Things on my Mind #7


This week on things on my mind:

  1. I have new interests in the history of trust, trying to understand how social capital is gained and transferred, if at all, and conformity. Send information my way.

  2. Just how far does politics run in our lives? I have noticed the existential panic and concern of quite a few intellectuals about politics and its role in our lives today. I am genuinely agnostic on this question. Politics is obviously essential, but how important is it? It obviously affects taxes, but does it affect desire?

  3. I recently experienced one of the greater joys of my life thus far. I got promoted in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It got me thinking about a different way to conceptualize crystallized intelligence. First of all, there is a paradox in crystallized intelligence. When one becomes wise enough to dedicate their fluid intelligence to a thing, it is already in decline or has been for a while. In the same way, just when one's body becomes more intelligent, their body's reflexes become slower, and they begin to age. This hints at the fundamental dispute between jocks and nerds, street smart vs. book smart, intellectuals vs. the "working class." The major disagreement is in how much weight each side places on embodied intelligence vs. Intellectual or so-called head knowledge. I think there is a significant gender difference in preferences here, but I could be wrong about that. Obviously, there is a claim that can be made here that the answer "lies somewhere in the middle," and it would be fitting to an extent. The modern world has afforded us something that we would not have in the "state of nature": the freedom to specialize. When foraging and finding foods, it is entirely plausible that embodied intelligence is most of what we need with as much intellectual intelligence to pass down cultures and norms. That said, no matter the aggregate ratio, we should increase the value placed on embodied intelligence. This will be difficult because we have found more clear uses and compensation for intellectual intelligence than embodied intelligence. So at the margins, if faced with a choice between intellectual and embodied learning of a particular topic, choose the embodied since the intellectual complements it. For example, Lebron James' physical knowledge of a good shot is no doubt better than his scholarly knowledge of physics. Yet, he deeply understands the physics of that good shot better than the broader cross-section of humanity.

  4. Joe Rogan is still underrated as an intellectual, businessman, comedian, and public figure. One of the significant ways he is underrated is his ability to find intellectual jargons and lean in. Intellectual jargon here is a shorthand for ideas people in a field take for granted but impedes their ability to communicate clearly and fluently. Economics has a ton of these.

  5. Build reversibility into your thought processes. This means creating a portfolio of interesting and novel ideas that can be reversible if you fully adopt them. If one works, embrace it more fully. If it doesn't, implement the reversibility and discard it.


Certainty rating: 67%



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