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Thread: Politics and How To Be A Good Leader

  1. #1 Politics and How To Be A Good Leader 
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    Back when I was in English class, we read pieces of literature, and some of the things we read were ancient texts concerning political decisions and the ethics or qualities of a good leader. We studied Machiavelli's The Prince and Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, and discussed our reactions to the texts. For people who have read the said texts, what are your reactions to their advice/opinions on being a good leader? For people who haven't read the said texts, what ancient work have you read concerning political decisions and the ethics or qualities of a good leader? Do you agree or disagree with the author's opinions?

    Personally, I think Machiavelli and Lao Tzu have interesting perspectives on what a good leader "should" be or what the ideal leader is. (Whether anyone could reach this ideal or whether reaching this ideal should be done is another discussion.) Machiavelli seems to hold that what is virtuous is vicious and what is vicious is virtuous. Lao Tzu seems to recommend that less government is best, and suggests that perhaps it's best to follow the way of the Tao/Dao.


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    Personally I like the teachings of Confucius. Confucius lived 2,500 years ago but the wisdom that he taught still has great meaning even today with Confucianism having spread all across the globe. Some pearls of wisdom from Confucius:

    The value in Virtue - "Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue." Confucius argues that acting ethically in all transactions is is paramount, more important than striving to make money.

    Be Fair and Wise - Chi K'ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their ruler, to be faithful to him and to go on to nerve themselves to virtue. The Master said, "Let him preside over them with gravity; then they will reverence him. Let him be final and kind to all; then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the good and teach the incompetent; then they will eagerly seek to be virtuous."

    Principle of Jen - "Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you." It is the fundamental virtue of Confucian teaching. Jen is the virtue of goodness and benevolence. It is expressed through recognition of value and concern for others, no matter their rank or class.

    Concept of Chun-Tzu - It is the man who lives according to the highest ethical standards. The gentleman, he who displays the five virtues: self-respect, generosity, sincerity, persistence, and benevolence. His relationships are described as the following: as a son, he is always loyal; as a father, he is just and kind; as an official, he is loyal and faithful; as a husband, he is righteous and just; and as a friend, he is faithful and tactful.


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    I think people may find pearls of wisdom from many ancient philosophers (Lao Tzu, Confucius, Machiavelli, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Jesus, etc.). Personally, I like the teachings of Jesus. Jesus lived roughly 2000 years ago but the wisdom that he taught still has great meaning even today, with Christianity spreading all across the globe. Some pearls of wisdom that I find in Jesus:

    His variant of the Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48)

    I also like his parables. I find them very inspiring.
    Last edited by Hestha; February 12th, 2013 at 07:51 PM.
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    Let's not go too far with such sayings. Remember all of these apparently admirable sentiments were uttered or recorded by people who lived in extremely violent societies. These people thought it was "a good thing" to write about the "proper treatment" of slaves. How many of them went so far as to suggest that slavery was bad in and of itself - most of them saw the taking of slaves as a right and proper reward to a country or person who conquered a town or a region. What would they have thought of democracy in its modern, one vote, one value for everyone sense?

    And as for the treatment of children and women - it's just better not to go there.

    Take the best of what they have to offer. But don't take them as full scale models for our societies, they wouldn't work.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Let's not go too far with such sayings. Remember all of these apparently admirable sentiments were uttered or recorded by people who lived in extremely violent societies. These people thought it was "a good thing" to write about the "proper treatment" of slaves. How many of them went so far as to suggest that slavery was bad in and of itself - most of them saw the taking of slaves as a right and proper reward to a country or person who conquered a town or a region. What would they have thought of democracy in its modern, one vote, one value for everyone sense?

    And as for the treatment of children and women - it's just better not to go there.

    Take the best of what they have to offer. But don't take them as full scale models for our societies, they wouldn't work.
    Yeah. Of course we should remember the time gap between us and them. It's best to take them with a grain of salt, sort of like how a person hears his grandpa talking about the same old stories again and again, with each story containing a seed of personal truth or revelation about life and what it means to be human.
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    Here's one that has troubled me for years. Newly employed, I was in conference with my new supervisor, who had to leave his office for a short time, and suggested perhaps I might care to look over some of the books on his shelf. One caught my eye: "What Managers Do".

