Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New ways to write


If you’re feeling unmotivated or your writing feels stale, it may be time to change up the way you write. The following is a selection of techniques you may not have tried. They can be used as exercises to get your juices flowing, or they might become your new M. O.

Free Writing

Outline Expansion

Gibson’s Technique

Following a Template

Breaking a Template

Creating a Template Library

Focusing on Pitches

Plotting Randomly

Playing Roles

Writing in a Survey of Styles

Using Constraints

I do not see myself represented in essays on dating

(Originally published November 2019

Hi, my name is John. I am a straight man in my early thirties, own my house outright, have a full time job, and I’m in reasonable shape for my age. I also haven’t been on a date in two years and haven’t gotten laid in nearly four.

I spend about an hour a week on dating sites — I have an OKCupid profile and a Bumble one, & only recently got rid of Tinder & PlentyOfFish for security reasons. The last time I got a message on any dating site was more than a year ago. I have never gotten a match on Bumble (after a month of use) & I have gotten a grand total of one match on Tinder (which I used on and off for about three years) — she unmatched without even messaging me.

And, I blame the patriarchy.

I am not particularly undesirable — I’m okay-looking & a little smarter than average, and my friends find me personable and funny. But, I have enough self-awareness to realize that it takes a certain kind of person to want to spend time with me, and that just as any randomly-chosen stranger isn’t likely to be somebody I want to know, some randomly-selected stranger isn’t likely to want to know me. I also have enough self-awareness to recognize that I can’t reliably distinguish between someone who is interested in knowing me better & someone who is politely waiting for me to leave them alone, & enough cultural awareness to recognize that for a lot of women, unwanted attention from a man (especially a socially-oblivious man) is a red flag for an existential threat.

So, I err on the side of caution: if I can detect ‘back off’ vibes, then I assume much subtler signals have been sent at me for a while, & I back off immediately; if I don’t get an extremely clear indication of interest, I try not to show any myself.

This is a problem for me, because while women are taught that attention from a man is potentially dangerous, they are also taught that being unambiguous in your acceptance or rejection of that attention is more dangerous — in other words, the kinds of signals that are explicit enough for me to recognize are the ones many women send only in dire straits.

(I still make this trade-off: it’s better for me to be alone than for someone I like to feel threatened. I just wish that this kind of no-win situation wasn’t thrust upon us. For now, the only ethical choice for mildly socially awkward straight men is to accept that most cases of mutual romantic or sexual interest will never be fulfilled for them.)

Women’s fear of being direct is justified: in western society (and in some eastern ones too), women who directly reject men are subject to male rage & women who seem too enthusiastic are subject to slut-shaming (which can also result in violence). It’s so pervasive that even systems like Bumble, which are explicitly designed to force the onus of showing initial interest onto women, are not particularly effective. In heterosexual relationships, men are expected to make the first move, because when women make the first move it is considered more dangerous than the already-high baseline.

I do not make the first move. (I generally make this clear in dating profiles.) Most of the time (even on Bumble), this means no moves are made at all. When they are, the results are biased — women making the first move is considered risky behavior, & so I end up only in relationships with women who are prone to risky behavior (often due to desperation or lack of boundaries). I do not generally regret these relationships — I am still friends with most of my exes — but they are rocky, and I end up with controlling & emotionally unstable partners more often than the baseline simply because such people are more likely to directly tell me how they feel about me initially.

I read a lot of articles on Medium, and many of them are on dating advice. I almost always regret reading dating advice articles, because the advice therein does not apply to me — it is aimed at people whose problems with dating are totally alien to my experience. Having a hard time finding someone? You must be too picky. Here’s how to best winnow down the thousands of people who are desperate for your gonads. If you’re tired of all that meaningless sex, try taking a week’s vacation from dating! It’s not as though those aren’t real problems, but they are the problems of people who are too successful at the part of dating I have the hardest time with. Where are the essays by people who are worried about rudely imposing their affection? Where are the essays by people who sometimes wonder if they’ll ever get a date again, and wrestle with the urge to flirt with service workers because they know they’re probably just going to make everybody uncomfortable? Where are the essays by men who have a hard time dating because they’re doing at least the absolute minimum to avoid making the women around them feel unsafe?

