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January 05, 2009


Characteristically inspirational. Thanks!

Just want to say I have a quibble with the first quote. I find that one of the most useful things in the world is to find someone or something that agrees with you on 90% of your beliefs and disagrees on the other 10%. I find that this makes it very difficult to dismiss them as idiots (after all, they share the vast majority of my beliefs) and makes me really examine that last 10% to see if I'm perhaps wrong on some of them.

Stirling, I agree with you 90%!

(I don't necessarily endorse everything I think is worth quoting.)


You may happen to be 90% wrong on some domain-specific things, because you didn't think about them very much, or because you started up a (popular and) deceptive blind alley. If the topic is controversial and high on your priority list to get right, it might be worth it to understand all sides who argue intelligently (according to more indirect cues), even if "obviously wrong". Seeing the argument along with a theory of its origin helps to either find its invalid source, or a crucial point on which you might have been wrong all along. Both help in reevaluating the origins of your own belief.

"That's something that's always struck me as odd about humanity. Our first response to someone's bad news is "I'm sorry", as though we feel that someone should take responsibility for all the $&#ed up randomness that goes on in this universe."
-- Angels 2200

This quote is based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word sorry.

jhl perhaps means something similar to my take on:

"Our first response to someone's bad news is "I'm sorry", as though we feel that someone should take responsibility"

"I'm sorry" is an expression of sympathy that I [we] care that the someone has had bad news. That we choose to care, not that we are responsible.

I experience this category error fairly often in everyday conversation, "don't be sorry, "it's not your fault." I wonder about the projection going on in these situations.

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