Wednesday, March 24, 2004

my good friend Josh Fergason had a killer line tonight, in an email he sent me:

"people all are concerned with being right, rather than being factual."

It struck me that there is a real difference between the social and interpersonal valuation of being 'right', and the less popularly aimed and achieved goal of being in line with reality.

Many would be rationalists seem to be mostly concerned about provability, and having coherent backstories. but the root, the real line to follow, is being as close to the facts as possible.

It's important that we don't get into the awful trap of trying to construct our writings and thoughts in ways that are hard to show as wrong, or very fault-tolerant. It is exactly wrong. We should build our structures in unfortified, vulnerable ways. We should wear our assumptions on our sleeves. Because if we are wrong, we need to know as soon as possible.

I want to know the truth. I want to succeed. I can't do it if I spend my time trying to be right. Defending positions. You can't fight the truth while you keep using parts of it. You just waste time. If someone has a piece of the truth that you don't have, you should want them to prove you wrong, to torpedo your theory. There is no such thing as useful investment. If you are wrong, then it's to be abandoned, and the Visigoths chipping away at your city walls are doing you a favor.

We should all do as much as we can to ensure that the Romes of our thoughts and beliefs may be destroyed in a day, should they be found to lie outside the realm of facts.

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