Publish Info On The Fashion Book New And Expanded Edition Recognising the Sokal Syndrome

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Recognising the Sokal Syndrome

1996 Spring/Summer Issue of Social Writinga fashionable American cultural studies journal, published an article titled, “Crossing Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” declared the most irrational propositions and introduced the so-called post-modernist conclusions, that everything is relative (from ethics to physics) and that science – like everything else – is a social construct.

The entire article was written by assembling absurd arguments using vague or incorrect terminology and drawing conclusions from completely absurd lines of thought. But it was published happily. When it happened, a shocked Sokalek went public and declared him a liar. He showed – by what he called “improper and uncontrolled examination“— that one can get away with almost anything in these times of cultural fashion and questionable judgment.

First pages of The New York Times, The International Herald TribuneEngland Watcher and French Le Monde, carrying all the hoax news. But what began as a provocation soon turned into a debate on the broader issue of using sophisticated language borrowed from contemporary physics and mathematics and applying it to the social sciences – a typical ‘post-modernist’ debate. (See High Superstition. The academic left and its conflicts with science by Paul R Gross and Norman Levitt, The John Hopkins University Press, 1994)

What next? A book, first in French and then in English. Intellectual Impostures (Profile Books, 198) was written by Sokal with the help of Jean Bricmont, another physics professor, this time from Europe (Louvain, Belgium). The book is a devastating critique of ‘la crème de la crème’ mainly, but not exclusively, French intellectuals and their use of scientific terms they do not understand to describe psychological/social/linguistic/political issues.

After training in psychology, I particularly enjoyed the chapter on French psychologist Jacques Lacan, who used mathematical terminology to discuss psychological and linguistic issues. As a student, I never understood a single word of what Lacan wrote. For a long time I thought I had a second-class brain that could not grasp intellectual constructs like Lacan’s. Sokal and Bricmont saved me.

Writers quickly became heroes. The articles collected in one site, both for and against them, increased. But enough about Sokal and French intellectuals. Marketing has a ‘Sokal syndrome’, characterized by jargon and often meaningless terminology. The advantage is that the guru-jargon is less pretentious and one can find it more easily, without having to spend too much time debating whether or not the problem is genetically limited in one’s brain. I would like to suggest that one of the main roles of modern business leaders should be to discover ‘intellectual nakedness’. And there are many things around us.

Of course wordplay and wordplay aren’t the only preserves of business jargon. It seems that homeowners are more natural in politics. In the last British general election, for example, the statement of intent was as follows:The power of all for the good of all, ours is love combined with reason.” One could even get the order wrong in reading or listening and still get a ‘message’. But was it “the passion of each, allied to reason, for the good of all”, or “the love of all for the good of all” The speaker, Tony Blair, became British Prime Minister a few weeks later.

The power of rhetoric

In business life exposure to intellectual nakedness is necessary if one wants to have some understanding of the future enterprise. “Gurus don’t have clothes“Sometimes there is an obligation to cry out, but people are still reluctant to cry out, maybe they fear that, like Lacan and I, they have lost something. There are not many good management ideas of substance in the forest of management rhetoric. A new look and a crusader for English (or French, or Spanish) business conversations.

It would be wrong to equate rhetoric with garbage. We should not dismiss the power of rhetoric. On the contrary, as human history proves, from politics to domestic psychology, words matter. Business leadership must be taught in such a way that new generations learn to distinguish between signal and noise. At this time, the sound is of a dirty size. The power of rhetoric and its use in business history is the main theme of an old book that I have read several times and thoroughly recommend. It is said Beyond the hype. Reinventing the essence of management by Robert G Eccles and Nitin Nohria (Harvard Business School Press, 1992).

You may not have noticed, but perfectly reasonable people who behave normally on the weekend, for example talking to other people at the supermarket checkout, become strangers when they arrive at the office on Monday morning. Strange terminology takes over and talk of ‘bottom lines’, ‘net-net’ and ‘close to the customer’ begins.

A few months ago, at a company meeting, I noticed every time someone said ‘we, as a team’. I had to stop because I was getting bored quickly. Imagine you’re chatting with your neighbors over a beer in the evening and use the grandiose ‘we’re going to buy new curtains as a family’. The next thing I mentioned in that meeting was ‘at this time’. I’m sure you have many too.

If you’re interviewing someone who says they want to come on board because they ‘want to contribute to your customer-driven strategy and make a difference to your bottom line with a clear vision and increased shareholder value’, call 999. psychiatrist on call. Earlier, fewer people were detained than this.

Do not tolerate pollution

Do not tolerate pollution. You may be one of those people who are sensitive to fresh air and hate being in a traffic jam, for example, inhaling fumes. It is bad for your body, so avoid it. You are not only exposing yourself and your children to polluted air. Nixte. What you don’t realize is that this has nothing to do with jargon pollution affecting your brain. Avoid mental pollution as you do the rest. Employ people who have a reasonable command of their mother tongue and show no signs of foreign contamination. You have to protect your mental health against ‘word permutators’. Remember, infectious diseases are no joke. They have individual and social consequences. Have a point where there is enough vaccine to vaccinate your entire ward. For example, prohibit the use of words such as ’empowerment’ unless the person immediately explains what they mean. ‘Our teams are empowered’ is a dangerous statement unless it is explained because it leads to a false sense of normalcy, a sense of stability and the illusion of an accepted, model organisation. In fact, it may be nothing or, at least, different things depending on who says it.

Create your list. At your next chapter meeting, have a formal schedule and spend a few minutes deciding which terms to ban. You will be surprised how quickly the offers come. Give people some perspective of mental freedom and they will come in. I implemented this once by banning the phrase ‘it depends’ in the context of ‘you do this or that’. and I can assure you that we had a completely different meeting.

Don’t hire airport-business-school graduates. They read the Five Laws of Empowerment and the Ten Habits of the Successful Executive on the way to Chicago and think they deserve an MBA just for that. People who can judge and talk to you in the same language they talk to their partner in the evening (that is, when managers become normal people again). I had managers come to me for a 20-minute meeting and started with these words:Well, the three things I want to get out of this meeting today are…“All that, just as a start and almost without a ‘good morning’. I said to one of them,”please relax, it’s ok. No need to show me a categorical, numerical, ordinal world of 1,2,3. When you go home, you actually say, “Honey, the three things I want to accomplish tonight are…”?” The man smiled and we had a normal conversation.

At the same time, we are building a society that is heading towards the ‘end of justice’. In this community model, arguments must be summarized in three points and judgments based on a ‘give-me-to-the-net’ statement. Of course, it is the bit society that creates the current education system in most western countries.

Business dynamics and their theoretical/applied pillars (organizational architecture and development, human resources, strategy-systems-structuring, operational practices, etc.) require strong cultivation of judgment and plain English. If that’s what it takes to shout ‘le roi est nu’ (a shorter French version of ‘the emperor has no clothes’) so be it. Maybe someone on the payroll needs to stand up and say: “My dear guru, who influences our current rhetoric and business practices, you have the intellectual power of a cream cake. Thanks for your contributions. I will exercise what is left of my brain“It may just be one of those revolutionary moves that can make a difference.

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