The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Necessity – A Case for Plurality

Necessity and plurality are the critical elements inside Ockham’s Razor, and not this business of the simplicity of any particular explanation. How does agency block the introduction of a necessary alternative, and how does the ethical skeptic go about establishing a case for such necessity in response? These are the critical questions which face groundbreaking science today.

Ockham’s Razor is the mandate that, inside reductionist science: plurality should not be posited without necessity.1 In straightforward terms this means that, in order to conserve parsimony, one should not propose study of a new explanatory alternative, nor add features to an existing alternative or the null, without a well established case of necessity to do so. Both of these flavors of additions in conjecture if you will, constitute conditions of what is called ‘plurality’. Plurality means in this context, ‘more than one’ or ‘more than currently exist’. Ockham’s Razor therefore is asking the researcher, ‘When is it indeed necessary to add another explanation, or to add features which should be tested in order to improve an existing explanation?’

This principle of course has nothing to do with simplicity and everything to do with epistemological risk. A state of being apparently ‘simple’ can be just as risky in epistemology as can a state of being ‘complicated’. Ockham’s Razor therefore, leverages its application upon this fulcrum – this threshold of a Wittgenstein logical object called necessity.  Of course, implicit in this apothegm is the principle that, once a solid case for necessity has been established, then both the consideration of a new explanatory alternative, or added features to an existing alternative, become justified inside any pathway of research. The purpose of this blog article is to address that threshold, that fulcrum upon which Ockham’s Razor leverages its wisdom – the Necessity of Plurality. When and how do we achieve such a feat, and what are the symptoms of a condition wherein forces of fake skeptical agency are at work feverishly to prevent such a critical path step of science from ever occurring in the first place? Possessing the skill to discern a condition of plurality is critical to any claim to represent the philosophy of science, skepticism.

Its Abrogation: The Circular Simplicity Sell

God exists. This is the critical thesis of Question 2 inside Saint Thomas Aquinas’ The Summa Theologica.2 That such a critical path assumption is ‘simple’, is the critical thesis of Question 3 inside that same foundational work of Christian apologetica.3 Finally, Saint Thomas Aquinas begins that work with the provision that such a simple presumption is ‘necessary’.4 The theological argument outlined in The Summa Theologica flows along the following critical path of logic:

Question 1:  God is necessary as an explanatory basis for all that we see

Question 2:  God is self evident

Question 3:  God as a principle in and of itself, is simple (return to Question 1)

The sequence of actual logic employed in Aquinas’ argument here starts with Question 3, flowing into Question 1 and finally to Question 2. However, he purposely places these out of order in an effort to conceal from his reader the circular nature of the contention, along with the subsequent basis from which he drew necessity. The actual flow of Aquinas’ argument proceeds thusly:

And thus Aquinas’ argument circularly complies with ‘Occam’s Razor’, in that since God is by manifest evidence (this is not the same thing as ‘probative observation’), a simple principle, therefore now it is also a necessary one. You draw attention to and speak of yourself. Everyone knows that drawing attention to or speaking of one’s self is the practice of a narcissist, therefore it is a simple explanatory option, and now the necessary null, that you be regarded as a narcissist. Furthermore, since that accusation is assumed now ‘necessary’ it can be shown to be self evident, through this new attention towards your every action, along with the resulting linear confirmation bias (see below) – that you will ultimately be confirmed as a narcissist.5 Under this same logic, there does not exist one thing now that I will encounter in my life, which cannot be framed or re-explained inside the conforming context of my desired conclusion (see Qualifying Theory and Pseudo-Theory). This is how the circular simplicity sell works.

Now, set aside of course the premature contentions made inside Questions 2 and 3, that ‘God is self evident’ and ‘God is simple’, and focus instead on the first trick of this pseudo-philosophy. The sleight-of-hand proffered in this form of casuistry, is embodied in a violation of Ockham’s Razor called an invalid ‘necessity of plurality’. Saint Aquinas begins his work in Question 1 by assuming necessity. A nice trick, and one I would love to pull off inside a laboratory setting. Things would always go my way; conclusions would always turn out as planned – as long as I can dictate the necessity of the questions I want asked.

