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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  August 24, 2019

Alligator Wrangling

"Alligators are like problem solving," the Wrangler told me. "When they're small, they're essentially no problem at all. We leave the baby alligators out so anybody can pet them. There's no threat of harm. They have no teeth and can't even hurt a child."

"But once they put on a little weight and age, their teeth grow in and we have to tape their mouths closed if they are in reach of tourists. People will try to jam their hands into an alligator's face, expecting these dinosaurs to passively tolerate aggressive acts from thoughtless humans. They must either think wild creature are puppets, cartoon characters, or staff paid to accept public stupidity and abuse."

Experienced wranglers know how to handle an alligator. While most the time the alligator will only strike when motivated by something enticing before it, there is some randomness involved in its behavior and deeper risk of commitment if a strike entails. The wrangler is always on guard and knows how to set the situation right.

This is just basic professionalism: a few skilled men keeping order towards a goal amongst a roomful of chaotic fools with no idea what to do when something hearkens, nor how to anticipate pivotal situations and realign them towards a desirable outcome. They are spectator droids under no pressure or instinct to think about the moment, but if uncomfortably required to consider their actions for a second would renounce them as obviously erroneous.

They should be grateful if the day of reckoning never comes. They are not forced to live the ideas they fervently espouse, and yet retain those beliefs as wise without being held to obligation to follow them. Treated as equal and empowered, no one strikes them down or exposes them as fools by forcing them to demonstrate the merits of their claims.

The office worker nodded and smiled. "That is professionalism in its finest form, and a standard that all professionals understand and seek to maintain."

"But there is a difference in most professionalism when one is a lawyer or a football player or an office worker because the end result of what those workers do is entirely irrelevant. The purpose of being a professional in those activities is to acquire money, which is done by faking a reputation for this span of a career. One not need be a great problem solver or take concern in the end result, but only must appear to be that way and make others feel that he is."

"Metrics are horribly flawed and awareness of managerial judgment based on crude measurements prompt clever and complex evasions to avoid detection within the rules. Workers acknowledge which of their peers are excellent and which are not the best, but rewards go to those who play the situation as a game and are able to best extract money from the company for the needs of their family."

"You professionals who wrangle, toil, and live in risk are to be admired for sure, but in professions where no harm comes to practitioners of bad practices, great winnings can be gotten by means other than professionalism."


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Interview: exponentiation
What a Man Does
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