Wednesday, August 03, 2005

165. 9/11 redefines manhood

So much has been written about 9/11 that I can hardly add anything new. But perhaps there is one aspect that deserves further elaboration: what is the net effect of the 9/11 attack on the Western male psyche?

Of course, I can't speak for other men, but personally, I feel that 9/11 redefines manhood.

What does it mean, after 9/11, to be a "man"? Obviously, most men want to do something to stop these atrocities (which have continued with the bombing in Madrid and, more recently, in London).

But what can civilians like us do to help the effort to achieve peace? We can't really go to war, we're not trained for that.

Personally, if you give me a Kalashnikov (the Russian rifle that Osama bin Laden is often seen holding) or any kind of firearm, there will be a high likelihood that I will shoot myself in the foot by accident!

But then, I thought about something. All the people (all 3.2 million of them) who are using LinkedIn, are actually doing something. They are doing the exact OPPOSITE of what terrorists are doing:
  • They show themselves and what they stand for; they do not operate in the dark, under the cowardly veil of secrecy
  • They invite friends and contacts to join their network and benefit from their social connections
  • They state what they've been up to in the last few years, and show the work that they actually did to create value
  • Most importantly, they write the truth about themselves

From all the above, we can see clearly that LinkedIn users, whether consciously or not, are basically telling the world that our capitalist system works. That the right way to live is to be honest and sincere, and to ask for help according to one's needs while providing help to others according to one's abilities.

Sure, some readers might say, "Well, Peter, you might be reading too much into what LinkedIn users are doing... Aren't they just doing it for their own sake, out of self-interest?"

I would agree with that, but I would also say that LinkedIn somehow encourages -- actually incentivizes -- honesty and good behavior.

If you weren't honest with people, you wouldn't have many connections. And if you weren't behaving properly and doing good work, you wouldn't have endorsements.

So basically, I'm saying that the more people who use LinkedIn, the more ordinary people like us can promote democracy and, hopefully, show to those who tend to resort to violent means that there IS a way to work together to achieve our goals.

That violence -- and certainly terrorism -- is not the answer. That collaboration and honesty are the answers to create a more peaceful world.