A call for the lost art of confrontation as an effective process design tool

In my job as a business analyst, whenever a system change in our software was needed, I would spar with my college. We would each take one position of what we thought what was the best solution. Often we would take opposite positions, although sometimes we did not even believe them. The goal was to argue the best way as we could in order to eventually build a better system. This could become passionate at times. We could say: ‘you are out of your mind to think that your solution can work!’ This approach worked very effectively. By scrubbing away superficial politeness we were able to go to the heart of the matter. After such a confrontation we would have a full understanding of the process and we would bury the hatched. It never became personal, because we were working together towards a higher goal. One would have a thesis, the other an antithesis and together we would come to a synthesis.

This way of working had a lot of benefits. For example, you were allowed to reload as often as you could! With this I mean, you could have an incorrect assumption or idea, but you could then just pose a new objection as often as you could. Another great thing was that you could be passionate. Because the business always came first, you say everything what came from your guts, heart and mind and still nobody became offended. It didn’t matter who was right or wrong, the best result for the business mattered.

In order to be able to work like this, it helped that in my job as a business analyst the subject at hand was objective. You could have long discussions, but in the end there were objectively better solutions. It also worked well because the discussions were process related instead of outcome related. We didn’t care if the car was green, red or yellow: as long as the engine of the car was solid. And from a personal angle it was good that we were equal and not overly sensitive.

This is where I think that political correctness does not work. Without opposition, there is no deeper understanding or progress. There is a thesis and an antithesis, but no synthesis, There is just a stalemate. I would like to see these confrontational and passionate debates return in our social discourse. I do not care what you think. As long as we can discuss with each other we can come to solutions. I can think that you are wrong, but I will not dismiss you as sexist, extremist, not emphatic, ect. When we believe that we are all working towards one higher goal then we can work things out together irrespective of our differences. Then we can still be passionate and make mistakes, but we would eventually be able to come to a deeper understanding together.

Unfortunately, those days seem to be gone at my job. By college has become my boss. And although we were able to keep this way of working for some times (and still do from time to time), he had to pull ranks on me a couple of times. Because there was no equality anymore the delicate balance of thesis, antithesis and synthesis was gone. My boss pulling ranks meant making decisions before the natural process came to an end. Another thing was that he would discuss certain process changes with other people instead of with me. This disrupted the trust and respect of the relationship. Finally, his role as a manager meant that we needed to be professional. I was no longer able to say everything to my boss. I have received some remarks on my personal record for being too passionate and rude. As a result our workplace has become more professional and less passionate. And, I dare to say, the quality of our software solutions has decreased because of this.

How quantum mechanics might explain the power of symbolism

Many people are, understandingly, sceptic about symbolism (and chance) based systems such as tarot and I Ching. How could a random tarot card pick or I Ching coin throw have any effect on your day?

This is merely chance and not fate, right?

Well, not completely. Because the symbolism of the tarot card or I Ching, you become conscious of something of which you were not yet conscious about. And, since symbolism is the language of the soul, your soul will start searching for confirmations of what has been predicted. When you become aware of something, you start looking different at reality.

You are speaking about self-fulfilling prophesies! Because you anticipate something you will twist and bend reality to your expectations.

Yes and no. it is true that you can interpret reality in various ways according to your perspective. But, it is also true that you cannot observe reality without changing it. This is one of the most astounding implications of quantum mechanics. In physics they call this the observer effect (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_(physics)#cite_note-1 ). And although many scientists debate the degree to which observations affect reality, they accept that it is the case by any degree.

The ancients knew the power of symbolism for a long time already. They believed that we create reality with our thoughts, just as God created reality with His Mind. Your thoughts matter, literally. And with a daily dose of symbolism, in the shape of tarot, I Ching or the like, you can become aware of certain things. With this awareness you can create things which were not yet existing. Some say, seeing is believing, but in this case believing eventually becomes seeing.

Interesting. So are the tarot and I Ching driven by fate or by chance?

I will not dare to speculate on that question!

Female contribution to the creation of the monster of Trump and insights from Bill Burr about how to solve it

For some time now, I am fascinated by Trump. Where does he come from? How has he been created? At the massive women’s marches, women were rallying to fight against sexism and for equal rights. And yes, Trump clearly does not respect women. But are all men sexist? Of course not. So what happened?

It reminded me of the scene from the Batman movie where Alfred explains to Batman where the Joker came from ( https://youtu.be/6se66gQRJcw ). When you replace Batman for women, the criminals with men and the Joker with Trump, I think it is very revealing of what is going on here. Men didn’t want to have a guy like Trump, but their backs were against the wall and they had nobody else to turn to.

So how did women push men against the wall? Here’s my theory.

I think that the rise of Trump can be explained by the power struggle between men and women in the western society. And although the women argue that they have a terrible situation, in fact it is the men who pull on the shortest straw. Comedian Bill Burr explains the pain of men in our society in a very clear way. In this article I will describe the struggle of men in relationships with short clips from Bill Burr.

