Conviction or Intensity?

“The good lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”  William Butler Yeats

Intensity is often mistaken for conviction.  Intensity is also often mistaken for “proof of knowledge”.  Those error of perception give unwarranted credence to those who practice the maxim that “the best defense is a good offense” to get their way or establish credentials as a wise person or guru when they are merely learned in facts, expert in presentation skills, and forceful in their actions.

Since I brought in the word “wise”, a critical understanding for peaceful, beneficial life is to

Never Mistake Knowledge for Wisdom. 

That admonition includes a need to periodically look at yourself in the mirror with a similar, searching discernment and a follow-up Reformation!

Too many people have “book” learning (or “mentor…”, “latest seminar…”, “smart social media perps…”, or whatever…) and are able to regurgitate the information in a manner (whether they intend it or not) that gives the appearance of expertise, whether or  not such behavior is an intentional deceit of self or others. 

What practical experience is evident, what testing, replicable experiments, what learning at which “masters side” in the lab, studio, or field — in real world, real-time practice and implementation?  And, don’t confuse the coincidental fact that someone may have had the most renowned teacher (or parent!!) with believing that they have either the knowledge or wisdom or skills for practical application that were evident in the work and life of the “master”! 

Of course, knowledge of actual facts and practical application is essential.  Too often, those who would control your destiny and that of your family, profession, culture or community will even deny “real facts”, “real experience” and “real results” so fatuously, and replace them with fantasy constructs so glibly that the outcomes are deliberately destructive to others.  Passion and smooth talk are thus often confused with goodness and virtue (Don’t mistake Yeats for an “ethics in action” guru!).

What to do?  The quote is well worth thinking about!  Start there, then look in the mirror, and as Nassem Nicholas Taleb and others have cautioned,

Do not confuse “correlation” with “causality” – EVER !!

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About randysrules

From a professional background in architecture, community and regional planning, urban design, leadership, and fine arts, this blog provides insights on ethics, leadership, architecture/planning/urban design, Venice, and whatever intrigues me at the time. Enjoy!
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