The three needful things

Based on ideas I'd previously articulated online here.


intellectual integrity

willingness to own up to and correct mistakes, but also to stay true to things that are not mistaken

compassion for the parties involved

willingness to understand each person's suffering and joy, and to work in support of them where possible

depth of thought

willingness to think through the genesis, implications and consequences of a statement or proposal

These are the three needful things I look for to decide whether someone's opinion merits respect. A failure of any one seems to imply the eventual failure of the other two.

Integrity without compassion

Everyone will call you cruel, but you would not believe it, because your dispassionate, infalliable integrity protects against all such excesses of weak emotion. You will end up standing for nothing except a fetishized ideology of empty rules.

Integrity without depth

No growth, only fear.

Lacking only integrity

An inner reality made of Dante's lust-hell, buffeted about by a pandaemonium of noisome, ultimately meaningless influences and doomed to wander forever, ever mourning what could never be.

Depth without integrity

The conspiracy theorist who is Never Wrong. Anything anyone can tell just gets added to their big web of irrefutable proof. There's always an answer if you dig deep enough.

Depth without compassion

The real version of what persons with neurotypicality accuse infodumping autistics of being. Endless forms of unlimited complexity for no reason other than your own arbitrary whim.

Lacking only depth

Rage, fair Achilles, however impotently. Destroy in your righteous judgment until nothing is left, because nothing can ever be right.

Compassion without integrity

Everyone will call you cruel, but you would not believe it, because surely you're protecting the innocent and whatever you need to do towards that end is right. Once enough lies and violence are justified in your mind to defend whoever it was you ultimately decided were the proper subjects of your compassion, even those subjects become valid targets - for their own good, of course.

Compassion without depth

Enabler. Any community you organize becomes a textbook example of the Paradox of Intolerance as you refuse to qualify the compassion you show to bad actors and missing stairs.

Lacking only compassion