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Ingressive vs Congressive

Eugenia Cheng is a thoughtful person, a mathematician, a musician/artist, and a writer (cf. her book Cakes, Custard, and Category Theory). In mid-2017 she spoke on a podcast "Greater Than Code" with Coraline Ada Ehmke, Rein Henrichs, Jessica Kerr about important issues of society, archetypal male/female styles, collaboration, organization, and life:

... I decided that we should have new words to replace masculine and feminine and I brainstormed with an amazing friend of mine for ages about this. We finally came up with ingressive and congressive. Ingressive is to replace masculine and congressive is to replace feminine.

The idea is that ingressive is about going into things and not being waylaid by what people think or by emotions and congressive is about bringing people with you and bringing people together and unifying and making connections between things. ...

and

... broadly speaking, I've come to think that congressive behavior is basically better for society but that ingressive behavior is rewarded more by society because society is based on competition. It's based on how you present yourself so for things like competing for a job, you have to be ingressive to put yourself forward for promotion and to talk about how great you are. Whereas, when you're actually doing some work with people, then it's really helpful to be congressive because then you bring people together, you understand people. ...

and

... There are ways to be congressive and deal with ingressive behavior. It's just hard and I'm figuring them out as I go along and what I hope is that we can gradually getting more in touch with our congressive side and find a way of diffusing ingressive behavior so that congressive behavior can be more valued because the trouble is that ingressive behavior is kind of louder. It's like the fact that the loud people are always the loudest. They're the ones who get heard. While ingressive people aren't in charge of everything, they will continue to reward ingressive behavior as well. I think that is one of the big reasons why women are underrepresented in politics, in management, in academia, and dare I say it, also in crime because I suspect that ingressive behavior is also related to really, really being focused on winning and not really caring about losing ...

and

... the ingressive people aren't put off by being wrong. They're really spurred on by the joy of being right and that, I think means that there is an accidental filter that puts off congressive people and keeps ingressive people in. I think this could lead to why women are still underrepresented in math. I think that we can change that by presenting math in a congressive way early on, instead of an ingressive way. There's so many mathematical outreach activities that I look at them and go, "That's really ingressive and there are ways that you could turn it into something congressive." But you know, if you said that about boys and girls instead of ingressive and congressive, you would sound ridiculous because then you would end up saying, "This outreach activity appeals to boys and not girls." Doesn't that sound stupid? Whereas ...

and

... There are two kinds of argument — well, there are lots of kind of argument — but there's an ingressive argument where everyone is trying to win and the way you win is by showing that you're clever than the other person and that they're wrong. Whereas, I really like congressive arguments where the aim is to understand something. Then it doesn't matter who is right and who's wrong because whatever happens, you learn something and you've understood it. ...

and

... I think a lot of the writing about how women can be successful is about teaching them how to be ingressive so that they can compete with men. That works for some people and I've met plenty of really ingressive women who become successful at that and who are proud of themselves for having done it. But I think there's another way, which is to find ways of congressively dealing with ingressive behavior and I fantasize, and this is a kind of abstract dream again, where I fantasize about not an all-women institution. I've worked in all-women institutions and all that happens is there are ingressive and congressive women and the ingressive women take control and that's that.

What I fantasize about is an all-congressive institution, where everyone is chosen because they're congressive and everyone works together congressively and though, staff are working at congressive, I'm not quite sure what it would be like because it so far from things that I know. But I've tried to set some things up small microcosms like that for myself. For example, any class I teach is very, very congressive. I try to make it explicitly congressive so that it's all about understanding things. ...

and

... if we think ingressively, then we think about blame. But if we think congressively, then we see a system as a whole. Then we realize that it's a system that we should be thinking about, not the individuals. I think that's a congressive way of thinking. ...

(cf. Proverbs, Rules, Bureaucracies (2000-07-12), Talent for Collaboration (2001-12-08), Keith Johnstone Improv Quotes (2012-12-06), Mantra - Yes, and... (2016-01-30), ...) - ^z - 2017-07-08