Jealousy, Envy

“We hate it when our friends become successful”.

A: So, could you tell me the difference between jealousy and envy?

B: Why would you want to know that?

A: Because you asked me to ask you.

B: Of course. Well I was reading an interesting dictionary and before that I never really knew the difference.

A: You surprise me.

B: I know what sarcasm is though.

A: OK. So that Morrissey song is true is it?

B: All Morrissey songs are true.

A: I know that – I’m thinking of the one about jealousy and / or envy.

B: That narrows it down.

A: “We hate it when our friends become successful.”

B: Ah! A typical case of career- jealousy.

A: Don’t you mean career-envy?

B: No. As my dictionary understands it this would be an example of the experience of loss, either real or imagined, of something we believe is ours.

A: But the success of others is not something we have lost. I would contend that this would be envy. In the dictionary definition I have at the core of envy seems to be an upward social comparison that threatens a persons self-esteem: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have. If the other person is perceived to be similar as the envier, the aroused envy will be particularly intense, because it signals to the envier that it just as well could have been him who had the desired object…………..

B: I see. So, when John Lennon talks of being a Jealous Guy..

A: I guess he was telling the truth. He was dreaming of the past and ..

B: ..his heart was beating fast..

A: Yeah yeah…. And the woman or man was something he had lost that was, or he thought was, ‘owned’ by him.

B: I see. So if he had called the song “Envious guy” it would mean that the woman, or man, was not his wife / girlfriend / partner / boyfriend / significant other but belonged to someone else.
A: That would be very interesting… but not so successful I guess.

B: Why not? It’s a more subtle interpretation dealing with the concept of loving from a distance and never being able to have what you desire. In the tradition of Tristan and Isolde, Layla and Majnun, Emma in Madame Bovary, Shakespeare and Spencer’s sonnets, Shrek……..

A: It wouldn’t scan though.

B: Interesting. So where do you think ‘green with envy’ comes from?

A: Glad you asked that because my dictionary says that ‘green’ and ‘pale’ were alternate meanings of the same Greek word. In the seventh century B.C., the poetess Sappho, used this word that could mean ‘green’ or ‘pale’ to describe the complexion of a stricken lover. The Greeks believed that this emotion was accompanied by an overproduction of bile, lending a pallid green cast to the victim.

B: Good dictionary.

A: It is.

B: So perhaps it should be green with jealousy.

A: Not really – stricken, to me, implies the onset of death and you couldn’t really own a dead person, could you?

B: Well my dictionary says that in some countries a cadaver is considered property of the state, and every citizen is thus a potential donor. One such country is Belgium — which has a surplus of organs and a thriving transplantation business, as the country does not allow organs to be exported. Foreigners who want a transplant must go to Belgium, stay in a Belgian hospital and pay Belgian doctors.

A: Weird dictionary.

Football

A: What’s the topic today then?

B: Well I’ve been looking at football management as it applies to business management.

A: Fascinating.

B: No really. It’s a well known fact that top football players never make top managers.

A: Well known by….

B: Everyone, of course.
A: What about Mark Hughes, Jack Charlton, Jurgen Klinsmann, Marco van Basten, John Toshack…

B: John Toshack?

A: Sorry, but the others?

B: There will be exceptions, of course, but generally it seems to be true.

A: Does this work for other sports?

B: It certainly does – Tiger Woods’ coaches for instance – Hank Haney and Butch Harmon – OK players. Head coach of American Football Superbowl winner – OK player. Should I carry on?

A: Please don’t. So the point of this then would be – if you want to be a manager don’t try too hard as a player?

B: You could interpret it as that I suppose. I’d prefer to think of it as having a second chance if you make a mess of your first career.

A: A bit like you.

B: Exactly.

A: How would this work in relation to business though?

B: Umm…

A: It wouldn’t really would it? You wouldn’t get promoted to a position where you managed people because you were rubbish at your job?

B: You think not? I’ve worked in the Civil Service you know.

A: I know but in real life, it just wouldn’t happen.

B: Think about this as a specialism though. Football is a kind of specialism.

A: So in IM there are people who are better managers than programmers, for instance.

B: That’s true.

A: So how would they get promoted to the managers’ job?

B: Be not being a good programmer and taking a cut in salary.

A: Which happens a lot.

B: No. What happens is that you promote the best programmer.

A: And…

B: Take them out of the job they are good at.

A: And ..

B: Put them in charge of people.

A: With no management training?

B: Usually.

