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Worse Than Useless

2016 October 04. Tuesday.

Something is useless if it has no affect on you. A pretty painting on your coffee mug is useless if you don’t notice it or care.

Something is worse than useless if you’d be better off without it. Volcano insurance is worse than useless to a Kentucky resident because it drains her money without any real safety benefit.

I think that sometimes when we are advising others to do something, we put some objects into the useless category when they really belong in worse-than-useless. Your friend is thinking about donating some stuff to Goodwill and you tell him to keep anything he’s unsure of. Or your friend doesn’t want to take some shabby intro classes and you tell him to be safe and take them and push through.

If it were your junk, then you could see how it breaks your space and you need to get rid of it. If they were your classes then you could see how the busywork might kill motivation for the important work elsewhere.

We don’t know these details and we want to give safe advice, and we end up being worse than useless to our friends.

(Just a hypothesis about what might be happening, it also might not be happening.)

Public Domain Dedication.