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On One Ring To Rule Them All

 28. August 2017

i’m thinking of this thing called “justifcation privileging,” or alternatively “explanation monism”. or even, short hand and jokily, “one ring to rule them all.”

one constantly sees tweets, blogs, even books, where someone boils down staggeringly complex and ill-understood processes to one factor. today i saw “people don’t make decisions rationally, they make them emotionally.”

now, set aside for the moment that no one even knows what those words mean other than at some vague gut-check level, even then, it’s just not so fucking simple.

why did i rush in there w/o a test? why did i first write a test? why did i anything?

the real, serious, answer, for anything i don’t do 100% of the time, is … are you ready? … here comes … “idunno.”

i can always explain away any action i can take. always. it is a human faculty. but all of those explanations are really post facto. and while some of them may have accurate elements, most of them should be highly suspect. including the ones from introspection. to say we make decisions from “emotion,” or from “reason,” or from “breakfast food,” or from any one thing, is either corrupt or naive.

humans are complex beyond any beggar’s dream. to assume as a general rule any one cause, even any primary cause, is a mug’s game.

or, and this is important, to assume it implicitly, blithely, as a matter of course. that’s what i’m really aiming at here. of necessity, assumptions are required. we must guess at others’ motivation. that’s not optional if we’re to act at all.

but to guess the same thing every time?

every time i don’t test it’s cuz i don’t know the value of testing? it’s cuz emotion? it’s cuz boss wants features? i doubt it.

there’s no one reason we behave. so there’s no one explanation for our behavior. privileging a single explanation over and over again is a classic noob coach fail. believing it’s always reason X leads one to always reach for remedy Y. always reaching for remedy Y has a name: “noobism”. some folks always reach for a political explanation. others for a technical one, an emotional one, a rational one.

for noob coaches, the most common one ring to rule them all is “knowledge”. if i can just get these guys to know, they’ll act differently. but knowledge is far far far from being the basis on which most people act from moment to moment.

to be a better coach, be a better practical tactician, a better listener, a better watcher.

christ, after all these years, i just realized i’ve become an advocate for fox vs hedgehog approaches to coaching.

it’s funny, as i always found Berlin to be very smart and very unreadable.