• Agustino
    11.3k
    I have been noticing that a lot of people lack seriousness. Even I myself sometimes lack seriousness. And this isn't something tied to one profession, or one area of life, but rather in all areas of life. It is truly a social problem. In fact, even on this forum, where people are more intelligent, better read, and more cultured than the average man, even here people lack seriousness. This stops us from being capable to relate to each other fully, and also stops us from helping each other. This lack of seriousness is masked in different ways - sometimes even as seriousness itself!

    What do I mean when I say people aren't serious? I mean that they seem to lack the energy, the willingness to delve deeply into problems, without any preconceived notions and pretence of knowledge, without appeals to authority and all the rest of it. It seems to me that people want to get rid of problems, forget about them, pretend to solve them, instead of really go into it and solve it, definitively.

    I can give you many examples. The accountant who I email several times to solve a problem, call on the phone, etc. Every time he says, this afternoon I will get to it, do not worry. But everytime the afternoon passes and nothing gets done, so I need to email or call again the next day. And even then, nothing gets done. It is only when I threaten not to pay, or express that I will end the contract... then the problem gets solved, and in fact, it gets solved almost immediately.

    Or my other web developer. The work never gets done right from the first time. Things look disgusting, and people know they look disgusting, and still leave it like that, submitting the work as if it was done. So then I need to spend time making a long list of corrections for them. And after those are made, new problems appear, because they are made sloppily and not with care, which creates additional problems. In fact, it makes life worse for everyone, because in the end they themselves still have to solve it!

    Or when you go to the doctor, and the doctor always sets it up as a relationship between them, the doctor, who is the authority and knows, and you the patient, who do not know, and who need to be told what is the case. For example the unwillingness of doctors to try new things and new approaches, their unwillingness to consider you as an individual, instead of the repeat of another patient, their consideration that sticking a label onto you "you have so and so" is the end of it, and so on so forth. This is often masked by authority - "I am the doctor, you're not the doctor, you don't know what is right". Or by seriousness - "This is how we have to approach problems, we have a lot of patients!"

    Or the customer service that takes days to solve a problem that really could be solved in 30 minutes maximum, giving a long list of excuses from "we're trying very hard", to "we're very busy", to "just a few more moments", to "I can't make sure it gets solved if you don't stay on the phone (so that you keep getting billed)", etc.

    Or the family member who does not take a common problem seriously, but rather prefers to brush it aside, ignore it, pretend it doesn't exist.

    Etc.

    The truth is that in all these cases it is lack of desire and lack of energy that makes people not take their job seriously, not look at their work authentically, and give their whole being to solving the problem - without pretending to know, without pretending to be an authority, etc. It also stops us from engaging as two human beings - because we are human beings before we are anything else. Human beings ought to treat each other with dignity and respect, I shouldn't have to show you that I can get behind your defences for you to behave nicely, and neither should you have to do that. It is such a waste of energy for everyone involved.

    And we seem to have to play all sorts of games with each other. And we are all aware that we are playing them, but we still are playing them. For example, if you're not satisfied with some service, you cannot say right away because you will be taken as being rude, you will be dismissed, etc. no, instead you have to wait, let the evidence mount, and only after several such occasions can you get it fixed. But we all know from the very beginning what will happen! So why waste the time playing this stupid game and being dishonest?

    So why is it that people lack seriousness? Why is it that people hide behind reputation, authority, and all the rest? Is it because they are afraid? Afraid of actually encountering the real problem, and not knowing how to solve it, having to find out, and instead preferring to rely on what they are familiar with (the past)? And so, with every problem, they are actually not solving the problem, but they are solving some past, previous problem. And if so, how can we transform our relationship, without having to rely on these psychological defence mechanisms, without having to be ashamed of each other, without being afraid of each other, without playing games with each other, without all this nonsense?
  • Hanover
    3.9k
    You're the common denominator in all of these troublesome business dealings.

    Perhaps use the deft people skills you have displayed on this board to generate the same good will among your vendors as you have here.

