Dragging. Too much yesterday. And I didn’t get much done. Which leads me to reflect on the events.
My first graduate student, a master’s student, closed the loop after more than thirty years. Not from – I hope – any alienation, just no overlap of spatio-temporal coordinates. And it was a good reunion and he told me all he was doing and had done. And I tried to stay pretty quiet but I knew from the beginning that this wasn’t about me. But he was a good student – hard working and hard thinking – and one cannot ask for more and seldom gets half so much. But I could tell that he was struggling with some insecurities; insecurities that what he was doing now was worth while and befitting. And as such things often are, his concerns were ,isplaced and overamplified.
But that interaction went way further into the evening than I am want to go and so I was too tense and burdened with my own lateness when I got home. And discovered an email from a colleague who was clearly disjoint over the failure of his current management to do something simple like pay the cellular telephone bill for the organization. Which either indicates a failure to communicate or that the Yankee government really is morally bankrupt. So I suspect a mixed state. With a large dose of inside clerk not getting around to a task that is obvious but of different priority to inside and outside folks.
In any organization, there are several differentiating taxonomic states. A common one is inside/outide folks. The in/out refers to contact beyond the organizations. Insice folks mostly only talk to folks inside the organization, and visa versa. But what is important is both think they are important and !!!!! the others aren’t.
Most of us think garbage collectors are unimportant. And they think garbage makers are nuisances. But our lives would be enormously more complicated without garbage collectors and they wouldn’t have jobs without us. Not that they couldn’t find other jobs, of course.
This sounds like we are are all irrational and unobjective. And we are. But that is part of human nature. And basic conservation of capabilities. We can’t be rational about everything or objective about everything and still be human. Mutually exclusive. And that’s where managers come in.
One of my colleagues, used to be senior to me, had a saying “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity” written on his chalk board. He claimed it was to remind him. What he didn’t say was that he had to be reminded becuase he really didn’t want to believe it despite ample empirical experience of a supportive nature.
That’s why we call ouyrsleves homo sapiens. We aren’t. Wise that is. But we are conceited and insecure and those make for bursts of what passes for abysmal stupidity. But it isn’t real stupidity because it isn’t persisting. It’s rather like Dirac particles being “created’ from the quantum vacuum foam. (How’s that for a mind bender phrase?) We might call it Dirac stupidity except it would be a horrible insult to a rather arrogant but otherwise smart fellow. So let’s call it vacuum stupidity. Because idisrupts everything else, and then goes away leaving an eery silence.