As a note, the ignostic atheist does not object to the idea of God as does the nihilist Atheist. They simply object to logically invalid or manipulative pathways of arriving at such knowledge as a predefined destination. If one is to discover God, the above pathway is not the way of going about such a task. Logic’ing your way into a proof or disproof of God is foolishness; the self-aggrandizing fantasy of the theist and Atheist.

Moreover, as long as you afford me exemption from having to establish a case for necessity, I can invalidly swing the direction of research towards any particular conclusion I desire. Both the religious and the nihilist use this technique in order to squelch thinking they find offensive. Both cults have learned how to employ this technique of linear induction, along with its interpretive confirmations (see below), to control the direction of science. Hence existence of the obtuse form of parsimony, ‘Occam’s Razor’.

Allow me the privilege of establishing the necessity of the questions asked, and I can prove absolutely anything that I want.

This is much akin to the philosophical apothegm ‘Grant me one miracle and I can explain all the rest’. It behooves the ethical skeptic to understand the role of necessity in the development of an alternative – and in particular, understand when an agency has bypassed the burden of necessity (as has been done by Aquinas above), or even more importantly when a case for necessity has indeed been established – and is being artificially blocked by fake skeptics.

It is not proof which they are in reality demanding, contrary to what fake skeptics contend
(in science there is really no such thing as proof), rather it is plurality of explanation which they fear most.

As it pertains to fake skepticism, it is this case for necessity of plurality which must be blocked at all costs.
They cannot afford to have more than one explanation (their simple one) be researched by science.

A Case for Necessity

It is a set of observations, and nothing else, which ultimately serves to establish a case for necessity. This is why the scientific method must begin with observation and not by means of the ‘asking of a question’. When one asks a question – one assumes necessity; much akin to the trick played by Saint Aquinas above. For example ‘Are you beating your dog?’ is not a scientific question, because it exposes itself to the ad hoc nature of arrivals of confirming evidence (conforming confirmations), and does not rely upon the epistemological principle of a model’s predictive or probative power. This contrast between confirmatory versus predictive model development – in essence the contrast between Occam’s Razor and Ockham’s Razor, is exhibited below.

Predictions are derived in advance from inductive modeling, and are placed at risk. Confirmations are ad hoc in nature, and further then are reinterpreted to fit according to an anchoring bias. Necessity (N) therefore, is something one establishes – and can never be something that a researcher assumes.

So, given the abject reality of confirmation basis which inhabits The Confirmative Model ‘Occam’s Razor’ above, when indeed does a body of observation, therefore lead to a case for necessity? There are five conditions wherein a case for scientific plurality can be established through observational necessity. It is important to remember however, that in none of these cases is any particular answer proved (in other words, plurality exists or persists). Nor is any claim being made that science has been completed – as a case for necessity constitutes the beginning of the scientific method and not its completion.

   The Five Cases for Necessity

I.  When a consilience of observation has implied/predicted that the null may indeed possibly be false.

Example:  The idea that our current 53 event vaccine schedule is ‘safe’, has been brought into question through a myriad of observations by parents and administering medical professionals. This does not mean that vaccines do not work – but rather straightforwardly, that the unchallenged null hypothesis, that vaccines do not also bear unintended and long term health consequences, has been brought into legitimate scientific question.

II.  When one or more null-falsifying/probative observations have been recorded.

Example:  Observing the presence of something assumed to be absent. Finding one incident of permanent cerebral injury (encephalitis) immediately after receipt of a vaccine. Such an observation serves to introduce necessity of plurality.