    Or more kindly, I'd suggest that even if you are right in each instance and they are wrong, it's still you who is damaged, which means it's as much a part of being a successful business person that you extract good work out of your people as it is that you personally are competent. Being a good producer doesn't always translate into being a good manager and it sounds like you have vendors running amok.
  • frank
    1.4k
    and it sounds like you have vendors running amok.Hanover

    You get what you pay for. Quality doesn't usually come cheap.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    You're the common denominator in all of these troublesome business dealings.Hanover
    Being a good producer doesn't always translate into being a good manager and it sounds like you have vendors running amok.Hanover
    It is absolutely possible that I am a bad manager of people, I never claimed to be a good one. As the saying goes though, my mother ain't making a new one, so we're going to have to work with what we have :lol:

    One thing that makes me somewhat of a bad manager is that I am too lenient with people when they make mistakes. Meaning that I give people many second chances. It is one thing that I have been contemplating, whether I should just start being harsher with people, more ruthless from a business point of view. But then that is worrying that it will turn relationships more conflictual, and I generally try to avoid conflict. One thing that I find annoying is that conflict seems to be essential in order to get good results - it seems that people have to see that I have teeth before they will do good work. I don't like that very much.

    Another shortcoming may be that I'm not the best at motivating people. I am decent at getting good quality work from people in the end, but I don't think I'm great at making people feel good about themselves, or about their progress. That's definitely something of a shortcoming.

    And I may not be the best judge of character & skill when it comes to choosing who I work with.

    I will say though, that I think I'm a very good manager when it comes to managing resources, organising, planning and implementing projects, getting things done under budget, selling services, virtually all the technical aspects etc.

    You get what you pay for. Quality doesn't usually come cheap.frank
    That is true, I am quite expensive with what I charge people, and cheap with what I pay people - but for the most part, I have been able to obtain better quality than what I paid for. Largely because I typically understand very well what I need, and I understand the work that I ask others to do (I used to do it myself), so I can't be fooled or short-changed.

    Though I disagree with your basic point. I used to work very cheaply for people at first, and I did very high-quality work. Sometimes I worked non-stop to ensure that the work was at the adequate standard that I would be proud of, regardless of what I got paid. That's what distinguished me from a lot of people, and helped me secure some repeat business and bigger contracts.

    And this whole idea that people have of doing some work and then receiving feedback, and then redoing it... I never personally worked that way. I always expect my client not to have to do anything. But everyone, including my accountant, etc. they all try to do things in a way that is easy and simple FOR THEM without thinking about what's best for me. And this has created problems, I've already changed accountants several times, and I'm with quite an expensive one at the moment, and still not very satisfied.

    But this is another thing that I have contemplated - maybe I do need to start paying people more than I do, but the worry is that I will pay more, and then they will do work with the same amount of micro-managing from me, which isn't great for me. For example, my accounting company changed my accountant, and this new one is absolutely terrible. And even if the price I pay with them is quite expensive now, his responsiveness is absolutely abysmal. So I will have to ask them to change him or change accounting company again... but it doesn't work that easily. Say I will choose to get him changed (which I probably will) first I need to build up a case - have multiple instances of when I email him, call him, etc. and he is not responsive and him being responsive only when I threaten him financially. Then with this history, I will easily be able to get him changed. But this entire game seems so ridiculous to me. I know that I will change him, and he probably knows that he will get changed granted his behaviour, but we can't speak openly about it, we have to play this stupid game before something gets done.
  • frank
    1.4k
    When you get rich and famous, hire a secretary to deal with it. Until then soldier on. If you were traveling through the amazon, would you complain that the snakes and spiders don't seem to be taking their jobs seriously? No. You'd just wake up every morning and say, "Today some snake is going to try to squash me to death." Then you aren't surprised when it happens. No energy wasted on angst that things are what they are.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    Since your post is quite long, I thought it might help to summarise it for those who are too busy to read the whole thing.

    - Why don't people think and act the way I want them to?
  • T Clark
    3k
    So why is it that people lack seriousness? Why is it that people hide behind reputation, authority, and all the rest? Is it because they are afraid?Agustino

    Your post brought this to mind. From "Compensation." Emerson.