I’m no catch, but there are probably a half dozen people I know who I would date & who would date me if communication opened up. (I know this empirically: there was a short period in college where I hit on everyone, and while I stopped because I realized I was probably making a lot of people uncomfortable, I ended up having a casual thing going with about ten young women simultaneously — and this was back when I was broke, out of shape, and the special kind of dumb that only college students can afford to be.) And, there must be thousands of people on Medium who are in exactly the same spot. After all, the bell curve is fattest in the middle.

It’s a shame that jerks & narcissists have an edge on us in dating simply because they don’t care enough about other people’s feelings to avoid risking them. It’s a shame that arrogant dickheads have an edge on us simply because of their unearned confidence. The solution is not to become those guys — it’s easy and it works but it’s wrong, and if we give into that we make the whole society worse.

That said, I don’t know what the solution is. For some people, their expansive social network provides a pool of friends whose friendship can grow into romance; this won’t work for me, since I am too exhausted from my day job & side hustles to maintain hundreds of close friendships, and since difficulty reading social cues is associated with difficulty forming large friend groups, this is probably not a rare exception.

My best case scenario might simply be to put up with it — to know that my odds of finding a relationship are low & that my odds of finding a healthy and sustainable one are even lower, but that unless I continue to put in the work, those odds drop to zero. It’s soul-crushing to spend every day of your life making bets you know you’re going to lose, but the alternatives are giving up or becoming a monster.

If people gave car advice like they gave dating advice

 Me: my car won’t start

Person 1: That’s because your dashboard is dusty. I used to be like you: dusty dashboard made me afraid to go over 25.

Person 2: Gotta deflate your tires or else you’ll keep hitting trees.

Person 3: It’s so hard to keep your speed under 80! Sometimes it’s enough to make you not want to drive at all.

Pick-up artist: Buy these air fresheners and you are guaranteed an average speed of 900 mph or it’s your fault. Only 16 easy payments of $8999.99!

Incel: 80% of cars are manufactured with a warped chassis & won’t start because they aren’t red enough. Your car will never start, and if it started in the past, you are a bad person.

Romantic: Garages, repair manuals, and screwdrivers are bad because they distance us from the transcendent experience of banging your forehead against the engine block until your oil’s changed.

Person 4: Just use a taxi service, all the time, for everything. Taxis are exactly the same as car ownership, and will always be available.

Person 5: Your car won’t start because taxis exist, and also because people like you keep on reading Motor Trend and watching Top Gear.

Person 6: I’m walking away from car ownership and riding bicycles instead. If I see a car I’ll slash its tires.

Person 7: Your car won’t start because only Model T Fords are morally correct, and God is punishing you for not driving an original unrestored Model T.

Person 8: Your car won’t start because these days too many people take out two year leases.

Mutual aid is contigent, and that scares some people

 The difference between ancoms and ancaps is ancoms think without government we wouldn’t have money while ancaps think without government we wouldn’t have community.

If ancaps are right then we’re fucked, because without government we also wouldn’t have money & so when the government bubble finally bursts we will be in the Hobbsean state of nature liberals warned us about. But, I dunno. I’m hardly a sociable or popular person, but even I have experienced fleeting moments of mutual aid. I expect these to become more common as the forces that pit us against each other weaken.

Here’s the thing. Mutual aid is absolutely contingent. It depends upon people liking you, which means either you avoid acting like a shithead or it’s clear that your antisocial actions aren’t your fault. This is scary if you have a social-darwinian idea of the world or if you see most people around you as enemies. If you don’t think anybody can like you, it’s hard to depend on them, and some mechanism of supporting yourself without depending on them looks desirable.

In a world based on mutual aid (which most societies have functionally been until global capitalism, basically because the reach of the state was limited), exile is a de-facto death sentence because there’s no guarantee you will be admitted into a new community.

bolo’bolo tries to address this (which impressed me, to be honest) by synthesizing mutual aid with a rudimentary social safety net and free travel. But ultimately, any plan for an anarchist society is going to be built around norms, & hoping those norms become popular.

The Great Crystallization Upon Hearing in the Sublunar State

 O Nobly Born (so and so by name), the time has come for thee to seek the Work in reality. Thy breathing has become manual. Thy guru has set thee face to face with the ray of creation. At this moment, know thou thyself, and abide in that state.

O Nobly Born, let not thy mind be distracted.

