This blog post was originally going to be made up of two mini blog posts, each about a different "lens" that you can view the world through. But, because of the Rule of Three, I decided to make three postlings* instead. Enjoy.
Lens 1: An I for an i
Presenting: a heavily subjective, philosophical post. You might disagree. That's cool. You might not understand. Cool too. Here goes.
How Minds Work
I believe that not everything I do is My choice: there are two forces at work. In this post, I will refer to them as I and i. (Alternatively, Me and me; Myself and myself; You and you; or Yourself and yourself when referring to the parts of the reader's brain.) I am going to use first-person verb conjugations in all places (I am, i am vs. I is, i is) to reinforce the fact that these both make up the identity of the self. So it might be a bit confusing.
I am the intelligence of the brain. I make rational decisions and can learn efficiently. I respond to logical arguments. I am in charge of complex decisions. I command the brain around–when I will it, it shall be.
I make rational decisions and can learn efficiently. I respond to logical arguments.
i am the intution of the brain. i am somewhat inflexible, but serve as the default on all matters, when they are not important enough for I to take control of the situation. i am correct on many minor matters; but on matters of importance, i am often wrong.
So every nudge, every subliminal desire or want or unconscious thought: that's me. But that's not Me.
So every nudge, every subliminal desire or want or unconscious thought: that's me.
I'm not going to write every blog post with this confusing capitalization scheme. But hopefully You can come away with a lens to view the world through. After all, You can understand what I just said, presuming I explained it clearly enough. But you have no chance of keeping it in your mind and instincts unless You force it through Your throat, emblazoning the scalding tattoo inside Yourself, perpetuating it all the way to the greater self, forever crystallizing the distinction between I and i.*
Lens 2: Andrew Yang Has a Malleability Problem
Andrew Yang, who is polling in sixth right now, has yet to have a moment. Debates are a big chance for that to happen, yet he has a serious debate problem. His message is too malleable. What do I mean by malleable?
The Malleability-Rigidity Spectrum
Let me detail the spectrum between malleability and rigidity. Disclaimer–this doesn't actually concern views or ethics. This is simply about perception.
Disclaimer–this doesn't actually concern views or ethics. This is simply about perception.
An example of a very rigid person is Bernie Sanders, who often just repeats the same message about the 1% and oligarchy. This can be seen as good (he's incorruptible) or bad (he's unwilling to change). Alexander Hamilton is also quite rigid.**
On the other end, a very malleable candidate constantly changes their message–not necessarily their positions, but their spin, or their focus perhaps. A good example of the extremum would be Hillary Clinton, noted (albeit primarily by the right) for constantly changing her mind. Another good example would be Aaron Burr.** Again, this can be spun both for better and for worse–as this post will show, this is both a blessing and a curse.
When It's Good To Be Rigid
I believe that it's useful to be rigid when you need to stand out from among many people. Rigidity is great when no one's scrutinizing you, and you just need to get your voice heard. That's how Bernie Sanders overperformed in 2016. Andrew Yang needs to repeat the feat in 2020 if he wants to win a debate. His signature policy is Universal Basic Income, or UBI, though his campaign calls it the Freedom Dividend. To win, Yang should answer every question by talking about UBI, and probably needs to interrupt a few times to talk about UBI as well.
To win, Yang should answer every question by talking about UBI.
When It's Good To Be Malleable
On the other hand, when there are fewer candidates on stage, it makes more sense to be more malleable. This helps you come off as more thoughtful and nuanced. On a stage with many people, malleability won't help you stand out; but with few people, a middle-ground position can still be enough to stand out.
In summary, more people = rigid. Fewer people = malleable.
Again, this is not about actual thoughts. Actual policies. Actual anything. This is about strategy, plain and simple. Maybe that makes it useless. I'm not sure. But here's a lens to look through.
Lens 3: Title Roles
There are four types of titles. I believe that each title falls into one of these four categories, or is a hybrid.
2. Pulling Your Punny Bone
3. Thesis Titles Teach You Something
4. All Titles Are One of These 4 Types (#4 will Shock You)***
All Titles Are One of These 4 Types (#4 Will Shock You)
Topic titles are simply the subject of the article, post, book, or entry on a numbered list. Here are all of the title types in topic:
Pun titles should only be used when the pun is clever, but also doesn't obscure the topic. "Title Roles" is an example of a pun topic, as is "An I for an i." When abused, pun titles look a bit like this:
1. Topical Rainforest
2. Pulling Your Punny Bone
3. I Really Can't Think of a Thesis Pun So Imagine One
4. Clickbait and Switch
The idea of a thesis title is that it expresses the thesis, so just reading the title is informative. Reputable newspapers almost always use thesis titles. "Andrew Yang Has a Malleability Problem" is a thesis title. Here are the titles in thesis:
1. Topic Titles Are Just the Topic
2. Pun Titles Are Supposed to Make You Laugh (or Groan)
3. Thesis Titles Teach You Something
4. Clickbait Titles Lure You in With False Promises
And finally, clickbait. The clickbait titles, for if you can't read, lure you in with false promises, and pivot to people's natural affinity for numbered lists and interesting stories, abusing how you have more knowledge.
1. The Most Boring Way to Start an Article
2. The Most Boring Way to Start an Article
3. The Most Boring Way to Start an Article
4. All Titles Are One of These 4 Types (#4 will Shock You)
So that's another lens you can look through.
Wrapping up the master post now that we're done with the postlings: I hope you found new ways to look through the world in this post. As always, thanks for reading what I wrote, and see you next week.
*Beautiful word choice, I know.****
**At least, the Hamilton version of him.****
***No, I can't resist being meta. In fact, a long time ago, I wrote a super meta blog post***, but read it at your own risk, as it didn't exactly get rave reviews.****
****And yes, this footnote corresponds to multiple things. Aren't you proud of me?****
And yes, this footnote corresponds to multiple things. Aren't you proud of me?****