Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Leadership is Determined Not by the Average but the Best

The state of the art, or leadership -- in anything, is not determined by the average, but by the best. It doesn’t matter what the average scientist thinks -- as it does what the best scientist thinks. That is the limiting factor -- and not the average.

Every field of activity -- whether athletics, art, technology, politics -- are determined by one person who is the limiting factor -- not the worst, not the average, but the best because the bias is in that direction, and not simply to randomize activity and values.

So when people despair that the president or governor is in the minority, the presumption is that “all things equal,” there will be a reversion to the mean (average), rather than the best. It doesn’t happen that way; that’s why world records keep getting broken -- because they strive to surpass the present standard, and not merely to be an average player.

This is one of the most greatly misunderstood phenomenon in the study of phenomena. The study of anything itself, is not a random activity -- but a very disciplined and biased one. One wants to know better -- and not just what the average person knows. That has no meaning.

So this concept of “average,” which many presume to think is the most meaningful thing to know about anything, is probably the most useless thing to know, or the most deceptive thing to know. The most significant thing to know about anything, is what the best person in the field knows. Ten lesser authorities, are not ten times as valid as the most insightful thinker on that subject. It could be that everybody else is just wrong.

But that we have that superior “one,” is an indication that things are working out well, because ultimately, that is the one that matters. All the others, is to produce that one. And far from negating all the abilities and efforts of all the others, that is the result and ultimate accomplishment of all the efforts -- that wouldn’t have been possible with anything else.

It takes whatever it takes, to get wherever one gets -- which nobody knows with certainty beforehand. That will not stop many from claiming that they do have this perfect knowledge -- about where humankind is heading, where it is, and where it has been -- as though they really knew. At best, they just know what somebody else told them, and another told them, etc.

That doesn’t seem to dissuade those who believe that what they have been told (taught) can have been anything but the unvarnished truth -- just as what they perceive presently, they think is without bias, preconceptions and assumptions of what they think the world is.

The average belief is that knowledge is randomly what we think -- rather than what the best think, and because they do, the fate of humankind moves in that direction and destiny more than towards any other.

That is the reason for great hope in the leadership.


At July 19, 2007 7:24 PM, Blogger kl said...

Hi Mike,
When I think of leadership and what our elected leaders are doing I think about the homeless.
It has been on my mind a lot. We have always had a lot of homeless here that have managed to stay relatively invisible, actually able to manage a lifestyle with out a conventional home. For years when I walked at Magic Island I would see them waking up and getting out of their cars with all their earthly possessions inside. Nowadays, they are pouring into the streets. The media seems to blame high housing and because of civil rights laws they are left alone.
When I see a guy crossing the street manuvering 2 shopping carts with sores on his legs stressed out to the max that he might lose his stuff, I don't think our community is respecting that person and his civil rights. Women sleeping at the bus stops create a very dangerous situation. When I ask some of the park workers about the people sleeping in the trees they say that the homeless don't want to go to shelters because the nearest bus is a mile away from the shelter ( not sure what one they were referencing)
My friends in church groups think they are helping them by working at the food shelters. I wonder. Seems like there is no leadership to fix the problem. Years ago I went to New York City and the subways were filled with homeless, well recent trips there I can not recall seeing the homeless. I don't know where they went. Yes lots have moved to Waianae and there are efforts to get them into homes but I don't really see that that is addressing the problem. Is anyone counting them? The News seem to ignore the problem. I think it boils down to a lack of leadership.

At July 19, 2007 8:05 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I don't think the single-family suburban home in Kapolei is the answer.

The '60s had some justification for the claim of being the Golden Age -- because that was when people were last resourceful at solving problems without the government having to take the leadership role.

Volkswagens, Toyotas, Nissans and
Hondas were the response to the high price of gas -- that people chose because they were smart. Community housing, co-housing and camping were regarded as intelligent solutions to age-old problems -- and not a "slap in the face" to all those with aspirations to mansions and titles in their lifetimes.

Even the homeless realize that they're not entitled to prime beachfront property -- which doesn't mean that there isn't space elsewhere people could establish "alternative housing solutions." That's one of the favorite past times of well-off retirees in the mainland -- they live at campgrounds for as much of the year as they can, often migrating from site to site as the seasons dictate.

We don't encourage that out here for fear people won't want to rent rooms at $200-300 a night if they could stay in a campground for $10 a night. So we prohibit cheap accommodations -- and all the solutions that fall into that category of temporary/alternative shelter.

