The Meetings

It’s pretty well known that I’m a staunch individualist. Collectivism isn’t my thing. One of my biggest gripes with the collectivist philosophy is the whole idea of needing to reach consensus.

For those who haven’t observed collectivist decision making I can sum it up as this: it’s a big meeting where nobody is allowed to leave until everybody agrees on something. One example of this are the general assemblies made popular by the Occupy movement. I actually went and observed several of these assemblies and they were amazingly efficient at being entirely inefficient. Nothing of importance could get done because it’s impossible to get everybody to agree on anything. If you have a group larger than one simple decisions, like deciding where to eat during lunch, become more complex. While you may want Mexican food the other person may have a hankering for Chinese food. Expand this now, imagine you have 50 or 100 people trying to decide where to eat. Change up the scenario a bit more and instead of deciding where to eat now our group of 50 to 100 people are trying to decide what to use their collective funds on.

While I understand meetings are periodically necessary I hate them. They eat into time that could be used more productively and often accomplish nothing of value. Imagine if every societal decision had to be made by holding a meeting. Do you think Henry Ford would have been able to introduce the masses to the efficient assembly line if he needed the approval of everybody in his community? Do you think Apple would have been able to built the first personal computer if they needed everybody’s approval? Probably not. Innovation comes from individuals with drive, and nothing kills drive like long meetings. If you want to shutdown a go-getting quickly schedule him for consecutive back-to-back two hour meetings. Before you know the go-getter will be making a difficult decision between hanging himself or shooting himself.

I could never survive in a collectivist society because I couldn’t stand the fucking meetings. When I want to do something I do it. The last thing I want to do is sit on my ass, twiddle my thumbs, and wait for everybody to decide on whether or not I can do what it is I want to do.

In my opinion the ultimate downfall of collectivism are the meetings. I witnessed the failure of collective decision making at OccupyMN, decisions that appeared to be simple matters often took days of arguing between any decision was finally made, and often people voted in favor of it solely because they were sick of arguing and wanted to move on to other things. The only time anything notable was accomplished was when a few individuals said, “We’re doing this! Anybody who wants to join us do so.” Consensus decision making doesn’t work with me, I don’t even want consensus. In fact I won’t even attend the pointless meetings, while people are wasting their time trying to decide on how they’re going to make decisions I’ll be busy doing something. If you need me I’ll be in the shop.