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[I offer consulting. Client code-named X3N721 and I have made a deal where 100% of our interaction, from this point forward, will be via textual medium and posted to this blog. This has benefits and drawbacks for X3N721 and hopefully benefits for readers of this blog. This is my opening post to X3N721.]
Ok, so let’s get started. This will be stream of consciousness.
So the first point that I want to make is that any insight or use that I have for you is “tainted.” It’s the result of hypertrophy, of focus on growth at the expense of other growth. By reading the things that I’ve read, doing the things that I’ve done, all that cognition, and attention, and time spent, I’ve done those things at the expense of other things. Therefore, I have a limited perspective. Further, the blind spots and distortions that led me to make the choices I’ve made could ensnare you as well.
Given that you’ve resonated with my writing, perhaps you’ve resonated with it because of opportunities and value it affords you, in your own words, on your own terms, or perhaps it calls to you because it represents possible solutions to problems you have, perhaps the same problems that led me to write those things, or different problems.
I write the above, because, from an ethical standpoint, I need to be on the lookout for an echo chamber, where we validate each other’s worldviews and I offer thoughts/suggestions/value that offers solutions to problems you don’t have to have in the first place, but we both take those problems as given.
In any case, I want to make it clear that I don’t make any claims to happiness or “success” or anything like that, though I personally am striving for both, and the most that I can confidently offer is a sort of grim satisfaction at best and bitter helplessness at worst. (I will admit to possibly being able to facilitate profound gratitude, resolve, and a certain fundamental stability. Maybe. But I will consider just being to offer those things a failure because those things are not what I’m trying to sell.)
BUT, I think I’ve got depth and sensitivity and ethics and a tremendous amount of theoretical and practical knowledge to draw upon, uniquely synthesized, Dunning-Kruger-Effect-knock-on-wood. I wouldn’t be offering a consulting service if I didn’t think so.
So, I make an attempt to come at this without too many presuppositions. I assume that you’re interested in consulting with me because you found some of the things that I wrote to be fiery, awesome, exciting, hinting at possibilities and potentials, interacting with your mindstream in such a way as to provoke changes in worldview, behavior, or behavioral experiments that in turn yielded value or confirmed some of what I’ve claimed. I also assume that you come to this with a hope, fear, dream, aspiration (or hopes, fears, dreams, aspirations), or that whatever it is, all of it, is inchoate or illegible or layered, or, in any case, there’s a lot going on, or there’s a few simple levers that would make all the difference.
I feel like my goal is provide you with the benefits of what I know while minimizing the drawbacks or at least allowing you to make informed decisions about risks. I do not think I’m a crazy idiot, but from an ethical standpoint, I would like you to use part of your brain to pretend that I’m a crazy idiot with inconsistently useful ideas and lenses through which to view the world. I will interact with you and try to understand you and try to understand what you want, in your own words, on your own terms, and I will try to help you get it.
If I question your premises, I will speak up about it. In fact, I think this is probably the most useful thing about interacting with another person: They can call you on your shit. They can tell you things for your own good, and so forth. The previous is the normal way these sorts of interactions are thought about. But I think that approach is violent, ugly, arrogant, presumptuous. People are stunningly refined complexes of contextually situated nature and nurture. Consciousness and concepts barely plumbs the depths and language to communicate distorts things even further. People act the way they do for REASONS even if those reasons are illegible or obviated, but for reasons nonetheless. There is no room for judgment, and anyone who presumes to KNOW what someone is or what they should do is WRONG. So I like to triangulate, hypothesize, test, suggest, collaborate.
I’m reminded of a story. A person is hacking their way through dense jungle. It’s exhausting, difficult, horrible. Twenty feet away, to the left, there’s an open road paralleling the jungle. If this person would hack to the left, they could walk down the road instead of hacking through the jungle, but they have no idea the road is even there.
So, I don’t know if there’s a jungle, a road, or whatever, and that’s a potentially poisonous story. But I feel like my job is to look for jungles and roads and to suggest experiments that might identify them. And I’ve failed at my job if I introduce jungles that weren’t there before.
And, so, I ask you a question which you can answer with more questions, if you want, (or you can reject this entire approach and apply your own frame to our interaction):
What questions should I ask you?