This one’s almost Pulp Philosophy, but it’s more feelings than philosophy. We all have teachers, the people who instill in us specific lessons about life, the universe, and everything. They might be writers we follow, friends and family, or actual instructors in a classroom setting. In the same way, we’re all teachers. We want to be, setting examples and hoping to make an impact on people’s lives. We want to be the kind of person whose lessons people will carry around with them. And we do carry those lessons around. We cart them from place to place, both good and bad, sometimes using them and sometimes not. But they’re always sort of there. Maybe it’s the student in me, but I’ve had a lot of teachers. Some of them knew it, some of them didn’t. So has the Black Canary.
It’s Reading Week here, and since I work at a university, that means I’m totally slammed. I’ve been polishing today’s post all day, but I’m not going to post it until it’s up to snuff. I hate putting something up that’s half done.
But I won’t post nothing, either. I’ve started making videos, little bit of discussion, little bit of music. Here’s one I did a few weeks ago, talking about something that I’m going to expand on next week in some Pulp Philosophy. Let me know what you think.
Last week I talked about doing your best, but here’s where it all pulls together. First, let’s go over the three key elements so far.
1. A hero is someone who chooses the right thing to do over the practical thing to do.
2. The right thing to do is the thing that respects the interests of all of the relevant stakeholders.
3. It’s also the thing that the agent would readily endorse as a best practice, and they do their best to pursue it.
It’s been two weeks, which means it’s time to talk about stakeholders again. I was going to hem and haw and showcase some stuff, and I still might, but I kind of want to skip to the good part. Well, the part for you to chew over. When last we left the stakeholder story, the big question was a how question. How do we balance the stake of one person or group of people against that of another? What’s the solution, the maxim or piece of advice that makes it all simple?
Now you know what a stakeholder is, and who some of your stakeholders are. I thought about considering objections, but I’m not really at the point where people start having major objections yet. It’s practically self-evident that the six groups I’ve talked about are stakeholders in your life, and you are in theirs.
Today, before taking a break from repeating the word “Stakeholders” for a few weeks, I’m going to talk about the how of it. That’s the hard part, after all. Heroes don’t just know who their stakeholders are, they know how to take care of them properly. But before getting into how heroes do it, we need to talk about how regular people do it, and how they should do it. There’s a short and somewhat unsatisfying answer.
Last week’s set of stakeholders are pretty obvious, for the most part. Friends, family, and government all have a pretty direct impact on your life, and vice versa. Remember, they’re only stakeholders if they benefit from or are harmed by your actions, or if your actions respect or violate their rights. The distinction is important. Poking through your friend’s phone doesn’t harm them, but it does violate their right to privacy. Today I want to focus on three groups that we don’t think of as often as the others. We’re more inclined to disregard their interest, but they deserve some serious consideration.
So you can learn to be a hero by learning about stakeholders. Who they are, what their interests are, and how your actions affect them. That’s what heroes do. Businesses have stakeholders, but you do too. They’re all around you. For the next few weeks, I want to take a deeper look at who they are and how they’re stakeholders.
A hero is someone who, when forced to choose between what’s practical and what’s right, chooses what’s right.
That’s what I argued last week. It’s easy to say, but there’s a lot of room for error. For one thing, how do you know what the right thing to do is? It’s easy to figure out in a game, where things are less complicated and the moral choices are simpler. I talked about the uncomplicated version on TPK on Monday. Acting from heroic values can motivate you to do the right thing, but even that can get pretty fuzzy. There are other ways, and I’m going to spend a lot of time on one of them. Stakeholder theory.
On Monday, I wrote a post on being a hero in roleplaying games over at TPK, my gaming blog. Heroes are a tricky thing in rpgs, and get more grief than you might think. Being the good guy gets in the way of killing monsters and taking their stuff more often than you’d think. I talked about what it means to be a hero, and gave some examples from fiction and reality. But being a hero in a game is easy. The rules are simpler, there are way less variables, and you’ve usually got superpowers to help you out. In the real world, well, that’s a whole other cup of tea. I’m not a hero, though I’ve been one now and again. Over the next month I want to do my best to help you understand what it means to be a hero, and hopefully how to do it. As with any idea, it starts with a really good definition.