III.  When risk incumbent with the null is greater than any particular alternative’s risk in epistemology.

Example:  Deploying a pesticide under a presumption of safety, backed up by a couple confirmatory studies conducted by the company which stands to profit from the deployment of that pesticide. Despite immaturity of the study suggesting a lack of safety, such plurality must be assumed under a principle of precaution.

IV.  When the null hypothesis, in order to avoid being falsified, has become more complicated than any of its alternatives.

Example:  Monarch butterflies are being impacted indirectly by man made global warming and not by the direct impact of glyphosate on their annual migratory breeding grounds.

V.  When the credibility or unbiased nature of the science which served to establish the null, has come into question.

Example:  When Monsanto internal communications shifted from a theme of promoting scientific studies, to an oppressive policy of ‘no challenge left unanswered’ – countering and squelching opposing viewpoints in the media at all costs.

This therefore serves to introduce the condition wherein agency attempts to manipulate necessity so as to control the reigns of science.

   The Four Abuses of Necessity on the Part of Fake Skeptics

Blocking Necessity – the principal tactic of fake skepticism. By asking for ‘proof’, the fake skeptic is in essence attempting to block access to the subject by science. This is a Catch 22 Proof Gaming or non rectum agitur fallacy.

Equating Simplicity with a Lack of Necessity – another key tactic of fake skeptics. An appeal to ignorance is an example of this tactic. Because we see no evidence for something, the simplest explanation is that it does not exist.

Equating Simplicity with Necessity – a tactic of fake skepticism. The existential Occam’s Razor fallacy appeal to authority is an example of this. Because an explanation is simple, therefore it is the truth. No further science is warranted.

Assuming Necessity – a final tactic of fake skepticism. The Confirmative Model (above) is an example of this. Because an idea tickles me emotionally, therefore it is granted immediate necessity – not having to justify itself nor satisfy the rigor of probativeness, consilience nor predictiveness.

All of these conditions are conditions of corruption of the scientific method, for which the ethical skeptic must be ever vigilant.

     How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “Necessity – A Case for Plurality”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 19 May 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9KR

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , | Leave a comment

A Poem of Learning

 

In abrupt habit does fear congeal, as if winter’s precocious first frost
Whose facile merit may serve but to daunt and plague
Those drawn in quarters through muddy slough of the preliminary
Failing in abundance, taught doubt and blinded in ironic belied ardour.

Mute were it to be spoken and blind were it to be seen
Lessons mandate one know hither and believe not to be
Allons! Stand and examine – the field is not flat, the end line not set
Such contest is mastered in proving rules and not merely their let.

A word in wise offer seldom is match to one inward derived
For were I to excel in Plato, yet it remains, would he excel in me?
Myriad may arrive at the doorstep of song, swaying in their lament
Yet not one harmony have they issued of a familiar sought quaver.

Soft grasses caress bare feet, while supple lips send heroes seaward
Yet still does measure of the world scatter madly at its bound
The formulaic grows insoluble as the question increases in import
The maid quivers most for that man she can have not.

For our purpose hardens her brick and our love gives bind to her mortar
Not one celestial dancer dares even spiral save for its admiring onlooker,
She is adorned in elegant sequined starlight dress, woven of persistent fabric
Visible not for her bars, heard not for her warden’s call; Calypso is she.

While guards of our expectation adorn many an evanescent mask
They encircle us and presume we know not their game
Curiously their feet stumble, their hands fail in the grasping
For the envious inveigle whom they despise and the needful pursue gain.

Pull back its veil of mischief, her debility reclines within as a virgin lover
Cajole me no more, and wail amuck at the striking of your blush veneer
My heart and its loves are your privation no longer, not of pride but promise –
Its steelblade flash reflecting amidst the clinkshales where shackles lay shattered.

  

 

     How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “A Poem of Learning”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 22 Apr 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9Fh

April 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , | 2 Comments

The Roger Principle

Never place a tactician in charge of a strategic challenge. Their hammer sees every new problem as constituting another nail. Such exhibits the distinction between expert and strategic skill sets. Both are critical when it comes to solving multifaceted, novel and asymmetric challenges; however, it is the tyranny of the simple-minded, the disdainful miasma of the expert proceduralist, which renders the organizational/societal dynamic sometimes more daunting to solve than the challenge the organization was tasked to address in the first place.

