His father gave him a pocket watch in his early teens. At 15, Ford dismantled and reassembled the timepieces of friends and neighbors dozens of times, gaining the reputation of a watch repairman. His father expected him to eventually take over the family farm, but he despised farm work. He later wrote, "I never had any particular love for the farm—it was the mother on the farm I loved.
Why does this happen? How can smart people take up positions that defy any reasonable logic? So if nothing else this essay serves as a kind of personal therapy session.
Majoring in logic is not the kind of thing that makes people want to talk to you at parties, or read your essays. But one thing I did learn after years of studying advanced logic theory is that proficiency in argument can easily be used to overpower others, even when you are dead wrong.
If you learn a few tricks of logic and debate, you can refute the obvious, and defend the ridiculous. Opportunities for this are rare: It can be easier for smart people who have a habit of defending bad ideas to change jobs, spouses, or cities rather than honestly examine what is at the core of their psyche and often, their misery.
Short of obtaining a degree in logic, or studying the nuances of debate, remember this one simple rule for defusing those who are skilled at defending bad ideas: Simply because they cannot be proven wrong, does not make them right.
Most of the tricks of logic and debate refute questions and attacks, but fail to establish any true justification for a given idea.
Death by homogeny The second stop on our tour of commonly defended bad ideas is the seemingly friendly notion of communal thinking. The power of peer pressure is that it works on our psychology, not our intellect.
As social animals we are heavily influenced by how the people around us behave, and the quality of our own internal decision making varies widely depending on the environment we currently are in. Try to write a haiku poem while standing in an elevator with 15 opera singers screaming 15 different operas, in 15 different languages, in falsetto, directly at you vs.
That said, the more homogeneous a group of people are in their thinking, the narrower the range of ideas that the group will openly consider. Some teams of people look to focus groups, consultancies, and research methods to bring in outside ideas, but this rarely improves the quality of thinking in the group itself.
Those outside ideas, however bold or original, are at the mercy of the diversity of thought within the group itself. Focus groups or other outside sources of information can not give a team, or its leaders, a soul. A bland homogeneous team of people has no real opinions, because it consists of people with same backgrounds, outlooks, and experiences who will only feel comfortable discussing the safe ideas that fit into those constraints.
If you want your smart people to be as smart as possible, seek a diversity of ideas. Find people with different experiences, opinions, backgrounds, weights, heights, races, facial hair styles, colors, past-times, favorite items of clothing, philosophies, and beliefs.
Unify them around the results you want, not the means or approaches they are expected to use. On your own, avoid homogenous books, films, music, food, sex, media and people. Be in the moment and be open to it. Until recently in human history, life was much less predictable and we were forced to encounter things not always of our own choosing.
We are capable of more interesting and creative lives than our modern cultures often provide for us. If you go out of your way to find diverse experiences it will become impossible for you to miss ideas simply because your homogenous outlook filtered them out. Thinking at the wrong level At any moment on any project there are an infinite number of levels of problem solving.
Part of being a truly smart person is to know which level is the right one at a given time. But as ridiculous as this scenario sounds, it happens all the time.
Some call this difference in skill wisdom, in that the wise know what to be thinking about, where as the merely intelligent only know how to think. The Christic Institute was given an unprecedented million-dollar fine for daring to bring the lawsuit.
See a brief description of what happened to them in Jonathan Vankin and John Whelan's 50 Greatest Conspiracies of all Time, pp. Being a guy who writes science fiction, people expect me to be well-informed about the current state of the field—as if I'm a book reviewer who reads everything published in my own approximate area.
(This is a little like expecting a bus driver to have an informed opinion on every other form of. I came across your blog post while looking for a definition of passion that would make sense to students in grades 4 through 8 who will be asked to write a short essay (2 typed pages) on: What are you passionate about?
Jul 31, · An Online Tagalog - English Dictionary Learn Tagalog or Filipino Language for free. George Orwell once said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Applying it for our purposes leads to the following: in a time where anti-America agendas are wrecking the country, ideas or individuals who are consistently attacked must therefore lead to a stronger America.
One of the treats of my role at LSE is luring in some great development thinkers to lecture on Friday afternoons, and then sitting in to enjoy the show. Stefan Dercon came in just before the Christmas break and was typically brilliant, witty and waspish.
Particularly enjoyable from an outgoing DFID chief economist (as well.