A brief introduction to the assbackwardness of everything: Finding our way back to the garden of hope.

The Cautious cannot hope for the prosperity of the future, because they are too busy lamenting the losses of the past.

Photo by: Brandon

To refuse to think is to refuse to live. Accordingly, if you’re not studying me, you are wasting the finite time of your life in its own despite. Amidst a vast horde of finger-wagging, terrorizing poindexters, I alone am doing the poet’s job: Leadership.

Here’s what matters: The world you live in is a garden, a paradise of infinite possibilities, awaiting only your commitment, attitude and effort to bloom into a riot of riches. Want proof? Take a moment to hug the computer you’re reading this from while asking, “What did I do to deserve something so wonderful?”

Meanwhile, the job of virtually everyone who is paid to describe your world is to convince you that you live in a demon-haunted dump, where your only chance for survival is to catalog every past peril.

Why should that be so? Even ignoring the spontaneous de facto conspiracy that is anti-egoism, we are continually haunted by shrieking ghouls because those wretched wraiths are, by now, the only people we will let speak, and the only ones we will listen to. We live in a Cautious tyranny, and, to all evidence, we like it that way.

The Grand Unifying Theory of Human Motivation – as taught to me by a turtle, and by an eternally-outraged human reptile.To read more about empathy, see me, feel me, touch me, heal me at Amazon.com.

The Grand Unifying Theory of Human Motivation – as taught to me by a turtle, and by an eternally-outraged human reptile.

To read more about empathy, see me, feel me, touch me, heal me at Amazon.com.


That’s a very cursory gloss the empathy strategies of the four DISC types. I would argue that all of these motivations are fear-based in origin – all expressions of the fear of loss. The goal-pursuits of the Driven and the Cautious are both aimed at material safety, but the Driven pursue their safety by the production of abundance, where the Cautious pursue theirs by loss-avoidance.

The Driven were not driven from the classroom, they fled in abdication of their duty to lead. And the Cautious are not competent to lead at all. There are few Driven accountants – and what few there are are not to be trusted – but there are no Cautious poets.

This is me from Shyly’s delight:

I hate the expression “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” because it’s anti-better. Not everything needs to be made better, but every mission-critical element in your everyday praxis – the skills you practice every day in anticipation of getting better at them – should always be up for revision. But there is a truth in that antique license-for-laziness: If you can’t find anything to fix, it almost certainly is not broken. And if it’s performing optimally as expected, it works.

This is a very Driven expression of empathy for the machine of doing – thinking of whatever is being done as a machine whose performance can be monitored and enhanced. Your project – your book or program or design – is done when you can’t find anything left to be added or fixed. But in the same way, the job or romantic relationship that works well and is getting better is the right one, and all the subjunctively postulated others are broken by default: They don’t exist yet, and they start from zero if they ever start at all.

That kind of Driven focus on the mission-critical will show you where every social machine is broken if you learn to look for the signs of Cautious tyranny – fear or fascination where there should be dancing productivity.

So: Why did your daughter tell you every week how much she hated piano lessons until she finally dug in her heels and quit, never playing again? It’s because you and her piano teacher entered into an unwitting conspiracy to penalize her incessantly for failing to produce faithful note-for-note mimicry of desiccated sheet music, instead of helping her learn to love music as Shyly would have, if she could have, by living it from the inside out. Technical mastery requires immense motivation, the motivation you killed before it could even take root by insisting that a tiny green shoot is less than nothing if it cannot instantly tower among ancient oaks. If we trained our dogs like this, their spirits – and their tails – would be down all the time, too.

And this is all of education, of course. The Cautious students excel academically. Why wouldn’t they? They read all the material, do all the assignments and follow all the rules. They are the perfect pets for a Cautious tyranny. And the Incandescents shine socially, since achieving status in a Cautious tyranny consists entirely of putting the other guy in the wrong. Any wrong will do, since ‘wrong’ in the Cautious morality doesn’t mean harmful or hurtful, it simply means non-compliant.

All self-help books are bullshit? Get all the DISC for none of the risk.Find the love for life your dog never lives a day without at Amazon.com:Shyly’s delight: Work, play and love like a Labrador.

All self-help books are bullshit? Find the love for life your dog never lives a day without at Amazon.com.

No one was ever scolded or scorned into good behavior, just a terrified compliance sometimes overlaid with a parody of rebellion, so Cautious management of education is more than usually anti-effective: It not only does not produce educated children, what it produces instead are scared little perpetual puppies whose only hope of ever feeling right with themselves is to join in with some mob scourging some other poor fool for being unwittingly and completely-inconsequentially in the wrong about a matter of absolutely no importance.

Everything that is screwed up in the world is screwed up in this way, by a self-justifying tyranny of the Cautious. But that tyranny is only made possible by the abdication of the Driven.

Why do we only hear from scolding wraiths decrying the carefully-inventoried contents of the dump? Because the poets have fled the garden – for now. If you want liberty, you want self-responsible, thoroughgoing fatherhood, but if you want Hoplite fathers, you want Driven – which is to say poetic, not pedantic – leadership. We live in misery and despair because we let nothing else into – or out of – our minds. This is a mistake – one which will be corrected in very short order.

Human civilization is driven (ahem) by the hope for a better future, not by the fear of our much-worse past. Only the poets – only the Driven – can produce that hope. We will live in the dump until they return to lead us back to the garden.

And precisely how churchy must I be? This is this week’s Church of Splendor homily, a very brief introduction to a very big idea, the assbackwardness of everything:

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