Even if I cannot realize it, yet will I know this Bardo, and, mastering the subtle body and the astral body, will appear in whatever shape will benefit endlessness.

Keeping thyself unseparated from this resolution, thou shouldst try to remember whatever devotional practices thou went accustomed to perform during thy lifetime.

Multitudes may be crystallized in that manner; but, though multitudes may be crystallized in that manner, the power of sleep is great, and a vast preponderance will doze and dream that they are awake. Let the crystallization upon hearing wake you. Be it through infinite cycles of rebirth, you will eventually remember to become aware of the sensation in your right hand, and you will awaken immortal.

Myriad may be crystallized in that manner; but, though myriad may be crystallized in that manner, the power of sleep is great, and a vast preponderance will doze and dream that they are awake. O Nobly Born, let not thy mind be distracted. Let the crystallization upon hearing wake you. Be it through infinite cycles of rebirth, you will eventually remember to become aware of the sensation in your left leg, and you will awaken immortal.

Hoards may be crystallized in that manner; but, though hoards may be crystallized in that manner, the power of sleep is great, and a vast preponderance will be lost to the moon. Let the crystallization upon hearing wake you. O Nobly Born, let not thy mind be distracted. Be it through infinite cycles of reincarnation, you will eventually remember at the threshhold of a door to become aware of your face, and being awakened, become immortal.

O Nobly Born, let not thy mind be distracted. Let the crystallization upon hearing wake you. Multitudes may be crystallized in that manner; but, though multitudes may be crystallized in that manner, the power of sleep is great, and a vast preponderance will doze and never develop a self. Be it through infinite cycles of reincarnation, you will eventually remember at the beginning of a meal to become aware of your left hand, and awaken.

Let the crystallization upon hearing wake you. Multitudes may be crystallized in that manner; but, O Nobly Born, let not thy mind be distracted, though multitudes may be crystallized in that manner, the power of sleep is great, and a vast preponderance will doze and drift downstream. Be it through infinite cycles of reincarnation, you will eventually remember at the end of a meal to become aware of your right hand, and awaken.

O Nobly Born, let the crystallization upon hearing be not distracted, let your mind wake you. Myriad may be crystallized in that manner, but the power of sleep is great. Be it through infinite cycles of reincarnation, you will eventually remember to wake, and your wakefulness will become permanent.

O Nobly Born, to remember to wake, read, write, and repeat.

There is a Vampire on your Television

 There is a vampire on your television. He wants you to look into his eyes.

He changes shape. First, he sings a sad song, holding a starving puppy. Then, he is very excited about an upcoming sale. He is angry, and you become angry. He is afraid, and you become afraid. He wants you to have an opinion about the news.

He wants you to become a goth today, and a punk tomorrow. He wants you to be a Democrat on Superbowl Sunday, and a Republican on Super Tuesday. He asks you how you feel about the issues, but he doesn’t want to know — he just wants you to feel something. He tells you about his new shoes and his old values.

He wants you to look into his eyes. He texts you at 3am asking if you’re DTF. He texts you at 3pm asking if you’re voting. He calls you in the middle of dinner to tell you, the Vehicle Owner, that a hold has been put on your social security number and thank you for choosing carnival cruises are you happy with your long distance carrier? He wants you to like his new vacation photos. He wants you to like his new starving puppy. He wants you to like his new eyes. They used to be yours. He wants you to have an opinion about his new conspiracy theory. He wants you to discuss it at 3am.

All the news that’s fit to print flows from his mouth. All the news that’s unfit flows from his ass. His fists are punching at each other. He wants you to look into his eyes. He wants you to have opinions about the news until it’s 3am again. He wants you to like, subscribe, ring the bell, and share his eyes with your 300 closest friends.

He wants you to look into his eyes. He wants you to pay attention to him.

As long as you are paying attention to him, you are not paying attention to yourself.

As long as you are paying attention to him, you cannot develop countermeasures.

As long as you are paying attention to him, you are powerless in the face of the moon.

What Do We Mean By ‘Cancelled’?

 Online criticism takes many forms & has many purposes, and we confuse them to our peril.