A: And then…

B: Wait for them to make a mess of things, upset the team or leave with stress.

A: Thereby losing your best programmer, annoying the team and still having no manager.

B: So then you bring in a manager from another business area.

A: With no knowledge of IM?

B: Exactly.

A: And their job would be to annoy any of the team that were left because they feel they should get the job or at least be managed by someone who had some idea of their job.

B: You’ve got it. Think Southampton. Think Clive Woodward.

A: Sir Clive.

B: Of course. Sir Clive Sinclair…. I mean Woodward.

A: They’re twins I believe.

Blood on the Tracks

A: So what’ve you been up to recently?.

B:Well I’ve been reading about a fascinating psychological / moral dilemma.

A: Is there nothing you won’t read? Sorry, tell me more?

B: Imagine this situation; You’re standing near a trainline and you see a train heading towards five people. It’s going to knock them over and kill them.

A: How do you know?

B: Well they’re musicians say and have i-pods on and can’t hear anything. They’re just standing around on the track talking about things?

A: How can they hear each other if they’ve i-pods on?

B: Well maybe they’re deaf musicians and they’re signing?

A: With i-pods on?

B: (slightly irritated) Yes. So, anyway you are standing by a switch. The switch will divert the train onto a side track where there’s only one person. So, if you hit the switch, only one person will die instead of five. What do you do?

A: Hit the switch. It’s not a moral problem it’s a maths problem – 5 are greater than 1.

B: OK. Next problem; this time the train is headed toward the same five people.

A: …

B: Yes deaf musicians, with i-pods .. and now you’re standing on a footbridge over the tracks in between the oncoming train and the musicians. This time there’s no switch but you’re standing next to a large man, and the only way you can save these students is to push this big guy off of the bridge so that he’ll land on the tracks and stop the train with his heavy body, and the musicians will live. Still a maths problem?

A: Interesting… More difficult now… Perhaps it’s the fact that you’re so close to someone makes the difference? And you’ve got to physically push him? Or as Josh Greene would argue…. this time it activates the more primitive moral system whereas in the first scenario it’s more abstract, which activates the more rational, advanced system.

B: But, fundamentally it’s still a maths problem and the answer, logically, rationally, should be yes, – push them.

A: O.K. So what if there wasn’t a big guy around – would you jump on the track and sacrifice yourself? If it’s only a maths problem……..

B: Nice twist. Very interesting. Not sure Josh has thought of that.

A: As you may say on a training course … and so what? This isn’t likely to happen is it?

B: Well – glad you mentioned that. I came across an interview with that Josh Greene on this very subject.

A: As you do.

B: And he reckons there are everyday comparisons. For instance, you’re out walking by a shallow lake and spot a child who’s drowning. You could rush in and save this child very easily, but you’d ruin your new shoes. What would you do?

A: Ruin my shoes.

B: But they are brand new – cost you £30.

A: Ruin my shoes.

B: OK. What if you had an email from “Save The Children” saying “Please send us £30. We can save starving children in Africa who are badly in need of food and medicine. A small donation can save a life.”

A: Interesting.

B: Interesting.

Broken Windows

A: What’s the topic today then?
B: Well following the success of last week’s blog…
A: Define success?
B: Our reader said it was OK.
A: Do continue.
B: I’m going to continue the ‘little known classics of psychology series’ with the ‘Broken Windows Theory’.
A: Sounds exciting.
B: I’ll read how the experiment went; “Some researchers took a nice car, like a Jaguar, and parked it in the South Bronx in New York…”
A: “A nice car, like a Jaguar”? Obviously not a Jaguar but another car like it?
B: Perhaps a ferrari I don’t know.
A: So why not say a ferrari? And anyway a ferrari is nothing like a jaguar.
B: It can be.
A: No way.
B: Some ferraris look like jaguars.
A: Excuse me is this just the 5 minute argument or the full half hour?
B: So anyway; “They retreated back to a duck blind, and watched to see what would happen.”
A: What’s a duck blind? Without the joke.
B: Definition of a duck blind – “A shelter, often camouflaged with reeds and grasses, for concealing duck hunters.”
A: Well. I’ve never been to the South Bronx but I would guess….
B: OK.OK. Perhaps it wasn’t a traditional, standard, bought-at-Woolworth’s duck blind.
A: I guess not.
B: To continue – “They left the car parked there for something like four days, and nothing happened. It wasn’t touched. So they went up and broke a little window on the side, and went back to the blind. In something like four hours, the car was turned upside down, torched, and stripped—the whole works. “
A: And the morale of the theory would be …..
B: “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”.
A: Could you put some words in an order I could understand please?
B: It’s about zero tolerance. It’s about respecting all laws not just the big ones. It’s about not letting litter accumulate otherwise people will just take it for granted.
A: Enough already. And the implications for managers?
B: ?
A: If your staff break a little window kick their head in?
B: Break a little rule, possibly.
A: I see. So if someone gets something slightly wrong you make an example of them – embarrass and shame them so that the others realise it’s a mistake?
B: Maybe not so harshly as that but fundamentally yes that’s what Mr Broken Windows is saying – zero tolerance in the classroom, the office, the Bronx.
A: Scary.
B: When I was training to be a teacher we had a lecturer who would have been a fan of this. He advocated always doing what you threatened to do. Even if you were a bit cross and told one of the kids you would kill them – you had to.
A: A radical approach.
B: He felt you could bring it into the curriculum by studying the French Revolution or something and carry out a public execution…. How we laughed.
A: Is that my tamagotchi I hear beeping for me?

