Our original dialect

The real concern is that I rush to complete transactions. I walk into a cafe and a person asks me “How are you doing?” and I respond, “Can I have a medium Americano?”

If a person walks up to us on the street and asks us to brunch, we look for any reason to refuse.

We schmooze with managers, directors, mortgage lenders, admissions officers, investment bankers, those we perceive as powerful; we tend to treat others as a transaction. It is more ethical to do the opposite.

In Bed of Procrustes, Taleb observes that the English language, “does not distinguish between arrogant-up (irreverence toward the temporarily powerful) and arrogant-down (directed at the small guy).”

English may lack the precise words, but the script is wholly learned. Social curiosity is a language we are born with.

Then, through disuse, we lose our original dialect.