David Heinemeier Hansson

February 2, 2022

Work unites what politics divide

Is there a more powerful, communal force than making stuff together? It pulls the shared humanity right out of people when they collaborate on making something greater than what they could make themselves. It intersects all the major sources of meaning by combining human connections, pursuits of mastery, and a shared purpose. It's quite literally a creative force.

When you're focused on making, you focus on what people bring to the task, not what they believe, how they pray, or which political sect they belong to. You can avoid all these gaps simply by virtue of staying clear of them. Which in turn means that more people of more varied backgrounds are able to thrive together.

This is the wisdom of the Mark Twain's etiquette "never [to] discuss politics or religion in polite company". Specifically the point about "polite company". It's the politeness that oils the gears of collaboration.

All this used to be so much easier, because we never had to know. People's religious observance or political affinity could easily be a matter kept separate from the realms of collaboration. 

Today social media has spoiled that for millions. The cacophony of likes, follows, shares, and retweets betray many people's stances on the thorniest issues. It's often hard not to know someone's leanings or affinities if you connect on these nefarious networks.

But it's worth taking the effort not to know, and if you do, to forget. To avoid these traps of division, to chew on the bliss of ignorance. That's the choice of the creative force.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.