    Labor is watched over by the same pitiless laws. Cheapest, say the prudent, is the dearest labor. What we buy in a broom, a mat, a wagon, a knife, is some application of good sense to a common want. It is best to pay in your land a skilful gardener, or to buy good sense applied to gardening; in your sailor, good sense applied to navigation; in the house, good sense applied to cooking, sewing, serving; in your agent, good sense applied to accounts and affairs. So do you multiply your presence, or spread yourself throughout your estate. But because of the dual constitution of things, in labor as in life there can be no cheating. The thief steals from himself. The swindler swindles himself. For the real price of labor is knowledge and virtue, whereof wealth and credit are signs. These signs, like paper money, may be counterfeited or stolen, but that which they represent, namely, knowledge and virtue, cannot be counterfeited or stolen. These ends of labor cannot be answered but by real exertions of the mind, and in obedience to pure motives. The cheat, the defaulter, the gambler, cannot extort the knowledge of material and moral nature which his honest care and pains yield to the operative. The law of nature is, Do the thing, and you shall have the power: but they who do not the thing have not the power.
  • Ying
    179
    In fact, even on this forum, where people are more intelligent, better read, and more cultured than the average man, even here people lack seriousness.Agustino

    Yeah, what can I say? Sorry not sorry, I guess. :)
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Since your post is quite long, I thought it might help to summarise it for those who are too busy to read the whole thing.

    - Why don't people think and act the way I want them to?
    Pseudonym
    What did I say?
    In fact, even on this forum, where people are more intelligent, better read, and more cultured than the average man, even here people lack seriousness.Agustino
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    If you were traveling through the amazon, would you complain that the snakes and spiders don't seem to be taking their jobs seriously? No. You'd just wake up every morning and say, "Today some snake is going to try to squash me to death." Then you aren't surprised when it happens. No energy wasted on angst that things are what they are.frank
    You're not quite getting the drift of what I'm saying at all. This isn't a situation of wishing there were no snakes & spiders. That whole framework is wrong, these people are my vendors, they are not my enemies or my competitors or anything of that nature. We are actually in a symbiotic relationship with each other - they benefit from working with me and I benefit from working with them. The trouble is that such issues can drain a lot of resources and energy, and they create mutual problems which put each party at a disadvantage (and consume our time). It's not that I can't soldier or, that things aren't getting done, etc. Everything is well, but my issue is how can it be better? Can you imagine if these things worked smoothly how much energy would be freed? How much more one could do? Throwing your hands up and saying oh well, there are snakes and spiders, is precisely not to be serious about solving the problem. Sure, one can live with unresolved problems, that's not an issue, but why do that? Why not make things better?

    I can care less for this blame shifting game, it's your fault, it's their fault, etc. I don't care. The problem is how can there be a greater seriousness in the relationship from both sides. The question is how can there be seriousness in a relationship between people - doesn't even have to be a business relationship.
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    459
    This a serious question. Do you suffer from OCD?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    This a serious question. Do you suffer from OCD?CuddlyHedgehog
    :lol: That depends what you mean. Am I a perfectionist? Absolutely. Have I been diagnosed with OCD before? Yes. But I would say that at present I don't have symptoms of OCD qua mental illness/disease. My symptoms of OCD were checking the door was locked 1000 times, checking the gas at the oven is switched off 1000 times, etc. Those are all gone now.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Let's take the relationship between myself and @Pseudonym - it is not a serious relationship. Why not? What's making it like that, and what could we (both of us) do to fix that? This is an opportunity for you to investigate your own relationships with others - not only here, but everywhere else in your life. Let's do this - let's do it seriously, not half-heartedly, not disinterestedly - it is YOUR LIFE too that is under discussion. This is what philosophy is meant to be, we are to engage authentically with our experience, and persevere, not settle for easy answers, and displacements of the problem. So are people serious in their relationships with you? Are you serious in your relationships with people?
  • Benkei
    1.6k
    Influencing skills

