The Doers and The Clarion Callers
Delip Rao,
Dec 2, 2019

There is an unnecessary drama unfolding on Twitter on “the war” between connectionists and symbolists. This drama is absurd and perpetuated by people whose relevance exists only in the discussion of the “difference” and the “war.”

Most of us who are too busy learning or doing, happily occupy the liminal space between symbolism and connectionism. There are no Symbol Slayers and Symbol Savers amongst us. Those who are busy talking, fuss on the boundaries, on the dichotomies. They want to keep the boundaries alive and point out how the boundaries are torturous, and how they are “marginalized” by these self-constructed boundaries they impose upon everyone. At the same time, they will do everything to upkeep the imaginary boundaries as pointing out the emptiness of such boundaries, threaten their very existence.

Beware of the Clarion Callers

Outside of the context of this absurd “war”, I want to make a general observation. In every endeavor of humanity, there are the Doers and the Clarion Callers.

The Doers silently do stuff. They don’t give a damn about what others think or have time to care much about recognition.

The Clarion Callers are folks who are rarely, if ever, in the trenches but go around telling people “X must happen”.

For example, there are people who work diligently on the economics of poverty, build innovative financial solutions for the poor, etc. These are the Doers.

Then some will go around making speeches about how “We must eliminate poverty”, “Poverty is an epidemic”, and so on. These are the Clarion Callers.

The Clarion Callers (almost always self-appointed) are mostly for fame. They will write puffy books, have a bon mot ready for every occasion. They are the darling of the press. Clarion Callers mostly care about personal branding, and will readily take more than their share of credit with everything. After all, isn’t that the whole point of Clarion Calling under the guise of “educating” or “shining the light”. The press will happily put their face on the works of the Doers. The media and uninformed public will hail them as a “visionary”. The Clarion Caller got the outcome they want.

If you want to have an impact, you will do well to identify, follow, and work with the Doers.

If you are a journalist, you will get your best scoops from the Doers. A GPT-like model can replace the Clarion Callers, but not the Doers.

Postscript: Isn’t the Doer vs. Clarion Caller itself a dichotomy?

There is no dichotomy unless you see it dualistically. The Doers let their work do most of the talking. The Clarion Callers mostly/exclusively let their talk do the talking. That’s the main difference. Also, one need not be universally a Doer or universally a Clarion Caller. But experience suggests Doers tend to do more doing in other areas too and as a result have little time to Clarion Call. On the other hand, Clarion Callers are happy to Clarion Call their way into any subject.

Isn’t this post itself a Clarion Call?

More of an idle observation. If you want to make it your Clarion Call, be my guest.