Spending Time on Reports?

A developer, like most of us, can think s/he knows what s/he is doing, where s/he is going, with a project, and believe that the project is well-mapped out in the cerebral cortex, and ready to roll.  There’s a certain sense of confidence arises when one feels one has a general grasp of what is needed to be done.

The old saying: The proof of the pudding is in the eating – is important and true here. And adopting a practice, and making it your standard practice, to resolve to write down in everyday language those confident thoughts milling between neurones in your head, will indeed expose the holes and non-sequiturs, and at the very least bring a greater clarity to your aid.

It is not that you might be wrong: that your sense of confidence is misplaced in believing in being able to achieve what you have been charged to build. In these cases that sense of inner confidence; what the TV detective calls a ‘hunch’, is normally a kind of internal radar which is pretty accurate.

It is that your unconscious mind is allowing you that sense of confidence; and because of this you will find that you cannot really very easily bring up with faciltity into you to consciousness everything which goes into the building of a projected job; and certainly you will find that you cannot do such a thing all at once.

‘We don’t want a madhouse and the whole thing here’

Your unconscious mind is fitting together ideas and projections and all sort of connectors and conjunctions so as for you to be able to say to your client with confidence: I can do this for you.  The trick is to learn how to mine the data out of your unconscious by writing down meticulously the project as a plan; and so you are realising consciously those unconscious connectors and conjunctions you are reliant upon for doing the work well.

The effort will be surprisingly hard for you. To write down in everyday language a skeleton upon which you aim to hang flesh on your projected task to make it live.  There will be pauses and problems and unforeseen mantraps and cul-de-sacs to negotiate: things overlooked and things misremembered and things which you have half an idea of but need to polish up on.  But overall your ‘hunch’ nevertheless will generally transpire as being a correct one.

What will also be difficult will be to get your thoughts down in, say, English, so that they accurately reflect what you want to say.  There was a philosopher of science who once said famously:

‘There is nothing I can say which cannot be misunderstood’

But the attempting to ‘say what you mean and to mean what you say’ will bring awareness and clarity and in bringing it will act to debug your mind before your mind is applied as a tool to construct a virtual reality in the image of itself.

Look upon it as being a personal challenge to see the writing through to the finish; and do finish it before you begin to start work proper on development of the item of work.  Use your writing as your personal Requirement Document, and maybe run it past your client to see whether a) it agrees with what s/he has in his head for the work and b) whether what s/he has in his head for the work necessarily needs to be modified in the light of what you have achieve in performing this exercise.

So why waste time with all this? Why not just get on and do.  Why not just go straight to writing a comprehensive technical specification document – if you actually do write such things beforehand to working to realise the product of a job.

Well: people buy Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training and pay money for the privilege of a mental workout which has no direct practical applications. At best Dr Kawashima can help generally to improve one’s concentration and sharpen one’s thought processes but these benefits depend on one obtaining a transfer of skill or aptitude over into everyday and particular practical situations which confront us.

Dr Kawashima provides you with entertainment and is at least in part a game.  The essence of a game is that there is no actual consequential penalty or loss riding on its completion; unlike when one is doing a job of work to earn one’s living. When one messes up on a paying job the pay check will not arrive; and one’s reputation will need at the least some massage and resuscitation.  There is a living riding on the outcomes of ones occupational achievement.

So why buy a game when instead you can do it yourself for real and increase your capabilities, your reputation, your income, and your sense of well-being and accomplishment, by applying a bit of brain training in a crucial and live situation.

You can improve and so find mining one’s unconscious data more felicitous and productive as you practice it further. It constitutes a good habit into which one is able to train oneself, and grow up into.

It can be hard going it alone.  So a guy or gal to bounce things off is a good recommendation: someone likeminded maybe, and someone also eager to do some extra-mural mental gym.  As the old poet said wisely:

‘When two go together, one sees before the other’

I guarantee you that you will be surprised how instructive the famous saying of the philosopher of science can be for you.  Take it as your maxim and your tenet and refer always to it as you go; so as to examine yourself and your work for those sneaky omissions and elisions, and those sly misnomers or those elusive double-dealing double-meanings.

When you have brought out from your depths to a written form with which you are happy a document which lays out clearly, comprehensively and concisely your upcoming job of work as a plan or a working blueprint, the gain is in the sense of restful and unruffled grounding you possess, and are able to give to the work of making the thing a reality.

It is not wasted time. It is not unnecessary. It is time spent up front working through hypothetically what you might have done actually and in fact and in the doing in fact could have turned into a real pig’s ear what now instead is likely to be a much smoother and much more enjoyable, rewarding task: a joy.

Furthermore, at the back end of a job approached this way there is most likely going to be a lot less debugging, fewer back to formulas and redactions.  Perhaps most importantly, you might feel like taking a reasonable and modest pride in yourself too?

