Mental Update #3
Opiates, Exercise, and The Value of Definitions
Our Latest Discussions | Opiates and Exercise
Myron Weber joined us (his 3rd visit) to answer the question “Is Democracy the Opiate of the Masses?”, exploring the notion that the United States is becoming less constitutional, less federal, and less republican (form of government, not party). A must listen for anyone wondering why America is in a constant state of dysfunctional political discourse.
On episode 49, Ben Moore shares the three rocks for leading a healthy life and discusses how anyone - even the slovenliest of the slobs - can start improving their life with better sleep, nutrition and exercise.
Too early to start thinking about 2022 resolutions? We think not.
Think Clearer | Definitions
Find a quiet spot and say the word "definition" aloud.
It sounds stuffy, right?
Like the humor deprived librarian ordering you to lower your whispers to imperceptible levels to avoid offending the only other person in the building.
Full-time writers, college professors, and arrogant English majors embrace stuffy language.
The rest of us seek words that thrill, inspire, provoke, and generally engage us. Words that excite our hearts and minds.
That leaves little room for stuffy words like "Definition". And that's a problem. Of all the stuffy words, Definition is perhaps the most useful. Definitions save us time and emotional energy by centering discussions on common understanding - rather than misguided barbs and irrational quips.
Let's explore an example.
On Is Democracy the Opiate of the Masses?, Myron Weber described a model for our government that sought to definitively respond to the comment "We aren't a democracy, we are a republic."
Myron's model (start the podcast at 5:41 to hear his description) defined four elements of our government.
- The Constitution
Defining the elements created a clear understanding of their functions and how each related to each other. Importantly, Myron’s definitions got to the heart of meaning for the words - not a strict definition from an authority but rather a highly useful description of what each word meant.
Without the meaning, Scott and I may have been lost, incapable of engaging in Myron's ideas.
Contrast Myron's approach with a recent conversation on the same topic on Twitter, a a platform that provides endless examples of how NOT to discuss a topic.
It started with a comment about Democracy from a member of the NAACP, followed by a comment from an MSNBC commentator about the failure of Democracy in the United States.
The comments came to my attention when an account I follow for expert insight on logistics, @man_integrated, responded about the distinction between "republic and democracy."
This exchange continued with a follower adding thoughts - but no definitions -to the thread.
The conversation ended with a definitive reference to the U.S. Government website.
No definitions were defined. At least, not in a manner that generated agreement between participants.
And without definitions, a model for understanding the interrelated elements - as well as the possible critique that started the discussion (questioning the two senators per state rule) - wasn’t explored.
Instead, we witness a verbal volleyball match with each side lobbying their "definitive point" to the other - waiting for submission or another pass over the net.
The next time someone responds with "Actually...." pause for a moment and ask - have we defined our terms?
Save yourself the frustration of playing a verbal sport with no end. Even if it feels stuffy.
How to NOT Argue This Holiday Season
The holidays remind us that there is never a better time to learn the art of deep conversations without the necessary arguments.
Learn the process, in the time it takes to drink a hot coco, here.