Why Are We The Way We Are?
A conversation with Chris Williamson
I claimed in my last update that I’d start writing shorter articles so I could publish more regularly, but the first of these “short articles” went out of control and has ended up ballooning into a colossal 7-part epic. I’m not complaining, though; I love what it’s become, and can’t wait for you to read it. It’ll be published soon.
In the meantime, I recently appeared on the Modern Wisdom podcast to talk with one of my favorite people, Chris Williamson, about some of our favorite concepts. This is my fifth appearance on Chris’ show because I find him to be as enjoyable as he is enlightening.
Some of the ideas we discussed include:
Dysrationalia: Just because someone is intelligent, doesn’t mean their intelligence is pursuing intelligent goals. Many genius-level intellects operate in the service of idiotic delusions.
Gibson's Law: In matters of law and policy, anyone can find a subject-matter expert who supports their view, because having a PhD doesn’t necessarily make someone right, it often just makes them more skilled at being wrong.
Mismatch Theory: Moths evolved to navigate by the moon, a good strategy until the invention of electric lamps, which now lead them astray. Equally, humans evolved to be tribal, a good strategy until the Digital Age, where it now leads us to act like polarized goons online.
St. George in Retirement Syndrome: Many who fight injustice come to define themselves by their fight against injustice, so that, as they defeat the injustice, they must invent new injustices to fight against simply to maintain their identity.
Idiocy Saturation: Online, people who don't think before they post are able to post more often than people who do. As a result, the average social media post is stupider than the average social media user.
If, after watching this, you somehow haven’t tired of me, I recently had a conversation with my friend, the writer Mia Ashton, for Public News. Mia wrote a compelling Twitter thread suggesting that the surge in young girls identifying as trans is part of a social contagion, a suspicion that I share and allude to in my article, the Pathologization Pandemic. We discussed this, wokeism, audience capture, and irrationality in general. The conversation is paywalled (for now) but can be found here.
That’s it for now. If you want to keep up to date with my best day-to-day thoughts, check out the Notes section. And if you want to read what I suspect is my most useful and entertaining essay yet, stay tuned…