Assuming The Average or Middle is Best -- Finding The Perfect Balance

With the rise in Millennials we are increasingly seeing the rise of everybody being a winner and the average being the goal. We are seeing a flattening of difference and a lessening of superiority. These days the average is the leader, not the winner.

by Quinton Figueroa on March 5th, 2017

In our simplistic thinking we often times tend to think that most things have a sweet spot that is correct, right in the middle. It's like the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears -- one porridge was too hot, one porridge was too cold and one porridge was juuuuust right. When you fundamentally believe that all people are the same and that having winners and losers is a bad thing you turn your reality into one of less accuracy and increased chaos.

We tend to do this in everything. If you're too far left you're extreme. If you're too far right you're extreme. You can be right or left, but you want to be close to the center. Taking an average means that you understand the pros and cons to both sides and that the center is the inevitable correct choice. Any extreme position is an incorrect position because it doesn't take the other side into account we tell ourselves.

Being in the middle is the compromise of reason.

We tell ourselves that too much regulation is bad and too little regulation is also bad. We need to find that sweet spot of regulation where businesses can still function and people can also be sure that businesses aren't screwing them and things are safe. So we look for just the right amount of regulation that hits that magical sweet spot. After all, you want to shoot for the middle. You want the average. You want that perfect balance.

We also tell ourselves that too much inflation is bad and too little inflation is also bad. We need just the right amount of inflation. What does inflation even mean? Doesn't matter, that's for the experts to tell us. We need them to tell us the right amount. If we have too much inflation people will lose value in their money. If we have too little inflation the economy may come to a halt and even worse we will have deflation and prices might actually come down. We most certainly can't have falling prices!

Then we have other more everyday categories like work. We tell ourselves that working too much is bad, however, working too little is also bad. Instead we need to find that perfect balance between work and play. What's that saying? All work and no play makes you a dull boy. You can't only work. You have to strike a balance.

Even when it comes to making decisions in government we use the average. When we decide on things in government we take a democratic vote. And this democratic vote represents the average of all people voting. We treat every vote as equal and then average it. We give everybody an equal say just for showing up without taking into account their interest, knowledge or even relevancy to the issue at hand. After all, how could it be done any better or any more fair?

Some ideologies want to average out inequalities in income by pulling the rich down and the poor up. We see this heavily with Socialism as it works to mitigate inequalities and create equal outcomes. People who excel and do well are held down while those that struggle are pulled up.

The weak are lifted at the expense of the strong. It's a fair compromise we tell ourselves.

We even are seeing this with genders these days. It's not enough to be a man or a woman anymore. These days the 2 genders need to act the same and be able to do the same things. It doesn't matter if men and women are biologically geared differently and that preferences and aptitudes stem from these biological differences, they must be treated the exact same.

And the list goes on and on. Everything in this world has the sophistication of averages applied and we see finding the sweet spot of balance reigning paramount.

When Average Is Not Best

Now don't get me wrong. Not everything is black and white and there are many places in life where finding a balance can be quite beneficial. But there are most certainly some places where we don't want balance and where the middle is never the correct answer.

We don't want an average amount of cancer, or even a little cancer. We want no cancer. It is quite obvious that cancer is only bad. There is no good in cancer. So we don't go around saying that maybe a little bit of cancer could be a good thing. We understand that any trace of cancer is bad and so we plan accordingly.

We don't want a little bit of rape. We understand that rape is never a good thing. We don't go around saying that a little bit of rape is normal and something that is desirable. We don't try to find a happy medium and strike an average on the correct amount of rape we should have for a population. Instead we say any rape is bad. We recognize rape as always bad.

We don't want a little bit of murder. We want no murder. We are never happy about people being murdered and we recognize this as being a terrible, terrible thing. It really doesn't get much worse than murder. We don't need to find the balance and happy medium when it comes to murder. We instead want to avoid murder altogether. We instead want to remove any traces of murder we have.

So it's clear that not everything in life should have a balance. Some things, maybe many things, need balance and can find a happy average. But most certainly not everything.

Where do you draw the line?

So the question then becomes, where do you draw the line? How do you divide what you can never have any of and what you can always have some of? What is the right criteria for deciding when it's okay to have a little bit of something and when it never is okay? It's a tough question, which is why we are so mixed up on so many things. There isn't an easy answer. But I do think smarter people are able to find the answer easier. I think it comes down to preference, but I also think smarter people lean towards certain preferences.

Almost all people can agree that rape is bad, except rapists I suppose. All people pretty much agree murder is bad. Nobody is going out of their way to get cancer. Most people support life and do not support the initiation of violence. So these are a bit more clean cut. They are clean cut because they don't involve much understanding of what they are. Rape is easy to define. Murder is easy to define. Cancer is fairly easy to define. We know what all these things are and our understanding of them is crystal clear. Consequently, our preference for quantity of them is also quite clear.

So things that we understand as being bad we generally don't want to take a stance in the middle. We are okay with 0% of things that we disagree with or things that we find harmful. If we are smart enough to see how something is harmful we will not want any of it, but if we don't see or understand how something is harmful we may go along with it to the detriment of ourself and others.

