the beginning, anyway.