    I used this often. Takes a lot of practise though.
  • unenlightened
    2.6k
    Let's take the relationship between myself and Pseudonym - it is not a serious relationship. Why not? What's making it like that, and what could we (both of us) do to fix that? This is an opportunity for you to investigate your own relationships with others - not only here, but everywhere else in your life. Let's do this - let's do it seriously, not half-heartedly, not disinterestedly - it is YOUR LIFE too that is under discussion. This is what philosophy is meant to be, we are to engage authentically with our experience, and persevere, not settle for easy answers, and displacements of the problem. So are people serious in their relationships with you? Are you serious in your relationships with people?Agustino

    One thing that I see in most of the responses you have had is that they have missed what I see as the point. And the reason for that is that you have given in several paragraphs, several examples of you own encounter with a lack of seriousness in others. And what I find to be the meat of the topic appears in this last paragraph:

    So why is it that people lack seriousness? Why is it that people hide behind reputation, authority, and all the rest? Is it because they are afraid? Afraid of actually encountering the real problem, and not knowing how to solve it, having to find out, and instead preferring to rely on what they are familiar with (the past)? And so, with every problem, they are actually not solving the problem, but they are solving some past, previous problem. And if so, how can we transform our relationship, without having to rely on these psychological defence mechanisms, without having to be ashamed of each other, without being afraid of each other, without playing games with each other, without all this nonsense?Agustino

    So you have made it very easy for people to talk about you, and talk about business and management and quite difficult to talk about fear, which we would rather not go into anyway. I think there is an interaction of fear and boredom, if you will allow the Schopenhauerian slant. Repeating the past is boring, and facing the unknown is scary, and this leads to a sullen half-assed bitter response to life in general.

    A lot of this is the fault of a degraded and degrading education; I don't quite know how it is done, but schools start with 4 and 5 yr-olds who cannot be prevented from questioning everything all the time and absorbing new knowledge like sponges and insisting in getting right into everything they come across, and in a few short years they turn them into bored, disinterested, resistant, sullen refuseniks.
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    3.1k
    I used this often. Takes a lot of practise though.Benkei

    "A compliment is a gift. Unwrap it and be grateful. Allow the giver of the compliment their
    moment and you influence them. Show your gratitude for the compliment and the person
    giving it."

    Ah you have learned have you? :party:
    I specifically remember back in December of 2007, when you and I had an exchange of ideas of what to get a Jewish person for Hannuakah. I complimented you on how thoughtful I thought you were, to go out of the way to learn something about another person's religion before spending money on a gift for them.
    And you failed :down: my entry exam of how to graciously accept a compliment, somewhat coyly but still unaccepting of the compliment I gave you.

    Kudos to you in growth and change! :cheer:

    Btw: Have I told you lately what a beautiful person you are? :smirk:
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    Why don't people think and act the way I want them to?Pseudonym

    Interesting criticism from someone who is anti religious freedom.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    One thing that I see in most of the responses you have had is that they have missed what I see as the point. And the reason for that is that you have given in several paragraphs, several examples of you own encounter with a lack of seriousness in others.unenlightened
    Yes, you are correct. I did want people to reflect on their own lives and personal examples in addition to mine. I think going through the process of reflection helps clarify the idea - if you do the work and try to get intimate with it (don't get any unserious thoughts about it now... ) by seeing how it applies to your own life, you'll understand it on a deeper level.

    So you have made it very easy for people to talk about you, and talk about business and management and quite difficult to talk about fear, which we would rather not go into anyway.unenlightened
    Okay, so how can we change this then? I agree with you that the focus of the thread should be about how fear is affecting our relationships, professionally and otherwise. But it should be practical, it shouldn't be merely theoretical. We have to actually consider it, seriously, if I may say so.

    Otherwise, it will be just like going to the doctor. The doctor will say "You have this, I am the doctor, and I know. This is the treatment for what you and many other patients have, you must take it. See you next week". And there is no relationship there, is there? If all we do is engage in listening to each other's soliloquies, we aren't really interacting, building something together, investigating together, solving a problem together.

