Sunday, November 10, 2019

Slogging for Nine-Year-Olds

This Slog strikes most people as opaque. So here's an outline of the major themes in terms a nine-year-old would understand (though I wouldn't actually give this to a nine-year-old without plenty of further guidance).

When people who've been doing something wrong for a long time see someone else do the same thing right, they won't say "Hey, he's doing it right!" Instead, they will say "He's weird!" Better ways don't seem better, they just seem different. And different is weird, so most people would rather be wrong and "normal" than right and different.

If you know a better way, you really want to help them change! But people don't want to change. They're comfortable doing things the old way, even if it doesn't work. And they especially hate feeling stupid. You need to admit you've been stupid if you're going to change to a better way, and people would rather be wrong than admit it. In fact, people try so hard to keep feeling smart that there's no time to learn to really be smart! (That’s why grown-ups have so much trouble learning new things)

People are not looking for right answers. They ignore them, because they feel like they already know all the right answers. That's why a person might get mad if you try to help. He'll think you're trying to make him feel bad, or that you're showing off (and he might not even know you're right, because what he mostly sees is that you do things differently...which seems weird!),

The big difference between you and him isn't that you both do things differently but that you both think about life differently. Your perspectives are different. A person who wants to feel like he's right (even when he's wrong) will live a very different life from someone who wants to feel wrong so he can fix his mistakes.

But the amazing thing is that it's okay either way. We are all running around with different perspectives. We're all playing different games with different rules. Sometimes it's hard to guess somebody's rules, or to understand their perspective (one of my games is to try to figure them out, and explain here). But we're all playing our particular game, and it's okay if it's a little bit silly or even wrong, because there's no winner or loser, just folks happily pretending (they might not always look happy; some are happiest pretending to be in a game where they need to act sad or mad or anything else).

The game of being right is a fun game, but so is the game of sometimes being wrong. They're all fun! And the world works best with lots of different perspectives, even though it can be confusing. Lots of people playing lots of different games is what makes the world interesting.

There's only one big problem to watch out for. You can pretend so hard that you forget you're playing a game. If that happens, you feel like you've gotten stuck. When things don't turn out the way you want, and you feel stuck, you can get very sad, and life stops being fun for a long time.

The trick is to remember that you are always free to try a new perspective. If you remember that, you will never feel stuck! There are so many perspectives to choose from. You can always flip - instantly! - and see things another way. If you get good at flipping your perspective, then you can play lots of different games instead of always being stuck in the same one. It's like owning every Game Boy cartridge!

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