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Treat Yourself Rationally

You can't tell whether an idea you have is an irrationality or a good idea until you resolve the conflict between it and your other ideas (the conflict is the thing that's making you suspect it's an irrationality).

If you declare something an irrationality, you're saying you already know the answer to the conflict. You're predicting what your answer to the conflict will be. But as DD has explained, the growth of knowledge isn't predictable (if you could predict the answers, then you'd already know them – there's no way to predict something is the right answer without knowing it's the right answer).

Kate asked about this:

what does it mean to resolve the conflict when we are talking about complex inexplicit static memes? is it once the meme is totally gone, then you say the conflict is resolved?

the conflict means: you have some ideas and some other conflicting ideas.

so, a disagreement. a conflict of ideas.

some people label one side of this disagreement the static meme side, then assume from the start that the goal is to make that side lose. they see it as the false bad side.

but you shouldn’t pre-judge disagreements like that. that approach is irrational.

the conflict is resolved when your truth-seeking arbitration process comes up with a win/win outcome which all sides of the disagreement prefer.

the point is: you have to deal with all disagreements by the normal methods of reason. don't assume one side is the static meme side and then treat it like an enemy combatant and start making exceptions to reason.

(I originally wrote this in 2015. I made minor edits.)

Elliot Temple on June 19, 2021


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