Grappling with others – as rational actors?

Day 6: Monday

Morning, Tim!

I hope the weather has improved, and, if you are sick, I hope you feel much better. If you are writing about not admitting to sickness just for fun, and aren’t sick at all…well I suppose I hope you stay well, but more importantly want you to know how truly impressed at the boldness and reach for a good bit to write about.

Not sure what kind of sickness you might be experiencing. But, particularly in light of you being in Italy, I hope it’s not a stomach bug, as I’m just going to leave this here.

Visiting family was lovely. Weather, you’ll be pleased to hear, was beautiful.

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Is it good for us to disagree? Not you and I, specifically; I mean it more in the the Royal us (is there such a thing?) Weather is fairly agreeable in fact, but not in kind – while we both likely have a phone app that tells us the temperature, you may think it pleasant at 80°F. For me that would make my walk to work an absolute disaster. Similarly, your enjoyment of rain and clouds may be understandably disliked by others (at least those who, again, like me, don’t always bring an umbrella and sit at work for hours with drinched clothes). It seems we should try to disagree more, Tim. By forcing ourselves to confront differences in others (and, by logical extension ourselves), we have the opportunity to see life from their perspective.

I’m in school, currently studying negotiations. My professor, discussing some of the differences in psychologists’ and economists’ viewpoints on rationality brought up the rational actor. I have read behavioral economists and can appreciate the perspective brought by psychologists on how individuals’ actions are not necessarily in line with economists predictions; however, the interesting piece I hadn’t fully grappled with was a counterargument that these individuals may well be acting rationally, if only we understood their full perspective. While I’m not sure how well that counterargument holds up (and will continue to read to further understand), it has kept me thinking. While it’s obviously impossible to truly understand all that is impacting another, it seems that part of being human is to be relational with others; if that is the case, better understanding their actions may mean better understanding the circumstances leading to that action, understanding the differences in background or opinion that have lead to that choice. Despite male or female, urban or rural, national or foreign, race, height, aesthetic beauty, marital status, talent for sports, or ability for humor (among countless others), perhaps making diversity a priority (a pillar, if you will) isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Until tomorrow,

Zak

p.s. the Swordfish fighting video was so far under half of what I was hoping for. I would have preferred Knifefish fighting to that. Or a grape Blow Pop. Man those things are good…

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Guilty Pleasures

Day 5: Friday

Good morning Zak,

So it seems like we are starting to find our stride.  This blog is mainly a place for stimulating conversation about the weather.  Zak, just like every great enterprise, this project of ours needs a strong sense purpose.  I think the promotion of fair and balanced meteorological discourse is a great purpose. You can learn a lot about a person from asking their take on the weather.  It’s one of the deeper conversations that people can have.  The only thing to look out for is bias.  One-sidedness is a major problem with many forecasting sources.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, Zak, but sometimes when I’m sick I do this thing where I, um, don’t admit to being sick.  I don’t really know why I do it.  Some people enjoy not being upfront just for the heck of it.  I don’t think I’m one of those people.  I do this sometimes even when I’m clearly not fooling anyone.  My eyes will be all glossy, and my voice will sound like a frog who spends most of his income of Camels.  But ask me and I still won’t say I’m sick.  Plenty of people I respect are occasionally sick. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of confessing to it, but I’ll be quicker to discuss just about anything else.

Swordfish fighting is totally a thing, but it’s not half of what you think it is…

There’s a new president-elect in America, and everyone I meet in Italy keeps asking me about him.  I usually change the topic to the weather.  Zak, I wonder how closely you followed Italy’s election of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.  Remember the one where he did that thing?  If you missed it, I’m sure there are reruns on TBS.

“Please don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr Worthing. Whenever people talk about the weather, I am sure they mean something else.” -Gwendolen, The Importance of Being Ernest

Maybe if Americans spent more time talking about the weather we would agree with each other more often.  I mean you can say it’s cloudy when the sun is shining, but you clearly aren’t fooling anyone.  People have all kinds of guilty pleasures, though.  For some people it’s chocolate, for others it’s calendar pages, and I totally realize that someone somewhere is bound to take sick satisfaction in lying about the weather.  As you know Zak, this is an inclusive blog, and I certainly don’t mean to judge that one person.  I’m just pointing out that weather is something even very tendentious people can struggle to argue about.

As far as entertainment value goes, these days non-fiction political discourse might even be able to compete with fictional weather forecasting.

It’s kind of raining today in Milan, and I don’t have an umbrella.  It’s cold out.  I’m staying inside because of how well I feel.

Until Monday,

Tim