First of all he addresses domestic violence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF4I2mCofZc ). It is no longer allowed to hit your wife. Totally agree. But he also addresses that when a woman got beaten the guy is always wrong. Nobody researches the start of the argument. I have a couple next door of me who are fighting a lot. She is screaming the worst things to him and I am waiting for the day that he beats her up. I would have done it already, to be honest. The things she screams are terrible. But the moment he hits her, he is wrong. And nobody will investigate the root cause of the argument: that he was driven to the point of desperation before he hit her.

If guys are not allowed to fight, they need to defend themselves verbally against woman. And this is difficult since women are king and queen of arguments and emotional blackmail. (https://youtu.be/iNSt3wJXZk0 ). Guys just don’t stand a chance and lose every battle. And this is considered normal or emancipated. But to me it is simply wrong. When a guy is physically stronger than a woman, the guy needs to respect her weakness and don’t fight. When woman are emotionally stronger than men, they should also protect the men when arguing. Now these men are crushed and numbed day in and day out. There are not many married men with balls in our society. Many of them are slowly neutered into obedience.

And finally, the natural way to speak out has been cut off by politically correct thinking. Of course many men are ‘rude’, ‘sexist’ and ‘insensitive’. But forcing men pretend that he is enlightened when he is not, is just repressing unclean thoughts.

Many men have lost their ability to speak their minds, because they lack the verbal sophistication to give feedback in a positive and constructive way. For example, Bill Burr has a great scene where he has to defend himself as not homophobic ( https://youtu.be/u9OXXbwWMZg ). A girl just calls him a homophobic. And then look at the many corners Bill needs to twist himself in order to explain that he is not homophobic. Many guys would just check out. They would just learn themselves not to respond in a spontaneous way, but they would still think the same. But as a result these men have lost their integrity. I think that Trump, the guy who can say anything to anyone, is a counteraction against too much political correct thinking.

Add all these things up and an outburst of a freak like Trump will no longer be a surprise to you.

So where lies the solution? I think it is OK for women to fight for equality between men and women. But they also need to be sensitive for the difficulties and needs of men. Men should be encouraged to speak their minds, hearts and guts. There needs to be a safe environment for equal conversational exchange. Suppressing doesn’t solve anything. Speak about it, be yourself, find root causes, solve them and work it out. When we do this, Trump will lose his power and go back to where he came from.


The illusion of aid – A modern day Parable of the Good Samaritan

You know what really grinds my gears? That stuff is only real when you are able to articulate it rationally and without emotion.

Do you have any idea how difficult this is for us guys? And to remain masculine as well?

Talking about impossible standards for men. At least women can go to the gym and be in shape after a couple of months. Plastic surgery. We men need to reprogram thousands of years of evolution. Start articulating clearly and rationally what lies deeply buried within our souls. Without any noteworthy help whatsoever. It has cost me many years to figure this stuff out for myself without coaching or the like.

‘Ah, you had all these problems, all this time, why didn’t you say so? We could have helped you.’

People don’t have a clue how cruel this statement is. It is like telling a cripple man: ‘why didn’t you just walked over to us? We have a lovely well here. And all kind of facilities. We could have given you crutches’.  Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t need any crutches any more. I have painstakingly learned to walk by myself.

Sometimes I get so frustrated from not being able to express myself normally, that I express myself in a negative and hurtful way. I have learned to translate this as passion to myself. But at the company I work for, they call it not professional. ‘You cannot say these things like that’. Although the issues I address are real, after an outburst from my side, the issues themselves have become void. And I get a notification on my file.  A file which I have never seen in my life. Over the years, I bet it has a couple of ‘incidents’ like these in it. Cries for help, I would call them. These incidents in my file are used in order to block a promotion or reduce my bonus. Instead, I hoped that they would be used as an indicator to have a conversation with me. ‘What is wrong? Why did you act like that? Are there any things we can do?’ Now I get: ‘You should not behave in that way’. Why doesn’t it occur to the people who are responsible for my professional wellbeing that I am in pain and I am not able to solve these issues myself?

I am crawling towards the water well and I cry out from thirst. ‘Don’t cry out like that, Sebastiaan! This is not professional.’ I am suffering and because I am not able to express myself professionally and constructively. Yet there is no one to help me.

Why do I need managers and HR if they don’t help me at all? What is their role in this game? It reminds me of the parable of the Good Samaritan. My manager and HR’s role is to make sure that I am helped whenever I fall down. But they just seem to walk by. ‘Please fill in this form. Please state exactly what your problem is.’ As if I could exactly describe my painful process of losing my passion at my work. Anyway, after a long process, I slowly learned to be my own Good Samaritan. But, when I get up and look around I am sad to see that the place is filled with people with the similar issues.

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