We have a clear example of this at the moment, with the Paralympic games. The founder of the games, Dr Ludwig Guttmann, revolutionised the care of spinal injury in the UK. Until his innovations, a patient with a spinal cord injury had a life expectancy of less than two years, with most patients dying from bedsores and urinary tract infections.
Guttmann's methods were resisted all the way by his colleagues and the nurses working under him, because they seemed wilfully cruel. Guttmann reduced the sedation of patients, even if it meant that they were in constant pain. He had patients turned every two hours, day and night, even if they were terribly sleep-deprived. He forced patients to exercise and undergo painful physiotherapy.
The results were nothing short of miraculous. Within a matter of years, patients who were previously seen as hopeless incurables were being sent home to live long and fulfilling lives. The medics around Guttmann simply lacked the vision and insight to realise that these patients could be treated effectively. They were kind and caring people, but they could do nothing but dose their patients with morphine and watch them die.
Kindness is nothing but a particular sort of shortsightedness. Being a decent and moral person often requires one to do something that is entirely correct but deeply unkind. Medicine is the most obvious example, but we all live with such challenges every day. Do we give our children candy or broccoli? Do we tell a friend that their haircut is unflattering? Do we tell a relative that their partner is a philanderer? Often, the moral choice is not the kind one.
Then jdietrich turned the whole thing into a giant strawman about an obscure doctor using a different interpretation of "kind".
Kindness is essentially a static phenomenon - it can offer nothing more than a slight temporary improvement. Clever is permanent and revolutionary. Clever is what eliminates smallpox, clever is what puts airbags in cars, clever digs irrigation ditches and makes pesticides.
Kindness is personified by Mother Teresa - a well-meaning person who can offer only succour to the dying. Clever is Guy Henry Faget discovering promin and Calmette and Guerin creating a TB vaccine.
Clever goes totally unnoticed most of the time, but its impact immeasurably outweighs compassion. How many humanitarians do you need to feed as many mouths as Norman Borlaug did? Who did more to alleviate suffering due to HIV/AIDS, the hospice movement or GlaxoSmithkline?
What I'm getting at is you have an overly narrow definition of the word "kind". I would argue that Guttmann was actually MORE kind, regardless of how shortsighted people may have seen it.
Ooooh, bad example:
> One of Mother Teresa’s volunteers in Calcutta described her “Home for the Dying” as resembling photos of concentration camps such as Belsen. No chairs, just stretcher beds. Virtually no medical care or painkillers beyond aspirin, and a refusal to take a 15-year-old boy to a hospital. Hitchens adds, “Bear in mind that Mother Teresa’s global income is more than enough to outfit several first class clinics in Bengal. The decision not to do so... is a deliberate one. The point is not the honest relief of suffering, but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection.”
> She has also been criticized for her view on suffering. She felt that suffering would bring people closer to Jesus. Sanal Edamaruku, President of Rationalist International, criticised the failure to give painkillers, writing that in her Homes for the Dying, one could "hear the screams of people having maggots tweezered from their open wounds without pain relief. On principle, strong painkillers were not administered even in severe cases. According to Mother Teresa's philosophy, it is 'the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ'."
 Byfield, Ted (20 October 1997). "If the real world knew the real Mother Teresa there would be a lot less adulation". Alberta Report/Newsmagazine 24 (45)
I probably wouldn't have even mentioned this if you hadn't explicitly said "succour to the dying". 'Succour' is the last thing Mother Teresa offered. After all, Suffering Is Good.
To say that "Kindness nothing but a particular sort of shortsightedness" falls into the same problems of provability. Kindness is a great many things more than a particular sort of shortsightedness.
The idea you put forward seems to imply that basic human emotions are unreliable all the time, in all places - when in fact they work great at most times and in most places.
Kindness is not independent of cleverness, or of morality, or of decency. The common senses of the words do bleed together.
For example, were Dr Ludwig Guttmann to accidentally cause the deaths of fifty patients, his colleague might comment, "Dear Doctor, that was not frightfully clever of you," and he would say that because the Doctor had done something monstrously unkind towards them and their families.
The colleague uses (in part) his emotional faculties to determine that killing people is bad, and he uses (in part) his analytical faculties to determine ways to avoid killing people. But it's useless to try and rigidly separate the sets of faculties because they live in the same brain; there's no context where they can be exercised completely in separate.
True kindness is a long winded, structured and considerate thing. Feeding a junky drugs because it makes them feel better is an example of it done wrong, I would still entirely consider it kind and compassionate to will someone through a process such as what you've illustrated here if you had a genuine understanding that it was going to provide them these kind of benefits.
Clever and kind are never that clear or opposed in the sense of dichotomy. At the extremes of it maybe 'clever' looks like not helping people at all because it frees up resources for the rest of the community, or 'kind' is euthanasia. The subjectivity of it all is the integral, and hardest, part of the process of assessing what's 'best' for an individual.
OTOH, feeding a junky drugs because a cold-turkey withdrawal would kill them (as is sometimes the case with benzodiazepines and alcohol) is pretty much the standard of care. Diazepam, trade name Valium, is the withdrawal benzo of choice for both pill-heads and wet brains, as a matter of fact, but they do sometimes give IV alcohol to alcoholics going through withdrawal.
On the gripping hand, you do have a point: Opioid withdrawal is very rarely life-threatening, and letting the dopehead sweat it out can really hammer home the whole Drugs Are Bad part, especially if followed by a massive lifestyle change.
And this further supports your main point that 'kind' and 'clever' don't really form a simple opposing pair.
