[FRIAM] All hail confirmation bias!

glen∈ℂ gepropella at gmail.com
Wed Jul 31 01:34:30 EDT 2019

Steve and I discussed some of this sort of thing awhile back. I argued that the loss of both individual and collective plasticity over time might be the core selection criterion.  In times of fat diversity in the environment, it's helpful to have diverse and tightly coupled estimators (thanks to Eric for bringing up Ashby again). Like a broken record, I tend to support both recreational and therapeutic uses of plasticity-increasing behaviors.

Then again, I just engaged in an argument between me, a Brexiteer, and a Remainer about the benefits of the inertia-preserving EU in times of high environmental stresses (like climate-driven migration). I see Brexit as a plasticitiy-increasing move. Yes, it will allow the UK more degrees of freedom to succeed or fail. But it also (further) opens the UK, Europe and the whole world to more bad behavior (like autocracy, organized crime, human trafficking, etc.).

On a personal level, when we crack apart our fossilized policies and habits, we run the risk of going downhill quickly ... which is kinda-sorta what I've done since my cancer therapy. Luckily, I never had any sense that my policies and habits "worked" in the first place. I've always felt like a wisp experiencing whatever, at the mercy of my surroundings.

On 7/30/19 6:38 AM, Frank Wimberly wrote:
> I mentioned that this discussion depresses me.  I felt obligated to think about why.  It has to do with banal, quotidian, personal matters.  Policies that I have developed based on beliefs held for decades no longer seem to work.  That is, they no longer serve to make me "happy".  I'm thinking of stupid things like what to do while driving or eating breakfast.  Or interacting with children (I have five grandchildren).
> I read Ortega y Gasset in fragments when I was taking Spanish classes in highschool and college.  But I don't recall being particularly impacted.
> Some of the "policies" are probably best understood as OCD symptoms but not ridiculous ones like those that involve magical thinking.  It's just that things that used to work no longer do.  The world is changing.  This all may have to do with reaching old age.  Someone suggested that my acquiring a Porsche was a sign of a midlife crisis.  I said that it was more like an end-of-life crisis.  Not that I expect to expire in the near future.  The Posche doesn't charm me the way it would have years ago.

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