    Repeating the past is boring, and facing the unknown is scary, and this leads to a sullen half-assed bitter response to life in general.unenlightened
    Yes, every time I take on a new unfamiliar task, until I clarify things in my mind, and organise everything, and see, with my mind's eye, what the final outcome will look like, I fear. I know this fear, it is almost inescapable. But it is fear mixed with a sort of excitement - it is, if one can put it this way, a sort of anxiety which both draws one towards the future (the future being an end to the anxiety) and pulls one away from the future (the past being a source of comfort, being known). Being too much into the future makes one experience dread and confusion - not knowing how to even approach the problem. Being too much in the past makes on bored. So do you reckon it's possible to be present with the problem as it exists now, and not reach out into the future or go back to the past?

    A lot of this is the fault of a degraded and degrading educationunenlightened
    I agree. I am not a big fan of education and schooling as it exists today. I think the purpose of it actually IS to transform you into a docile robot, who will obey instructions and stay within the lines so to speak. And I do not see school, as understood today, as equipping people to be independent, to be able to stand on their own feet, both psychologically and in matters of work. If anything, I would say that most people get out of school unprepared for the world, with no real skills. And of course, if someone is to be dependent on you, the establishment, then, of course, you cannot give them any real skills, because they would result in freedom, not in dependency. Any real skills are dangerous.

    But the system is as it is, and I doubt it will ever change. The question for me is how can people, once trapped within, find a way out?
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    Interesting criticism from someone who is anti religious freedom.Buxtebuddha

    I didn't say it was a criticism. Just a summary. Even as a criticism, it would be criticising the dressing up of promoting a personal moral theory (against which I have no complaint, if its well argued) as some generalisable, objective societal failure.

    @Agustino is just listing a set of behaviours he considers reprehensible (not putting enough effort in at work, not investigating certain issues in forum discussions etc) and trying to generalise them into something that sounds universally bad so as to avoid having to actually construct an argument in support of each position which would appeal to a wider group.

    I think I've demonstrated over quite some pages, that I'm happy to construct an argument in support of what I believe is a necessary restriction on religious education and would be happy to do so again.
  • unenlightened
    2.6k
    But the system is as it is, and I doubt it will ever change. The question for me is how can people, once trapped within, find a way out?Agustino

    That is a dangerous question. If I am trapped in a mindset that always deals with the new in terms of the old, then for anyone to give me an answer is to again give me an old method with which to deal with the new. So to come up with a glib homily for answer, 'Feel the fear and do it anyway', perhaps, is actually to build a bigger trap. If I am trapped in the known, unable to face the unknown, the answer is unknown - it must be.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    What do I mean when I say people aren't serious? I mean that they seem to lack the energy, the willingness to delve deeply into problems, without any preconceived notions and pretence of knowledge, without appeals to authority and all the rest of it. It seems to me that people want to get rid of problems, forget about them, pretend to solve them, instead of really go into it and solve it, definitively.Agustino

    I think you are using the wrong word and from what I gathered in your post, it is a lack of integrity or apathy that would otherwise motivate one to conduct themselves with integrity either professionally or personally. It is a convenient indifference to moral codes of conduct and perhaps sometimes there may well be a fear to face this 'unknown' which is really just our way to avoid feeling shame and guilt - both sensations that are painful - but it could also be that such apathy is pleasurable; sometimes, our misery or unhappiness is soothed when we do bad shit to others or when others are suffering, a sadistic identification to happiness. Mostly, however, it is a lethargy similar to the Ring of Gyges.

    I would be infuriated at the misanthropic bystander that would stare out or pretend that they did not see an injustice, sometimes even more than the actual criminal itself. What would compel a person to hoodwink the elderly for more money, who are comfortable being dishonest, who seem jaundiced about life as though disillusioned to a point that nothing appears beautiful. You'll eventually learn to avoid such people as best as you can.

    To be serious, however, is the wrong word. I enjoy humour, jokes, silliness, Hanoverisms and these all lack seriousness, but it does not make me dishonourable or lacking in integrity, on the contrary sometimes the most kindest, just and honest people I have met are the most funny.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    To be serious, however, is the wrong word.TimeLine
    I disagree on this. Even when you are joking or humorous you ought to do so seriously. Not half-hearted, not with reservations, etc. No, you ought to joke wholeheartedly, with your whole being. I think seriousness is the right word.