During my decades of business advisement and observing personalities inhabiting my client organizations, there began to manifest to my observation, two consistent phenotypes of general professional personality inside a competitive workplace. At the extreme risk of oversimplification, and while acknowledging that many people bear traits in common with both species, we can frame these individuals along the profiles developed by Laurence J Peter in his book The Peter Principle,1 and American Psychologist Carl Rogers through his (psychology) theory of personal phenomenology.2 For simplicity’s sake, I call the first organizational personality, ‘Peter’, and the second organizational personality, ‘Roger’ – both in honor of their primary thought leading experts in business management and psychology. What the two researchers have outlined collectively is the essence of contrast between the organization procedural expert (Peter) and the multi-skilled adaptable leader (Roger) inside organizational development, function and more importantly, dysfunction.

The Peter Principle

Have you ever taken notice inside your graduating high school class, of the difference in success between people who made straight A’s say, in 5th Grade and those who flourished academically in high school and beyond. One may note that often, those who succeed early in a developmental process do not end up being those same individuals who succeed later in that developmental process. In similar fashion, many of those who thrive and excel at administrative tasks, fall prey to being overwhelmed or fail when faced with asymmetric or novel complex organizational challenges; ones say which might befit a higher leadership role. Such is the nature of what organizational behaviorist Laurence Peter outlined in his work called The Peter Principle. Individuals exhibit tactical competence, and then are promoted or rise through the ranks of a social structure, until such time as they encounter a level which outstrips their ability to perform well. This is shown on the left hand side of the chart above. Now set aside that this constitutes a rather simplistic view of organizational or societal development; and rather, embrace its principle in regard to understanding why such more tactically-minded persons tend to get upset when others who they perceive to be less skilled, are promoted or excel in their place. How can I, Salesperson of the Year for the Southwest US, not excel at being Vice President of North American Markets? How could such an event transpire? And how could a lowly Sales Engineer for the Northeast, who required an escorting sales professional on every contract he ever landed, then thrive so well as that Vice President? This is a dissonance I cannot fathom, much less bear!

Peters tend to outstrip their ability to perform at some point in a social or organizational succession;
whereas Rogers tend to thrive more effectively as they are exposed to increasing challenge.
There is a natural enmity between these two species.

What the Southwest Salesman of the Year fails to understand, is that the skills which might enable one to excel at cold calling and reading field customers, might not also translate so well into reading the tea leaves of market inflections, or promotion of a change in the offering of inventory or product being sold to a whole new customer base. The temptation is for the Southwest Salesperson of the Year to get angry with the Northeast Sales Engineer who took their coveted position – and begin to point out how they don’t follow the rules or don’t know how to fill out the sales credit authorization correctly, nor can they keep a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software log accurately. Peter, the regional sales lead, will naturally bear a subception based jealousy and dislike towards Roger, the new Vice President, which understandably is not given in return. Peter may begin to manufacture sins in his or her head, which justify their indignation over the Roger who serves to introduce or symbolizes threatening stimulus. Roger, the ‘ugly duckling’ in such a circumstance, may be flabbergasted by the sudden appearance of vitriol and criticism, coming from people whom he or she regarded to be their allies and business partners, many of whom were at one time their friends – long before the promotion was ever even let. It becomes important for the senior executive or CEO, to spot their Peters and Rogers, and manage them effectively through organizational structure and reward – before Peter creates a problem and disintegrates the organization morale or its function.

