sgian at planetc.com
Thu Dec 2 20:00:01 EST 2004
> There is no reasoning with someone who lives in an excuse driven world.
The most frustrating work I've attempted to date was some years ago when I
was doing custom programming with a partner (using Lattice C, it was that
long ago). When the program or subroutine would crash, I immediately
started combing through the code to see where we'd made a mistake.
Invariably Roger's conclusion was "There's a bug in the compiler." and he
went about to PROVE that his code was sound but it was only the compiler's
fault. In some four years of doing this work the score for errors ended up
being: Programmers: 43,234 Compiler: 0
I did 90% of the work, sometimes 110% of the work since I found Roger's
errors while he was still setting up tests to prove that the compiler was
buggy. Nor did it do any good three years into the partnership to remind
him that in three years of trying to prove the compiler was faulty, he was
wrong 100% of the time. "Yeah, maybe, but this time I'm sure! I didn't
make any mistakes, there's a bug in the compiler."
I've seen that paradigm at play anytime I encounter "successful" people or
wastrel people. At the drop of a hat, the successful begin an intense and
meticulous examination of their decisions and actions. If examples other
than theirs appear, they examine them just as closely to see if there is
anything to be gleaned from them. Even direct criticisms are thrown into
the fining furnace to burn away the dross and see if anything remains might
be of service. Then and only then does the successful person look around to
see if there is some external thing affecting their success.
The wastrel is not so but looks everywhere but within themselves for the
reason for their wastrel-ness. It's always someone else's fault, external
influences, circumstances. In Pearl S Buck's "The Good Earth" Wang Lung's
wastrel uncle comes, as it says, "slouching along a furrow" to ask his
nephew for some money - which annoyed the crap out of the protagonist
because he had
worked in the fields for his money while the uncle and his uncle's whole
family lounged about:
"I ask you pardon, my uncle, for not stopping in my work. These beans,
must, if they are to bear, as you know, be cultivated twice and thrice.
doubtless, are finished. I am very slow - a poor farmer - never finishing
my work in time to rest." His uncle understood perfectly Wang Lung's
he answered smoothly, "I am a man of evil destiny. This year out of every
twenty seed beans, one came up, and in such poor growth as that there is no
use in putting the hoe down. We shall have to buy beans this year if we are
to eat them."
And that is why the excuse driven are spring-loaded and on a razor's edge to
defend their illusion that it's all SEF. Even the most common discourse
threatens to shatter that illusion and evokes a reaction:
"A hand powered mill will grind enough masa for a large meal in about ten
"Oh, yeah, there you go again telling everyone what to do!"
And you are r-r-r-r. You are r-r-r-r. You are ......... right. (There I
said it, Lynda is right). There's no reasoning with the excuse-monger.
Reasoning eventually comes up against reality and experience. To excuses
there is no end.
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