Sunday, October 14, 2012

Absolutely Not

I sometimes find myself in situations in which the other party wants a response in absolute or binary terms. A lot of times I don't have an answer for them. Not without more context. (And especially if I don't know who they are... I know, I know. I know what you're thinking. It's complicated. At least I think so. Wild times, my friend.)

I don't knock the approach. Things move faster that way I guess. But for me, it just doesn't apply to most of my life. Or at least I need to know how it does before I give an answer I can believe.

If you ask me, do I believe in freedom and equality, without providing any additional context, my mind might start to search the world. It sounds simple, but it's an extremely broad question for a very big universe. And the only thing I can say for sure about that question is that I've only seen so much of this universe.

If it's to, say, free Kanye West from Kim Kardashian's 25 point plan to taking over the universe (1. find popular black or black-ish guy 2. ride the wave 3. create controversy 4. find reason to break up 5. create more controversy 6. say the whole "I'm happy being single" spiel 7. ride the wave 8. find an even more rich and powerful and popular-er black or blackish guy to date.......) I will yell out "Yes! Set Kanye freeeeee!"

My natural response is not to give an immediate answer, but to search for clarity and narrow it down to something more reasonable, something I can say I actually believe in or do not believe in. If you ask the same question in the context of a particular people, place, and situation, I'll still do some searching but I'll probably get to an answer quicker. It would be much easier to boil it down to something resembling something closer to something near certainty. Cool?

Perhaps you tell me it's just for the purpose of some marketing study or political campaign. Then I can answer appropriately, knowing whether it's not enough to provide an answer I know I believe in is irrelevant. You want numbers? Cool.

Maybe you'll hold a gun to my head. Tell me I need to say yes or no or you'll shoot. Not cool. But I'll give you an answer no matter what I believe.

What did that guy Warren Buffet say? Better to be something or the other than precisely wrong? As in measurably be wrong just because you feel good about it fitting in a number or category? Well, that's exactly how I think of things. You can go find the quote if you want. It's out there in Googleland somewhere.

If you are a decision maker, a politician, a test taker or administrator or grader, a cog in a wheel in some fashion, etc., perhaps that's what you have to do. Give a yes or no, 1 or 2, is or is not, right or wrong, A or B, multiple choice, true or false response. If you are a mathematician or scientist the language of probability might take over where proof(s) or experimentation does not provide indisputible fact. I'm cool with it. You're on your Einstein.

But the average person in the average situation just doesn't have to. These things don't always apply. It may or may not be part of their reality. And it depends which part of your reality you speak of. At what time. Under a particular situation. Considering all the other people involved. Etc., etc., etc., etc.....

Are you drunk yet? Or at least dizzy? Maybe your head is in a tailspin. Cool.

That's my pseudo-philosophy for the day. I sell snake oil too, in case you are in the market for some. I hear it cures cancer. Cool?

Context matters, absolutely. It's my credo. And it's all good. Some of the time. In context.