0160 - Percentages - 2020.10.26
Regular readers of my Twitter (you all follow me on Twitter, right?) know that I sometimes keep all my comics and writing and commissions and household chores straight using a fun little daily to-do list. I colour-code all the different tasks (pink for "Warrior", domestic chores; yellow for "Poet", physical art; green for "Philosopher", writing and coding; blue for "King", digital art), and I can hit various combos and multipliers if I complete groups of tasks, all striving to get to one hundred points by the end of the day.
This sets past-me in conflict with future-me.
You see, past-me organizes the list to manipulate future-me into getting things done that he might not want to do. Future-me tries to beat the list, getting to that 100 by doing as little uncomfortable work as possible. Past-me is future-me's boss, and I have an ingrained tendency to thumb my nose at bosses whenever possible. I never allow myself to cheat, you understand, but if past-me was dumb enough to set up a multiplier that rewards doing something relatively easy, future-me is going to take advantage of it.
Of course, if I ever completely broke the system, I'd have to stop doing it.
It's a lot like a diet, or any other sort of self-imposed rule. If you find a loophole in your diet plan that lets you eat a cup of brown sugar as long as you follow it up with a single radish, and you find yourself doing so multiple times per day, you need to change diets - regardless of the points on the sheet or the green star on the app, you're not going to lose weight.
So now, naturally, I'm going to talk about Jesus and the Sabbath.
In the gospel of Mark, chapter 2, JC is walking past a field with his homies and starts grabbing some grain for them to eat (it's not their grain, but "private property can get fucked" is a sermon for another time). A big mean Pharisee criticizes Jesus for working on the Sabbath, and JC responds that "the Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath" - i.e., this Rule has been put in place to achieve a given result (rest, prayer, devotion to God), and, if the outcome of following the Rule is counter to that Purpose, the Rule can and should be ignored.
Now, far be it from me to criticize the King of Kings, here, but it seems to me that if doing work to feed yourself officially excuses breaking the Sabbath, wouldn't a cynical person just never take the time to prepare their bagged lunch on Friday, thereby perpetually excusing working every Saturday? After all, if your neighbours are all doing it, you'd have to follow suit to keep pace with their productivity. And, once the practice is commonly established, you'd have things like employers forbidding their workers from setting up food on Fridays, because it's an excuse to get out of working on Saturday.
(Sounds like a bit of a stretch, doesn't it? Good thing employers in the real world never take advantage of fiddly technicalities by, say, scheduling their workers for thirty-nine hours a week to avoid giving them bennies, huh?)
Anyway, my point is... well, I have three points, what I'll call Tailsteak's Rules About Rules:
This is as true of my little daily to-do lists as it is of every religious commandment, every legal statute, and every calorie-counting diet. Lee's to-do list is poorly written, Lee is taking advantage, and that is human nature. They are not properly motivated to follow the spirit of the exercise, despite the fact that this List was made for Lee, not Lee for the List. They want to do as little as possible to technically succeed at the List, because then, when their situation doesn't improve, they can blame it on Doc's List, and not on their own gremlinitude.
Perhaps a change in motivation is what's needed, hmm?