Saturday, 3 November 2012


I don’t know if it’s me, but sometimes I divide people into two classes – analysts and realists.

Analysts have to analyse everything, particularly issues remote from daily life such as political questions.

Realists don’t bother. They get on with life, enjoy what they are able to enjoy and make the best of the rest.

Most people seem to be realists, while most bloggers and blog commenters seem to be analysts. My question is this. If you had a button which once pressed would turn you from an analyst into a realist, would you press that button?

I ask the question, because it sometimes seems to me that the realists get more out of life than the analysts. They brush aside or ignore those issues they can’t influence, the very same issues that analysts spend so much time analysing. At the very least, realists may be making better use of their time - although that's just me analysing realists.

So wouldn’t life be better for we analysts if we pressed that button? Would we at least save ourselves some mental effort and worry if we were not so concerned about the implications of every little social or political nuance? Do these things actually matter if we can’t do anything about them?

It’s the other side of the optimism coin I posted on earlier, but not entirely. This is about what is best for me – not the wider community. Or in your case, what is best for you, because you must be an analyst too or you wouldn’t have read thus far.

So would you press the button? Or maybe we should analyse the implications first? Maybe a list of pros and cons.....


Anonymous said...

Allegedly there are three kinds of people, those who make things happen, those who watch things happening and those who never noticed anything happened at all.

I doubt you can shift easily from one kind to another.

Angus Dei said...

Is there a fourth type-don't give a shittest?

If so that's me:)

A K Haart said...

Roger - no I don't suppose you can. That button is not a real possibility.

Angus - I think many watchers don't give a shit. Some do, but many don't.

Demetrius said...

Is optimism a contradiction?

Sam Vega said...

I think the distinction into realists and analysts can only be sustained if we believe that analysis is in some sense less "real" than other activities. But for me, it is every bit as real, and the enjoyment that it gives rise to is equally real. As you say, realists enjoy what they are able to enjoy. They are unable to enjoy analysis, that's all.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - it may be if you are a real analyst.

Sam - but is analysis always enjoyable? Deep analysis which pulls no punches attracts little social approval and we need that too.

Nigel Sedgwick said...

AKH supposes two classes – analysts and realists. I have a different break, from my experience of the blogosphere: analysts and analysers/synthesisers.

It is fair enough to view most if not all on the blogosphere as analysers. They see problems in society (and elsewhere); their work (analysis) is sufficiently diligent that we can agree there is a problem. But the problem is only partial.

The synthesisers go further: they want more than just a problem, they want to fix problems which have a viable solution that is different to the status quo.

The trouble is that, with much human endeavour, the status quo is pretty much the best solution that there is. That is because human endeavour works hard to find the best solution overall.

Only where circumstances have changed, and changed faster than the adaptation of society, do we find unsolved problems: current analysis has gone further than the current synthesis (of solutions).

And the reason that analysis shows problems where we already have the best (or a very good: better than most) is that of deficient analysis. This is because most of the problems in society (where there is complaint or other disquiet) are those that require a trade-off between the bad (even evil) of two extremes. Somewhere between those two extremes lies the best solution: the least average harm to the average member of society (or something very like that).

The problem with AKH's 'realists' (who are quite sensible in not wanting change from the status quo) is that they do not help their allies (the analysers/synthesisers) in stopping change that actually makes things worse.

As for those who sell us a political future based just on 'change', well: they want to waste our money, our time and our enthusiasm for life.

Best regards

Anonymous said...

How odd! Three days ago Corky made much the same point:

A K Haart said...

Nigel - I like that - neatly put if I may say so.

David - I'm sure I've come across Corky before somewhere. I don't agree with him though. For example :-

"But the thinkers can't bear the thought..."

I think many of us can bear the thought perfectly well - we are used to it!

James Higham said...

Some people might say there are two types:

1. The blind leading the blind;
2. Those who give something a bit of thought first and then choose the best option.

A K Haart said...

James - that's three (: