Friday, June 7, 2013

On the ethics of using force

True power consists in the mastery of oneself.
-- Loren Eiseley

I think there's a lot of truth in this.
And that's why I'm still a bit shocked, having read the Steve Jobs biography, about how consistently and intensely rude the man was. He clearly had a lot of power, but when he completely fails to control his own temper and continues to do it, to me that is a failing of monumental size.

He clearly did not consider it important. But to me, verbal abuse can be as damaging as physical abuse. And doing it to adults is not all that different from doing it to a child. And I really doubt that Steve would have tolerated anybody whipping a child. There's a difference in scale, is all.
There can be the rare occurrence where harsh words or even violence is necessary, if the receiver really don't understand proper communication (perhaps temporarily), and/or there's an emergency. But these situations are very rare for us living in civilized countries.

1 comment:

Alex Greene said...

I was told by an insider that the secret everyone looks for in someone who has management potential in an interview is the capacity of the candidate to be a douchebag on demand.

There may be times when it is necessary to be an absolute so-and-so at work or in a position of power: a subordinate might have made a really stupid mistake, failed to obey orders or even committed some sackable offence. In such circumstances, any boss worth her salt needs to be able to summon up their inner douchebag and unleash it upon that unfortunate. Full spread, maximum yield.

What none of the training courses tell you is that, at any given point, once you have actually unleashed the Beast ... you have to turn it off again.

Some people never learn that.