Rurality/Urbanity

Nobody asked but …

It is a voluntaryist’s decision to live in town or in the country, even on-the-grid or off-the-grid.  I, for instance, live at the edge of the grid.  But these things are in constant flux.  From the 19th century until the mid-20th century, in America, there was a vast migration of people from the farm to the city.  Then, in the 1950s, a new direction arose, spanning into the millennium, where people fled the center city, creating suburbs, which in turn became satellite urban areas,  And gradually, these urban agglomerations became the center city again, in character.  As an example, Chicago became Chicagoland.

All of this activity is underlain by an individual-by-individual seeking of simplicity, escaping from complexity.

The two poles, rural or urban, have existed since early civilization, with each having a pull.  People each choose the complexity of the marketplace that he or she will tolerate.  A person will gravitate toward a level of simplicity/complexity that gives her the optimum lack of unease.  People orient themselves through market choices.  The city attracts through multiplicity of choices of goods and services, whereas the countryside beckons with the choice of task focus.

Today, in America, it is obvious that goods and services exert a far greater pull on a far larger number of people, therefore we are an urban nation.  But we are past the point where the city pulls at its maximum.  Technology is spreading the market choices with less and less regard to geographic location of the buyers and sellers.  Concentrated nodes of transportation and communication are becoming less needed.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Educational Trolling (17m) – Episode 003

Episode 003: Jared shares his five rules to help facilitate better social media communication.

Listen to Episode 003 (17m, mp3, 64kbps)

Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “voluntary contrarian”. Support the podcast at Patreon.com/evc or PayPal.me/everythingvoluntary.

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Expectations, Agreements, & Making Your Dreams Happen Through Communication

Expectation: something we want to happen or something we think will happen based on our individual beliefs about what’s reasonable/probable.

Agreement: an expectation that is communicated to another party and that the other party explicitly promises to fulfill.

Expectation: “I thought you were going to call Tom to confirm the appointment! Why would you NOT do that?”

Agreement: “We’re all set for the meeting next Tuesday. Can you send Tom a confirmation email 24-hours beforehand? Thanks!”

The problem with expectations is that most of us have different concepts of what’s reasonable and probable.

If my concept of what’s reasonable is the standard, you’re going to fall short every single time.

If your concept of what’s reasonable is the standard, I’m going to look like a bumbling idiot on my best day of the week.

When expectations clash, unnecessary disappointment ensues.

The solution: Transform your expectations into agreements.

Avoid making the assumption that other people are making the same assumptions as you.

If you know you’re going to feel resentful because of an unmet expectation, translate your expectation into a request. Then proactively solicit the other party’s agreement.

In order to be effective at this, you have to care more about creating the outcomes you want than about being on the winning side of an argument.

This isn’t about the “right” way to communicate versus the “wrong” way to communicate. This is about experiencing the peace of mind that comes from taking ownership of the results that matter most to you.

If you care about your desires and dreams, why leave such a precious thing in the hands of someone else’s ability to accurately predict what they need to do for you?

If you’re thinking “I shouldn’t have to make my expectations clear,” I agree. You shouldn’t have to.

The world would be a much easier place if we could all just count on each other to show up and deliver whenever needed without any prompting.

I’m just here to remind you that we don’t live in that world. Unfortunately, we got dropped off in the other universe. The universe where good people forget things, overlook things, miscalculate things, underestimate things, and completely drop the ball on things. It happens.

If you want to improve your odds of success, don’t just focus on what people should do. Focus on what they could do if they had better information.

It’s not just the nice thing to do. It’s the selfish thing to do. When you do that for them, you’re really doing it for you.

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Common Law, Toxic Masculinity, Motivation, Entitlements, & Empathy (28m) – Episode 276

Episode 276 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: the development of common law in a free society; the communication problems surrounding the phrase “toxic masculinity”; the superiority of intrinsic motivation; the preferred entitlements of both small government and big government proponents; whether or not our ability to empathize with others has been stunted; and more.

Listen to Episode 276 (28m, mp3, 64kbps)

Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “everything voluntary”. Support the podcast at Patreon.com/evc.

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On Toxic Masculinity

Feminists have a communications problem when it comes to concerns about “toxic masculinity”. Let me demonstrate this with the following: incompetent women make very poor drivers. Alright then, how did you read that? Did you read 1) “all women are incompetent and make for very poor drivers” or 2) “only women who are incompetent make for very poor drivers”? If you read it as 2) then you took your time and considered what was being said. Congratulations! If you read it like 1), then you made quick assumptions looking for someone to feel outrage toward. Reading as 2) probably also had you consider whether or not incompetent men made for very poor drivers, as well, and such would be a rational inference. Reading as 1) gave you bad feelings toward the person saying it, wondering strongly about how long they’ve been a misogynist. Now, do you understand why the phrase “toxic masculinity” is not being received very well? If you need me to mansplain it further for you, I will. And that’s today’s two cents.

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Communication Impossible

Nobody asked but …

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place,” said George Bernard Shaw.

No matter how voluntarily we enter a relationship that is dependent on clear communication, we have also voluntarily entered a world of noise.  Noise is the cumulative countermessage that accompanies the message.  Depending on what kind of noise it is, we are more or less able to determine what the clear signal might be.  Sometimes, we must rely on relatively constructive noise (context) to make sense of otherwise clouded content.  Sometimes, context may mislead us.

A great deal of the problem arises because of where noise resides.  Despite the best efforts of A or B (in the simplified chart below), neither is able to dodge noise from the other, from the channel, or from itself.

An example of this in action would be to try to watch two basketball games at once on two televisions.  To concentrate on either requires that you treat the other as noise, non-communication.  To be sure, you can switch back and forth, but you can never understand either game as though you were watching it exclusively.  Much power is falsely ascribed to multitasking.  To whatever degree, one pays attention to one thing, to that same degree, one disregards all other.  You need to know this as you voluntarily pay your attention.

— Kilgore Forelle

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