    One must take their life seriously. One must care about it. Even when one is joking, playing, etc. You must play seriously.
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    459
    Timeline has beautifully dismantled your argument. Sometimes you have to admit defeat and move on, dear.
  • Erik
    567
    One must take their life seriously. One must care about it. Even when one is joking, playing, etc. You must play seriously.Agustino

    This reminds me of one of those counter-intuitive quotes from Heraclitus which I've thought about quite often:

    "Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play."
  • frank
    1.4k
    Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play."Erik

    I love that. Slightly unrelated: Goethe's description of his childhood: 'Half child's play, half God in the heart."
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    mean that they seem to lack the energy, the willingness to delve deeply into problems, without any preconceived notions and pretence of knowledge, without appeals to authority and all the rest of it.Agustino

    Here's the relevance of my facetious summary.

    How 'deeply' someone has delved into a problem is a subjective opinion, generally if they haven’t agreed with you yet, they haven't delved deeply enough.

    Which notions are 'preconceived' and which are a priori knowledge is a subjective opinion, generally if they come with axioms you don't agree with they're 'preconceived notions', if you agree with them they're justified axioms or fundamental beliefs.

    What knowledge claims are 'pretence' is subjective opinion, generally, if it useful to your world view, they are well known facts, if they oppose your world view they are a pretence of fact.

    An appeal to authority is only fallacious where the authority is not appropriate to the case. Who decides whether they are appropriate? You do. And how do you decide? If they support your world-view they must be genuine authorities, if they don't they're inappropriate to the case.

    "and all the rest of it" follows much the same path. You're projecting your own personal beliefs on others and then presuming there must be something fundamentally wrong when they don't agree.

    Your accountant is not failing to take life seriously, he's taking life very seriously, one of his objectives that he's very serious about is getting through his soul-destroying job with the minimum amount of effort, it's just not an objective you approve of, so you try to generalise the problem.

    Your web designer, your lawyer, they just want to do what's required to not get fired, they're not interested in doing a good job, and why should they be?

    Accusing people of a lack of seriousness presumes you know what their objectives are, such that you can judge how much effort they are putting into achieving it.

    All the people you mention aren't necessarily lacking seriousness, they're just not serious about the interactions they're forced (for whatever reason), or otherwise inclined to have with you.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    move on, dear.CuddlyHedgehog
    I would move on, but I don't know where. Wanna show me? :halo:
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    459
    it’s not in your best interest if I do.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    it’s not in your best interest if I do.CuddlyHedgehog
    Why not? :worry:
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Adorno used to say , if you are paying attention then you can never be happy. He responded to the idiotic American "Have a nice Day". The world is full of horrors. Sometimes the only response is humour.
    And so to Camus and the absurd.
  • T Clark
    3k
    I think you are using the wrong word and from what I gathered in your post, it is a lack of integrity or apathy that would otherwise motivate one to conduct themselves with integrity either professionally or personally. It is a convenient indifference to moral codes of conduct and perhaps sometimes there may well be a fear to face this 'unknown' which is really just our way to avoid feeling shame and guilt - both sensations that are painful - but it could also be that such apathy is pleasurable; sometimes, our misery or unhappiness is soothed when we do bad shit to others or when others are suffering, a sadistic identification to happiness. Mostly, however, it is a lethargy similar to the Ring of Gyges.TimeLine

    You often turn normal human foibles and failures into deep moral issues. Failure and betrayal are not the same thing.

    I would be infuriated at the misanthropic bystander that would stare out or pretend that they did not see an injustice, sometimes even more than the actual criminal itself. What would compel a person to hoodwink the elderly for more money, who are comfortable being dishonest, who seem jaundiced about life as though disillusioned to a point that nothing appears beautiful. You'll eventually learn to avoid such people as best as you can.TimeLine

    What does this have to do with getting Agustino his work late and not up to his high standards?

    To be serious, however, is the wrong word.TimeLine

    Agreed. The most serious things in the world are often the funniest. The universe is playful.
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