Emotional Work Politics

Day 1015 and Selfish

I think we are entering a selfish age. High trust societies are built from cooperation. When we get more through coordination than we do from conflict we have an incentive build more. Simple supply and demand can teach us a lot about improving the bargain of trusting each other.

Coordination suffers when trust goes down. But we can’t all maintain the same types of trust across all levels of our interactions. Some areas must remain high trust. Tight industries and clear lines of communication can help.

But we have to become intense skeptics to coordinate in otherwise hostile environments. Civilization has a thin veneer. To selfishly live your own life for your own good is often in conflict with others. The boundaries we tolerate are the rules for acceptable competition. This is how we civilize society. There are laws and then there is power.

Maintaining your own power in a crueler world is knowing when to be selfish to the benefit of other people’s coordination problems. Competition is good.

I am more careful in some interactions now because I see the fog of competing interests. Different rules apply to different people. Knowing when rules do and don’t apply can make you crazy. You’ve judged power and norms correctly when sympathy is with you.