thread: 2005-05-16 : Violence

On 2005-05-18, JasonL wrote:

I’ll chime in here.  Facinating how this discussion has evolved.

We’re human, so we’re wired to use language to discuss these things.  Look at the medium we’re using, too.  It’s words and nothing else.

So, I’d like to pose a series of questions, directed both at Chris and at those who’ve decried his choice of words:

Kudzu invaded the southern US - driving out native plants and chaning the biological/ecological dynamics across not just plant life but animal life too.  Violent, aggressive or assertive?

Here in Chicago we’ve got this rapacious species of Japanese Carp that’s worked it’s way up the Chicago river.  The ecologists are tyring to keep it out of Lake Michigan - because they know this species will dominate the battle for resources and kill off dozens of other fish species in the process.  Is the fish violent, aggressive, or assertive?  What about the scientists and polciy makers and engineers actively trying to stop the carp’s spread?  Are they violent, aggressive or assertive?

Now, let’s take it back to the human realm, and let’s leave the extreme examples out of it.  I’m confronted in my daily life with the myth of the win-win situation.  It’s very hard to achieve, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it.  Part of my role in my job is to provide insight about our business - insight that ought to drive strategic direction.  I’m in a meeting with someone who wants my widget company to treat all our customers the same way.  They’ve got data on their side that talks about the real financial benefits to our bottom line.  I’m like “No, no, no.  If we do that, we’ll lose lots of customers who’d like to at least think we’re treating them based on their needs, desires, wants relative to our services.  Sure, we’ll save some money, but we’ll lose more than we save.”

I’ve got just as much data as they do to back up my claim.  I’m better at selling my data than they are at selling theirs.  I walk all over them in the meeting, and things go my way.  Our company’s limited resources will be used for my thing.  Was that violent, aggressive or assertive?

Now, in my experience, in those real-world situations, you end up with one party winning and getting their way, or half-vast half-measures (i.e. compromsie) where parts of multiple options are combined together to create some kind of whole.  It’s the “let’s do both!” option.  I’ve never seen this be successful in business.  The business plans/strategies/tactics that work are one’s based on a clear vision that’s pursued with relentless focus, and a willingness to say “thanks for the input, but we’re still gonna go this way, because we know it will work…”  Is that violent, aggressive or assertive?

Here’s the definition of violent, from

adj 1: acting with or marked by or resulting from great force or energy or emotional intensity; “a violent attack”; “a violent person”; “violent feelings”; “a violent rage”; “felt a violent dislike” [ant: nonviolent] 2: effected by force or injury rather than natural causes; “a violent death” 3: (of colors or sounds) intensely vivid or loud; “a violent clash of colors”; “her dress was a violent red”; “a violent noise”; “wild colors”; “wild shouts” [syn: wild] 4: marked by extreme intensity of emotions or convictions; inclined to react violently; fervid; “fierce loyalty”; “in a tearing rage”; “vehement dislike”; “violent passions” [syn: fierce, tearing, vehement, trigger-happy] 5: characterized by violence or bloodshed; “writes of crimson deeds and barbaric days”- Andrea Parke; “fann’d by Conquest’s crimson wing”- Thomas Gray; “convulsed with red rage”- Hudson Strode [syn: crimson, red]

A lot of you that talk about violence being necessarily abusive are reading with a connotative eye, it seems to me.


“Oh, it’s you…


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