Saturday, June 30, 2018

Good behavior isn’t yet worthwhile action.

Mid-June’s update note on his home page (now regarding myself as an other—framing an attitude two weeks ago) asserted (validly) that “I’ve been doing intensive work, making good progress,...I’m very immersed in creative work.” But he didn’t want to be specific. “Saying more later would be just keeping fidelity to ...a given ‘check-in’ date,” pro forma. “I want to make updates worthwhile,” which he didn’t feel like doing.

That suggested to him a difference between behavior and worthwhile action; or, as he put it, “the difference between fidelity to (or honoring) a promise and desire to actualize the promise.” Valuing a norm (promise keeping) is not the same as wanting yet to exemplify the value by delivering the goods, so to speak.

The difference is not, as such, a conflict; rather, another value may be overriding: following through genuinely, not just behaving on schedule. The conditions for owning promised action can’t always be assured (or predicted) at the time of promise making. A genuine fidelity can’t happen without readiness to make it so.

Being on time well can be unpredictable for open-ended intentions. Genuineness is a value that may prevail over (transcend) the value of behaviorally keeping an appointment.

But reliability is a value that may prevail over (transcend) the values of particular actions. That is, showing up may be more important than doing so genuinely. Consider a typical workday. However, reliability of behavior isn’t the same as fidelity to genuineness.

Though postponing a scheduled showing too often makes a promiser unreliable, merely behavioral fidelity undermines the value of promise making.

By showing good conscience about fidelity to genuineness, one hopes—I hope—that being worthwhile in the long run may redeem disappointment near term.

(If this seems pedantic, consider that theory of value is basically concerned with how choices relate to overriding values that cause preference of one choice over another. Dwelling well in ecospheres of value is very important to me, in the long view.)