    Riffling through it, I noted an entire chapter dedicated to "When and Why Managers Must Lie". I put the book away in disgust, reflecting upon how HE had begun the lying most early in the game. He interviewed me for the Arizona position in my residence state, Indiana. He asked that I give permission for him to contact my then-current employer, to verify employment duties. I realized this might jeopardize my position, and requested that he NOT contact them. He readily agreed to my request

    Next day, at my workplace, the H. R. supervisor immediately summoned me to ask about the gentleman from Arizona who called requesting information about me. That gentleman had NO CLUE about the total lack of confidentiality in our company, but I learned he had LIED TO ME, even before making the employment offer!

    Thus, my solid conviction that MANAGERS WHO LIE to subordinates, are the least likely to be respected, has remained with me over the years! jocular
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    English Standard Version Proverbs Chapter 1, Verses 1-7:

    1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
    2 To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
    3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
    4 to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
    5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
    6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.
    7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    The Book of Proverbs is written to be educational or instructional. I especially like the Verse 7. I interpret the "fear of the LORD" to mean to be humble, which is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. I feel that that is true in my experience. When I am ignorant, I am proud. But when I "fear the Lord", I am humble and ready to experience and learn new things.
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    When I am ignorant, I am proud. But when I "fear the Lord", I am humble and ready to experience and learn new things.
    Do you mean that this is really true of yourself, personally? I find it odd. For me, there's neither pride nor humility involved in my lack of learning of a topic or in acquisition of knowledge or skill - I like learning new stuff. I'm a bit foot-shuffling embarrassed that I'd previously told other people things that I now learn I was wrong about. But that's my problem.

    There is just so much knowledge available and every bit of time and effort we put into learning, say, physics or psychology or carpentry, is time and effort we've not devoted to computer programming or biology or playing piano. Whatever we've learnt, there are many hundreds of other things we could have studied or practised or rehearsed in its place. We do our best with what we've got and we simply accept that other people who've done these things longer or better than we have can always teach us something more or something new.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    I interpret the "fear of the LORD" to mean to be humble, which is the beginning of knowledge.
    Um, how much humility is required to say "Here's a new subject that I AM going to learn"?
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    "7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction."

    I've come to view that as one of the more ironic passages. But the description of it as meaning humble isn't the first time I've heard it's definition changed to adapt to the obvious discontinuity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    When I am ignorant, I am proud. But when I "fear the Lord", I am humble and ready to experience and learn new things.
    Do you mean that this is really true of yourself, personally? I find it odd. For me, there's neither pride nor humility involved in my lack of learning of a topic or in acquisition of knowledge or skill - I like learning new stuff. I'm a bit foot-shuffling embarrassed that I'd previously told other people things that I now learn I was wrong about. But that's my problem.

    There is just so much knowledge available and every bit of time and effort we put into learning, say, physics or psychology or carpentry, is time and effort we've not devoted to computer programming or biology or playing piano. Whatever we've learnt, there are many hundreds of other things we could have studied or practised or rehearsed in its place. We do our best with what we've got and we simply accept that other people who've done these things longer or better than we have can always teach us something more or something new.
    Yeah. That's the thing with experiences. It may not be so easy to understand what that person is feeling or experiencing unless you have experienced something yourself. :P
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    I interpret the "fear of the LORD" to mean to be humble, which is the beginning of knowledge.
    Um, how much humility is required to say "Here's a new subject that I AM going to learn"?
    Actually, I think I was thinking of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which could be summed up as "ignorance begets pride", in which case a competent person may be less confident than an incompetent person at performing a certain task. Perhaps, it's best to be humble while gaining more knowledge about the world. When I say "knowledge", I don't just mean "facts", but I also include morals, ethics, values, experiences, daily lessons, things that cannot be measured or observed by can be directly experienced, like your old grandpa's or grandma's stories that are told again and again which may hold a tiny seed of truth or aphorism about life. I interpret "fear of the LORD" to mean being humble, because I see that as a way of saying that a person is below God, and once a person recognizes that he/she is below God, he/she may want to serve God for righteousness and to serve others in the spirit of goodness. I feel that "knowledge" is the personal truth or wisdom one finds when one is "enlightened" with God.

