Charlie's Blog: Unpopular Strategies


Unpopular Strategies

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

One of the debates that I follow online is till vs. no-till. This will be boring to the average reader, but it is a hot topic among gardeners. I am in the no-till camp, but that is not the topic of this blog post. I noticed that in this discussion no one mentions my favorite garden strategy which is lasagna gardening. They will mention other no-till strategies, but lasagna gardening is not one of them. Why is this? I have come to the conclusion that culture is the culprit.

I have mentioned before how most of my strategies tend to not be popular strategies. I don't choose these strategies because of their unpopularity, but I do see that unpopularity as a signpost now. Generally, my strategies are unpopular, yet they will possess a small but devoted following. This devotion comes from the fact that it works. Beyond that, no one else is buying it. Yet, they will subscribe to failing or difficult strategies in droves. You would figure that failure and defeat would make these bad strategies unpopular, but they don't. What is short circuiting the reasoning of the herd? It is the culture.

Culture overrides reason. People will ignore their own common sense and go with the popular option. The best example I can give on this is the plant based diet. The research on this is overwhelming, and you know it in your gut. Eating vegetables is good for you. Eating meat is not. Yet, the vegan diet is DOA and has been DOA for decades. I have even convinced a few people to try it, and they experienced the positive effects in as little as three days. They all gave up to go back to suffering and eating crap. Invariably, they turn to some low carb meat diet and experience explosive diarrhea followed by constipation. They will endure all of that to do what everyone knows is stupid. Why?

The Atkins diet was popular. Then, people turned to the Paleo diet which was a caveman redressing of Atkins. Then, the Keto diet became the hot thing which was simply another version of the same diet. Now, the Carnivore diet is becoming the new thing. All of this low carb nonsense is driven by culture and not common sense. Meanwhile, vegan restaurants and products go out of business left and right. The surest path to bankruptcy is to open a vegan eatery.

I wish bacon was healthy, but it isn't. It's just tasty. Spaghetti is also tasty, but these low carbers will ditch pasta without hesitation. It isn't about flavor but culture. I know because the vegan diet has made me the most antisocial person I know because I can't share a meal with someone. This is why I prefer to have a coffee with someone at Dunkin' Donuts.

I am adept at ignoring the culture and the rest of the herd when it comes to these things. I can't pinpoint when this began with me. I just remember a time in high school when I didn't care to fit in anymore. I stopped caring what other people thought about me. After a lifetime of this apathy, I feel as if I live in a culture of idiots. There is a strength in this but also a danger.

The first danger is that you may think that every maverick is on the right path. I don't think that at all. Our society has plenty of mavericks, but they represent a different flavor of idiot.

The second danger is that you think you are on the right path because you are a maverick. I don't think this whatsoever. I can ignore the herd but defying the herd requires reason not chutzpah. Oftentimes, the herd is exactly right. You just need to know when the herd is wrong, so you can take a different path.

The third danger is exchanging one herd for another. People who buck the majority will try and find what they lost in a minority of likeminded people. This is when the tests for "purity" come out. I learn to ignore this idiocy as well.

My advice is to focus on your strategy. You get knocked off strategy when you lose your confidence. This usually comes as the herd mocks you. They may or may not catch on to what you're doing. It shouldn't matter. 2 + 2 = 4 despite what the herd may think.