I love this interview with professional athlete and philosophy professor Nick Riggle.
The high five is actually a recognition of the achievement of mutual appreciation. It’s a symbol of, “Hey, I recognize you as an individual, and you recognize me.”
Awesomeness is about creating communities of mutually appreciative individuals … It’s not a community where we all have to share the same values, or we all have to be Christian, or we all have to support a certain political candidate. It’s a more forgiving and appreciative community…. [it] allows us to stand out but stand together.
The badass just owns shit, right? What they choose to do with their life, they do it with expertise and confidence. … tackling what you set out to do with your life, and doing it with confidence and a kind of presentational verve.
The other category [of non-starter] is the fake-ass person. They’re someone who seems to take up the social opening, seems to be presenting their individuality… But in fact, they’re faking it. They’re not actually presenting who they are. This relation of mutual appreciation, what I call co-personhood, can’t be formed, because they’re presenting a fake persona.
In the late 1960s, an MIT student went to a meditation class by Philip Kapleau, author of the classic, The Three Pillars of Zen. The student only went because his Ph.D. advisor had invited the speaker to campus.
No word on whether Roshi Kapleau was discouraged to see only four listeners in the large lecture hall, the organizer, his student, and two others. We do know that he effectively delivered his message because that student became Jon Kabat-Zinn, the most influential promoter, teacher, and scientific researcher of meditation in the history of the West.
It is not a speaker’s job to judge the audience. We save the world one speech, sometimes one listener, at a time.