The differences fall upon several dimensions:

  • is the target a public person (such as a celebrity) or a private person?
  • is the criticism an illustration for the purpose of discussion, or do we want to motivate some kind of action?
  • if we want to motivate action, are we trying to spread awareness so that people can individually decide whether they want to support someone, or are we trying to organize a no-platforming campaign? Or, are we looking to inform authorities of a crime? Or are we trying to minimize future harm in the face of a pattern of abuse by informing people who might otherwise become victims?
  • are we condemning an action as foolish, or as malicious? Are we condemning it as dangerous?

While it’s possible for a particular person to intend a particular instance of ‘cancellation’ to fall anywhere on any of these spectra, there are natural clusters. For instance, a public person who spreads dangerous disinformation with malicious intent will justify a no-platforming campaign; a public or private person who commits a dangerous crime (whether out of ignorance or malice) in the course of their work will tend to have their bosses informed; a private person who acts foolishly will generally merely be the subject of discourse.

There is a lucrative industry specializing in misinterpreting all forms of ‘cancellation’ as the most extreme form: the no-platforming and firing of private persons for foolishness. We should be careful to talk about cancellation in such a way that these folks find this misrepresentation more difficult, and in such a way that people who don’t understand the nuances (and perhaps have lent their ears to this particular brand of huckster, coming away with misconceptions) will not easily misunderstand our intent.

(Adapted from a thread)

When Performative Wokeness Misses the Point

 There’s one thing SJWs and anti-SJWs broadly agree upon: highly visible corporate attempts to gain social justice points are stupid and counterproductive.

As social justice ideas gain currency in powerful circles, these attempts are getting more frequent — and, in some cases, more stupid. Where once we merely had pinkwashing, greenwashing, tokenism, and queerbaiting, now we have the removal of Elmer Fudd’s gun, the removal of episodes of sitcoms explicitly criticizing blackface, and flooding useful tags with black squares.

It’s almost universally counterproductive:

Hanlon’s Razor suggests that it isn’t some conspiracy to discredit SJ (although it does so by accident) but that most of the media infrastructure actually has exactly as shallow an idea of social justice as the right.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Social justice work, properly implemented, requires thought and flexibility. It doesn’t scale. It’s complicated. Everybody I know who isn’t actually invested on a personal level with social justice circles has a shallow, warped, and universalizing idea of it, because if you don’t have a particular interest, then your idea of it will come from media, and the less interest you have, the shallower the media. What the media will cover is the performative bullshit that can be codified by media-industry legal departments.

Elmer Fudd’s gun isn’t going away because of real outcry, but because one guy in corporate has a vague idea that loud nuts might do a twitter campaign & the only guy in the legal dept who has heard of social justice thinks Jordan Peterson “has some solid points but maybe goes too far”. A lot of these folks are the kind of “good liberal” who think that liberal is as far left as one can go and that communism means state control of the distribution of goods. The type who thinks racism ended in 1968 and is glad.

Maybe eventually the basic thought processes behind SJ will become accessible to most people, in the same way that once-radical philosophical and political ideas like pragmatism & representative democracy did. American adults can generally understand how voting is supposed to work, because they took a civics class in school. They understand balance of powers, in theory. They can quote you a little bit of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Thoreau but cannot tell you who said what. The language that tea partiers and other American right-libertarian-adjacent groups use (full of invocations of “tyranny”) does not come out of serious autodidacticism, but instead out of half-remembered ideas from seventh grade.

The basic idea behind SJ & its mechanics is not all that much more complicated or controversial than “innocent until proven guilty” or any number of similar complex philosophical ideas that schoolchildren are required to show proficiency in as part of their duty as citizens. At the same time, if you don’t have an interest in something & you’re not particularly intellectually curious, it’s very easy to stop learning about it entirely as soon as mandatory schooling is over. Even if you do have interest and motivation, contentious issues tend to have a lot of disinformation around them that makes it easy to get strange misunderstandings.

Robert Anton Wilson was brilliant but he never quite ‘got’ feminism, because there were currents that didn’t want him to recognize that it was basically the same as other emancipatory movements he supported & that his own wife was more representative of feminism than the SCUM manifesto was. He bought the idea that there were a small number of “good”, “reasonable” feminists and a larger movement of “radical man-haters” instead of the other way around because a media complex existed to promote the idea that sex equality was a trojan horse for authoritarian matriarchy — and this media complex still exists (although it is far less powerful than it was thirty years ago).

