Do you want people around you to be motivated by productivity and competence — or primarily by a sense of duty and compassion for you? I definitely vote for the first. I think most people do, at least if the question is put that way. But there’s this widespread idea that the most important aspect of goodness is duty, selflessness and compassion. This is where people run into trouble. A woman might say, “I want a man who’s compassionate and sensitive. But I also want someone to take charge.” What this really means is: “I want someone competent at life. But I also want someone who’s a thinker.” Put this way, it actually makes sense. A truly compassionate person, or a sensitive person, is that way because he thinks. Emotions come from thoughts, so there is no sensitivity without thinking first to back it up. And there is no competence without thinking, either. If you want competent and sensitive people in your life, then you want rational thinkers. Beware of people who come across as sensitive and caring, but don’t have any real productivity or competence to back it up. They’re usually just pretending at life, acting out what they think is supposed to be goodness. Without thinking, there’s nothing but a hollow core where competence, sensitivity and genuine goodness might have been.