Facebook Illusions

breakfast-club-social-mediaIt is interesting how different social media platforms are used for different things. And this seems to support Marshall McLuhan’s famous statement: “The medium is the message.” As I have written about before, every medium is created for a specific purpose, and no matter how that medium is used, that specific purpose will manifest itself.

Take Facebook. Facebook is a platform created for you to present yourself, in the best possible way, to people who know you. Unlike Twitter, where you present your opinions (usually anonymously) to people who don’t know you, and unlike Instagram where you present images to people who don’t know you, your Facebook page is directed at people who know you and who you want to impress in a way which is positive to yourself.

facebookvsreality

But of course, your life is never perfect. Even when things are running quite well, your life most often falls short of your ideal expectations. But what do you present on Facebook? You present your life as though it always meets your ideal expectations. Therefore, your Facebook page is mostly deceptive.

And I often see this phenomenon with an organization’s Facebook page as well. Beware, when viewing a charity’s, or church’s, or missionary’s Facebook page. All may not be as it seems.

For example, I remember viewing a post by a missionary who had only recently begun working in Cambodia (which is where I live). The post consisted of several pictures of the missionary working with a western medical team. There was no written description of the post, only the photos. Anyone viewing the post would automatically assume that the medical team was there under the organization of the missionary, and sure enough, all the viewer comments proved that: “Great job!” … “You’re changing Cambodia!” … “Amazing team!”

Western medical teams don’t just partner with anybody. Those doctors are taking precious time off work and investing thousands of dollars into the trip. They don’t want their time wasted, and so will not partner with some new missionary who has only been on the field for a few months. So I was a little suspicious and I asked the missionary, “Was that your medical team?” No, of course it wasn’t. It was a team working with a well established organization, and the missionary had merely volunteered to help them for a day. But the Facebook photos made it look as though the missionary was running the show.

Maybe it’s not a big deal, and I just need to relax a bit. But this kind of stuff has always bothered me. I’ve seen it so many times that all the little examples build up and up into a big steaming pile of BS.

Perhaps I am just projecting here. How much of this am I guilty of myself? Would I even be able to see myself doing it?

As a Christian, one of the things I love most about Jesus is the fact that He is always sincere. Jesus will always present things as they truly are.

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Stay true!

Related reading….

‘The Medium is the Message’

BS’rs vs Liars

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Jordan Peterson on Leadership

narrative“Well here’s what’s in it for me, and here’s what’s in it for you. And here’s why the two of us together can further the enterprise and further what’s in it for you and further what’s in it for me.”

A good leader has a purpose great enough to include others besides himself. And in order to do that, he will find people who will benefit in their own personal lives from that larger purpose.

Peterson explains…..

How to Replace a Dictatorship

hold handsHow do you replace a dictatorship? You create a republic.

A republic is much like a democracy in that the people rule. The people vote for what they want, and the majority wins. But, unlike a democracy, a republic will institute a constitution which will protect the rights of individuals regardless of what the majority might say. So, for example, if a constitution states that individuals are free to practice a particular religion, then even if the majority of citizens want that religion gone, the followers of it are still protected and free to practice.

A society of free individuals doesn’t just happen all on its own. Even if 99% of the people are in agreement, and want to live free lives, you still need to create a system of government which will protect that free society.

Dictatorships are much more natural than republics. If you make no effort to set up a republican system of government, and only hope for the best, you can be sure that one of two things will happen: 1) The society will collapse and dissipate; 2) A dictatorship will form. Anarchy never works.

Related reading: Leaders of Movements

Do Not Go To Bible College (Revisited)

facebook_classroomDo not go to bible college, or at least, do not go for one second longer than you need to.

I recently read an article titled The Case for Dropping Out of College written by Samuel Knoche. It got me thinking about an article I wrote awhile back about not going to bible college, which I think is a waste of time.

Knoche argues that American colleges are far too expensive for what they actually offer — which is little more than what the student can get for free online these days. College students are skipping most of their lectures (or passing the time on Facebook) and simply acquiring the knowledge they need from Youtube videos (often uploaded by their own professors) in order to pass the exams and write the essays.

So, Knoche asks, what the heck are they paying for? The answer is they’re paying for the diploma. Or, as Knoche puts it, the “signalling” function of a diploma. “Because employers lack any quick and reliable objective way to evaluate a job candidate’s potential worth, they fall back on the vetting work done by third parties — namely, colleges.” (Knoche)

College graduates earn more money than high school only graduates. Is this because of the skills they learn in college? Not necessarily. The skills needed to earn higher wages is already possessed by these young people before they even go to college. In fact, it is these skills which get them into college in the first place. “The competitive college admissions process winnows the applicant pool in such a way as to guarantee that those who make it into college are more intelligent, conscientious and conformist than other members of his or her high school graduating cohort.” (Knoche)

What about bible college? Well, as I wrote in my article, and what is supported here, bible college is indeed a waste of time.* Some of the people going into bible college already have what it takes to go into ministry (at least at an on-the-job-training level). Or if they don’t have what it takes, they won’t get it from bible college. The lack of work ethic, maturity, life experience, etc. that currently disqualifies them from ministry are best learned in real world situations, like in the workforce. Why pay to sit in a classroom and/or do “practical experience” training when you can learn all you need to learn, for free, in the real world?

