Déformation professionnelle

Professional deformation or job conditioning is a tendency to look at things from the point of view of one’s own profession or special expertise, rather than from a broader or humane perspective. It is often translated as “professional deformation”, though French deformation can also be translated as “distortion”. The implication is that professional training, and its related socialization, often result in a distortion of the way one views the world.

Useful to Neighbors

Charles Wagner, “The Healing Power of Beneficence,” Courage, (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1903), pp. 227-228:

I do not believe that youth should be crushed by the sight of sin and misery, nor that its horizon should be darkened by a too precocious revelation of the sorrows of the world. But it is equally bad to hide everything from youth. It is one thing to be overwhelmed daily with heart-rending recitals and startled by distressing scenes, and quite another to learn that there are beings who suffer, and to be initiated gently into the trials of life. A young man who has arrived at the end of his adolescence, and who has been guarded from all knowledge of suffering and death, is like a victim who has been purposely disarmed in order to be handed over to his executioners with more security. He is ignorant of one of the primordial laws of life, the law of sorrow. This is a serious lack as far as he himself is concerned, and renders him less useful to his neighbors. How can one who is ignorant of grief feel compassion for it and relieve it?

Who Will Shape the Future?

René Dubos, “The Unbelievable Future,” So Human an Animal: How We are Shaped by Surroundings and Events, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1968), pp. 21-22:

Frequently in the past the son rejected what the father had taken for granted, and civilization thus took a step forward. Beatniks, hipsters, teddy boys, provos, hooligans, blousons noirs, and the countless types of rebellious youths are probably as ignorant, foolish, and irresponsible as conventional people believe them to be. But conventionality rarely has the knack of guessing who will shape the future. The substantial citizens of Imperial Rome and the orthodox Jews of the synagogue looked down on the small tradesmen, fishermen, beggars, and the prostitutes who followed Jesus as he preached contempt for the existing order of things. Yet Imperial Rome and the Temple collapsed, while Jesus’ followers changed the course of history.

Polarized View of Human Nature

William Lutz (Editor), “Mr. Orwell, Mr.Schlesinger, and the Language,“ Beyond Nineteen Eighty-Four: Doublespeak in a Post-Orwellian Age, (Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1989), p.22:

This polarized view of human nature, that there are Good people (Our side) and bad people (Out There), often leads to catastrophe. Persecutions, crusades and wars have been carried out in the past as ‘good’ people, with the best of intentions, sought to punish or eradicate the “bad.’

A more realistic attitude toward human nature is that every individual has the potential and capacity for good and evil and that all people are complicated mixture of these qualities.

Genius Is Order Personified

Herman Bernstein, “Auguste Rodin,“ With Master Minds, (New York: Universal Series Publishing Co., 1913), p.128:

Artist do not love their work if they do not understand it. All that is done in haste and in a state of excessive exaltation should be destroyed. Lombroso and others who imagine that genius borders on insanity are absolutely wrong. Genius is order personified, the concentration of abilities and level-mindedness of the masses. My work has often been styled the product of inspiration and exalted enthusiasm. I am just the opposite of an enthusiast. My temperament is even. I am not a dreamer. I am rather a mathematician.

Conscious Volition

Yoritomo-Tashi, “What is it?” Common Sense, (New York: Funk & Wagnalis Company, 1915), p.21:

To reason about a thing is to dissect it, to examine it from every point to view before adopting it, before deferring to it, or before rejecting it; in one word, to reason about a thing is to act with conscious volition, which is one of the phases essential to the conquest of common sense.

We Don’t Know What We Do Know Either!

William Lutz (Editor), “What Do We Know,“ Beyond Nineteen Eighty-Four: Doublespeak in a Post-Orwellian Age, (Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1989), p.44:

You see the problem. We are nominally in the midst of an information-rich environment in which the counterfeit overwhelms the authentic. Most of us have access only to the counterfeit. So, what do we know? Just as the man quoted at the outset said, “We don’t really know what we don’t know.” But that isn’t all. We don’t know what we do know either! And there isn’t much that we can do about it — really.

We are all whether we like it or not, ready to make our most crucial life decisions and choices on the basis of the misinformation, disinformation, semi-information, and anti-information that we find most comfortable