Subception

/psychology : self deception : subconscious perception/ : a perceptual defense that involves unconsciously applying strategies to prevent a troubling stimulus from entering consciousness. The method of deceiving one’s self and others in the process of cynicism, jealousy or denial. A process of expressing unrealized subconscious vitriol, in which one habitually creates artificial ‘violations’ (usually forms of administrative or social protocol which their target ‘does wrong’) which their target of jealously or hate keeps committing – in order for the subception holder to internally justify their ill feelings toward their target.

Immature Peters will often resort to the crafting of negative clique-like social clubs in reaction to the presence of a Roger whom they have elected to target. If they cannot win by professional standards, they can always revert back to high-school style politics – especially inside an organizational structure with weak leadership. In this same way, the perception of science is ruled by Peters of social skepticism – they have failed at science as a career, so now they must make others pay for this failure. Moreover they must find some way other than competence or resilience, through which to be accepted at the level of power and prestige given a scientist.

Another feature of a Peter is that he or she gets ahead by claiming credit for the success of the group, regardless of whether or not they actually added anything of merit into its value provision. The Peter calls the meetings to order, makes sure everyone is on task and puts on an air of authority. The Peter will speak often of ‘there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ but will stand exemplary of the supplemental apothegm ‘but there is often a hidden ‘me’.’ A Peter bears this concealed ‘me’ inside everything they undertake; and moreover, it is precisely this ‘taking of the credit’ which serves ultimately to be their Achilles’ heel, under The Peter Principle to begin with. This unmerited credit is what propels the Peter into those lofty levels wherein their incompetence can be ‘suddenly exposed’. At some point, it is not enough to merely be a titular head of the group. It is not enough to be in control and enforce ISO or ASME standards and protocols. It is not enough to patrol the hallways and make sure everyone is at their desk staring at a piece of paper at 8:30 am. As one rises in responsibility, the titular head more and more actually has to do stuff; make informed and ‘why and how’ based decisions inside a context of individual naked accountability. If a Peter’s entire career consists of merely who, what, where and when coordination, then they will fail miserably at the why and how decision set.

A Roger in contrast does not bear an innate craving to be recognized as the head of the group, nor to control others, nor to hold a whip of conformance, nor to garner credit for the group’s success. He is not necessarily the extreme of a polymath or pariah, as those types of individuals can be grating inside a team structure. Instead, a Roger gains his satisfaction through the accomplishment of objectives and goals – and knowing how and why such process worked. He is quietly passed from team to team to fix things, and must advance by the principle of ‘a prophet is never accepted in his home town’.3 For a Roger, even though they may rise through the ranks for solving complex novel and asymmetric problems, they soon find that the more they change settings, the faster they rise. This because they skip over The Peter Principle games played by each Peter Organization of which they were once a member. This is unfortunate but can be observed as the key to many people’s successful career paths – they must eventually sidestep and pass by the Peters, if the Peter Organization is not mature enough to spot the circumstance in their own ranks.

Skepticism and Science are Ruled by Peters

There exists a difference between what is defined in Organizational Behavior as a goal, and that sub-element which is defined as an objective. We observe this disconnect inside skepticism as well, wherein the fake skeptic regards the goal of skepticism to be a ‘conformance to knowledge’ on the part of the public4 – when such a mission constitutes merely one non-critical path objective. The actual goal of skepticism is the creation/refinement of knowledge inside a scientific context, or the opposition to scientific oppression inside a free society; as those constitute our first true priority. They are the heads on the very tippy top of the skepticism totem-pole. One of the objectives of a skeptic organization is to ensure that pseudoscience is not promulgated freely, of course – but this should never be practiced to the extreme point wherein our goals to create and refine knowledge or alleviate suffering are impinged. In such a circumstance, our objectives have become our chief obstacles to our goal. This latter condition is more what we face today inside science. Science is ruled by Peters. They thrive upon order and discipline, but most importantly conformance – especially conformance which best serves to place them in charge. Whereas a Roger tends to thrive better than does a Peter in the midst of novelty and unscripted complexity. Roger is a problem solver and gains from disorder. Peter is a status quo manager, and loses from it.

Ethical skepticism is all about knowing where this critical knowledge dynamic inflection point resides. Tacticians rarely grasp inflection points in asymmetry. This is why they often fail when pushed outside their comfort zones. This inability to see the forest for the trees is what distinguishes Peter from Roger. Such dilemma is exhibited no better than by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile, regarding what he calls the Green Lumber Problem.5

Green Lumber Problem

The Green Lumber Problem involves an essential misunderstanding between which facts are relevant versus those which are not, or which objectives are critical path and those which are not, as they may regard decision goals under uncertainty (multifaceted novelty and asymmetry).

“In one of the rare noncharlatanic books in finance, descriptively called What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars, the protagonist makes a big discovery. He remarks that a fellow called Joe Siegel, the most active trader in a commodity called “green lumber” actually thought that it was lumber painted green (rather than freshly cut lumber, called green because it had not been dried). And he made a living, even a fortune trading the stuff [and went in to ask when he could begin trading ‘other colors of lumber’].6

The Green Lumber Problem elicits this issue of distinguishing one who can thrive in doing anything, from one who only thrives because they understand all the trivia, nuance and procedure surrounding a single discipline in which they have chosen to immerse them self. While this approach to knowledge and skill is certainly useful, it becomes a hindrance when such simplicity of role, is enforced as an effectiveness panacea. Joe Siegel, undoubtedly pissed off a lot of Peters in green lumber, by excelling inside their discipline, not knowing what the heck green lumber even was. Joe Siegel is simply one step removed from the thought, ‘Maybe there is a better way to do this. Maybe simply deriving wealth off the trade of the lumber is not the primary goal after all’. By thinking past the trivia and the rules, Joe has begun to develop a different ethical mindset than the 30 Peters who populate the cubicles around him.

There exists a difference between informing one’s self to establish control of a system, and informing one’s self to achieve a goal. In contrast with Siegel, a Peter crafts a world in which they are fully armed to know and control all within their reach – their goal is power. This foible tends to express itself inside organizations as rice-bowls, silo’s and kingdoms – the very elements of stagnation which an external consultant will find sport in disrupting. Peters bear a tendency to mistake academic knowledge for an ability to distinguish a goal from simply a critical or non-critical objective. This delineates as much as any single principle, the demarcation between academia and business. Those who can’t do, teach.

“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.” ~ Laurence J Peter

…or as well, to realize that they possess little or no actual bearing on the goal at hand.

The Roger Principle and Why Rogers are So Threatening to Peters

Psychologist Carl Rogers outlined a series of propositions as to why the proceduralist is so highly threatened by the multi-skilled leader. Interestingly the axioms also explain why the multi-skilled leader rarely bears such animosity in return. Animosity is not critical path. Yes, success may serve to make a publican out of any barbarian; however, it is the flexible and tolerant nature of the Roger, which more readily explains why he or she is less apt to return hate for such hate. [To be fair, it should be noted that The Roger Principle is somewhat akin to Laurence Peter’s ‘Summit Competence’ principle elicited in Chapter 9 of the referenced book. However, Peter did not delve into the aspects of ‘congruency’ outlined below, which make this rare phenomenon possible.] Essentially Carl Rogers contended that all individuals (organisms) exist in a continually changing world of experience – what he called the ‘phenomenal field’, of which they are the center. One of his key (of nineteen) axioms outlines the principle thusly.7

Psychological adjustment exists when the concept of the self is such that all the sensory and visceral experiences of the organism are, or may be, assimilated on a symbolic level into a consistent relationship with the concept of self.

