Tag Archives: Strategy

There Is Such Cruelty In The World

This post is a result of a conversation from the Animal Welfare and Social Change Google+ community. Specifically the statement “a main issue is with the way we treat animals in general. There is such cruelty in our world.” I almost used this as the first blog post for a new website I am working on called Life In The Garden. But I decided that I will wait until I that project is up and running before I start doing blog posts there.

When I think about cruelty and the indifference of people I think about a Greek Philosopher. The philosopher I am referring to is Epicurus. A guiding principle of Epicurean philosophy is that we should minimize harm to oneself and others as the way to maximize happiness.

The Roman goddess Diana can be equated with the Greek goddess Artemis. In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt. She was also associated with the moon, giving birthing, and associated wild animals. It was thought that she had the power to talk to and control animals. She was an animal whisperer. Which is probably not for off. It is believed that an earlier from of the goddess was associated with bear cults predating the Greek Artemis.
The Roman goddess Diana can be equated with the Greek goddess Artemis. In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt. She was also associated with the moon, giving birthing, and associated wild animals. It was thought that she had the power to talk to and control animals. She was an animal whisperer. Which is probably not far off. It is believed that an earlier from of the goddess was associated with bear cults predating the Greek Artemis.

The big question is what or who do we consider a suitable other? Are others, other people, as in other people of my In Group? Perhaps we would include all other people. Does it include other members of my household and family and exclude strangers? Perhaps it includes other life forms like a pet. Suitable others may even include a wide range of others, such as all mammals or mammals and birds. Some people may even include all higher life forms. If we carry this to its extreme we will reach a point where not harming others is harming ourselves. How do we justify this?

What is Other? Is there a distinction between suitable others and unsuitable others?

One point that was brought up in the discussion is that we should avoid hasty emotional reactions. In general I would agree with this advice. Also with this was the suggestion that we need to be more understanding. Both of these ideas are part of the philosophy of ancient Stoics. Stoicism is another school of Greek Philosophy.

Emotions short circuit critical thought. Often acting with an emotional knee jerk reaction leads to harming others and/or ourselves. Passively reacting to external events is giving up control. Giving up control means you have abandoned your Will to Freely choose a response. It seems the Stoics were quite concerned with a free will.

Even people who think they make their decisions based on critical thought are still controlled by emotions. Sometimes it is so subtle we don’t even realize it. I believe it is helpful if we can catch ourselves and examine the nature of our responses.

The Stoics believed that not only must we control ourselves but we need to understand. In particular we need to understand the processes of nature. This idea was adopted from the Cynics. Cynicism was yet another school of Greek Philosophy. It is interesting to note that the Cynics were also called dog-like. So originally Cynicism was the dog-like philosophy.

Not only must we understand but we need to accept. I see some similarities in Stoicisms idea of universal understanding and the phase “I seek a unity all-pervading” from the Confucian Analects. I may be a bit more familiar with the writings of Eastern traditions. However, many of the ancient Greek and Roman tradition are an everyday part of the culture I was born into. From the teaching of an all-pervading understanding I have developed an ideal of all-pervading acceptance. Acceptance is the key ingredient to love and happiness.

To accept is very hard to do. What is you tolerance level for acceptance. I must admit tolerance has not always been the best social strategy for success. We can see ancient examples of intolerance as the most successful social strategy as well as very recent examples.

Courteous and considerate behavior are both the glue and the lubricant needed for social harmony.

Courteous behavior is an impotent intermediate stage to a more permanent change toward overall goodness. The problem with courteous behavior is that it’s usually bound by cultural norms. Being courteous and knowing about different cultures is important. However, in the long run being considerate may be more valuable.

Being courteous is not enough. It has been my observation that courteous behavior is usually part of a pattern of ritualized aggression. While it makes for a more harmonious society, it does have some limitation. The next level is trust and acceptance. If we believe the other person means no harm and they act in a way that is not respectful of local customs, has it done any harm? Perhaps so or perhaps not.

If it has done harm then we get into another important and possibly related discussion. When courteous behavior leads to group conformity it can also create and us and them scenario. One of the biggest problems humans will face in the future will be the competitive forces of us verse them. This competition isn’t so bad when humans are killing each other with a chunk of stone. But when modern technology is introduced into the mix, you move toward an apocalyptic end. It is logical that societies would be better off if they did not glorify an apocalyptic end of time.

Wishing you the very best in dogs and in life,
Andrew Ledford

California Gasoline Prices Not Too High

As I was driving to see clients on almost $5 a gallon gas it occurred to me, most people don’t think $5 or more is too much to pay for gas.

High Gas Prices But Not Too High
High Gas Prices But Not Too High

How did I come to this conclusion? I judge the number of people who speed as a good indicator of whether or not gasoline costs too much.

I know there are people who think other people are about as logical as a snake. Meaning they can’t correlate how they drive with how much gasoline they use. But I am going to give the average person a bit more credit than that.

I think people do know that if they drive very fast they will use more gas. At least I think this is still so. How much has car technology changed? I know it used to be the case. That is why at one time we had a maximum speed limit of 55 miles and per hour. That slow speed wasn’t meant to save lives, it was to save gas.

Much to the chagrin of other drivers I tend to fall back on the 55 miles an hour rule when gas prices reach a certain threshold.

I am not sure how much gas we can save by driving 55, but I think it would make a difference. In fact I think it could make up for the supposed shortage. I heard that we were just 2 percent under our normal supply. If everyone drove 55 we might just have a gas surplus.

Even if you can afford to pay $5, $10 or $20 a gallon for gas it hurts other people. By using more than is needed you’re decreasing the gasoline inventory which raises prices and this hurts those who are struggling economically. Eventually excessive gas prices with adversely affect the overall economy.

I am not against over consumption, or even conspicuous consumption. In fact conspicuous consumption can sometime be very good for society and humanity. However, I believe we should think about how our consumption affects others.

Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves, our communities, our countries, and the world. I really believe that we should use our buying decisions to influence what is good for society. If we only care for ourselves, or what we can get and don’t care for others, eventually all will be lost.

As we become more caring our level of responsibility will expand and we will evolve. I believe that becoming less violent and more caring is an emergent human trait. If it’s not nurtured in small way it could undergo extinction. And in a world where even small states will have the ability to destroy the world, that means the extinction of humanity.

This post is going under the category of strategy because it has many of the elements that must be considered in a strategy. It contains subtle but important long term consequences.

McNamara Strategy

I started watching this video because I am considering using some of these film/video techniques in a video production. However, I thought the video was so good I decided to post it on my blog.

Now McNamara is certainly a controversial figure but he does have some interesting points for strategic thinking. And he has proven to be successful personally if not globally.

The video goes over 11 Lessons we can learn from McNamara. Could we call this the McNamara strategy? It’s a long video, so I listed the main points.

Lesson #1. Empathize with your enemy
Lesson #2 Rationality will not save us
Lesson #3. There’s something beyond oneself
Lesson #4. Maximize efficiency
Lesson #5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war
Lesson #6. Get the data
Lesson #7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong
Lesson #8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning
Lesson #9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil
Lesson #10. Never say never
Lesson #11. You can’t change human nature.