Scott Alexander is also clearly brilliant but he seems to have had very little direct and in-depth interaction with leftists, which in combination with strange second-hand information, seems to have left him thinking that leftist movements weren’t really worth understanding. (Not even to the level of effort he put into understanding neoreaction, or gematria, or fad diets.)

I’ve still got very intelligent, intellectually curious friends (including online — not naming names, you know who you are) who don’t remotely “get” SJ, despite attempts to explain it. Initial framing is strong, so they have a hard time letting go of the idea that social justice is some blunt and legalistic top-down mechanism (a demand to remove complicated representation) instead of a set of tools for improving interpersonal interactions (ideas about how to better avoid being an asshole). I know they are working in good faith so I keep trying to clarify.

When somebody I know has their heart in the right place comes to me with a misunderstanding of SJ, I try to correct it. That’s hard enough for me to do, & probably much worse for most people.

We don’t really have a great way to communicate this stuff to people outside of our circles. They are getting a mix of intentional and unintentional disinformation through media organs, & real social justice has little to no mainstream media support.

Making it part of school curricula would help, though as an anarchist I’m not terribly comfortable with making decisions about what strangers should be forced to learn. Obviously, talk to your kids, but you’re already doing that right?

What do we do?

One thing is to try to keep the core message really clear: that society is full of power relations that are complex and largely invisible to the people they benefit, & that we’re looking to make things more equitable by understanding and addressing them. Even a small child can understand that kind of statement.

Another thing is to try to separate the tools from the core message: the point of SJ isn’t to make the world into a safe space (since that’d be stupid), but a safe space is sometimes the appropriate band-aid.

Another thing is to use the tools responsibly and talk publicly and clearly about whether or not they are appropriate, in ways that are accessible to outsiders. For instance, no-platforming should be distinguished from “cancelling”, vs boycotting, vs critique.

Something I’ve been trying to do (with A Libertarian Case for Social Justice and other works) is to aim explainers at audiences who aren’t usually part of social-justice-friendly circles, trying to appeal to their own values. I have made some suggestions about how to do this here.

(Adapted from a twitter thread.)

Against Creeping Adversarialism

 Online meta-discussion is full of ideas and terms from debate — accusations of “moving the goalposts”, citations of logical fallacies. When people withdraw from discussion, they get accused of not really believing in their own ideas — arguing in bad faith, or fearing that their claims won’t stand up in “the marketplace of ideas”. How did unstructured communication with strangers become tinged with the expectation that it would follow the rules of our most elaborately artificial rhetorical spectator sports? And why do we, when communicating with strangers, default to considering such communication an argument?

The west likes debates. In particular, anglophone enlightenment thinkers like those who initially engineered american cultural norms inherited ideas about the use of rhetoric in the search for cosmic or metaphysical ground truth from Plato and Descartes, adversarial collaboration in countering errors in science from Bacon and Occam, adversarial argument in law from English judicial arrangements, and competition as a factor in driving down prices from Adam Smith — so Americans of an intellectual bent (especially educated libertarians, many of whom have approximately the same set of ideas about how the world ought to be as Thomas Jefferson minus the support of slavery, and some of whom also share Jefferson’s ideas about slavery) are especially prone to going all-in on this intellectual form of trial-by-combat.

Of course, we know from experience that regular trial-by-combat is not a great way to arrive at justice. Generally speaking, the stronger party will win, regardless of who’s right. If the parties are evenly matched, luck plays at least as big a role as whatever one might gain in confidence or motivation from seeing themselves as right. And, we wouldn’t even be getting to the stage of formalized combat without both parties thinking they were right (or, more rarely, thinking they could get away with being wrong)! Informal debate has similar problems, which is why none of the traditions of adversarial search for truth mentioned above are very much like it.

Plato (and his sock-puppet Socrates), when they present their own ideas, are not convincing to modern readers; nevertheless, when they tear down other people’s arguments, they are fairly compelling — why? Because the socratic method does not actually involve attack or competition. Instead, it involves identifying key gaps in understanding and asking them to be filled. A perfectly consistent model (regardless of whether or not it happens to correspond to reality) will only seem stronger after the socratic method is applied to it, while inconsistent models (regardless of whether or not specific individual parts match reality well) will fall apart. In other words, this method is not adversarial at all!