Business and Behaviour

Isaac Newton formulated a law of motion saying: ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’; and his law has stood us in good stead for hundreds of years since.

Its application was in the field of physics; but it has application also in human relations; maybe not quite as regularly as in physics, but pretty often nonetheless.

In discussing how it applies to human relations in this article,  and more especially so in business relations, I want to show and so advocate how handling well one’s own behaviour, towards oneself and towards others, is to the general good, and as such is productive of  more wealth creation than is say and aggressive or a scattergun approach to handling oneself and others.

Shakespeare’s Jew of Venice, Shylock, was much maligned for his race and creed (as was too general for Jews in those days) and he pleads in the courtroom, where, in part, because he is a Jew, he is accused of being an inhuman monster:

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

This ‘we’ he is talking about might be humanity in general because his claims are not only applicable to Jews.  Our natural passions prefer us giving others like for like: ‘As you give, thus shall you be meted out’.

Our natural passions unrestrained are for loving those who love us and hating those who hate us; and are for helping those who help us and harming those who harm us. ‘Every action has a reaction’.

The Biblical law ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’ is not, as it is too commonly taken to be by non-Jews, a call for vengeance and for doing hurt to people as much as they hurt you.  It is very much the opposite. It is a restraint, a curb, a regulation, which is set so as to prohibit those hurt or cheated from taking too much vengeance on the perpetrators.  This law is saying then that only as much as an eye can be taken in recompense for the taking of an eye.

And so an ‘equal and opposite’ reaction against having been harmed or annoyed might often be considered insufficient by the natural person listening to his natural passions for revenge.

Can you see where this is going with business and with business relationships?  When a guy has gotten out of order and deliberately messed you up in some way; not paying on time or sabotaging a project or such; the temptation for you is to take a hammer and smash his business or sometimes smash him himself?  You feel you want, as you say, to make an example of him.

What you really want is not so much to deter others from doing likewise to you; rather you want satisfaction pure and simple of your incensed passions against him.  As Shakespeare has Shylock say: ‘let the forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of his fair flesh’.

Hence a punishment felt to be too heavy is sometimes said by observers to be a person injured demanding as redress ‘a pound of flesh’.

This way the spirit of Cain is raised in us, and we ponder murder in our hearts.  And this is why in business we need and make regulations and sign agreements with partners, and we propose penalties beforehand, at a time when we are calm, and can see the objective situation better, with a cool head.

So when, as it frequently is, a case of an injured party in business seeking punitive costs or harms so as to aim to ruin or smash their adversary, only the lawyers are winners in fact.  This is because contrary to the saying that ‘vengeance is best served cold’, in reality most times vengeance allows no real satisfaction at all.  Not even psychologically as – a much misused term – ‘closure’.  Shakespeare has another Venetian of his say about jealousy something which equally can be said about punitive vengeance being served out; that it ‘mocks the meat it feeds on’.

The meat of vengeance is in a sense of victory, supremacy, dominance in an exultant punisher for having crushed another altogether.  It offers nothing at all that is practically useful or beneficial; not even to the avenger taking relishing with his meat – especially not to the avenger even.

In these cases avengers feed on meats which whet an appetite better quelled than indulged; better regulated than given free rein.  It is a meat which sickens the health of a mind and a body because it substitutes one grievous loss as recompense for another grievous loss. Punitive loss and harm offered to and wreaked upon a business enemy or opponent, substitutes for the offerer as recompense for a business loss suffered by him, usually concerning work or money.  It just cannot be healthy for a body and a mind to accept as due quittance such a punitive loss inflicted by them on another, even when that other was cause of the loss; and whether or not that other had been culpable.

In these case the balance and equanimity of business relations suffer generally and adversely, because the precedent set and the example given by attritional acts of revenge, act to pollute the wellsprings of good faith, and of prima facie goodwill upon which doing business with facility best thrives.  In practice this means to an economic community real actual loss of wealth and productivity.

This lack of balance and equanimity when a community or a part of it is at war with itself, and when business minds find themselves happy to be fed on red meats of punitive revenges: this cannot but destabilise and throw into disorder such a community; and to the extent that that those minds hold sway and influence within that community.

Simply put, the result is that buyers and seller in a community become inhibited and cautious, less trustful and more predisposed to secrecy, deception and a close-handed self-regard, so that their doing business through their companies and deals will become likewise much eviscerated.

Revenge has been termed ‘a kind of wild justice’.  How much more wild and predatory then is an attritional revenge?

So if we can keep our business reparations to a maximum of ‘an eye for and eye’;  and maybe in practice it would remain most beneficial for us all in business to stay ourselves a good deal short of such a demand; we might in fact be removing burdens from our own shoulders by doing so?

It’s an imperfect place, the business environment, as is the wide world in general, and very few human disturbances in it are so black and white cut and dried 100% good/bad, true/false, right/wrong, that firstly

It could equally well have been ourselves in a dock at another time and place; and

Few cases are without mitigations, either in favour of a defendant or against a claimant.

