Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 5/01/2023
“Absorb” means to “take in or soak up.” We often talk about being “absorbed” in a book or conversation. I was seldom ever absorbed in my undergraduate French classes.
I build models, and I found one day that a paper towel I had inadvertently left partially in a small container of water I used to clean paint brushes had absorbed all the water, acting like a wick (for the literal out there, “porous material which draws up liquid in a capillary action”).
It has occurred to me that, like that paper towel (the manufacturers of which trumpet “maximum absorption”) we are soaking up language, culture, and information constantly, unconsciously, and without many quality filters.
Restaurants are becoming increasingly loud, which I thought was due to poor design and acoustics, but which I’ve come to realize is intended to create a certain “vibe” of excitement. Practically no one says “you’re welcome” anymore, it’s all about “no problem,” which means I haven’t disturbed them. Everyone calls me by my first name, irrespective of whether we’ve ever met, the other person is a secretary or assistant to my peer, or they’re seeking a favor or contribution from me.
Everyone’s accusation today, everyone’s “grievance,” is expected to be taken seriously—and while some are of great significance and deserve our serious attention, some are simply frivolous and we’re afraid to say so. At the best restaurants I often see jogging outfits and hoodies (and some look like pajamas). We’ve become fearful of trying to enforce civility, courtesy, and consideration.
Socially, this immiserates all of us. And by the time we realize or bother to think about it, all the water has disappeared and been absorbed by accident. Our values and culture dissipate in the wick.
The conscious mind determines the actions, the unconscious mind determines the reactions; and the reactions are just as important as the actions. —E. Stanley Jones
I think unconscious bias is one of the hardest things to get at. —Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious. —Carl Jung
I’m just trying to make a smudge on the collective unconscious. —David Letterman