Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Glossary of Terms

 Work in Progress. Collection of terms / ideas I've found useful. Several of which I coined myself.

--- Terms Social Reality Lab Created ---


Related to the idea of apologies, this is an acknowledgment of and empathy for the reported or perceived negative experience of another that you had some role in. It is meant to leave aside questions of blame, fault, and accountability. Many apologies cause further conflict through disagreement on those points. This is a term to help say that aside from potential disagreement on "who's responsible", that negative experience is being seen, validated, and empathized with.

Fuzzy in the Middle, Sharp on the Edges (FMSE)

This is a concept was built as part of a planned article on the idea of fairness. The idea can also be applied to other areas. The idea of FMSE is that certain idea, concepts, or categories don't have a well defined center. But the farther something gets from the concepts, the clearer it becomes that the thing is question is probably or definitely not part of that idea, concept, or category.

Examples of concepts that have the quality of fuzzy middle and sharp edge include...

- Music and film genres

- Fairness

Fundamental Principle of Human Uniqueness

The current draft term for the objective observation that no two humans are exactly alike, not even human twins.

Interdependence of Individual Human Lives

(section needs work)

In short - the idea that no human is wholly self-sufficient.

Limited Power to Walk Away

This term is a draft attempt to capture and examine ideas surrounding choice and power in social dynamics. Within most modern Western cultures the majority of citizens are not forced into using any particular service or business. You have a right to go find a second opinion and/or switch doctors. You have a right to quit most jobs. You have a right to not eat at a given dining establishment. You are not, in that sense, "forced" to use a specific offering. I call this the "power to walk away".

This power is very effective when there are numerous attainable and unobstructed options available. Depending on the context of one's social situation, this can be anywhere from an extremely useful and strong power to a extremely limited, almost useless one.

In many areas, there's limited choice. That's a limit to the power.

In many circumstances, one doesn't have a true choice to walk away. Most of us can't afford to simply not work. We can perhaps walk away from a particular job, but we can't walk away from "the need for gainful employment".

We very often have limited power or say on the items being built to walk toward. As a somewhat trivial example, if you like Chinese food but your town doesn't have such a restaurant, you have only limited power to will such a feature into existence. We exert very little (though not zero) authority on such matters, and that further limits the power of the fact the we can walk away. 

If you have nowhere to walk toward, the ability to walk way isn't really an ability at all.

The Weightlifting Ethos of Of "5 Pounds On, 5 Pounds Off" 

A concept from gym culture, but extends into work/effort culture overall, is "no pain, no gain". In the modern gym, they're finally, slowly, starting to replace that with "uh oh, always pushing to the max is unsustainable, unhealthy, and foolish". I call the new ethos, and teach it to people, the "5 pounds on, 5 pounds off" rule. In weightlifting, some days you want to push through discomfort, add that extra 5 pounds on, and push through. Other days, the ego or pressure or just self-desire for success fuels putting too much on too quickly, and so you also need to "un-push" and sometimes take 5 pounds off.

No Name Given Yet - Impossible Asks Demanded By Others

The experience of being told and expected to do something, but not being give access on learning how or doing the thing. 

Maybe "impossible ask", but that doesn't feel like it captures the common cultural dynamic experience of how often this happens, plus the disempowerment / unequal power side of it.

Feels Like Versus Was

This is a hyper-semantic sensitivity item I picked up a while ago where I noticed how it seemed weird to me how people will phrase replies as "so, you felt disrespected at work?" instead of "so, you were disrespected at work?". For some, that may seem interchangeable but there's such a vibe of gaslighting and victim-questioning in "felt like" versus believing folks with "were".

This plays out in "help" responses of offering "we're going to fix that you felt disrespected with CBT", instead of "we're going to fix that you were disrespected by holding that other person accountable and delivering accountability-based, victim-defined justice."


Work in process. One aspect of this involves questioning passages like this one...

But the bad comes with the good like the tides. Your feelings and thoughts through each of these moments means you are alive, here, now, reading this for instance lol, and that is something to celebrate because you are unique and beautiful. 

Why aren't people allowed to feel how they want, especially if their current life conditions are by most standards miserable at present?

Two Things Can Simultaneously Be True / "Use Nuance"

Needs a term name. Describes escaping binary, black and white, blanket statements for items where where more complexity exists than "all one thing", "all bad", "all good". Examples include...

National governments - can have both helpful programs and also be corrupt and subject to wastefulness. Both are true

Counseling therapy - can have helped one person and deeply harmed someone else. Both are true

0-10 Scale of Need, How to Describe Moving from a 2 to a 4?

You are starving in the desert. You find a single bread slice. That doesn't solve the starvation situation, but it's also more than having zero food at all. Our system of language seems to have no way to simultanouesy still acknowledge the gross unacceptability of not being un-starved while still handling the note of having one bread slice is technically different than zero food at all.

