“When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and public face of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, told the New York Times in December. “Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.”
I don’t have to have solid true/false answers to everything. Nor do I need to pretend such answers don’t exist. I can approach what I know directly with high probability and lower it with each step beyond experience.
Episode 040 looks at the importance of maintaining a healthy level of doubt (or skepticism) toward all of the new information you receive; why you should immediately pay back someone who conveniently took care of a group bill or expense; how every day, good, bad, worst, or best, can ultimately be beneficial; and why your vacuum’s filter is probably the cause of it not working well.
Curiosity is the greatest threat to concentrated power and prestige, so those who have power and prestige labor endlessly to create the mind-killing opposite of all curiosity. Consensus. Obedience. Being seen as “normal”, “in the know”, “respectable”.
The claim of such absolute power has been the tacit US doctrine of foreign relations since at least as far back as the end of World War Two. America emerged from that war as the world’s sole nuclear power and, unlike other combatant countries, with its wealth virtually unscathed and its industrial capacity increased rather than demolished. Its rulers saw themselves as able, and entitled, to dictate terms to almost everyone, on almost everything.
At the macro level, controlled choice manifests in policies that allow families some degree of choice over their assigned district school, as long as it meets a district’s overall enrollment distribution goals.
It would be interesting, though very difficult, to study how history changes. I don’t mean how the sequence of human events changes from the present into the future, I mean how the past changes. Since it exists only in memory from our present perspective, the stories we believe about the past are the past. But those stories aren’t fixed. They change all the time.
To everyone who gets triggered or offended by words, take some advice from the ancient Stoic philosophy: recognize your own complicity in how you react to what you hear other people say or read what they write.
Relating to new personnel in a job can be hard. When scaling happens fast or when you’re busy, it can seem unnecessary. But if you want to avoid unnecessary conflict and gain necessary wisdom with these outsiders, try “inoculating” yourself to all the different kinds of people who make up the world of business, for better or for worse.
Far be it from me to divide humankind in two, but were I so inclined, I’d divide it into those who love reason and those who are indifferent if not outright hostile to it. Members of the first group adore the reasoning process and their own reasoning faculties. The others find the process burdensome and discomforting, something that threatens long-held beliefs and intuitions.