Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rough (variable in texture) thinking

thinking can vary in texture. The emphasis and centrality of various things to take very different levels.

A conversation can take place with a flat and constant level of attention. This is what people name "full attention", the listener listens with almost the same vigor to the sneezing as to the most central aspect. He is "attentive" but not very attuned to the content.

A rough listener, will have his atention changing according to how much relevance he sees. He may not see spelling errors, because he does not look for them. He may get awakened fiercely by a highly relevant comment, and so on. This is the guy who will spring out out of what looks like sleeping and say "deal!"

Reality is rough. Things are not distributed evenly. 80% of the content of a conversation may lie in 20% of the time.

Roughness applies on many dimensions.
Attention to details. Every detail has some value. A true rough attender may somehow attend in a shallow way to seemingly irelevant details, without really thinking about them, but somewhere knowing that they have a very low level, but they are worth this low level.

The certainty of statements by him will never be binary, i.e. of 1/0 variety. They will be a continous mark that maybe 97% or 2% or many other values.

The meaning of things for him are never as clear as in the dictionary. They have complex meanings and connections. and their meaning do change according to the context.

The rough thinker will not be a careful nor a careless person. He will almost ignore the small things, but will be very serious and thoughtful in the big things. He will not, however, ignore the small things altogether, he will give them a little attention, but no more.

This is a theoretical portrait. A truly smart person will take into account the limits of the human mind. Not of the human mind, but of his own mind. We cannot be perfect and we can only make our mind smart so much. We got to be technical at times, but not too much. We must remember that the real world is not built the way our mind finds most practical to think about. Even if we give up and think in a flat way, it is a shortcut, a map. And we must not confuse the map with the territoty

When the heart has a strong tendency toward a certain decision of opinion, the rough thinker becomes especially attentive. He starts thinking a littel technically. He understands that with open mindedness, the heart has a lot of leeway to get his wants. It is much easier to fool oneself when thinking is rough. (although many managed to fool themselves no less with technical thnking and closed mindedness)

Indeed, rough thinking is a rough business.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Extreme strategies and tricks

Unusual combinations of people. Strange kinds of businesses. Unconventional thoughts, ideas and plans.

These harbor great potential. Because the usual is usually exploited.
They are also more interesting, and intriguing.

But one should be overly careful with these ways. Usually they do not work.
We do not have experience or advice from others about these crazy ways.
One got to be very smart, and open eyed with these.

Another strategy (Borrowed from Taleb) is to insure against catastrophe and then act more relaxed. Once your risk is capped from above, you are no longer afraid of failure and you can play freely.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Selective skepticism

Everything has many aspcets. One can easily delude himself to his wanted conclusion, and invoke good logical arguments.

Skepticism is also used as a route for self delusion.
When you want to avoid seeing something inconvenient, you go to "I do not know" and you are saved.

I must admit to using myself skepticism for self delusional purposes.

I suggest that one looks at what he wnats to think. When you want to conclude one way or another, take care to check the arguments that correspond to your heart's wise with more care.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If it's good take it

our culture of optimizaiton tells us to make things better and better.
Fear of mistakes leads to the search for the best possible way to do things.

Rationally, looking for the best is a huge hinderance in realistic doing. It is like weights on one's hands when doing or planning.

The rule is simple. A good deal should be taken.

The main question is whether one acts out of the willingness to get his wants, or out of fear of making a mistake or losing some bette (imagined) option.

Acting out of fear, is irrational and suboptimal, too.

The enemy of the good is the best. Hesitation for fear of maybe there is a better way, is a losing strategy in my mind and experience.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rational optimism and positive thinking

It is always a feeling of conflict between being rational and thinking positively, and optimistically.

To an extent, the conflict is there. And one may be better of fooling himself in the right places, than being always 100% rational.

Rationality can bring positive thinking to our life, too.

Most things that do happen to us, have two sides, and in every thing that we would have rather not have, there are positives. Being aware to these actual positives can bring a lot of happiness to our lives.

There is also a practical side to it. We can only get progress in life in the current. Seeing the good sides of every current situation, can help very much in seizing every opportunity we have at this cery moment. We cannot progress by seizing yesterday's opportunities.

Life is highly variable. The advantage player acts every moment to maximize what he can get from what he has now. SOmetimes it is those positives of the current situations that are the best opportunities to pursue.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Consult with the successful, and avoid taking advi e from the failures

Same principle as in Consult with happy people.

If someone is a failure, you may learn from him ways to fail. Given the ecology of advice, quesitons, etc. you cannot say I will just ocnsult about a part of life. You get the effect in the ways a failing person frames a questions, in the ideas he proposes, in the direcitons he moves your attention.

An opposite possibility is if you are a failure yourself, maybe the more relevant advice for you is that of weak and failing individuals.
I am not convinced in this. I beleive you should go for the smarter happier and more successful when needing advice.

small mistakes versus continouos pieces of a big thing

We should care about the big things and probably got to allow for mistakes in the small.

Certain small mistakes, however, must be avoided. One can nimble endlessly, and consider each bit a "small" mistake.

An interesting point is why not consider every small mistake as part of the accumulation of things in life. Certainly, it is good to do the right thing every time. But it must be assigned the right weight. There is more to it, but no mood to think now.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Consult with happy people

Intuition says that advice is for whatever it is inherently worth.

But advice contains a worldview. It has the effect of channeling your attention towards better or worse aspects of reality.

I suspect it is better to take advice from happy people. It is not just the quality of advice, but rather the approach that makes the difference.

I wonder what should one do when he feels that a depressed freind has mroe relevant and practical advice than the happy one.
Certainly, reality has value. But it is less than it seems. Because the energy element and positivity you get when talking with happy people versus the depression self-reproach and negativity you get from depressed ones, that may be much more crucial than the reality gained from a depressed "smart" guy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Theories and perceptions. Why false can be true

The words and systems we use to arrange our mind and analyze things can be wrong. Our conclusions can still be right.

Because much information can be arranged under headlines that are not exact and still be useful.

Religious people term much of their knowledge in religion related terms. "do so and so and god will help". A naive observer will think that the advice depends on beleif in god, but in reality it maybe entirely independent. He thinks this is the right thing to do, and thinks there is good chance for success. God here may mean luck.

Generally, knowledge can be stored, arranged and presented in many ways. Knowledge can be real and useful, even if its format seems fictitious and unreal.

Learn to distinguish essense from form and content form the way it is presented with.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rational rationality

Looking around, if I distinguish between the very raitonal folks and the very irraitonal, a feeling emerges that both are inferior.

Many "rational" are living quite rtechnically. Many have a storng need for control, whihc makes them acting raitonal. But htier rationality is at least partly for other emotional reasons as the need to feel that they do always the right thing and the feeling of fully ocntrolling their lives.

But the main problem is the cost that obsessive rationality has. It makes life very effortful, and also avoids and depresses natural behavior and the expression and knowledge aobut one's emotions.

This is not rational. Because the idea of raitonality is to be rational because this is the best way ot get to one;s goals, not because one has side motives.

Others enjoy the ease of not looking for control. But pay the price with not being always rational, whihc may bear a truly heavy price.

Theoretically, it is possible to be rational in the right amount. That is not trying to control everything, but for the important things to be rational (or to be moderately rational on the smaller things. That is rational with the level of thoughts and effort compatible with the issue at hand, a challenging calibration).

There are ceratinly people with more balanced kinds of rationality.

But when a person tries delibarately to be more rational, or someone wants to teach others to be rational, one must consider this complexity. That sometimes being rational comes in a toxic way.