    There is also a possibility that I may be misinterpreting the whole thing and may require some scholarly commentary on Proverbs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    "7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction."

    I've come to view that as one of the more ironic passages. But the description of it as meaning humble isn't the first time I've heard it's definition changed to adapt to the obvious discontinuity.
    I actually don't know what it means. I made my own interpretation, really, based on what I thought it meant from my understanding of English syntax and grammar and my experiences. This is why I think I need to read a scholarly interpretation (or lots of scholarly interpretations of Proverbs) to make sure I get the general academic consensus on how the passage is generally interpreted.

    To tell you the truth, I am not really a Christian. I am also not baptized. I am not affiliated with or a member of any church or Christian denomination. And my parents are Christians either. They are also not Westerners, but immigrants from East Asia. I suppose I just like Jesus's teachings, because Jesus seems exotic to me as much as Confucius seems exotic to that above person.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Actually, I think I was thinking of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which could be summed up as "ignorance begets pride", in which case a competent person may be less confident than an incompetent person at performing a certain task. Perhaps, it's best to be humble while gaining more knowledge about the world.
    Hmm, surely someone with proven competence is allowed to be confident?

    and once a person recognizes that he/she is below God
    Er, you mean believes that he/she is below God, not "recognises.
    How does "recognition" that one is "below" an unproven character help them? I can't jump as high as Superman but it doesn't stop me living my life.

    and to serve others in the spirit of goodness.
    No "god" required for that.

    I feel that "knowledge" is the personal truth or wisdom one finds when one is "enlightened" with God.
    Whole other discussion methinks.

    There is also a possibility that I may be misinterpreting the whole thing
    You wouldn't be the only one to give the Bible a "personal interpretation".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    "7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction."

    I've come to view that as one of the more ironic passages. But the description of it as meaning humble isn't the first time I've heard it's definition changed to adapt to the obvious discontinuity.
    One needs to humble him/herself to accept instruction from the Lord [such as these proverbs].
    A fool is a know-it-all, and as such, scoffs at wisdom and instruction [such as these proverbs].
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Actually, I think I was thinking of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which could be summed up as "ignorance begets pride", in which case a competent person may be less confident than an incompetent person at performing a certain task. Perhaps, it's best to be humble while gaining more knowledge about the world.
    Hmm, surely someone with proven competence is allowed to be confident?
    Ummm... I think you misunderstand the theory. According to Wikipedia, the Dunning-Kruger effect is "a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes. Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University conclude, 'the miscalibration of the incompetent from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.'" As you can see, the theory is based on observations done on a study by Dunning and Kruger. It has nothing to do with "proven competence is allowed to be confident", which suggests what people should or should not do. Actually, I think what people should or should not do is not relevant to science at all, but fits under a discussion of ethics. I see science as descriptive, not proscriptive.

    and to serve others in the spirit of goodness.
    No "god" required for that.
    Well, I didn't intend to say whether or not God was required to serve others. All I did was explain what the verse could mean for someone who believes that God is real.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Ummm... I think you misunderstand the theory.
    Not at all.
    I was merely pointing out that Dunning-Kruger doesn't always apply.
    I.e. there are individuals whose confidence IS justified.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Ummm... I think you misunderstand the theory.
    Not at all.
    I was merely pointing out that Dunning-Kruger doesn't always apply.
    I.e. there are individuals whose confidence IS justified.
    Right. Um... ok. I wonder why you assume that an observation would apply 100% of the time and why you assume that we are talking about the exact same situation, given the exact same conditions and variables, and why you assume that the example you have made justifies your counter-example to Dunning-Kruger effect. I would consider your counter-example an interesting hypothesis, though, but to be on the safe side, I am going to resort to my original contention: my original conception of how Dunning-Kruger effect works. If your counter-example has any back-up evidence in the scientific literature, feel free to suggest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Right. Um... ok. I wonder why you assume that an observation would apply 100% of the time
    Then why bring it up.
    I refer you to the original post (#12)that resulted in you mentioning it:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha
    I interpret the "fear of the LORD" to mean to be humble, which is the beginning of knowledge.
    Um, how much humility is required to say "Here's a new subject that I AM going to learn"?