But…. should one never go then? Some organizations will require you to attend their educational institute in order to work for them. They may want to indoctrinate you somewhat before taking you on as a working member. Or others may require you to have a degree of some sort. You need to do what you need to do, but don’t do one iota more than you need to. Don’t do in a classroom for two weeks what you can do online in two days. Don’t pay for anything online if you can get the same results for free. And never exchange real life knowledge for the “signalling” function of a diploma.

Related Reading: Playtime and Real Life

Read Knoche’s article here

Another related article by Knoche

*I should note: I believe it is a waste of time mostly for westerners to go to bible college. Individuals from non-western countries face different circumstances, and the training they get might be something they can not get in real day to day life, and therefore is an invaluable education for them. That is a topic for another article.

Visionary Leaders Vs. Masters Part Two

lostThe inner crisis of a disintegrating society is constituted by the fact that too many people inside this society are not told what to do…
An unemployed man [or a hampered man] is a person who looks for orders and can’t find anybody to give him orders.*

I am a master electrician, although I haven’t worked in the trade for several years now. One thing about working in a trade is that once you’re past being a first year apprentice, your responsibilities on the job are no longer limited to the tool belt. You have to begin training the guys less experienced than you. And once you’re a journeyman, you’ll likely discover that most of your time on the job is teaching and supervising the apprentices.

The number one thing that will stop an apprentice from doing his work is a lack of knowing what to do. It won’t be laziness or apathy. He simply either was not given clear instructions, or he is too overwhelmed with the task before him. And once that happens, he’ll either stall out altogether or begin lying about what he’s actually doing.

I remember working for a company in which the boss (not a very good boss) left an apprentice to run a fairly large job. There were several different areas in one warehouse where electrical work needed to be done. The apprentice had the skills and knowledge to do every job, but he was struggling and falling behind. The boss sent me to help him get back on track. After walking through the job site with the apprentice to see where he was at, he said to me, “There is so much to do, and I just don’t know where to start.”

To remedy the situation, all I needed to do was lay out a systematic task list for him to follow: “Do that job first, because you’re going to need that powered up in order to do the next job. Do that other job next so that we can move this junk into that corner to have space to do the next thing. Next, do such and such…….” Once he knew what to do and in what order, he was back to working at his normal efficient speed.

Visionary leaders are rarely good at creating systematic task lists. Because their leadership style is so rooted in rhetoric, their connection with practical realities is severed. Visionary leaders are often throwing bricks in the air to build the second story of a building for which no proper foundation has been laid.

It is amazing what can be accomplished with mere rhetoric, and as I have written about before, visionary leaders are needed to inspire people at the beginning of a movement. But it is also amazing at how quickly the rhetoric can become completely meaningless. Some things sound good and wise when spoken, and they might even be true, but when you actually stop to ask what the thing said really means and how it applies to real day to day life, it proves to be completely worthless. And when I hear followers of visionary leaders parrot their slogans without thinking, like Winston in 1984 I get a little lonely and depressed.

When a visionary leader sees that his followers aren’t doing what he expects and hopes for them to do, he usually writes them off and says, “They just didn’t catch the vision.” And he might actually be correct, but does he ever ask why? Also, because his expectations are what they are, he usually is only followed by more future visionary leaders, which isn’t always desirable.

master 002
Mark Aspery ~ Blacksmith

A master knows that when his followers are not living up to his expectations, it’s usually because he hasn’t clearly defined what needs to be done at ground level. He hasn’t laid out the systematic task list. He assumes his followers are already passionate about the work and striving to be masters themselves (otherwise they wouldn’t be there), so he doesn’t waste time using himself as an example to inspire them to work harder or embrace the vision. He knows the passion will come from the work itself when the followers know what to do.

I am currently learning the skills and techniques of blacksmithing. Now, you can’t honestly call yourself a blacksmith until you’ve learned how to forge your own tongs. My first attempts at forging tongs resulted in embarrassing monstrosities which I kept hidden from my family so they wouldn’t laugh at me. I watched how-to videos and looked at pictures of completed tongs, but I could not get them right.

IMG_2682It wasn’t until I bought a book in which a master laid out the forging process, step by step, systematically. “Measure this much here … isolate this much material there … hammer down to half the bar’s thickness here …” Only then was I able to forge the tongs, and they turned out quite well.

When a visionary leader is most needed and effective, the movement which he is leading is in such a state of rapid growth that no one cares if there is any systematic structure at all. The movement is riding on a wave of excitement, and for the time, that is sufficient. But that wave is temporary. The master needs to step in and create some proper systematic structure.

Now, when I say “systematic structure” I am not talking about creating a bureaucracy. I am a libertarian, and I hate all unnecessary rules. But, it is a false dichotomy to say that you can either have structure or freedom.

A master is a master precisely because he knows how to create freedom in the boundaries of structure.

*Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, The Origin of Speech, pg. 14-15

Read Part One here

Also check out Infinite Regression,  Visionary Leaders, and Cut the Crap

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