25 Comments
Oct 20, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

And let me tell you that two hour drive was worth every minute!

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This is exactly the first thought I had when I finished the Kahneman book. We can't avoid biases, and whoever claims the contrary, probably has a cognitive bias bias (as you awesomely wrote). And so I thought what's the use of knowing all this stuff (and getting a Nobel Prize on it btw), if it's part of us anyway and we can't get rid of it? We always had them even when we didn't know we had them, before all the behavioral psychology studies that flooded science over the last 2-3 decades. So, my question is (and has been for a while): do we really need to know these things? As you put it perfectly, "Life can't be conquered, piece by piece. It's more like a dance."

Beautiful reflective piece, capable of unleashing a gazillion other thoughts in my mind, as always. Thank you!

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Silvio your comments always blow me away, man. Thanks for such an attentive reading.

Would love to chat more about it sometime.

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I assume we evolved our cognitive biases because they increased our chances of survival most of the time!

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No doubt the case, Chris.

Doesn't mean we can't improve our cognition, but trying to become "objective" is a fool's errand, IMO.

Thanks for reading!

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We miiiiight be able to be “objective” if we can escape the laws of quantum physics...

TLDR of the double-slit experiment: When the electrons are observed, they behave like physical particles. When they are not observed, they behave like waves.

Or maybe learn to play with the laws at least

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Appreciate the thought, Maymie! Could be, could be...

We would probably need to embrace the idea of quantum mechanics, tho.

Personally, I think the world “out there” is likely not a meaningful idea in any sense.

I know we tend to look out at the world and think “look, there it is! Easy enough!” But we know for a fact that perception is much more about narrative than objective measurement (learned this from robotics and how difficult it is to make a machine that can see without making it an emotional embodied creature).

There are other factors, too.

What is duration without consciousness, for example? What about locality? Relativity (Einsteinian)?

Sounds crazy, but lots of mainstream and brilliant physicists have grappled with this (John Wheeler)

I think the idea of an “objective” world out there, while very common to believe for modern people who have come to rely (and perhaps worship) on the outputs of science, is a strange idea in the grand scheme of things.

But, really, who knows!

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Oct 18, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

The menu of cognitive biases is even longer than your diner. Once I started looking into them, actually reading what each one is about, it put me off even attempting to escape their influence. My instinct is that you’re right, as a whole these biases serve a purpose and allow us to navigate our lives most usefully.

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I agree Rick, and life can't be conquered, piece by piece. It's more like a dance.

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Oct 18, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

You should add this line to your essay Taylor.

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I immediately take that suggestion, Rick. Appreciate your thoughtfulness.

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Oct 18, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

That comment, added right at the outset, sets the whole tone and context for your essay. Great addition and perfect placement.

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...one of the best two weeks of my life was spent 5AM-8AM at a greek diner in Mountain view sucking down coffee, eggs and potatos to avoid rush hour traffic for a contract job...reading a full newspaper each morning can really cool the brain...and something about the third sip of the fourth glass of caffeinated watery warmth brings me a smoky joy even as i sit here in the tv light of an Oakland morning just getting started...shoot, maybe i'll go to a diner today...

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...yoda brother I think you meant this as a reply to big T, not me...wanted to flag so you can properly reply to him...or maybe I misread and we do want to use this space to discuss diners...down if so...my take is that the diner can be a spa...

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Dec 7, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

You’re right! Hah so sorry.

But I did really enjoy your story. I have similar ones myself. I love a great diner, but my favorite is a cafe where I can get coffee and a pastry. Do you agree or disagree? What are the pros and cons of each? Haha

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...something about the dinginess and hidden 24 hour everytime of a diner hits me in my happy spot, but if data doesn't lie, then the habitual morning pastry run i make at one of three cafes in the bay probably prove out the latter as my monkey...great article by the way excellent curation/rebuttal/deep-dive...

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Dec 7, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

Yeah I agree that there’s something fantastic about finding a hole in the wall that has character. It feels real.

And thanks. I’m just trying to use dialectic to find the truth. I already know there are gaps in my argument. I just hope someone else can help me find them

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Oct 19, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

Curious to learn more context about the word “bias.” It’s a negative word: your tendency to see everything though a specific lens will distort you from some truth. Feels like the opposite is true too: certain lenses over-apples can be useful. Maybe the game isn’t to rid yourself of all bias, but to recursively become aware and shape your biases to steer you towards some target that’s also evolving.

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Yes, that's true. The use of "bias" is a bit tongue-in-cheek here (as you know).

The real aim, as far as I can identify it, is a radical "letting go" of the clutching need for certainty.

Understanding, for example, that the gambler's fallacy is a thing, can be good. But sometimes it shouldn't prevent you from losing 100 dollars with your brother at the table and creating a lasting bond.

I guess there are always so many opportunities in the vortex of true creativity that almost any attempt to prevent or mitigate foolishness or loss is too great an opportunity cost.

Let go into pure potential at the frontier of consciousness and let other people worry about how "illogical" you're being.

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I love a shitty diner for people watching.

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No better

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Sounds like Canter's Delicatessen on North Fairfax--a favourite for all the same reasons!

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It was Astro actually but I will be checking that one out

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I think you make good points, but are missing a key interpretation of the concept. Here’s my response:

https://open.substack.com/pub/theapocalypse/p/check-yourself-before-you-wreck-yourself

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