    If your counter-example has any back-up evidence in the scientific literature, feel free to suggest.
    Scientific literature?
    Not that I'm aware of.
    How about everyday life? Job interviews for example? Do competent people say "I'm not sure I could handle the work" before accepting employment? Does/ would the employer still take them on if they say that?
    Does (from personal experience) an engineer say "I doubt I can design anything like that" when handed an assignment by his boss, or does he say "Gimme a couple of weeks and it'll be sorted" and then proceed to prove his competence?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Scientific literature?
    Not that I'm aware of.
    How about everyday life? Job interviews for example? Do competent people say "I'm not sure I could handle the work" before accepting employment? Does/ would the employer still take them on if they say that?
    Does (from personal experience) an engineer say "I doubt I can design anything like that" when handed an assignment by his boss, or does he say "Gimme a couple of weeks and it'll be sorted" and then proceed to prove his competence?
    I think what you are doing here is finding counter-examples to an aphorism. Yes, I have actually read into aphorisms and how there are aphorisms that seem to directly contradict each other; however, they do hold a tiny grain of personal truth by themselves. I am not saying that aphorisms are wrong or right; I am just saying that aphorisms just pertain to a person's experiences. If a person does not experience, then I think it would rather difficult to relate to an aphorism.

    "Birds of a feather flock together" / "Opposites attract"

    "You're never too old to learn" / "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"

    Surely, people may say these aphorisms are true or pertain to their experiences, but people may also say that the opposing aphorism is also true and also pertains to their experiences.

    So, when people say that the Dunning-Kruger effect supports the "Ignorance begets confidence" notion, I think they are really relying on their personal experience and the nature of an aphorism. Yes, you can always find counter examples to the aphorism "Ignorance begets confidence", but I don't think these counter examples will disprove the personal experiences that people may have had that they claim to be "true" to their own experiences. Your counter examples will certainly not disprove the Dunning-Kruger effect, because the effect is a real psychological phenomenon. There is a difference between the psychological phenomenon and the aphorism that people associate with it. The former is objective, while the latter is subjective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Your counter examples will certainly not disprove the Dunning-Kruger effect, because the effect is a real psychological phenomenon.
    But I'm not looking to disprove D-K, I'm merely pointing out that competent people can be, and are usually justifiably, confident in their abilities - that's NOT a "disproof" of "incompetents overestimate their own abilities" so much as a claim that "competents are aware of their abilities, and can justifiably make claims about that competence".
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    "7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction."

    I've come to view that as one of the more ironic passages. But the description of it as meaning humble isn't the first time I've heard it's definition changed to adapt to the obvious discontinuity.
    One needs to humble him/herself to accept instruction from the Lord [such as these proverbs].
    A fool is a know-it-all, and as such, scoffs at wisdom and instruction [such as these proverbs].

    You'll have to forgive me for finding an occasional pearl of wisdom not very compelling when it's bound up and linked to mumbo jumbo. It's a bit different and more credible when it's well reasoned or the person's superstitions are compartmentalized away from that reasoning--fortunately many folks can do both; David as depicted by Hebrew traditions and writings wasn't one of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Your counter examples will certainly not disprove the Dunning-Kruger effect, because the effect is a real psychological phenomenon.
    But I'm not looking to disprove D-K, I'm merely pointing out that competent people can be, and are usually justifiably, confident in their abilities - that's NOT a "disproof" of "incompetents overestimate their own abilities" so much as a claim that "competents are aware of their abilities, and can justifiably make claims about that competence".
    You do have a point. However, sometimes I wonder if that truly is a counter-example of the aphorism or a method by which some people subconsciously to override the Dunning-Kruger effect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    You'll have to forgive me for finding an occasional pearl of wisdom not very compelling when it's bound up and linked to mumbo jumbo. It's a bit different and more credible when it's well reasoned or the person's superstitions are compartmentalized away from that reasoning--fortunately many folks can do both; David as depicted by Hebrew traditions and writings wasn't one of them.
    I think it's supposed to be subjective. The same way that some people like ice cream and some people don't. People can always find ways to rationalize their emotional and subjective preferences. Perhaps, a person may recognize the fact that he/she is lactose-intolerant and say, "Well, since I am lactose intolerant, I can't consume ice cream anyway. So, I don't like it, because it gives me bellyache every time I have it." Does that mean the ice cream is an inferior dessert objectively? Well, subjectively that person may certainly think that ice cream is an inferior dessert, because ice cream causes that person to have a belly ache. In reality, it's really hard to justify that. Now, I am not saying that that person's opinion is not valid. That person's opinion is perfectly valid and reasonable... for himself/herself. I think it's perfectly fine to rationalize one's emotions; however, one may have to keep in mind about the danger of rationalization of emotions to excess: that one may be making something subjective to something objective. Once a person does that, I am afraid that that's when problems arise, and one may wind up with a black-and-white perspective of the world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    You do have a point. However, sometimes I wonder if that truly is a counter-example of the aphorism or a method by which some people subconsciously to override the Dunning-Kruger effect.
    Huh? "Counter-examples"? They're cases where D-K doesn't apply.

