Tag Archives: bias

The order of the soul

Our higher cognitive functions have two modes: a drive to bias nature towards certain outcomes, and an appreciation of structural symmetry in the arrangement of the universe. In standard three-part models of the soul, bias maps well onto the middle part. Symmetry maps well onto the "upper" part in ancient accounts, but not modern ones. This reflects a real change in how people think. It is a sign of damage. Damage wrought on people's souls ā€“ especially among elites ā€“ by formal schooling and related pervasive dominance relations in employment. Continue reading

Shape the query

Recently I was talking with Brienne face-to-face, and she noted that a question Iā€™d asked her would be much easier for her to answer if we were talking remotely over a text channel:

Neat thing I learned from Ben Hoffman today: If I imagine that I'm typing at a computer while I'm actually talking to someone in person, I can use my brain better than I usually can in face-to-face conversation. I think the two key thoughts here were, "How would I think about this if I were at a computer with an Internet connection?" and "Imagining seeing the question I'm trying to think about written out in text form.ā€ -Brienne

When I found out that this worked, I thought about what heuristics I was using to generate that suggestion. Here are the ones I initially came up with: Continue reading