No Free lunch or Free advice

Asking anyone philosophically inclined a “why?”

is a dangerous proposition.

Half the time you’ll get a whole rant covering every reason that philosopher has


You’ll get a none answer so that they have time to reflect.

I’ve offered to help a co-worker with they’re finances in the form of advice.

And they asked “Why are you doing this?”

well my answer at the time to not delude them with a rant or over abundance of information was

“That’s a very broad question. I want to help, dialogues are the best way to reach an adequate understanding.”

but it did cause me to reflect as to “why?”

“Why, I can’t help but try and help people?”

Here’s the story:


is lifeguard jargon describing a type of drowning person.

I worked as a lifeguard for two summers at a water park with a wave pool. Wave pools start out shallow and get progressively deeper. Great fun for kids and families to relax, a place to stay cool and pass a few hours. It’s also one of the few places where you’ll see your fair share of “Thrashers”. Typically adult men who are hiding the fact they can’t swim and are uncomfortable in the water by spending hours in the mid shallows of the wave pool. Everything’s fine and after a while they venture further into the water to stay cool, making sure that their feet are touching the bottom the entire time. But the main attraction of Wave pool is the artificial waves that function much like real waves, creating riptides and drag which pulls these “thrashers” deeper into the pool. At some point they find that they are no longer touching the bottom of the pool, which sends them into a panic. And as the term suggests they begin flailing their arms widely. Faces trapped in a horrific panic. Here’s the catch-22 the lifeguard can do nothing until the person starts drowning, and now can’t do anything until the person calms themselves down or tires out. If the lifeguard jumps in to save them and pull them to the exit stairs or the shallows, they are going to take a hit or two. All the teenage lifeguard can do is wait till either the panic subsides or the thrasher tires, all while watching the absolute horror and struggle of the situation.

Pulling a six year old out of the deep end is no trouble and the main stay of saves. But Thrashers happen, best case scenario they thrash themselves to the wall and exit the pool themselves, worst case scenario they break the nose of the lifeguard who intervened too soon and now all lifeguards poolside are in making the rescue of two downers not just one.

By natural I seek out knowledge and understanding of systems,

This means I bring a lot when it comes to advice.

It also means that I have given advice

over and over

that falls on deaf ears only to say

“I told you so…”

Out of remorse for my failure to have helped

Much like the Thrashers you can spot them long before they are drowning, people in need.

Much like the Thrashers you can’t help them till they actually need your help.

Unlike the Thrashers by the time they are willing to accept help they are out of reach of advice.

You can’t teach a man to swim after he has drowned.

You can’t protect a man from his ex-wife before the marriage.

You can’t affect an exercise plan for a fatal heart attack.

Undone can not be done.

The same is true for advice once it is given it cannot be ungiven. Which means that if it is given and the audience is not receptive for any of these reasons:

Cognitive Dissonance,

Authority Bias,

Hometown Prophet Dismissal,

Dunning-Kruger Effect,

or simple


Then the barrier to resistance will be strengthened, new cognitive defenses will protect those in need’s fragile egos from admitting fault.

The sunken cost fallacy

Is now a defense as well.

And while I have had to watch many loved ones go down paths they will never recover from. I am still hopeful that those willing to change their minds will seek or be receptive to my advice.

So to answer the question as concisely as possible

“Why are you doing this?”

I’m in a unique position to give advice worth taking and I will do everything within my power and scope to ensure that such advice will be taken for the betterment of the recipient, not dismissed or undervalued by any other psychological barriers listed above if I can help it.

Thanks for reading and I hope this was of value.

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