Your second paragraph is further into the balancing act I suppose, you could push people to full withdrawal symptoms but when we have the tech. on hand to manage the process, it raises a similar set of questions about which approach you'd perceive to produce the best result for someone.
It's why I'm glad I'm in a tech field, at least most of it is deterministic. The friends I have that work in social services have a nightmare of a job sometimes in terms of failed outcomes or unexpected results from treatments and approaches.
In my view doing something which causes someone discomfort in order to improve there long term quality of life is in itself kind. Conversely satisfying someone's short term desires in the knowledge that it will probably have a bad effect on them in the long run would - I think - be categorised by most people as unkind.
Here's how I would have worded it. Given a company of a 100 people working on the same product, which do you think would have a higher chance of being successful:
1) Everyone has a varying degree of intelligence but all of them shared the same (positive) moral compass
2) Everyone shares the same (high) intelligence but a varying moral compass
you can be kind and shortsighted. you can be cruel and shortsighted. Not sure why you're mixing things up. For yolo?
You're arguing for a world without empathy .. which would in effect, displace humanity as we know it.
May you meant mercy here, and not kindness.
#6 “Our culture is friendly and intense, but if push comes to shove we’ll
settle for intense.”
Data reigns supreme at Amazon, particularly head-to-head tests of customers’
reactions to different features or site designs. Bezos calls it “a culture of
metrics.” With dozens of these gladiator-style showdowns under way each week,
there isn’t much time for soothing words or elaborate rituals of social
Feisty debates over what metrics to watch are Amazon’s way of life. “There’s
an incredible amount of challenging the other person,” says Manfred Bluemel,
a former senior market researcher at Amazon. “You want to have absolute
certainty about what you are saying. If you can stand a barrage of questions,
then you have picked the right metric. But you had better have your stuff
together. The best number wins.”
In some sense you wouldn’t even be human anymore. People like Jeff are better
regarded as hyper-intelligent aliens with a tangential interest in human affairs.
This is the kind of "deep" sounding quote that's actually not so deep at all. It's obviously good to be kind, and good to be clever, and in fact in order to really be kind one must be at least a little clever.
Check the consequences, not the surface appearance, of your actions!
Think about great salespeople you've known. How many use insults to motivate their prospects, and how many use flattery?
It's up to us to care enough to be nice and how we're perceived.
But sometimes the facts themselves are perceived as mean, when they really aren't.
(This reminds me of the old vein of criticisms of consequentalism which go: assume consequentalists are dumb; then they might do thing X with bad consequences...)
If you really want to do something about it, the best thing you can do is to show that person the hard-facts about smoking, and give her reassurance that people can and have quit smoking successfully. And then hope that in the future, when she'll be disgusted about this habit one morning, she'll remember your words and seek further help.
Being mean about it, no matter the scope, doesn't do any good. And as a negative consequence, the smoker will begin to avoid you.
(disclaimer: I'm currently a smoker)
Only if being mean to someone is a much more effective way of making them quit. It is just as likely to stress them out and make them smoke more. Being mean to be nice as a strategy only makes logical sense if there is no way to achieve the same thing without being mean, otherwise you are just being mean and justifying it with some potential future outcome.
"Being mean to be nice as a strategy only makes logical sense if there is no way to achieve the same thing without being mean[.]"
Not quite. Being mean to be nice as a strategy makes logical sense if the benefits to the other person from your employing that strategy outweighs the drawbacks, as compared to alternative strategies. That it be the only option to accomplish the goal is neither necessary (if alternatives avoid being mean but have other huge drawbacks) nor sufficient (if the goal itself is not worth the damage done by being mean), though is certainly highly suggestive.
"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." — Brian Kernighan
Think about kindness in your code.
Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In
this world, Elwood, you must be ... you must be oh so
smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart.
I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
Another case of "do as I say, not as I do" ?
Narrator: Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I've
ever met... see I have this thing: everything on a plane
Tyler Durden: Oh I get it, it's very clever.
Narrator: Thank you.
Tyler Durden: How's that working out for you?
Tyler Durden: Being clever.
Tyler Durden: Keep it up then... Right up.
OK, maybe that kind of emotional appeal is a shit way to argue, and we should use a more ... intelligent ... approach?
High IQ and high EQ aren't mutually exclusive, so it's silly to ask which is important on its own. I think a higher-IQ argument is always better than a low-IQ argument with the same EQ. A high-EQ argument without a high IQ can be actively harmful.
Empty rhetoric is good for manipulating idiots. It's useful if you have a good point, and want to make it sound more interesting. But it's not essential, and it's actively harmful if you don't have a good reason for using it. Low-EQ / high-IQ arguments won't convince a lot of people, but they aren't actively harmful (unless you count a few ruffled feathers as serious harm).
Also, high-IQ arguments convince the right people - people who listen to reasoning, and are unlikely to change their mind when people use hollow emotional arguments. The kind of people I think we need more of.
It may be rephrased as something like "As a human being, it leads to a more fulfilling, meaningful life to be capable of empathy than to have a high IQ", but admittedly that's less catchy. And I'm not even sure it's sufficiently precise: maybe someone can come up with a better way to rephrase it.
It seems that the article provides an example of how 'kindness' has benefited a company with regard to marketing. Performing an act of kindness in order to gain something isn't kind, and the showing potential incentives like this isn't really driving any important point home.
granted, you're talking about making money. otherwise is perfectly fine being a complete douchebag and everyone still using and loving what you build, invent, research.
In the mean time, Forrest Gump has buddies everywhere who willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when he accidentally commits a broken build.
Be excellent to each other.
Spoiler: It isn't.
Ick. I think people want to feel like they are dealing with fellow human beings, not with "companies."
"it's a fine line between clever and stupid."