In the summing up, I would like to use Shakespeare again, and take from his play Hamlet for your recommendation this exchange:

Lord Polonius: My Lord, I will use them [a troupe of actors] according to their desert 

Hamlet: God’s bodykins, man, much better:  use every man

After his desert and who should ‘scape whipping?

Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less

They deserve, the more merit is your bounty.

Take them in.

The Business

There are guys and girls who head up businesses and organisations, who like Jack Sparrow, are in a position to ‘make it up as they go along’, because within their domains they assume the position like Judge Dredd and are able to say ‘I am the Law’.

There are not often Fools or Jesters in their inner circles who are privileged and so are to able to criticise and by way of satire and clowning, and in this way to speak out and pit truth against a Top Banana’s poor decision or unjust behaviour.

Even in days of old when these things were the vogue sometimes even Kings would not hear their Fool speak and jest against them, and would punish them for speaking out and not falling into line.

The game is the same today.  Once upon a time the rest of us depended on our Liege Lord for bread, drink, shelter, protection, law, and order, and when the Liege Lord cast a person aside he or she was faced with hunger and homelessness.  It was a case of finding another Liege Lord or dying.

These days we know it as ‘getting the push’ or ‘being fired’.  Our brief is not to go so far as outright objection or contrariness, to toe the line and kowtow if need be: we have our babies at home and mouths to feed.

But this extent of power to hire and fire, to elevate or to cast down, and the running stream of sedative and tranquilising pussyfooting agreement and assent to their ideas from their circles, right down to concession to and condolence on even the most trivial fit of pique: these are the causes of those who had sight becoming blind, and those who had direction becoming lost.

Once upon a time Bob Dylan saw it clearly. He sang of these guys and girls with their swollen heads immersed in clouds of glory, saying:

‘Your corrupt ways have finally made you blind’

and again

‘The blind men make the rules

For the wise men and the fools

It’s all right ma

It’s life and life only’

Where there are no boundaries to behaviour there are no rules for social intercourse. Like the young boys in the school yard playing soccer, the kid with the ball is king and the rest trail after him like a swarm of bees wherever he goes and whichever way he turns. The soccer match turns out like follow my leader and tactics, positions, game plays, infringements and penalty kicks are wholly unconsidered and unused.

The guys and girls at the helm of companies and corporations have vast freedom; so much so that temptations to indulge and to rage and to dismiss and to order and to generally play at prima donna come more and more easily upon them day by day, until, in the words of historian Lord Acton:

‘Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely’

These guys and girls are like the philosophers looking up at the stars who fell into a pit. Their sights are upon the ascendant and the increase and the aggregation, and their appetites for these feed upon them, so that the appetites in them increase at a rate faster and further than they can be sated. A lame man chases a butterfly, but only intending to capture it and mount it in his album – uncovetous inclinations to appreciating its pendant beauty and natural state are not enough, they do not figure on the register. Possession is nine tenths of their law.

Mass production is a symptom of this runaway surge of covetous and desperate insatiable appetite in the guys and girls at the helm who want, and want, and want to accumulate to an nth degree.  Like an illness it has been caught by contagion by the very masses who are those who feed the wayward and runaway desires at the top for more and more production. Consumerism is like consumption; a tuberculosis, a wasting illness, gradually depleting not just material resources; it depletes our reasonable self-regards and like a main line fix its hold on us is very hard to be kicked and we be made clean.

There was a guy once who said:

‘Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean’

And he got the reply:

‘I will: be thou clean’

The guy was a leper, like us.  There were ten in another story, and only one came back to say thanks. The others just partied and had a hoot. The guy who said thanks was the guy who offered what was due.

The Top Bananas made mass production. Mass production made working masses to supply it and to demand it.  The Top Bananas made consumerism.  Consumerism made nine out of ten blasé and forgetful of a natural thanksgiving for grace.  The sickness of aggregation, addition, and increase was passed down to the masses as consumerism.  The uncontrolled, uncontrollable appetite of the Top Bananas was passed down to the masses in consumerism. The masses were hooked on the same fix.

Nine out of ten have said yes to the Top Bananas. Have agreed and acquiesced and kowtowed and shied away from contradiction and confrontation of Top Banana unrestricted uncontrolled appetites, and have ended up with the same sickness, the same infection, as the consequence.  Like sheep their way has been lost, and every one has gone their own way.

The appeasement by Neville Chamberlain of Adolf Hitler encouraged Hitler, emboldened him, signalled to him, made way for him, to annexe the Rhineland and Austria and to invade Poland. Thus began World War Two.

The appeasement being made to Top Banana no boundaries blind and lost, stumbling unaccountable, unaccounted, guts and groins – and where is this leading?

‘…. what rough beast, its hour come round at last

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?’

You can find this article at our steemit blog: https://steemit.com/business/@matthew.raymer/the-business