Be someone – be recognized by the system and promoted – or do something

post by James_Miller · 2017-01-15T21:22:53.371Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 8 comments

This is a link post for http://dnipogo.org/john-r-boyd/to-be-or-to-do/

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comment by James_Miller · 2017-01-15T21:25:06.456Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Related to EY's Lonely Dissent, and Hanson's comment on such "In addition to suffering social disapproval when they first make their contrary claims, the lonely dissenter should realize that even if they are eventually proven right, they will likely still lose socially compared to if they had not so dissented."

comment by bbleeker · 2017-01-16T10:22:18.535Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It also made me think of the inner ring by C.S. Lewis, especially this part:

“If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.

EDIT: fixed typo.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2017-01-17T07:26:18.432Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for linking this, and one of his core points is worth thinking about: that most such inner rings do not have any worthwhile thing being used as its proxy measure for centrality. That academia manages to maintain any semblance of meritocracy at all given the incentives around it is a surprise and blessing.

comment by MrMind · 2017-01-16T08:12:15.171Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder in which capacity someone who is in the lower ranks of the military hierarchy will be able to influence the system more than someone who is higher up. Is that a specific failure mode of the military career or it is applicable in other social contexts too?
Because if someone would say: "Son, you need to stay out of politics. That way you'll be able to influence the well-being of your citizens much more than if you would run for mayor", I would think that s/he is either nuts or has a hidden agenda.

comment by CronoDAS · 2017-01-16T19:07:00.327Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The follow-up to that might be "It's better to be a behind-the-scenes advisor and let the mayor take the credit for your ideas. That way you don't make an enemy of the mayor and you can focus on actually doing good rather than appearing to look good."

comment by MrMind · 2017-01-17T08:01:15.675Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If that was the point of the original article then I would subscribe it immediately, it's immensely better to be able to operate with some frontman doing the social job. But that doesn't seem what was implied, or at least nothing that I could detect: the OP contrasted "being promoted, get good assignment" with "doing stuff". Can you be an advisor to a general and still being a lieutenent?

comment by hofmannsthal · 2017-01-16T18:54:14.052Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

True also for non-military organisations. I imagine tenure and position has a lot to say for many medium-large sized companies.

As romantic as being someone, it's typically those who are someone that have the power to sway.

Though I presume most employed people are "being someone" rather than doing something.

comment by Flinter · 2017-01-15T22:43:37.562Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The quotation seems ambiguous enough to be applicable to either choice/path depending on how the speaker of it presents the content. Leaving our friends behind, some argue, means they weren't real friends etc.