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Who(m?) You Need To Save and How To Save Them

The problem with left-wing economic ideology isn’t its wrongness or rightness but its near-total ineffectiveness: while always naive, it is often deeply well-intentioned — the only slightly inconvenient problem is that it literally never works. Socialism causes stagnation; communism causes outright starvation. Every time. Everywhere.

Why, though? Well, because the numbers and dynamics just don’t scale. No sustainable progress can be made without individual freedom. The world and its interactions are too complex to be reduced to centrally planned formulas. Things work best — indeed, they only work at all — when everybody is more or less free to go their own way.

Now, what does all this armchair neoliberalism have to do with anything?

Just this.

It’s infinitely easier to fix one person — yourself — than to fix five (a family), a thousand (a company) a hundred thousand (a giant company) or a million (a society) people. It’s easier to convince yourself of your awesomeness than to try to convince the rest of the world of it.

Work on yourself. Save yourself. Change yourself. Change your personal environment. Tidy your room. Change your personal circumstances and, as if by magic, you will have changed the world.

Don’t be a hero. Don’t be a rabbi. Are you Mexican? Is your name Jesus? Is your name Kal-El? Did your red-sunned planet blow up when you were a baby? Well, then, stop acting like it.

Do you see someone using a bad = boring = ineffective learning method? Leave them alone. Give them nothing unless and until you are paid and/or begged for it.

Do not, I repeat, do not save them unless and until they explicitly ask or pay for help (and even then). Do not be a Captain Save-a-Dope.

Observe them. Let them make their mistakes. Do the opposite of what they do. But do not save them.

Because you know what? Literally nobody will be grateful for your for your free advice. No body. Nobody! You could have the cure for every disease in the world and people would complain about the time it would take to hear you explain it. That’s just how human beings are. So never ever ever ever offer your wisdom unbidden.

Good advice, that is, wisdom, is like sexual attention from women. Men think they want it; they say they want it; but when they get it for free, without a fight,they hate it; they despise it; they resent it. And they especially despise the giver.

Good advice, that is, wisdom, is like kindness from men. Women think they want it; they say they want it; but when they get it for free, without a fight, they hate it; they despise it; they resent it. And they especially despise the giver.

Agent Smith was right. Human beings can’t handle utopia. When you give them left-wing politics or free advice, you are giving them utopia. And they’ll reject that shiz like a donated organ. It just won’t stick. This has nothing to do with the quality of your advice and everything to do with the structure and function of the human dopamine system, which rewards the prospect of a reward (and hence, by extension, the yearning and striving for said reward), not the reward itself.

Take free lunches (be wise and grateful enough to seek and accept them), but never give them. The diners will either complain about or discard your gift. Probably both. Giving free lunches hurts both you (the giver) and the receiver; it’s a losing proposition; everybody ends up the unhappy and frustrated; everybody loses; everybody gets their time wasted.

This isn’t ivory tower theory. Do you think I’m perfect? Do you think I don’t run into people every day in meatspace who are struggling with Chinese or Japanese or English? Do you think I haven’t made customizations to Surusu to specifically to help real-life friends and family? I have done all those things, and all that doing has only reinforced this truth: the only people I’ve helped where the help stuck are people who came looking, begging for me. That’s just how the world works.

Quit your job as savior and consultant to the world and instead become a savior and consultant to yourself.

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