I don’t think it is so much that your 20s define who you are, it is that they reveal who we are. Genetics is most important. The people I know who are most successful today did well in their 20s, but they also did well as children and in their teens. They have good genes, they come from families where their parents did well in life, and made good choices. People with athletic parents tend to be athletic, people from musical parents tend to be musical, people with good looking parents tend to be good looking, people with smart parents tend to be smart, people with disciplined parents tend to be disciplined, people with sociable friendly parents tend to be social and friendly. people whose parents divorced, are more likely to divorce, people with parents who are alcoholics or addicts are more likely to be addicts. As a psychologist and author, Meg Jay is going to be predisposed to thinking that if people take her advice, they’re going to succeed… Perhaps people with good genes have less need of her advice, and people with bad genes are going to have less ability to follow good advice.
Posted inPsychology|Comments Off on The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now
The best way to build community and make friends on the internet is to treat all internet interlocutors as if they are real humans in a real-life, local village. If you do this, over time many people will like you and want to form an alliance with you. Because most internet behavior is so atrocious, if you abide by traditional inter-personal norms (reciprocity, manners, courtesy, etc.), you quickly become a strange attractor. You become a kind of weird avatar from another time and place. Of course, you will encounter many haters in the short-run. They will interpret your quaint earnestness as an ironic performance, or “soy boy” pusillanimousness, or some kind of 4-dimensional hyper-grift. But in the long-run, traditional interpersonal ethics are irresistibly attractive because they are, in fact, good and superior.
Now, of course, there is a reason why average internet behavior is so atrocious.
It is seemingly impossible to abide by small-village norms on the internet, simply because those norms evolved in contexts where villagers had no choice but to play iterated games and everyone could remember everyone else’s behaviors. On the internet, neither of these conditions hold: nobody is forced to remain in any grouping over time, and there are so many people that nobody can remember everyone else’s behavior. There are strong incentives to exploit others, and no obvious reason to invest much care into others. So if you treat every potential interlocutor with care, you’ll quickly waste all of your resources and be exploited into nothingness.
However, it is feasible to apply traditional ethics to everyone who enters your personal sphere for the first time, and then simply ignore them as soon as they fail to reciprocate. In game theory this strategy is called “tit for tat,” and in my contexts it is found to be the best possible strategy. Many people seem to follow a variant of this strategy, in their “blocking” behavior. On Twitter, many people will block someone at the first indication of their enemy status. But most of these people are not really playing traditional-ethics tit-for-tat reciprocity because usually they’re usually also lobbing hand-grenades into the enemy camp for fun and profit on a daily basis. I’m saying one should treat the entire universe of internet denizens on a courteous, tit-for-tat basis: If they’ve done me no wrong, then I won’t do them any wrong. If they come into my sphere, I will treat them as a real friend until evidence of bad behavior, in which case I will not retaliate but simply ignore them.
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* I hope Dennis Prager is alright — besides being a Jewish Angelino over the age of sixty who travels a lot, when the restriction guidelines came out, he found not visiting people to unthinkable, and insisted that you could visit the houses of friends while maintaining social distancing. An illustration of how deeply ingrained it is.
Posted inRob Eshman|Comments Off on Rob Eshman Returns