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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Futurological Brickbats

There is nothing more pathetic than boys who strive to sound prophetic.

1 comment:

jimf said...

> There is nothing more pathetic than boys who strive to sound prophetic.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is one of those cleanly stated
insights that can at once make you feel relieved and hopeless.
It is a cognitive bias which lends confidence to ignorance.
Wikipedia compactly describes the effect as follows:

“…people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate
choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive
ability to realize it.” They therefore suffer an illusory
superiority, rating their own ability as above average.
This leads to a perverse result where people with less
competence will rate their ability more highly than people
with relatively more competence."

. . .

It is the insight behind the proverb, fools rush in where
angels fear to tread. It is the resignation behind the observation,
how do you explain color to a blind man and the metaphor
of the frog in the well. It is the paradox underlying Plato’s
allegory of the cave. My favorite example though, is from
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. If you have
not read that pensive little parable about a little Prince
traveling from planet to planet and learning the lessons of
adulthood and maturity, do so today. In it is a curious character,
the Rose, who lives securely within her own little bubble
of self-assurance, defenseless and arrogant, convinced that
her four little thorns are enough to protect her from
the universe. The Prince, who loves the rose, is left
feeling at once sad and powerless to express his thoughts. . .
The ego dilemma is the belief, against reasonable evidence,
that there is something unique contained in your ego that challenges
previous historical experience. In short, the ego dilemma would
be a perfectly reasonable assumption if you lived in a movie where
you were the main character but a deeply tricky one in the real world.

Other example ego dilemmas include believing you’re of significantly
above average intelligence, setting aside your life so that you
can “make it” as a famous actor/musician/sports star/writer, thinking
you WILL get the girl with that desperately creepy romantic gesture
or, if you’re coming here from Hacker News, assuming that your startup
has a reasonable chance of success commensurate with the effort you’re
putting into it.

The truly frustrating thing about the ego dilemma is that it tells
you nothing of any value. Recognizing that you’re caught in an ego
dilemma doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. You could, after all, be
the next Mark Zuckerberg. Someone has to be after all. But also
likely is that you’re a clueless idiot who’s utterly convinced [by]
your own fallacious arguments. We know this intellectually because
we’ve all experienced the ego dilemma from the outside, you’re
trying to convince someone that they’re just plain wrong but they
keep on returning back to what makes them SPECIAL. And if you’re
experienced it from the outside, it’s meant that someone’s experienced
it from the outside at you.

A youthful blog with youthful worries: