On the difference between what is real, and what is imaginary.

So, apart from taking the time to improve the golf swing, I’ve noticed an interesting reticence amongst some people to take certain courses of action. It works like this: People get into a train of thought:

“Well if we do X, then they’ll do Y, or Z, but if they do Z, then it’ll look really stupid and embarrassing, so we won’t do X”.

My question is this: “How do you smack into these people’s heads that the chain of verbal logic they’re going through, bears no resemblance to reality whatsoever.” Here’s why:

  • You’re assuming that you know their thought processes. You don’t.
  • You’re assuming that they think the same way you do. They probably don’t.
  • You’re assuming that the outside forces of nature / chance / unknown unknowns can be discounted. They normally can’t.

And so we get people doing things for political (verbal / thought out) reasons, when sometimes the chain of logic / reasoning bears no resemblance to reality whatsoever.

Half the challenge in life is working out what’s real, and what isn’t.

For example: people who do things like PR / Advertising. The effects of PR / Advertising / Setting up a movement are statistical. That is, you’ll either convert some people to the cause, or your won’t. Convincing yourself that you can convert any one individual, or that you can rationalise individuals actions based on a widespread (relatively) nonspecific set of information or disinformation is false.

I’ve noticed that people get better at this as they get older. People in the 20-35 age bracket are really poor at telling what is genuine information from what is just hearsay, PR and disinformation. Or more particularly, even if they can verbally reason these things through, their behaviour is governed more by the group understanding, than the underlying realisty. They overestimate the credibility of hearsay, and the importance of groupthink, and they underestimate how important it is to check the facts and/or reality of the specifics. Hence: “my mate says that X” … governs their behaviour more than “x is true”.

Call me a rationalist.

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