This is a rather odd post, but bear with me.

There are three Daves whom I have a great deal of respect for. I interact with one Dave fairly regularly, one had immense influence on me during my formative years and one I know only through the internet and do not interact with much, beyond an occasional e-mail.

Looking at various similarities between them highlights some interesting things that I feel are worth talking more about.

  • The most obvious one is that they are all creative, in different ways. Rather than merely consuming content, they create it. At least two make (some) money off this, the third does it simply for the love of it. Creating things, music, writing, whatever it is, is something that more people should try to do. Personally, I do some juggling and the occasional bit of writing (see exhibit A: this blog), but the creative approach to the Daves is something that they could probably not turn off if they tried.
  • Secondly, they are all tolerant. Well, tolerant of most things. A big exception is intolerance. You are able to hold dissenting views to them, but back up why you think a certain way and you will go a lot further. Generally, they are accepting of alternative viewpoints, even if they do not agree that you are right. (I will grant that all three probably have a few beserk buttons.) This approach seems to be something that more people could benefit from: people have different backgrounds, and they may have very good reasons to hold different viewpoints to yourself. Find out why before you criticize.
  • That said, all of them hold opinions on important matters (or seem to). They do not simply not care about things that have potentially severe implications. And, going back to the previous point, if they hold a different opinion to you, they will at least listen (until you prove to be illogical and unable to be reasoned with). Just sitting back and not caring about the world around you does not help anyone. It is impossible for one person to help everyone, but they make a difference to others, if only by providing some amusement or respite from the daily grind (see the first point about creativity).
  • The last thing I will highlight, although I could go one, is that they are widely knowledgeable. All three consider the world an interesting one, worth knowing more about, and appear to be making good progress on doing so. I suspect that I could probably ask the Daves general questions in a goodly number of fields and subfields and have a reasonable expectation of at least one of them knowing something about the question. And if not, they are not afraid to admit ignorance. Both these things are important, and something I try to emulate myself.

As I said, this is rather an odd post, but I think that the Daves have something worth emulating in these four points. I would just like to thank each of them for enriching my life in some way, even if they do not intend to, or are not aware of doing so.

Edit: one of said Dave’s has sent me this: I think all cases can be well and truly rested….