While assessing the "things on my mind" series, I noticed that I make quite a number of normative claims without offering explanations or justifications for them. This is for two reasons. The first is length considerations. Each "Things on my mind" is meant to give you quick thoughts about specific ideas I had during the week, and it seems to be a hit. The second is that most of the "things on my mind" are my intuitions and curiosities and writing them down allows me to explore them in later posts. In "Things on my Mind #5," I alluded to the importance of tracking intellectual growth. Here's an exploration of that claim. The claim is this: intellectual markers are necessary for growth, and intellectual development is a good thing.
Intellectual markers are crucial not as an end in themselves but as a means to an end (the end being intellectual growth.) These markers are only valuable when they are revisited. Most of the time, the markers of sufficient emotional influence take conscious personal effort to establish. A classic, low-stakes example of this is underlining a sentence in a book you either read or are reading. On rereading, Victor Brombert says:
Only this time I wondered: Why did I underline this sentence or line? It's the next one that is important! Clearly, my way of reading the text had shifted, and I myself had changed over the years.
This is true, especially in one's values and the decisions through which they manifest themselves. Just like Brombert did, one inevitably finds that a change occurs over time from marking to revisiting. Value changes when you revisit the value. One notices that they either have a deeper appreciation and understanding of said value, or their view on the value morphs into a more evolved form. The change one gets comes from a combination of two things: expectations and growth. This is why an aversion to decision-making for fear of making mistakes is ultimately the wrong course of action. One robs themselves of development and the joy of noticing themselves grow if they fail to utilize markers. Intellectual markers not only show you how much you've grown, but they also show you how much you've stagnated as well. These markers are important because they simultaneously delineate the metrics for success and failure for a future version of yourself that you hope recognizes the version of you that you currently are.
Certainty Rating: 70%