The blog where I rant about things that should be obvious to everyone

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thinking in formulas

All of us think in formulas to some degree or another. There are different terms for it in different fields. In politics the formulas are called narratives. You have the left leaning narrative that says that if business is unregulated it will do evil things to hurt people. You have the right wing narrative that the free market can solve basically anything. These are basically just formulas that replace thinking. Business = greedy/evil. Free markets = everybody benefits.

In life style choices, the formulas are called scripts. One such script is the main one taught to our youth, which is that if you work hard in school and go to college and you will get a good job. In the alt-right sphere the script goes more like this: quite your job in the corporate prison, become self employed, and you can have more wealth freedom and happiness while you travel around the world.

To some extent I believe that formulas are necessary because to think through everything and question everything simply takes more brain power than most of us have. And there are some formulas that are pretty good and serve the people who use them well. For example Vox Day has the formula that if a scientist comes on the news and presents scientific conclusions without showing the science but instead relies on their authority as a scientist that you can conclude that their claims are false. That is how he reconsigned early on that global warming was a farce. The formula I used was that any scientific claims that are used to back radical liberal agendas are probably false.

The down side is pretty obvious. A lot of formulas out there that people commonly use are not only wrong, but very, very wrong. But even worse there are a lot of formulas out there that are right 90% of the time. One such formula that I have, that recently lead me astray, was the idea that liberal protests are just wrong, only existing because it is necessary to substitute group think for actual thought to reach their absurd conclusions. I'm not alone in having this formula, but recently in the case of the Occupy Wall Street movement, it was wrong. The fact of the matter is that the anger directed at Wall Street is justified. Thanks to the alt-right blog sphere I did catch on pretty quickly, but I know lots of people who have not. It was actually kind of funny to hear Sean Hannity interview some of the protestors. There was one where the protestor kept listing grievances and Sean kept saying that he agreed with that, but it didn't matter he kept having to try and twist it because the crowd as a whole was not protesting Obama.

The point is that even though some formulas can be good, you always have to recognize them for what they are not get attached to them, because chances are that sometime one of your formulas is going to be wrong, and if you are not able to let go of your formula driven conclusion you'll be a fool.

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