I just wanted to give a shout out to a former classmate of mine, Andrew Luck, who now plays for some sportsball team with a horseshoe logo. I never talked to him, only saw him pass in the halls a couple times, but have encountered my share of Stanford sportsballers in my time here and found them, for the most part, to be great sportspeople. The kind of sportspeople to not stab an unarmed opponent, to want the opponent to be prepared and come on strong.
Anyway, Andrew Luck studied architecture here, which is freaking hard, and watching him play football – unlike anyone I had ever seen play football – caught my attention. I watched while I sat in the dining hall attempting to avoid the television screen. I was caught up by the enthusiasm of the people around me, and the fact that we were winning. Everyone likes winning. Even if it’s other people winning for you. Or a very strange result for a Google Image Search for the word winning:
By the end of his career, when Stanford went to the Rose Bowl, I had increased my total football-watching time by at least ten hours.
Ten hours! That increased my lifetime football-watching time to, like, tens of hours!
Anyway, there is something fundamentally Stanfordian about the way Andrew Luck treats his opponents. Agreeing with people, or complimenting them, is some Art of War shit. So, I wanted to give him a shout out for being extremely, publicly, awesomely rational, positive, and generous to his opponent.
It’s a good habit which can turn you into a positive person, and also (two links) an improvisation secret, also a television trope, and last, the way academic philosophy is done best – and hardest. After all, if you are generous to your opponent, you’ll argue with the strongest version of what your opponent has to say, which has a much better payoff than attacking a weak version, or the weakest.