the harsh truth about harsh truths


Lately Hacker News has added some rules to their guidelines regarding the “gratuitous negativity”.

We’ve all been there, a friend asks for our opinion on a subject of his/her interest, and we give the harsh truth.
Too harsh, probably.

  • The idea won’t work
  • It’s horrible
  • I can’t even watch it
  • Seriously?

etc… are just a tiny part of the expressions we could use to respond.
And the example I took are probably the easiest ones, not the harshest.

This leads me back to one of my favourite posts of Jason Fried, “give it five minutes“.
In the post Jason shares a bit of his personal life along one of the best observations I have ever come across

“Ideas are fragile”.

That’s true. What’s even more true is that we become fragile together with our idea because we feel such paternity with it that we can’t accept being a detached entity from the idea itself.

When our idea is attacked, so are we.

It’s really easy to attack an idea, to attack an opinion.
We love straw-men or the resulting sense of power when we destroy someone else’s opinion.

But we should care, we should care about other people’s ideas and thoughts as much as ours, because we have been there before.
We have been mocked before, we have suffered, so why don’t we start giving a chance to other people?

We might even conclude that we disagree on the subject, but disagreeing doesn’t need to be aggressive, you can disagree and live peacefully with the fact that the other person won’t be inline with your thoughts.

We all are different and as humans we deserve some better treatment.

A small closing story:

Today I took my brother to take breakfast, and there was a grey car outside our garage that wouldn’t allow me to take out my car.
At first I thought “damn, I hate when they just stay like that. Don’t they think about the people who live here?”

I moved into my garage without saying a word, hoping that the man in the car would just do something.
The car didn’t move.
I entered mine and while I turned it on I saw my brother signaling something to the man in a funny way.

Then I saw the grey car move out and leave space for me.
I took my car out, closed the garage, and when I was about to leave I noticed the other driver took down the glass.
I did the same.

When our cars crossed ways he smiled at me and waved his left hand.
While I repeated the same movements I thought
“I should have given him 5 minutes. What a nice man”.

This event taught me that many people are super-kind, just give them the chance to do so, put them into the right mood and situation and they’ll enlighten your day.


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