The proceduralist immerses them self in the discipline at hand. They are going to make an A in the class. They will strive to be the task expert. They will strive to rule the organization with regard to the single expertise set on their plate. This serves to align their experiences, as symbols which are now in concert with their perception of self. It is heady to be ‘the expert’ – and those who fall for such charade typically hunger for control, both of environment and organization. There arises a problem however, when this type of personality is thrust outside of their comfort zone. This Peter will exhibit a visceral dissonance, an anger which then erupts on their preferred target – the Roger who appears to not only be the source of the dissonance, but moreover appears to be capitalizing from it. To Peter, Roger certainly could not actually be thriving, because if Peter cannot thrive, then no one can – therefore in Peter’s eyes, Roger has to be taking advantage of the situation. Carl Rogers continues with two more of his nineteen key axioms, related to exactly this:

Psychological maladjustment exists when the organism denies awareness of significant sensory and visceral experiences, which consequently are not symbolized and organized into the gestalt of the self structure. When this situation exists, there is a basic or potential psychological tension.

Any experience which is inconsistent with the organization of the structure of the self may be perceived as a threat, and the more of these perceptions there are, the more rigidly the self structure is organized to maintain itself.

Therefore, Peter will almost always double-down in order to protect the gestalt of self structure upon which they so heavily depend. Anything; logic, science, reason, facts or even life itself if necessary are elements subservient to this Maslow-style need inside the mind of the pathological Peter. They will turn heaven and earth to keep things they way they prefer to view them. While this is understandable as a personal foible, persons bearing these traits should seldom be allowed to unilaterally manage the public perception of science. This is why we need ethical skepticism – the tyranny of the Peter.

The Roger Principle

/philosophy : science : psychology : leadership/ : the principle which cites that a multi-skilled, creative, congruent and leadership oriented personality will routinely rank level relative to his or her peers while performing lower organizational or administrative jobs; however will begin to increasingly thrive as they are promoted up through an organization and are exposed to more multifaceted, novel and asymmetric challenge. This will tend to anger the peers who were in contrast limited by means of a Peter Principle. Roger Principle individuals are usually targeted for disdain by tactic/talent limited persons, often out of jealousy or dissonance; and are usually flagged early on by their performance in more chaotic tasks or situations involving uncertainty. They can make for excellent CEO’s, strategists and thought leaders.

In contrast with Peter, Roger just shrugs off the uncertainty and instead focuses upon the overall sequence of critical path objectives, or upon developing new understanding in absence of such knowledge. Yes, details are important, but they are not what dictate one’s thinking nor boundaries. The objective of thought is to create new ways to view a critical path and to challenge why something is done in a particular fashion in the first place. A Roger does not want to drive off a cliff and cite how good his gas mileage is on the way from the edge of the cliff to the bottom. This is why Roger tolerates Peter, much better than Peter can stand Roger. Peter cannot fathom the reasons for departure from his neatly ordered environment or pathway to dominance and control. Rogers relate to a goal of succeeding and not one of personal control. Carl Rogers finishes his nineteen axioms with this exact point.

When the individual perceives and accepts into one consistent and integrated system all her sensory and visceral experiences, then she is necessarily more understanding of others and is more accepting of others as separate individuals.

A Roger can readily step in and be any Peter, but a Peter finds it extraordinarily difficult to be a Roger.
A Roger tolerates a Peter very easily; but a Peter finds fault in everything a Roger says or does.
Roger sees Peter as an essential aspect of the functioning company; Peter does not view Roger in that same way.
This is why Roger advances, and Peter does not. Peter cannot perceive this dynamic, so he blames Roger for his career stagnation.

One may humorously note that a Peter, can often be synonymous with a ‘dick’. It is precisely their anger over the dissonance derived from mismatch between their phenomenological self and the environment in which they find them self (or wish to dominate), which tempts their observer to entertain such a nickname. In similar contrast, a Peter may view a Roger as an opportunist, looking to get a good ‘Rogering’ out of every new opportunity which arises inside an organization. Each may regard the other as a dick or a shark. Such is the comical nature of human competitiveness. In the end, the nicknames are not fair at all (and sexist to boot) – in that diversity of skill and personality in the workplace is exactly what makes for a strong and effective organization in the first place.