Permanent shelter is prohibitively expensive -- but temporary shelter is well tolerated if one doesn't insist on homesteading prime beachfront property. That is really a big part of the homeless problem in Hawaii -- that the homeless on the mainland know better than to claim.

Most of the real solutions come from leaders of the alternative movements -- rather than government, which makes the problem worse so it can perpetuate high-paying jobs to "solve" the problems.

If you really want to solve anything, you have to empower the people with these problems to solve them themselves. (Government) leadership is institutionalizing the problem -- with almost no money going to the cause while funding expensive housing for bureaucrats and technocrats.

At July 20, 2007 4:40 PM, Blogger kl said...

This morning when I went to magic island there was a homeless man, dirty clothes, looking like he had taken drugs swinging his arms while standing in the water. No one looked at him, we all want to respect his civil rights. Then I noticed a foley bag hanging from the back of his pants which were falling fast. Since he was acting disoriented, I was afraid to approach him, so I asked the life guard if he could call the medics or police and explained the situation. The life guard said - "Our job is to watch the water, not watch the homeless. I have seen him before and as long as he is not attacking anyone, we will not get involved." I said, well, I think he needs medical care, he might be sick. Gee if a monk seal came up to the beach or a whale was beaching itself, people would be concerned.
Well, that is what aloha has become.

At July 21, 2007 8:08 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

There is no reason you can't personally do what you think "somebody" ought to do. That's leadership -- doing what needs to be done, without waiting for the media to show up. That's how most things get done.

Only in the editorial pages of the Honolulu newspapers is people's idea of "doing" something, telling everybody else what they ought to do, and thinking that "solves" anything.

At July 21, 2007 2:53 PM, Blogger kl said...

Yes it is true. When I got back to my car to get my cell phone and returned to the beach, I couldn't see the man.
How many of us are doing that each day? I don't have an idea of how to handle that, but i think there are others who might have thought about it, thus discussing it on your blog.
Are there some simple things to do to help the most desperate homeless. What are they? Your comment of "If you really want to solve anything, you have to empower the people with these problems to solve them themselves." Is a statement that I agree with and it applies in some instances but many of the homeless I see these days stumbling around this city and I am addressing are way beyond that point.

At July 21, 2007 6:50 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

It’s very difficult to solve a problem for another -- whether that is homelessness, joblessness, friendlessness, purposelessness, etc. The best one can do is encourage that person in finding their own solution -- because presumably, they know best what they want, and nobody but the demagogues know everybody else better than those individuals know themselves, or what is best for them.

And then those individuals are the ones who are going to have to deal with the consequences of those choices -- because everybody else is not going to stick around and deal with the subsequent choices that person will have to make, after that initial one. So the lifeguard was right in determining that that individual should be left alone as long as he’s not harming or threatening anybody or himself.

Even more important than having a physical home, is “feeling at home” wherever one is -- which is the right to be oneself (act crazy) and not have to explain or account for one’s actions, as though they were in the privacy of their own room.

Everybody has a natural sphere of interest and influence in which they are highly-motivated to find the answer to their problem; for each, it is different -- and so for a person like you to “solve” the homeless problem if it is not a real and urgent problem for you, is just as likely to get in the way of people informed about those issues.

That is very common with problems of dysfunctions and dependencies -- in which individuals know to ask until they get the answer they want, which enables their problems. If you only see a person once or for the first time, you may think their behavior is bizarre and that they are mentally or physically ill -- if you don’t have a record of what is normal for that individual. That’s why even doctors try to find that out before making a diagnosis or even a guess at what a person’s real problem is. Otherwise, what he prescribes as the solution, may not be the problem -- but rather his preconception and generalization of what everybody else’s problem is, which is nothing more than a projection of his own bias, prejudices and training.

Curiously, a lot of people who are “homeless,” don’t think homelessness is their problem -- but it might be an interpersonal problem with other people, agencies, authorities. That is more than likely to be true in Hawaii because people are used to lying or sitting anywhere they’re not expressly prohibited from doing so.

One of the things I’ve always thought was wise was to let people closest to the problem, solve the problem, instead of everybody on the other side of the world or universe, solving those problems for those people directly affected, often nullifying their efforts. I also think that those who are not very well-informed about a matter should not thoughtlessly vote or express their opinion on these matters, thereby canceling out the very informed votes and opinions of those who can make the best decisions.

I think this is a very important issue in today’s world in which because of blogs and forums, people can express their opinions easily, thoughtlessly, irresponsibly. deceptively and manipulatively. The greater means of expression, requires a higher exercise of the wisdom of those powers.


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