Dear Rowan, It was lovely to speak with you yesterday on the subject of writing and publishing, and how these things affect us.
In John Carpenter’s “They Live,” the main character dons a pair of shades that reveal reality, undistorted: billboards read “CONSUME,” “OBEY,” etc. I need a pair that filters out speech (especially mine) arising through herding and imitation, and not conviction and thought.
The phrase “tu quoque” means roughly, “also you” in Latin—it is the fallacy of saying, “Well you’re angry that I did X, you do Y all the time!” Tu quoques carry no more ethical meaning than a schoolchild’s comfort at not being the only one in trouble.
Anger is loud weakness.
Assume that people on the other side feel as maligned by how you think of them as you do by how they think of you; your standard arguments likely work as well on them as theirs on you; you can be right when your ideas come from only one side, but you’re likely right by accident.
5 groups for how people contribute to society: 1. neutral, 2. non-scalable builder (e.g. doctor), 3. non-scalable destroyer (petty thief), 4. scalable builder (innovator) or 5. scalable destroyer (Ponzi). How much do we stand to gain by diverting the 5s into 4s?
Machine learning systems are often mocked. They have, in fact, many qualities in common with (even smart) people: they make jumps between superficial aspects of what they’re looking at, can build something that can just about pass muster, but are, after real interrogation, unoriginal.
Christopher Hitchens, quoted from memory as I can’t find the source: “The war with irrationality and superstition will never be over; these things will return again and again, and we will defeat them, each time more profoundly than the last.”
“There are days when I miss my old convictions as if they were an amputated limb. But in general I feel better, and no less radical, and you will feel better too, I guarantee, once you leave hold of the doctrinaire and allow your chainless mind to do its own… Continue Reading
Realizing that giving is often feels better than receiving is part of growing up, as is the realization changing your mind often eclipses the satisfaction thinking the same way.