Government

Now what about politics? Is it better to be on the left or is it better to be on the right? Or are these just two ways of saying the same thing? It depends how we define government. If we define government as an essential part of life then picking a side may have some value to us. But if we define government as a monopoly on violence then maybe picking a side doesn't make much of a difference.

What tends to happen is we define the label of something and not the principles under the label itself. If we define government as the initiation of violence then it doesn't matter if we initiate violence with our left hand or with our right hand. Initiating violence is still wrong.

If we look deeper at government and see that all the funds it has either come through taxation or inflation then we can better understand that government doesn't actually produce anything. All government can do is take funds from people who do produce. And in order to produce funds the government must tax these people. And if people refuse to pay taxes then the government will eventually come and violently put these people who refuse to pay taxes in jail. You can't opt-out of government. They have the final say. And from this perspective government is a monopoly on violence.

If we define inflation as an increase in the money supply that makes everyone poorer as a whole then it doesn't matter whether we make people poor faster or slower. Well it does, but we don't want the average of this. We don't want to find the right inflation rate that makes people poorer at just the right speed. We want no inflation because we don't want to lose our purchasing power to inflation. But to even understand this requires understanding the principle behind the label of inflation. We have to understand what inflation actually is and determine if inflation itself is good or bad.

We vote in government because we think doing things democratically is the best way to do government. We think that giving everyone an equal say in how to determine things is right. If democratic voting really was best we would see it more in business, but we don't. It's actually the opposite, most businesses are hierarchical with people having more say relative to the value they offer. So why are businesses not using democracy while government is? Which does more good for society? Do we get more from business or from government? Remember that government doesn't produce anything and is entirely funded from us who make our money from businesses. If unequal voting works for business why do we not do it in government?

Once we decide whether something is good or bad we can more easily determine how much of it we can have. And if we don't know that something is bad me may incorrectly choose more of it thinking that it is actually good. We may even be fooled by taking small doses which don't take effect as strongly or quickly as taking a larger dose. And perhaps the people who are smarter than us know this.

Again, let's take it back to something simple. Once we've determined that rape is bad, it is easy to determine how much rape we want. We want no rape. We don't want a small amount of rape. We don't want rape to happen sometimes. We don't want rape. Rape isn't favorable in any dosage.

If regulation is a loss of freedom then does it matter to what degree? Do we want a large loss in freedom or a small loss? Or would we opt for the 3rd option of no loss in freedom and no regulation? Well, that would depend entirely on how you define regulation. That would require looking past the brand that we are sold and instead into its true nature. That would also depend on whether you prefer freedom or security. Would you rather have maximum choices and determine your own level of security or would you rather have limited choices and somebody else choosing your level of security?

Personal Thresholds

I think these are thresholds each person will need to discover for themselves. But I don't think it is safe to assume that taking the middle road is always the wise decision. I don't think taking the average is always best. In fact, I think taking the average is often times a decision that comes from somebody who doesn't have understanding in a particular topic. When you don't know what you want it is much easier to go with the average.

But when you know what you want you are going to want it in the most complete form you can find it.

You aren't going to want some of what you want, you're going to want all of what you want. And the same goes for what you don't want. You really need to look beyond the label and into what is actually going on.

I think most people will agree that you should find balance in working. If you work too much you may be hurting your health or your family. If you work too little you may go broke. So work may be something where finding a balance may be beneficial. But just because some things make sense to strike a balance doesn't mean all things do. You have to look into it and think about it. And the more wise people are the more they are more easily able to discern thresholds for particular things.

Most motivational material teaches us to be above average, but when it comes to decisions we somehow think average is best. We read about reaching for the stars, never giving up, working harder when the odds are stacked against us, but when push comes to shove we throw all that out the window and collapse back to our average mentality. We collapse back to the fold of going along to get along.

In a race we don't award the middle place, we award first place. By awarding first place we are recognizing excellence and encouraging the best. When we do not take the average and instead take the best we are making a discernment that not everything is the same and that we are better off keeping what is good and discarding what is bad. But if we live in a world of no real understanding of what the true nature of things even are how do we expect to know how much of it we want?

If we call poison medicine and if we call medicine poison then how do we expect to accurately know the correct dosage to take? We don't know the correct amount and instead we just mix it all together into a dangerous concoction of the average.

 Filed under: Personal Development, No Room For Nuance, Democratic Majority, The Wisdom of The Majority, Leadership of the Average, First Place For All!, Rule By Ignorance

About The Author

Quinton Figueroa

Quinton Figueroa

Facebook @slayerment YouTube

El Paso, Texas

I am an entrepreneur at heart. Throughout my whole life I have enjoyed building real businesses by solving real problems. Business is life itself. My goal with businesses is to help move the human ...

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2 Comments

Anonymous: Democracy is none other than

Democracy is none other than mob rule.

Laisse: Love this article. Love it

Love this article. Love it for it's insight, love it for its closeness to truth. Thank you. It's especially hard to see most people push for well- no, everyone's the same,everyone's equal, we shouldn't say other people are better than others because that's bad- when it honestly seems to me as if it's more destructive to push that unrealistic notion to everyone else. It doesn't help a person improve at all, just reinforces them to stay that way.
My two cents anywho.
But really, really love this article (and your other articles :)

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