    You seem to be claiming that humility is required in all cases. Not so.
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    Dunning-Kruger is not, and was never intended to be, a universal truth. It's an explanation about the disparity in self assessments, whenever they occur, between unskilled and skilled people.

    The unskilled who do not acknowledge or accommodate their own lack of knowledge or skill tend to overrate their own accomplishments or attributes.

    The highly skilled who don't really understand the lack of knowledge of others may tend to underrate their own.

    It should really be referred to as the Dunning Kruger effects plural. Because they are not the mirrors of each other. One is an error by an individual about themselves. The error is about having and maintaining a self image. The other is an error made by a competent individual about other groups. This error is about information outside the individual's control.

    And they are not universal because - most people are aware of their own relative mastery of knowledge or skills. The DK effect is about the way people make mistakes in this area when they are mistaken. No mistake of this kind? No DK effect to be observed.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The highly skilled who don't really understand the lack of knowledge of others may tend to underrate their own.
    Small correction.
    D-K says that the highly skilled tend to assume a higher "intelligence" of others - i.e. if they can understand it they can't quite grasp others not being capable of doing so. It's their relative competence they under rate, not their personal.

    IOW everyone assumes idiots to be smarter than actually are.
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    IOW everyone assumes idiots to be smarter than actually are.
    I know you're joking, but good teachers are pretty good at assessing the relative lacks within student groups. The issue about teaching skill is in finding how best to address those defects in initial understanding.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    You do have a point. However, sometimes I wonder if that truly is a counter-example of the aphorism or a method by which some people subconsciously to override the Dunning-Kruger effect.
    Huh? "Counter-examples"? They're cases where D-K doesn't apply.

    You seem to be claiming that humility is required in all cases. Not so.
    Yeah. This is why I think we are talking about two different things. I thought you were trying to find counter examples to the Dunning-Kruger effect. Apparently, I misinterpreted your actions.

    I did not really intend to imply that humility was required in all cases. I have no idea how you interpreted that. Weird. I wasn't saying that the Dunning-Kruger effect had to take place in every situation you could think of. It's an observation that people observe between competent and incompetent individuals. And some people have come up with the adage that they think associate well with this experiment, which is "Ignorance begets confidence." That's it.

    Then you came along and declared that in some situations that the "Ignorance begets confidence" notion doesn't apply to everything, which makes sense, because the phrase is supposed to be an aphorism. :P
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    I did not really intend to imply that humility was required in all cases. I have no idea how you interpreted that.
    Hmm, post #9:
    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha
    I interpret the "fear of the LORD" to mean to be humble, which is the beginning of knowledge.
    Um, how much humility is required to say "Here's a new subject that I AM going to learn"?
    And your reply - post #12:
    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Perhaps, it's best to be humble while gaining more knowledge about the world.
    Yeah, there's a "perhaps" in there, but it's sort of disassociated due to the comma.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    I did not really intend to imply that humility was required in all cases. I have no idea how you interpreted that.
    Hmm, post #9:
    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha
    I interpret the "fear of the LORD" to mean to be humble, which is the beginning of knowledge.
    Um, how much humility is required to say "Here's a new subject that I AM going to learn"?
    And your reply - post #12:
    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Perhaps, it's best to be humble while gaining more knowledge about the world.
    Yeah, there's a "perhaps" in there, but it's sort of disassociated due to the comma.
    Oh. I think you had a problem with my syntax. I often place a comma after "perhaps", because I treat "perhaps" as if it's a conjunction. I think that's the source of the confusion.
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    Hmm, okay I'll let you off.
    Although I still (violently) disagree with idea of approaching the acquisition of knowledge with humility.
    My usual method is take on a new subject with the object of wrestling into total submission until I've got exactly what I want from it 1.


