The Slo-Man has decided not to decide whether it is he or them. He is inclined to believe it is them. He is aware that they probably think it is he.
Maybe we should step back just a bit and explore this curious state of affairs.
First of all, we already know the Slo-Man. Or do we? He blogs, he is self-confessedly hard to understand, he never apologizes, he says, and he writes long sentences. He is one personality out of four that share a blogger. If we combine everything we know about the other 3 personalities we can, if we are curious enough and have the spare time enough, complete a fairly good picture of his personality. Whence it came, it’s current situation and where it may be headed. But do we really know what makes him tick?
Curiosity is a defining feature. Curiosity not about people’s private affairs but the bewildering world of people around him. What makes the world go round? The miracle of fall and spring, weather cycles, engineering marvels, the workings of the brain, behavior patterns, the science and art of science all around him fascinate him. In sum, he is driven by the “Why”. Let’s leave that aside for a minute and move on to them.
They say that they are out there. Who are they? Why do they say that? Why are they out there? Why won’t they come in? We know even less about them than we know about the Slo-Man.
Firstly, there are many more of them. Many are brighter, far brighter than the Slo-Man. Most of them are far more successful at what they do than he.
Secondly, a lot of them have fairly predictable behavior patterns, especially as you get to know them and observe them at work, at play.
In some cases, the reactions are based on value systems that are alien to the Slo-Man. Some he understands and therefore accepts, but when he comes up against a value system based in bigotry, escapism and irrationality the Slo-Man’s natural equanimity deserts him. He will illustrate this with two examples.
1. An intelligent technical expert, with an engineering education.
This person categorically refused to accept that books other than text books held anything of value. All fiction, without exception, was “just a story”. It was not possible to read any more into a work of fiction. All socials sciences, behavioral sciences, psychology, were not sciences at all. There was no curiosity outside the physical world of liquids, metals and gases. There was a “right” way and a “wrong’ way to solve any problem. Alternate options may be considered, with the acknowledgement that “right” way was being abandoned.
2. A small business owner of a dying, legacy business.
Even as the digital world drove the legacy business into a death spiral, this person had no plans to counter ever decreasing volumes. Desperately seeking more order and more investment of the legacy type, this person refused to explore any other possibilities. Despite being invited to review the world outside the comfort zone, this person steadfastly and vigorously refused to venture beyond the current methods and current business. There was no curiosity to see what lay outside his shrinking world.
In both cases, the key lack is curiosity.
The first case is quite the more complex one. A much higher level of education, travel and work in multiple countries in Asia and many years working in the US. Yet, a complete lack of colloquialism, a complete disregard for social norms betrays the belief that learning happens only in a classroom.
The second case seems to be one of fear of the unknown leading to an escapist mentality. The fact that the business existed in the same city in India for more than 30 years, meant that there were absolutely no external influences. In this case learning seemed to have stopped many years ago. In this case too, it seemed, was the belief that learning happened in a classroom.
The Slo-Man learns something everyday, every second, it seems. As a business owner who has interviewed plenty of candidates for employment he has looked for that element of self-learning. He values, above all, the ability, the need, the urge to make better, to explore options.
Cases like the two mentioned here sadden and bewilder the Slo-Man.
Do they bewilder you too? What kind of learner are you?