“Truth”

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The “self portrait” photo prompted me to peel open the cover of my copy of The Portable Nietzsche, translated by the irreducible Walter Kaufman. Here’s a selection from Nietzsche’s “On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense” that goes right to the heart of how I, how we, how people, experience “truth:”

What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.

We still do not know where the urge for truth comes from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful means using the customary metaphors – in moral terms, the obligation to lie according to fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all…

The Portable Nietzsche, p.46-7

Agree or disagree with his statements, the man wrote with *style*. I happen to agree, since I see “truth” through the lens of objective probability.

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Consolidating consciousness

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As I continue to seek efficiencies and simplify my work life, I’ve come to the conclusion that two blogs is too many. (I’ve already consolidated my Twitter accounts from 3 to 1—don’t ask). So I spent yesterday and today importing the posts from my work-oriented blog into think(feel)be and organizing everything under two categories, life and work, instead of the dozens of categories I had before. This actually mirrors some of the recent simplicity-seeking changes I made to Things, the task management software I rely on to help keep me organized. (In fact, I’m working on a post about that subject, specifically).

In addition to the fact that managing one blog will save me a significant amount of time, there were two other big drivers to my decision:

  1. I felt that my choice of topics was hemmed in by the title, which itself was hemmed in by the domain name: Recruitmentology.com. I had effectively painted myself into a specialty corner, but I find I’m a generalist when it comes to topics that interest me. I don’t want to have to force everything to somehow relate to recruiting, which I felt pressured to do—by my own domain name decision. The end result was a dying blog that I have tried several times to resuscitate without success. So I finally pulled the plug
  2. I am philosophically disinclined to separate my work from my personal life. I have tried (also several times) to create a wall between what I do at work and what I do after hours, but I have been stymied each time because I’m just not someone who does well with walls.

Right now, as in this afternoon, I feel positively unfettered. I can choose to write on any topic that interests me, business or personal, recruiting-related or otherwise. Of course, there are pretty obvious career-related dangers to this method, but, having once been “unconsidered” for a position because of a post on Recruitmentology, I’ve come to the conclusion that if a company doesn’t like what they see here, I wouldn’t be happy working for that company.

Despite all the potential benefits I see from consolidating, it makes me very sad to leave Recruitmentology an empty shell. I invested part of myself in that creative endeavor and I’ve grown attached—as I always do. I was considering putting the domain up for sale, but now I’m having second thoughts. It might take me a bit longer to work through the grieving period than I had anticipated.

The authenticity paradox

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I’ve just picked up a book from the library entitled Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want, which also happens to be the thesis. From the inside jacket I gather that the authors are trying to demonstrate how businesses can appear more authentic to a consumer who is increasingly desensitized by and cynical of attempts to induce him to buy a product or service. Authenticity, it seems, is the new black.

However, the very title of the book presents a paradox: you cannot consume authenticity. If authenticity is defined as that which is fundamentally real and without pretense, then manufacturing the pretense of authenticity destroys the meaning. Pretending to be authentic is a nonsensical idea, and attempting to sell authenticity is itself an inauthentic action.

Here’s a real-world example: the corporate mission and values statement. They’re flashy; they’re ubiquitous; they’re often effectively meaningless. I’ve worked for a company that used the statement as a cover for poor business practices, and I’m currently working for a company that seeks to embody it’s statement as fully as possible. The difference is striking: one company advertises authenticity, the other lives it.

Wow, that’s a big response for a book I haven’t read yet. Now to see whether I’ll have to eat this post. (I like my blogs with a bit of pepper and a handful of salt).

Alpha state

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Okay, I never thought that listening to a talk show would incapacitate me, but it just happened in the meat and cheese section at the local Safeway in Renton.

As I walked into the store I started a podcast about Virtue. Almost immediately I was wandering down the hair care aisle with dialated eyes and a blank look. I kept trying to remember what I’d come in for as the group discussed the origins of virtue ethics. Then, when Aristotle’s name came up, I got lightheaded and had to lean on the island that held the refrigerated chicken. I kept going into an alpha state, trying to follow the abstract ideas while also trying to simultaneously process pragmatic information like the fact that I needed a sandwich. The two states do not mix well.

I walked out with a loaf of bread and a pitifully poor understanding of what the hell a virtue really is. Damn, I LOVE philosophy!

Of Schizophrenia and Authenticity

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Okay, so I’ve decided to go back to having my (our) actual, authentic names on this blog. Maybe I should just start over. It’s going to take more work for me to change the names back on all my posts than it would for me to just create a new blog and import everything relevant.

I’ve found that my sense of authenticity is predicated on my identity. I can’t really be authentic without also being myself. And my personality changes when I try to write as someone else. This will mean that I have to censor some of my thoughts. But I’d rather do that than write without a sense of myself.

It’s all very complicated. And I’m drunk. So, what I’m going to say is that it’s my blog, goddamnit, and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want with it.

I think.

Besides, what’s to stop me from creating another, top-secret blog where I write about all those things I have to censor here? and who says I haven’t already done that? One vanilla blog, one neapolitan blog. Perfect.

Write silent, write deep

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I’ve decided to make my blog pseudonymous. I’ve found out that when I’m myself on here, I’m not honest or fully forthcoming; I’m limited in what I can explore, explain, and reflect on. Now I can be like Katrina and be myself without really being me. Perfect.

To my two consistent readers: you get the bonus prize. You probably don’t want to know what that is, exactly. What do you think of my new name?

To my throngs of new readers: enjoy the writing and the mystery who the writer is.

Now I plan on writing something every day. Yeah, right.

Ignore this. Thanks to two bottles of champagne and some thinking, my perspective has changed.

See Of Schizophrenia and Authenticity

Not enough of a good thing

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Okay, as Yo pointed out in her comment on my last post, people who are LOOKING for a job don’t want to see the cheap stuff. They want the slick, professional ad copy.

And here is where you spend your ad money.

BUT! Do NOT let the ad agency oversell your company. Seriously. The candidate’s will KNOW if you’re lying.

Let’s pretend I’m a candidate:

Lalalalala, just googling jobs at work…oh, what’s this? An ad for Initech? Wow, they really have a great place! I’d LOVE to work there. I think I might apply.

THEN I google the company again, this time looking for all the problems with it. I check out blogs, I chat with current employees, and I find out that, in the REAL WORLD, Initech looks very little like the ad claims. And I MIGHT have considered working there if I knew the truth beforehand, but now I’m totally DISAPPOINTED. My expectations—built up by the ad—have not been met. So maybe I won’t apply.

Now this job at Microsoft…