Friday, March 5, 2010

Catching up to my hand written journal

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - DECEMBER 09: A delegate ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Catching up on my notebook, notes on: indulgences, financial assets, sovereign default, hierarchy, responsibility, free will, reason or excuse, interruption, implementation intentions, Keith E. Stanovich, Peter Gollwitzer, outrage porn, proselytizing, BRAC, Fazle Hasan Abed, enjoyment, rationality

In theory, each one of these points could be a blog post, but I have to clear out my notebook, so consider these placeholders.

Note 1: Adam Carolla and loving Red Wine

Adam Carolla talking about red wine.  He loves it so much, that he takes great pains not to abuse it, so he will never risk having it taken away from him forever.  This should be how I treat a lot of the things I eat and drink, like beef jerky, sweets, coffee, Monster Energy drinks.  Taken to an extreme, this could include internet porn and masturbation.  Some days later, the Upright Citizen's Brigade hosted the Adam Carolla podcast, and Ian Roberts talked about binge eating and binge drinking.  Using Carolla's advice, the pleasure you derive from eating and drinking should make you careful not to binge, because that is a path where others could rob you of those pleasures through rehab!

Note 2: Really existing financial assets, and what low interest rates and sovereign default really mean.

The Economist, October 10th 2009, p 76, Buttonwood - The Nature of Wealth.  (subscription only)

[paraphrasing] Financial assets are not "wealth", but a claim on future real wealth.

My idea, to develop more later, is that "really existing" financial assets:

1) Pay interest as a reward for an obligation, under pain of punishing penalty, to not withdraw before a maturity date.

2) When a withdrawal is made, it is in chits that can only be used in a regularly scheduled auction of a fraction of outstanding assets that cannot risk drastically devaluing the whole.

3) Unused chits have a severe negative interest rate.

3) Transparency in preparation for future potential obligations is the only basis of relative soundness.

Under this scheme, paper money and a central bank goal of low interest rates is an appeal to the animal spirits of the monied masses, to make as much wealth as possible available for manipulation by bankers.  During "normal" times, this works very well to make capital available to those who will use it best, but, this is unsustainable, and so there is a predictable cycle of crashes by way of sovereign default, on the order of every 200 years or so.

Gold backed money is not a solution, because all you have done is added a superfluous level of indirection (you cannot eat gold), and you have denied the central bankers the ability to come arbitrarily close to a crash from time to time, while avoiding devastation of the full crash.  The gold standard is like an airplane designed to explode if it comes within 200 feet of the ground without an airport runway underneath.  The knowledge of the explosive charges will force the pilots to fly with more care, but no human could condone killing people when there is even a small chance of a maneuver for restorative assent.  So the cycle is 200 years between sovereign default with paper money, instead of every 225 years on the gold standard, with the gold standard assuring that 120 years out of the 225 are lived in sheer terror and deprivation.

Note 3: No right to the desired outcome, only a right to the prerequisite work

I forgot I already wrote this up:

Note 4: Is my current action or inaction in opposition to any conceivable personal hierarchy of values and goals?

I am lying in bed.  I want to stay in bed.  I know, rationally, that my current inaction is in opposition to any conceivable personal hierarchy of values and goals.  So get out of bed now, dummy.

Note 5: It is not free will, it is a motivating sense of responsibility, that is the thing.

Because free will does not exist.  It is being hunted down the same way scientific inquiry hunted down vitalism [ ], or the supernatural origin of man, or the supernatural origin of the world, or miracles, or the Jesus of the Scriptures, or primitive gods demanding sacrifice, etc.

But we need to explain differences in outcomes, so we care about a motivating sense of responsibility, and the rigor that demands to perform due the responsibility.

Note 6: Is what I am currently doing or not doing have a reason or merely an excuse?

Always because of reasons, never time to entertain excuses.

Note 7: To do right by a hierarchy of values and goals, you need the ability to interrupt merely coping or distracting activities.

Maybe to mentally visualize the interruption process, as practice.  Also, Peter Gollwitzer's implementation intentions - "mark the cue-action sequence with the conscious, verbal declaration: "when X occurs, I will do Y"."  [ from Keith E. Stanovich's What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought, page 200, referring to Gollwitzer P M 1999 Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54, 493-503. Gollwitzer P M, Schaal B 1998 Metacognition in action: The importance of implementation intentions. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 124-136 ]

Note 8: Avoid Outrage Porn

So many left-wing websites are simply outrage porn.  I am attracted to them because I agree with the viewpoint, but it is nothing but a coping mechanism for anxiety and a distraction.  No time for outrage porn.

Note 9: Free Will as a very scarce resource

To describe the process of enforcing motivating sense of responsibility, we use the language of "free will", without making any claim about free will existing (good thing, too, because it doesn't).

The moments when we take responsibility to rise above the constraints of situation, we call this a moment when we can exercise free will.  These moments are few and far in between.  They can be imagined as a single spark of energy & life.  What a terrific sin to squander them!

Note 10: Proselytizing for Rationality is very suspect.

If you have an agenda for rationality, your first subject should be yourself.  Your energies to make yourself more rational will never find a satiation.  So proselytizing to other for the cause of rationality is suspect, and probably a way to excuse yourself from the rigors of rationality.

Note 11: BRAC - Fazle Hasan Abed

The Economist p60 Feb 20th, 2010 "BRAC in business" - Fazle Hasan Abed has built one of the world’s most commercially-minded and successful NGOs


In a book on BRAC entitled “Freedom from Want”, Ian Smillie calls it “undoubtedly the largest and most variegated social experiment in the developing world. The spread of its work dwarfs any other private, government or non-profit enterprise in its impact on development.”

BRAC pays far more attention to research and “continuous learning” than do most NGOs. David Korten, author of “When Corporations Rule the World”, called it “as near to a pure example of a learning organisation as one is likely to find.”

Note 12: Failure of hierarchy of values and goals with perverse outcomes in the particular case

I have no idea what I meant here.  Just typing what I wrote longhand.  I think I already spoke to this above - I think it is more of not tolerating any coping or distraction that cannot possibly be congruent with any possible personal hierarchy of values and goals.

[ Edit 3/8/10 ]
I remember now.  Must have just woken up when wrote that in notebook.  It means that indulging in something that is in violation with any possible reasonable hierarchy of values and goals, will lead you to a place where you are denied the opportunity to every indulge in that thing ever again.

Note 13: Reason & Rationality follows Responsibility

I already spoke to this above.  Typing what I wrote longhand: More important than free will is self imposed burden of responsibility and confidence in being able to make meaning choices followed by meaningful commitment followed by meaningful action.

Just realized: I have a "duty" to enjoy myself, under my so-called "self imposed burden of responsibility", or else I just will not do it.  Hey, man, have fun, keep fun close, Mister Responsibility Man.

OK, Reason & Rationality follows Responsibility, got it - what then IS reason and rationality?

1) Avoid failure modes & make progress toward achievement of goals consistent with values.

2) Remove the contradictory from the set of goals & values

3) Improve the consistency of the goals and values, using every new situation as an opportunity to do such.

That is it!  Up to date dumping out notebook!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: