On Villains

April 10, 2016 – 10:51 pm

[I posted this on a Slack recently, and would like to give it a longer life than Slack’s 10,000 line scrollback. –Nat]

Socially constructed roles like “douche-bro” and “rock star teacher” are generally strongly viewpoint dependent. The rhetoric of continuous improvement is part of self-help, get rich quick, professional development, factory management, military training, science, and more.

What separates these is the outcome they’re working towards, and how we judge those outcomes. So sales bros high-fiving each other in startup land are heroes of their own story, which is about self-improvement and making the world better through optimised supply chains of just-in-time whatever; and at the same time their goals of corporate success and self-aggrandisement makes them villains of our stories where meaningful work is in service of others, where empathy and humility are treasured, and where personal profit is awkward and not to be pre-eminently sought. So if you want more people to shun values you don’t like, teach the values you do like.

You must be logged in to post a comment.