Why Roger Succeeds While Peter Often Stagnates

Peter succeeds at the outset because they have established them self as master of the topic at play. Roger on the other hand, succeeds because he or she has honed specific traits which serve to enhance mere fundamental competency. A Roger will succeed at pretty much anything they choose to do, save for many compulsory perfunctory or administrative tasks – often stumbling from sheer boredom, rather than any particular shortfall in acumen or skill. Rogers are C-student bosses who regularly pissed off all but their most senior college instructors; who hire privileged A-student Peters who were those same pissed-off instructors’ darlings.  Peter leverages his strength through fastidious displays of competence and rules following. Peter wants his benefactors to know that, by placing him in charge, things will go as planned; even if that plan involves running off a cliff and claiming the fantastic gas mileage, laying off one quarter of the employee base, increasing productivity regardless of the life-cost of the associates burdened with that increase, or extracting the wealth of the corporation to elite European bond trading accounts. A Peter will obediently trade and sacrifice higher goals, to increase his power base and money flow – as you see, for Peter these objectives served to obscure the real goal to begin with.

A Peter regards the goal of his company to be funneling efficiency-precipitated earnings to powerful outsiders/cronies.
A Roger entertains a greater mandate for his corporation – and disobeys this instructed procedure.


However, as outsiders begin to see Peter as the spoils-enabling character, we will observe more corporate failure and consolidation;
along with a greater disparity between the worker and the extraction classes.


Flat organizations – hollow brands inhabited by CFO’s and supply chain specialists, lacking an authenticity of mission;
bereft of the vision and ethical backbone necessary in defending their stakeholders from creeping enslavement.

Carl Rogers opines on the Roger Principle below, through outlining those character traits which make this unique style of person successful. A Roger bears the following strengths:8

A growing openness to experience – they move away from defensiveness and have no need for subception (a perceptual defense that involves unconsciously applying strategies to prevent a troubling stimulus from entering consciousness).

An increasingly existential lifestyle – living each moment fully – not distorting the moment to fit personality or self-concept but allowing personality and self-concept to emanate from the experience. This results in excitement, daring, adaptability, tolerance, spontaneity, and a lack of rigidity and suggests a foundation of trust. “To open one’s spirit to what is going on now, and discover in that present process whatever structure it appears to have”

Increasing organismic trust – they trust their own judgment and their ability to choose behavior that is appropriate for each moment. They do not rely on existing codes and social norms but trust that as they are open to experiences they will be able to trust their own sense of right and wrong.

Freedom of choice – not being shackled by the restrictions that influence an incongruent individual, they are able to make a wider range of choices more fluently. They believe that they play a role in determining their own behavior and so feel responsible for their own behavior.

Creativity – it follows that they will feel more free to be creative. They will also be more creative in the way they adapt to their own circumstances without feeling a need to conform.

Reliability and constructiveness – they can be trusted to act constructively. An individual who is open to all their needs will be able to maintain a balance between them. Even aggressive needs will be matched and balanced by intrinsic goodness in congruent individuals.

A rich full life – he describes the life of the fully functioning individual as rich, full and exciting and suggests that they experience joy and pain, love and heartbreak, fear and courage more intensely.

It is not that we as ethical skeptics necessarily aspire to be solely a Roger in makeup of character. Peters are essential to any organization or society. Rather we should seek to avoid the negative pitfalls of becoming a Peter – infusing enough of the creative, free, orgasmic fascination with wonder and discovery to compel us to not fall into the trap of becoming a Peter of skepticism.

It is this essential nature of congruency which we seek to develop within ourselves- that which the universe is asking us to learn. After all, we know how to discern that which is relevant from that which is not; and as well the goal, from that which merely might appear to be an objective.

     How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Roger Principle”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 6 Apr 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9zc

April 6, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism, Social Disdain | , | Leave a comment

Chinese (Simplified)EnglishFrenchGermanHindiPortugueseRussianSpanish
%d bloggers like this: