Hi Guys! It’s been a long time… almost a year.
I know I’ve been bad… but I have a good excuse.
I have been busy starting my own business. It’s called BD as a Service. I resigned from my previous job at the end of January 2019, officially launched in May and (hopefully) am firmly on my own two feet now. It has been a great experience… and my last article played a big role in getting the courage to get there.
Having re-read my website recently, I thought that I needed to return to it – as much for my readers’ sake as for my own. I have missed my own little place in cyberspace. I write to help people, but sometimes the thoughts I expressed in the past help me. An article I wrote two years ago reads like an article from another person (maybe because I have bad memory). It’s a lot of fun, reading what you wrote while not remembering you wrote it.
As we haven’t spoken for a long time, I want to tell you what I’ve been reading. One of my favourite bloggers Tim Urban published an epic article series called The Story of Us. This is basically a book, based on the amount of the content he generated. And a very interesting book.
Three things stuck in my head in particular (and it goes without saying that I fully recommend reading the series – it’s truly fascinating).
- We have a ‘guardian’ in our head, figuring out what information we can and cannot trust. The guardian trusts direct experience (e.g. you see someone dying from AIDS, you know that AIDS exists). However, direct experience learning is very inefficient and rare. The guardian makes a judgement on whether to believe the information he gets from other people. And, of course, it works better in some people than in others.
- People are different not only in what they believe in but also in how they acquire their beliefs and move from one belief to another. Urban introduces 4 types of acquiring and sustaining beliefs – the scientist, the fan, the lawyer and the zealot. The scientist will move to any point of view that’s backed by evidence. The fan really wants his team to win, and that clouds his judgement, but he doesn’t want to cheat and won’t ignore the evidence if it gets through his somewhat biased vision. The lawyer does not question his belief, but rather seeks to justify it. And the zealot thinks everyone who questions his opinion is mad.
- Freedom of speech is how societies think. If societies are allowed to freely express opinions, they will eventually sort right from wrong. There have been people in history passionately defending slavery as a God-given order. It’s not clear from today what the values of tomorrow will be, and more likely than not 50 years later we will be repulsed by the things we used to believe in. So, hearing people express outrageous views is the price we have to pay – one of these things that sound outrageous today may turn out to be the norm in 50 years.
That’s all I have to say for now. Watch the space… and come back again. I know I will.