    1 It may (not) come as some surprise to you that I've often been labelled as "intellectually arrogant".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Hmm, okay I'll let you off.
    Although I still (violently) disagree with idea of approaching the acquisition of knowledge with humility.
    My usual method is take on a new subject with the object of wrestling into total submission until I've got exactly what I want from it 1.


    1 It may (not) come as some surprise to you that I've often been labelled as "intellectually arrogant".
    Hmmm... very interesting. I am quite interested in the final clause of the sentence, which seems to suggest that you demand objective truth or are vulnerable to confirmation bias. If the latter, then I think you can always find what you're looking for to support your opinions... but is that the truth? If the former, then I think that's where we differ. While you may search for objective truth, I hold that subjective truth is equally valuable, for it is subjective truth that gives meaning or significance. I wonder who has labelled you as "intellectually arrogant".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Hmmm... very interesting. I am quite interested in the final clause of the sentence, which seems to suggest that you demand objective truth or are vulnerable to confirmation bias.
    Or, and here's a long shot, I could mean what I said literally 1. I normally go into a new subject (or, increasingly, return to a prior one) with the object of being able to answer certain (usually technical) questions. I ignore any parts of the overall subject that aren't relevant to those particular questions and concentrate on the sections that will allow me to "sufficiently 2" answer them. Yes, it's a piecemeal way of learning anything, but, the older I get the more "realise" I have all the time in the world to do things my way.

    I wonder who has labelled you as "intellectually arrogant".
    Mostly work colleagues/ "superiors".

    1 For example I have no interest whatsoever in obtaining formal qualifications in most subjects I take, I just want to learn about the subject and where it "fits" into everything else.
    2 In many cases I want to be able construct a mathematical model, in others I only want to be able to see how X (in that subject) relates to Y (in another subject).
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    [QUOTE=Dywyddyr;395149]
    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    Or, and here's a long shot, I could mean what I said literally 1. I normally go into a new subject (or, increasingly, return to a prior one) with the object of being able to answer certain (usually technical) questions. I ignore any parts of the overall subject that aren't relevant to those particular questions and concentrate on the sections that will allow me to "sufficiently 2" answer them. Yes, it's a piecemeal way of learning anything, but, the older I get the more "realise" I have all the time in the world to do things my way.
    That seems to be a method of acquiring new knowledge. You focus on the essentials, familiarize with them, and attempt to answer some of its questions. Your last sentence suggests that the older you get, the older you realize that you have all the time in the world to do things your way, meaning that you apply this method of acquiring new knowledge everywhere you go.

    I wonder who has labelled you as "intellectually arrogant".
    Mostly work colleagues/ "superiors".
    I wonder why.

    1 For example I have no interest whatsoever in obtaining formal qualifications in most subjects I take, I just want to learn about the subject and where it "fits" into everything else.
    2 In many cases I want to be able construct a mathematical model, in others I only want to be able to see how X (in that subject) relates to Y (in another subject).
    I wonder what counts as "interest" to you. Your act of associating new knowledge with old knowledge sounds to me that you are interested in relevant information in unfamiliar territory.

    I also wonder how you are able to construct a mathematical model or relationship between two different subjects. The mathematical model part may only apply to subjects that may involve a lot of quantification, whereas the relationship part may apply to subjects that are more qualitative (Art or Music).
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    I think Machiavelli's view is more practical. The trouble with all this talk of good and kind leaders, is they don't last very long.

    Maybe the people at the bottom love you, but the people in the middle are the ones who have the most ability to ruin you. You can't run a large organization without delegating. The people to whom you delegate the most important tasks are essentially holding your fate in their hands, and they're going to make sure you know it. Being kind to them often means being unkind to whoever is below them, because their intentions toward those below them are not always noble.

