Make them Fish.
So I don’t know how many of you know this but my main (and only paying) job is Associate Producer for a game company. I spend more of my time talking with users than I do Producing, this means that I’m talking with tens, hundreds, and easily totals of thousands of people. Not all at once, it is a trickle over time. People flow through like the tides, and indeed there are periods where the waves are far less welcome than those before and after them.
During this time I talk with each person in a similar manner. I tell people that I am a mirror, I provide a response that is mirrored to their attitude. Indifferent people get indifference, angry people get stern responses, dull people get dull responses, and so on. This isn’t always true, I do shape it because at the end of the day I am my own person. The trick to working with me is to come to me with positivity, you can be upset, being upset is part of our core. If we are upset about something we are likely passionate about it and that passion is important.
What I will not accept is ignorance. I also don’t let people off easily who expect me to spoon feed them everything. I try to make people fish, I want them to be uncomfortable with ignorance. This is something I feel is very important. Once people get an earnest knot in their stomach when they don’t know something they become something great. These are the people who go on to send people into outer space, to create new means of heating homes, powering our world, feeding our people, and these are the true leaders of our future.
I want people to never accept waiting. Turn to educated people and ask, certainly, but while you wait try and find the answer yourself. Don’t wait for them to shovel the information into your brain, explore and take in the delicious nectar of the stars yourself.
I get the occasional user who is upset with this. But I’m fairly stern about it, once someone is comfortable with ignorance they will carry it to the grave. These people make me endlessly sad and I’ve wasted perhaps far too many minutes trying to drill into them just how destructive that mentality is. Ignorance is bliss, truly, but it requires ever increasing doses. The more people that are ignorant the more bleak the world becomes, these people must then become even more ignorant to keep up the façade of happiness, and the cycle continues ad infinitum until all things end.
Hyperbole? Overly Poetic? Sure, that’s kind of my thing. But this is something that should not be ok. I would love for everyone to be comfortable, but I don’t want anyone ever comfortable with not knowing. I want it to eat away at people, I want it to drive them to learning on their own. I want it to ignite a spark that lights their intellectual fire. I want that burn to spread across the land and engulf their entire world.
I would go so far as to say I would like people to carry this to their death. Because if enough people do it then nobody will ever have to do it again. We are, for lack of a better phrase, truly blessed, extremely fortunate also works actually, either way we are carrying within our own (incredibly) tiny skulls a device that can store and process insane amounts of information.
We have the potency to unravel the fabric of the universe and to do beautiful things. But this will never become commonplace for as long as people are fine with just being fed fish.
Make them fish, make every person you meet fish, give them hints, teach them how to fish, but be hard on them. Don’t let anyone get comfortable with waiting for the answer to fall on their lap. If you work on a forums you push people, count every edit of “I figured it out” as a victory towards the future. If you can take them further to explain how it works you will create an internet ripe with data (Even more than it is now).
Don’t ever let up, don’t let any mind end with a question unasked. If enough people are deeply entrenched in the workings of the real world we’ll all be the better for it. Just imagine, if everyone knows what’s going on in politics then nothing can slip in under the radar. If nothing slips in under the radar there is nothing to try and not think about.
If you are left not needing to be ignorant to be happy, is this not the ideal situation? With that in mind, I’m finishing a book at this time, once I’m done I am very excited to talk about Polyface farms. They are certainly a very good reason to live in Virginia or near the DC area.