Anything that is not relative? 

Day 302 Week 44 Q4  Saturday, October 29, 2022

Look at the image above. Which of the central orange circles looks bigger? Most people would say the one on the right – the one surrounded by the smaller ‘petals’. In truth, the central circles are exactly the same size. This is the Ebbinghaus illusion, named after the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. It has been around for over a century, but it still continues to expand our understanding of the brain.

Can a compliment make you sick? Can someone tell you something positive that you can not handle? Of course, they can, and of course, you can have a negative response, but then this is worth examining, right?

In a society where more is better, how can a compliment be bad? It can be inconsistent with who you think you are or what you are supposed to be doing.

It could be taken as an indicator that you are not going in the right direction if you get positive feedback for something you either do not want to do or did not want to do, right?

I can hear some people violently shaking their heads but can not tell which way, side to side or up and down. I mean, positive feedback is positive feedback, right? Well, it depends upon the context. 

If you think you are an honest person amount a group of thieves and they tell you that you are really a good crook, well, that can be a problem. How about if you are told you are immensely valuable when you think you are not? Or even worse, immensely valuable in ways that you personally do not value? Or at something, you do not want to do or did not want to do? 

Everyone, or nearly everyone, has smelting we can refer to as a moral compass. At least, I like to believe that, especially about the people I know and myself, who, most of the time, I think I know well, except for possibly in these circumstances and sickness-inducing flattery.

Perhaps it is not flattery but a simple statement being interpreted as flattery. When this happens, try not to disqualify the messenger, as this may be an injustice to both them and to yourself. 

Imagine you are a person who thinks of themselves as intelligent and kind and instead are told you are attractive and sexy, and this upsets you. No, this has not happened to me, but I can imagine it, having seen it in others. It can be trajectory-disturbing at a minimum or it can be a welcome gift. What is the context?

Are you saying that your sense of who you are can be a function of context? Of course, it can! When you are better st something than those immediately around you and then go someplace else where everyone is better than you are, this can shake you up. So, can the converse? I had the terrific good fortune or working at both Bose and at Apple, where by and large, everyone is pretty smart and capable, or at least we all thought we were. Some of the time? Until we didn’t?

The same can be true at elite institutions. You can find yourself surrounded by super people, each of whom thinks they are super. This is a wonderful feeling I have had on several or even many occasions. Maybe you are all recognizing in each other some things you did not know before> Perhaps some of these traits are positive, or some are negative, and perhaps even this depends upon, accordant to who, and according to which model of yourself is currently present.

And then there is the issue of you are not generally alone in the world, at least I hope you are not, and the context includes others who may matter to you even more than you you matter to yourself. This can be the normal state of childhood, but hey,, you are no longer a child, right?

What matters to you really matters to you and not to your parents or friends or partner? Well, it depends as these things can be, and often are time-varying.   

Is excellence relative? Is wealth relative? Is there anything that is not relative? 

Guess you had better just get on with the day.