    Indeed, the most noble people are usually the least interested in being a boss. So you're stuck with a choice between promoting reluctant good people, who may quit because they don't want to lead, or very eager, driven, and ambitious bad people who will be just glad to be in charge, but will abuse their underlings.


    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Here's one that has troubled me for years. Newly employed, I was in conference with my new supervisor, who had to leave his office for a short time, and suggested perhaps I might care to look over some of the books on his shelf. One caught my eye: "What Managers Do".

    Riffling through it, I noted an entire chapter dedicated to "When and Why Managers Must Lie". I put the book away in disgust, reflecting upon how HE had begun the lying most early in the game. He interviewed me for the Arizona position in my residence state, Indiana. He asked that I give permission for him to contact my then-current employer, to verify employment duties. I realized this might jeopardize my position, and requested that he NOT contact them. He readily agreed to my request

    Next day, at my workplace, the H. R. supervisor immediately summoned me to ask about the gentleman from Arizona who called requesting information about me. That gentleman had NO CLUE about the total lack of confidentiality in our company, but I learned he had LIED TO ME, even before making the employment offer!

    Thus, my solid conviction that MANAGERS WHO LIE to subordinates, are the least likely to be respected, has remained with me over the years! jocular

    I recently quit a company where I had a great manager over me. Everyone who worked under him loved him. I really felt bad quitting because I think maybe he took it a bit personally, even though I was clear as I could be that my problem was not in any possible way with him (the company had changed my benefits around and I had a better offer from elsewhere.) I think he just wanted to think he could convince me to stay for his sake. And maybe I should have. I don't know.

    Anyway, I've reflected on how good his prospects would be to get hired on elsewhere if he were to leave the company he's at later on. He'd have great references from nearly everyone who ever worked under him. But.... that doesn't necessarily mean the company was happy with him. What if he got such a great rapport with his employees by being too generous?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hestha View Post
    I wonder what counts as "interest" to you.
    It depends on phase of the moon and colour of my underwear.

    Your act of associating new knowledge with old knowledge sounds to me that you are interested in relevant information in unfamiliar territory.
    Thereby reducing the amount of unfamiliar territory.
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; February 18th, 2013 at 12:19 AM.
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    Regarding being a supervisor of highly skilled people ("skilled trades"), my experience has been that the greater that supervisor's ability is to perform the actual work done by his/her employees, the more highly accepted and respected that supervisor will be, especially if he/she is an Engineer! jocular
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    "It is better to be loved than feared, if you cannot do both"

    Machiavelli's approach to government was one of strong government, controlling but protecting the rights of its citizens. This could be likened to communism or socialism, but not entirely. Machiavelli was all about inspiring emotion (whether that emotion be good or bad) to spur his citizens to perform well for the state. Ultimately, it was the nationalism that Machiavelli was after.

    Greek and Roman Republics, which most western governments are based on, focuses more on the individual over the state, where the state solely exists to serve the needs of the populous. This didn't work exactly in the populations favor in Rome, and some may argue it doesn't work too well in present day America. Anyway, these two different governments arose and used logic and reason to create two seemingly opposite stands: One where the people exist for the government, and one where the government is created by the people, for the people.

    These two stands seem opposite because they are. But, even though they are opposites, neither one is wrong. They both manage to do their intended purpose, which is to run a nation. Whether one is more efficient than the other is irrelevant. They are both valid forms of government.
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    Perhaps the problem with Rome is that Rome got it into its head that it's own government existed to serve the Roman people, but then turned around and subjugated their neighbors. Essentially, Rome itself still considered itself a dictator. The vanquished nations existed to serve Rome. The Roman government attempted to serve one group of people, but be served by another.

    Maybe you just plain can't have it both ways?

    Maybe America is making the same mistake? Allowing the use of currency manipulation to reduce foreign populations into sources of cheap labor and resources. Overtly interfering in their governments by propping up dictators (just as Rome propped up dictators). Trying to serve American citizens, but be served by foreign citizens? So America collectively considers itself to be the third world's dictator, while at the same time feeling no responsibility to rule justly or even impose basic order (not willing to be the "World Police", but wanting to collect tribute/taxes/unfair trade arrangements from them just the same?)
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    but wanting to collect tribute/taxes/unfair trade arrangements from them just the same?)
    Taxation without representation, perhaps?
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