Friday, March 4, 2011


I'm not going to lecture you.  I'm going to lecture myself.  Consider that I've aggressively adhered to certain beliefs in the past. Part of my way forward is to intentionally be muddled.  To find myself conflicted and more than once or twice saying to people who conflict with each other, "wow, that's a good point."

Unfortunately, it is so easy that it has become normal to fall in line with one perspective or position, and let it dominate and color in all other evidence.  I know it has a technical name.  I used to think this was a keen insight: follow money, and you'll find out why a particular person has a particular perspective.  It is a fine insight, as far as insights go, but all it does is cloak some strange mystery in a basic fact: we have incentives, and we follow the most attractive incentives based on what's available to us at the time.  We aren't very rational about it.  If something is told to us by one person, not in statistical jargon, if it is told to us by someone of some authority, then we'll be more likely to be persuaded by it.  That's wrong, fundamentally, because we could actually harm ourselves by choosing that more available, pressured, perspective or decision, but we're imperfect.

Consider also the idea that our beliefs our like language: we learn those that we grew up with, and we do it so that we can communicate with people around us.

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