An Old Bob Dylan Record

B: Been reading stuff on blogging

A: Oh dear. So this edition will be an old Bob Dylan record then?

B: ?

A: Forget it. Too subtle or too bad a pun. Pray continue.

B: I’ve found that people blog for a number of reasons.

A: Such as?

B: Such as this list I found of the top 10 reasons to blog;
1. It’s good for business.
2. It improves your search-engine ranking.
3. It makes you more valuable to your customers and prospects.
4. It will generate more traffic for your site
5. It will improve your sales.
6. If you participate in Google’s Adsense program, you can make some big bucks, even if your visitors don’t buy directly from you or they go to your competitors.
7. It can get you and your company noticed.
8. If you add RSS news feeds to your blog, you can get loads of content without working so hard AND you can easily distribute your blog’s content to other bloggers and websites. (RSS means Really Simple Syndication)
9. You can invite your readers to comment on your posts, thereby creating a better relationship with them (and increasing the possibility that they will buy from you).
10. You can have fun writing about your company, products, industry, competitors, conferences you attend, just about anything!

A: So what do you think of this list?

B: Without swearing?

A: Yes please.

B: No comment. However I did find one interesting reason on a Canadian site though;
“Why do you blog? A very simple question that could have as many different answers as there are bloggers out there. In an age where increasing consumerism and cynicism seem to dominate the public mood when it comes to things like politics and social events, it is reassuring to see many people creating blogs and posting opinions. It is reassuring because it demonstrates that people still care about particular issues and want to debate. If no one wanted to debate, what would be the point of posting opinions online where anyone can read and comment? I blog because of that very reason, to stir debate, perhaps even controversy, but always in a way that seems credible. This blog is mostly political, because that is one of my main interests. Blogging is a very powerful opposition tool, the Tories made very good use of it during the Liberal hegemony years, and now it seems it is Liberal blogs popping up here and there. C’est de bonne guerre as we say in french.Some will write to criticize, others to offer suggestions or solutions, while others may just want to be heard in a world in which the noise we hear is not of automobiles or any other noise pollution, but the noise of indifference and a sense of powerlessness.

A: Is this genuine?

B: You can’t make this stuff up can you?

A: So why do you blog?

B: Well I also believe that in today’s society there’s a sense of isolation and by blogging the individual can feel that their voice will be heard.

A: Right?

B: Or, they’re a bit sad and dillusional like me and think that some influential figure will accidentally come across their blog and sign them up.

A: Like?

B: Like Steven Spielberg or Woody Allen.

A: So Steve or Woody would somehow read this, laugh uncontrollably, ring each other up and say ‘have you read this blog?’ and both offer you a film contract.

B: A script. They’d offer me a script to write. They would have both been working on this ‘Jurassic Park’ meets ‘Annie Hall’ movie and would need a script writer to supply the dialogue and the witty one liners.

A: And the film would be called?

B: I don’t know I haven’t thought about it much… Jurassic Hall or Annie Park I guess.

A: What does the inside of your head look like?

B: ?

A: So, would you recommend any blogs to our reader?

B: Absolutely not. They’re all written by a bunch of navel-gazing, shoe-staring, indie-listening, Belle and Sebastian-loving, environmentally-friendly, ‘it was so much fun in the 60s/70s/80s* (*delete as required) bores’, under-valued, pretentious, vegetarian, socialist, ‘I have every word Bick Hicks ever wrote’, Guardian-reading,’one day I will buy a bike’ , ‘I have every song The Beatles ever wrote’,’potty trained at gunpoint’ types.

A: So, if our reader were to find one that was interesting.

B: I’d be delighted to read it, review it and then prove them wrong. As Bill Hicks once said – “Do not debate me on this one”.

A: What a challenge.

English

A: I notice this page has been ever so subtly changed.

B: That’s right. It’s officially a blog now.

A: Really. Does that mean we can address more serious matters?

B: Such as?

A: Such as the prostitution of the English language by a bunch of neo-fascist warmongers, especially the United States.

B: Tell me more..

A: For example the euphemisms for war and civilians – ‘Enduring Freedom’ was the name of the Iraq war I gather, and civilians are now know as ‘unlawful combatants’.

B: This is true.

A: Did you know the US changed the War Department to the Department of Defense? And terms like ‘friendly fire’ are anything but friendly I gather.

B: Good points. Well made. It’s a bit like ‘Lazy Town’ being called Lazy Town when in fact the people are anything but lazy in that town.

A: That’s meant ironically. There is a difference.

B: Anything else while you’re on a rant?

A: Just one more thing. I was intrigued to read that the operational definition of war crimes at Nuremberg was anything the enemy did that the Allies didn’t do – according to Noam Chomsky.

B: I see.

A: Bill Hicks wouldn’t need to try very hard these days would he?

B: That’s true. To go back to your original question then ‘no’ I don’t think we’ll be getting all political on this site. Look at all the other blogs – it’s old hat. It’s all been done.

A: So that’s your reason for not doing anything?

B: Ah the impetuosity of youth….. Yes that’s one reason.

A: So how can you sleep knowing that Bush says that “Those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves” yet allows Emmanuel ‘Toto’ Constant (killer of around 5000 Haitians) to live in Queens, New York, as long as he checks in with the Immigration Service everyday?

B: Everyday?

A: Every single day.

B: I keep constantly reminding myself that I didn’t vote for Bush.

A: You voted for….?

B: Well… You need to remember there was no Plaid Cymru candidates actually standing in Southport at the time.

A: So, you voted for?

B: OK I admit it. I’m sorry. You wouldn’t believe it but the other options were worse.

A: You are joking?

B: I wish I were. I wish I were.

A: And the US have declared their intention to move from the ‘control’ of space to the’ownership’ of space. I don’t remember voting for that.

B: You’re 7 you don’t get to vote on anything yet.

A: Why?……….

The Last Book You Read

A: So, what’s new?

B: Lots. Been putting up more articles for our reader….

A: Good. Anything else?

B: Lots of writing, ideas, you know?

A: Well done. Anything interesting though?

B: I’ve been reading a lot of questionnaires in magazines.

A: Anything you want to tell me about?

B: No. Just the usual – imagining you were famous and having people asking you lots of questions. You ever imagine that?

A: I’m 7. Sounds look school to me.

B: Right. But anyway I’ve been wondering what I’d say if someone asked me what the last book I’d read.

A: Easy – ‘Hannah the Happy Ever After Fairy’. Do I get a point?

B: No. It doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to answer it in a way that makes you look intelligent.

A: Oh.

B: So I thought I’d say something inspirational, obscure, retrospective or foreign.

A: Not ‘Hannah the Happy Ever after Fairy’ then?

B: Fails on all levels. Something like ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ – Viktor Frankl.

A: Wow and what was it like?

B: Well I didn’t actually read it, but it’s on my list of books to read.

A: But wouldn’t that sound pretentious?

B: A little. So then I thought I’d go deliberately down market.

A: And …

B: ‘Big Brother – Access All Areas‘.

A: But you haven’t read that either?

B: It’s on the list.

A: Why not (and let’s be crazy and go out on a limb here) just tell me the last book you read.

B: Well there’s a problem in that I rarely finish a book. I get bored.

A: In school they make us finish our books.

B: Well life’s different.

A: I guess so…. So the last book you finished was?

B: Can’t remember.

A: Last book you started?

B: Blink, Vernon God Little, Dance of Change, Grumpy Old Men, Colloquial Welsh, Understanding Psychometric Testing in a week, Sudoku Christmas Special…

A: Isn’t Sudoku just word search for the middle classes?

B: Probably. Anyway who on earth would want to know what a complete stranger reads? Who cares what others think?

A: Good point. Well made.

B: Can we finish this now? Bored.

A: If you like.

Diversity

A: So, tell me again, what exactly do you do all day?

B: I’m a trainer stroke management stroke personal consultant.

A: I refer the right honourable gentleman to my previous question.

B: Well it depends….

A: On…

B: On what I’m training, consulting….

A: Please. Just give me a clue. It’s for my homework.

B: Well, for instance, last week it was diversity, assertiveness and customer care…

A: Diversity being?……

B: Encouraging people to get along, be nice to each other, respect differences…

A: And they pay you to do that?

B: Of course.

A: Why would they need you to teach them that?

B: Because some people don’t act very nicely toward other people who are different.

A: Like Gretchen?

B: Gretchen? The new girl in your class?

A: That’s right some of the children picked on her?

B: Because she’s different?

A: That’s right.

B: Because she’s Scottish?

A: No.

B: New? Wears glasses?

A: No and no.

B: What then?

A: Because she’s a cat.

B: I see.

A: But it’s OK because we’ve taken her into our cat gang now.

B: Right. And the children picking on her were…?

A: Dogs.

B: Real dogs.

A: No. They like dogs better than cats, of course. We don’t have real dogs in our class.

B: Of course.

A: So what’s assertiveness about?

B: Pretty much the same really.

A: Customer care?

B: Ditto – to customers.

A: So, let me check this. You get paid a fair amount of money for the one song. Is that right?

B: As did Roy Wood’s Wizzard, Status Quo……

A: ?

B: Before your time. And anyway I didn’t hear you complaining when you wanted new sandals.

A: Touche.

Blink

A: Been quiet lately?

B: I know – busy, busy, work, work, work. You?

A: Busy, busy, play, play, play.

B: I’ve just read a fascinating book though?

A: More fascinating that Sonic the Hedgehog on Playstation 2?

B: Yes.

A: Really?

B: No. But quite interesting. It’s Blink and it’s quite boring but one of the underlying premises is that we are far better being making instinctive judgements than we believe.

A: Really.

B: Oh yes. We often make instant decisions which turn out to be spot on.

A: Fascinating. For example….

B: For example we’re often far more accurate going with our gut feeling about the right person for the job than we are after a thirty minute interview.

A: Wow. So we could do away with all that interviewing nonsense?

B: Absolutely.

A: Then you’d be out of a job?

B: I’ve thought of that. I’ve a new plan. I’ve even coined a phrase for it.

A: I wonder who coined the phrase “coined the phrase”?

B: I have no idea. Anyway my new technique is ‘speed interviewing’.

A: Wow. Like Sonic in a suit?

B: Exactly. It’s perfect. Goodbye 4 week assessment centres. Hello 2 minute interviews.

A: Imagine the cost savings.

B: Imagine.

A: Any downside?

B: Just the one.

A: Oh.

B: I’m not convinced it works.

A: Ah well. Don’t get bogged down in detail.

B: Exactly. I think I’ll patent the phrase.

A: The ‘coined phrase’?

B: Yes – “speed interviewing”.

A: Doesn’t it bother you that it doesn’t work?

B: Not really. No other form of interviewing works.

A: And you would know that because…..

B: I teach it.

A: Of course you do. The only surprise is that’s I’m surprised…

Happy Birthday

B: Happy Birthday.

A: Thanks dad.

B: Did you have lots of presents?.

A: What a question. You and mum bought them.

B: I’m just pretending… for the reader.

A: Oh yes. Lots then.

B: Everything you wanted?”

A: I suppose so. What did you have for your birthday when you were seven?

B: A typewriter.

A: What’s one of those ?

B: (thinks hard) It’s a computer.. sort of…

A: Can you play games on it?

B: Not really.

A: So not very much like a computer then is it?

B: Well, you type words on it and instead of a screen you have a piece of paper.

A: Why?

B: So that you can … print something out.

A: And save it? Or email it?

B: Not really.

A: So why didn’t you just write it?.

B: Because it was modern.

A: Was it quicker?

B: Not really….but anyway I can’t wait until you have this conversation with your daughter.

A: What daughter?

B: When you’re older and you have to explain to her about computers.

A: What about them?

B: Well there’ll be new things then..

A: Like what? Play Station 6 or something?

B: No. Something different. Something you haven’t even thought of yet.

A: Like what?

B: Oh I don’t know do I. It hasn’t been invented yet.

A: Right.

B: …………………………