Things on my Mind #11 - The Underdiscussed edition


  1. One of the more underrated skills of the modern infovore is style switching. We, presumably, used to do this in times past. The style of different authors was significantly distinct, and thus, an infovore had to have the skills to consume that information; think Dickens vs. Dostoyevsky. However, in Victorian times, people read Victorian literature. Thanks to globalization, matching technologies, and the gains from trade, this has changed. Today, an infovore not only has to commit sufficient time and attention span to each domain but also the ability to switch between an article in a popular mainstream media news source, a journal article in (and out of) their field of interest, and some Edgar Allen Poe (and his romantic contemporaries.)

  2. Social conversations fail at the margin of exit. In other words, how to exit a conversation smoothly is under-discussed. Here's the rough model I use.

  3. When in doubt, err on the side of abruptness. This is mostly for signaling and, weirdly, keeps the conversation you had with the individual in their mind.

  4. At the natural end of a conversation, limit ending courtesies to two sentences on each side. "Have a good one, you too." More to this, at the margins, never try to be the last person to talk. This is especially true after Covid and zoom meetings.

  5. In the cases where time is the primary constraint, being explicit never fails.

  6. Is Christianity optimistic or pessimistic about the human endeavor? My intuition is that it is more optimistic in the old testament than in the new testament (post on this in the future.)

  7. One under-discussed aspect of human conversation is how much of an initial point describes the matter we are too nervous to share. We fear that if we directly state what is in our minds, most conversations won't extend beyond a few sentences. The same claim is analogous to the discussions had about writers writing too many words to express a single simple idea.

  8. Another under-discussed social norm is the norm of knocking. How do I knock? How many times do I knock? When does knocking become annoying? This is quite confusing to me. For now, we should all follow the "modest double knock" as Dickens described.

Certainty Rating: 66%



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