Likewise, the scientific method. To the socratic method, we add the demand that claims be consistent with reality (by testing them). The only time this becomes adversarial is when someone has an irrational emotional attachment to a flawed model (which happens all the time, but is not really relevant to the mechanism at hand).

The cartesian method of doubt does not involve a second party at all (although ideas from it have been applied to adversarial or pseudo-adversarial contexts, sometimes strengthening their ability to come to the truth but often merely justifying stonewalling tactics like descending into sub-arguments about definitions). Here, the single participant finds gaps in his own certainty. Descartes’ bar for certainty was untenable even for Descartes, and is certainly untenable for us (since we cannot put our faith in some benevolent God who would never trick us despite creating optical illusions and dreams, nor can we necessarily take cogito seriously), but at the same time, we ought to be comfortable with accepting and acting upon whatever information is most solid.

Smith’s ideas about economics are fine, within the very narrow domain in which they apply, but we all know both from personal experience and rigorous analysis that even minor inequalities at any stage tend to grow and warp subsequent stages — in other words, this is an ‘adversarial’ game that only produces net benefits when collusion and inheritance are abolished.

The closest thing to an informal debate here is a jury trial — but, keep in mind that this, too, has key differences. In a trial, while there are two opposing factions, they are represented (usually) by impartial professionals (lawyers) — who are required to show each other all their research beforehand and provide time to come up with opposing arguments. These impartial professionals are also involved in selecting and dismissing jury members (the initial pool of which is chosen by lot). There is a moderator (the judge) and a set of complex rules of order, a long period of deliberation, and judgement is often determined by consensus rather than simple majority — consensus with terms established by the judge. Despite all these precautions, the individual charisma and rhetorical ability of lawyers predicts outcome better than the actual truth of claims, and the complexity of these rules leads largely to folks cutting the gordian knot with plea bargains — in other words, preferring to simply go to jail rather than deal with the burden of the mechanisms that nudge this system closer toward truth-finding.

Informal debates like those we have on social media have no moderator, no standards of evidence, a self-selected jury of already-interested parties (many of whom have already made up their minds), and, generally, no already-agreed-upon subject of inquiry. Participation is fluid, topics change, and the interchange generally begins before any of the arbitrary number of debaters really know any of the others’ positions. The debaters often have substantially imbalanced personal power, and what’s worse, the ‘jury’ tends to be composed primarily of people with an existing relationship to one of the debaters. In other words, this kind of structure is ill-suited to finding truth but extremely well-suited to spiraling out of control without convincing anybody of anything.

On the other hand, outside of an adversarial framework, none of these attributes of online discourse are a problem. Some of them are even a boon to specific forms of non-adversarial discussion — for instance, online social spaces are extremely well-suited to socratic dialogue (something that used to be called ‘trolling’ until the ubiquity of the adversarial stance led to that term getting misapplied to flaming, griefing, disinformation, spamming, and all other forms of online antisocial behavior).

Without standards of evidence and with a drifting topic of inquiry, non-adversarial discussion is free to become exploratory and lead to all parties involved developing previously-unconsidered ideas. With fluid participation comes a diversity of thought and knowledge — folks can drop in whenever they have something relevant and interesting to say, even (perhaps especially) when it complicates matters.

Since nobody is supposed to ‘win’, there is no incentive to hide or dismiss the complexities of the topic — which after all will probably never be truly amenable to one side or another of some binary opposition decided upon before discussion began.

When popular personalities engage in nonadversarial discussions in public, their fanbase gets exposed to new and interesting ideas, rather than being turned into a militia for the defense of old and boring ideas. After all, these folks are generally interested in the discussion because of their interest in its participants rather than previously-existing knowledge about the ideas in question, so non-adversarial discussion can turn the parasocial tendencies of unsegmented social media landscapes into a force for intellectual growth rather than conservative traditionalism. What’s more, the influence of participants will tend to grow based on their ability to say interesting things, regardless of its original level: while debating a popular figure is a great way to get SWATted, non-adversarial discussion with a popular figure is a great way to get exposure.

Non-adversarial discussion does not mean withholding judgement indefinitely, or failing to call people out on bullshit, or failing to correct misapprehensions. Any wide-ranging discussion will involve doing these things. What it means is that these ‘gotchas’ are not the point of the discussion, and there is no particular incentive to find and expose them beyond ensuring clarity.