And it's not just food. It's interpersonal connection. It's social justice movement. It's a need to describe why incrementalism on certain topics of injustice is still grossly unacceptable.

Internalized Neoliberalism

The condition of overly self-blame for conditions and experiences that, by any socially just measure, are moreso (or entirely) the fault, accountability, and should-be responsibility of others and systems, not the individual. 

This concept helps explain #RightToSuffer as including, as one component, the right of an individual to not be held responsible for "doing better" when suffering from conditions where the fault, accountability, and should-be responsibility of others and systems is not being held to account. This is not to say we "accept" that suffering. It is a story of who to blame and who not to make feel blamed. Which impacts how society responds and reacts to an individual who is suffering emotional distress. 

The Many Kinds of Impossible

There is "are we living in the Matrix impossible". There is backwards time travel impossible. There is build a colony on Alpha Centuri impossible. There is "elect a Black president in the 50's impossible. Using a singular term for this vast array of limiting factors can easily obfuscate what the different limiting factors are. It can mislead or overstate which limiting factor it is, even to the point of directly gaslighting the actual limiting factors or situation. 

Choiceless Choice: All Horrible, Unjust Options - Still Framed as "You Chose This"

A scenario where a person is oppressively forced to live in deeply painful, struggling conditions. But there are multiple options within that oppression, and the person is allowed to "choose" within those bad options. The person's life is thus framed as "free". Which, especially for this concept here, is also being done to directly hide how they actually do not have any choice that would lead them to anything they actually want. It is a "choice" among horrible, oppressive, unwanted, non-consensual options. But no choice beyond that. So no, you're not really choosing any of these options since no alternative to that is on offer. Especially applies to situations of socioeconomic powerlessness where it's very possible, under a different socioeconomic system, to have much better actual choices presented. 

The Evil of Asks to Be Thankful for the Lesser of Two Evils 

Let's rank 1 as bad / unjust and 20 is good / just. This is all possibility...

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

This is what we're often told is possible

1 2 3 4 5

Then you're asked to celebrate that yay, such and such act is a 3 instead of a 1! While true in one sense as being better, massive harm can also be caused. Including the harm of how the act of celebrating a 3 is used as a way push aside, downplay, take space away, silence, or attack any form of protesting or questioning why we're only at 3 our of 20. Or questioning why only a 5 is called possible instead of a 20. Also note the entry "Kinds of Impossible". for more on the problematic issues with the term "what's possible". 

--- Important Terms / Concepts Others Have Made ---


Two minute video - What is Freedom

Free to buy a Rolls Royce. Not free to exercise that right. Not free to not worry about poverty. 


Unknown term origin. Heard from a peer. This term describes the social dynamic where someone has their world view of what care is and isn't. They have compassion, but only seen through their lens alone. They then offer so-called "help" and "care" under their understanding. It especially turns to care-orrism when any questioning, protest, or declining ("I don't find that to actually be care" or even just "I don't want your help", etc.) is met with all manner of defensiveness, aggression, centering of self, gaslighting etc.

Still a work in progress seeing if that's the best definition, but that's the general idea.

A classic example is the horrors of gay conversation therapy. A less understand (more currently socially accepted) example includes the common current behavioral trend seeking to force autistic children to make more eye contact. If it's actually true that not doing so is a social deficit theory, it's arguably a quite caring act. If it's not true (and it isn't), it can be understood as, in fact, both textbook ableism and outright child abuse. But a form of abuse the abuser considers to be "care", which is terrifying. 

No Acceptable Failure / No Acceptable Losses

(How to acknowledge partial "progress" without minimizing remaining failure?)

Describes the following situation. You have ten starving children dying of famine. An effort is made resulting in fully feeding three kids, severely malnourishing two others (but slightly fed), and five others still have nothing at all and are starving. How to we characterize both of...

- No effort less that fully feeding all ten kids should ever be considered even remotely "acceptable". No acceptable losses. Anything less is failure.

- Acknowledging that saving some of the kids is .... something. It's meaningful. It's "progress", but that "progress" should never, not ever excuse anything less than total success on a matter such as this one.

There is a widespread tendency to use "some progress" as a means to excuse or minimize the ask, demand, and expectation of total success. All manner of "it's a start!" and "we did something!". No Acceptable Losses is meant to counter that line of thinking. To make clear that anything other than total success is gravely unacceptable. While also, yes, acknowledging the reality of some kids being somewhat or fully helped and not erase how some kids somewhat or fully helped is not the exact same as all ten kids fully unhelped.

An open question is, to what extent, if at all, does progress deserve credit and praise under No Acceptable Losses goals and needs? How to we credit progress while also condemning anything that is not total success? How to we prevent partial progress being used as a means to justify lack of total success? 

added 3/19/24

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