Week 2 Entry 13: Mad Man Kill Tribe, Tribe Kill Mad Man

Amraj Singh Sukhdev Singh - Fri 6 March 2020, 9:45 pm
Modified: Sat 7 March 2020, 7:10 am

After some consideration, I consider it fair to say that if one were to look at some earlier idea generation posts, it could be said that I'd deliberately went with what I'd consider the safest idea for the recent pitch session. The context of a knife that gets mad at you feels like it's far more socially acceptable than a cage match with an interview machine, or a water fountain that forced you to reflect on yourself because you need to improve. "If people think I'm crazy because of my ideas they'll reject me".

A Logic that Can Justify Anything

Few will literally think someone else in their vicinity is crazy, and people already dismiss each other for any number of reasons anyway. We subconciously judge each other and decide on a hierarchy of who we'd like to work with - this might not even be apparent to us, but there's a hidden selection process that goes on in our minds, and usually when someone thinks up a name when it's time to form groups, well, that's because the rolodex in the minds of the selector has already been spun through and just so happened to land on people with traits that were useful.

This isn't discrimination,... it's a survival tactic to weed out "Mad Man". In a tribe, a member that acts unpredictably causes the most risk for disruption - and a chance that "something bad or dangerous" will happen - an undesired outcome. "Mad Man Kill Tribe if do this, Tribe Kill Mad Man first!". And thus, "Tribe Friendship Ended with Mad Man, Now Safety is My Best Friend". Removing unpredictable factors is part of risk management, and so there's a set of expectations to fit into to not be considered a risk (Mad Man).

This leaves you with a more limited space to work with, its not that "wow dawg, look at how big my brain is, these guys cant even fathom how perpendicular my neurons are" but instead that the more bizzare and abstract an idea gets, the further away Man stands from Tribe. Everyone wants to feel like they belong and matter, like they have something they can do for 3850 Tribe, and so confronting the reality that what you say has a strong impact on people's impressions, there's a passive self correcitng that happens to make sure that place in the Tribe stays undisturbed.

Tribe So Hard and Got So Far, But in the End, It Didn't Even Matter

Relating this to personal experience, from time to time I have the opportunity to talk to people about the discrimination I experienced from growing up in Malaysia. Over there, in most everyday situations, I would automatically not be part of the Tribe, being a minority. While the countries minorities aren't actively jailed for being minorities, other forms of persecution is commonplace, and there's always an air that things can go sour at any time . But regardless of how progressive people in Australia claim to be, any time I begin talking about how this discrimination - it inherently causes discomfort - if not silence in response. As a result, I now make less of an effort to talk about how things are back home, and the vast majority of people assume that I've had the same experience as them, being treated fairly and with respect - but to me this consideration, or even small things like people remembering my name and not using a slur are unexpected and new - even a year or so into being here.

The point here is that by talking about how one isn't part of Tribe elsewhere, one loses the opportunity to be a part of a different Tribe. Whether its a one time negative experience of having people throw stones at me, or more commonly - just having people pull at my hair when I wore a headscarf - these, among others - are experiences that are too distant from the minds of the average person here for them to relate with, and inevitably lead to a cut off in communication that makes me change the discussion to receive acceptance and a response. I perceive that in the same way, a risky idea will result in the same situation, as accepting as people are, there's a limit where things are too personal or confronting for them to engage with you anymore.

Going Beyond Tribe Logic

For these reason among others, I've left "people I want to work with" empty on the course form for week three. I have plenty of people who I have some excitement to work with, but that's because I've spun the rolodex, and have expectations of who they are going to be.

This places undue expectations on the selected members, in my mind is a flash frame of the people, that expects them to fit within its narrow confines. People can ride beyond or fall short of such expectations at any point, expecting not to be surprised by those around us is more than a little unfair. I would prefer to instead share the opportunity with someone I don't know, - a blank slate - to see what we can achieve when the cards are more obscured from view

I do sadly have people I don't want to work with... there's a certain feeling of guilt that I've decided to put their name down on that list - it's one chance less at having them prove me wrong, and maybe the negative experiences around them were a one time things... but at the same time, I feel like there's certain lines and boundaries that are fair to set up, so it's best not to dwell on this topic.

Closing Thoughts

An idea that was more honest to my will for the course, would have made it easier for people to know what I really want to do... but there's a veneer of inauthenticity that one must wear to fit in any social situation, and even if "inauthenticity" makes it sound bad, having it enable my continued presence here means that it's just one of the many rotating masks of impression management we all put on to reach a comfortable compromise.