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Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 22 July 2008 12:50:54PM 0 points [-]

I agree that there isn't a general pressure towards truth-telling. Just getting somewhat more truth in some limited but fraught areas has been remarkably difficult.

Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 22 July 2008 12:07:29PM 0 points [-]

Mysteries are an extremely popular pro-truth art form, but they have the limits of being fiction, and are generally not about finding out anything really surprising or painful. Offhand, I can't think of any mysteries with much about the social or psychological consequences of finding out that someone you knew and liked was murderer.

There's been increasing social pressure to tell the truth about at least some aspects of sex. The subject used to be a lot more blanked out in the public sphere.

There's a lot more truth floating around about war than there used to be. and generally (at least on the left) a lot of respect for investigative journalism. (That one may be biased in favor of some outcomes-- I'm not sure.)

Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 20 July 2008 02:18:00AM 0 points [-]

Are there people who say they're depressed because life is meaningless? I'm not an expert on the subject, but I've never heard of any.

There've been several mentions of obesity as a primary cause of depression. I haven't heard of fat people tending to be more depressed than non-fat, but maybe I've missed something. Do you mean obesity in the medical sense? That's actually just fair-to-middling fat. (See The BMI Project for what those numbers mean.) Or do you mean being incapacitated by one's weight?

Good Mood by Julian Simon might be of interest. He beat back quite a serious depression when he realized that it had roots in the way he thought.

My impression is that most depression carries thoughts of something being wrong with oneself and/or the universe and/or one's environment, but it's generally not as philosophical as a belief that the universe is meaningless.

Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 17 February 2008 04:38:51PM 0 points [-]

Vision may be the strongest tool for getting past abstraction for most people, but I recommend putting the other parts of sensory experience on the list, too.

Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 31 January 2008 05:42:03PM 2 points [-]

Is there a well-defined difference between the shape of one's mental machinery and its limited computing power?

In response to Rationality Quotes 1
Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 16 January 2008 05:06:35PM 0 points [-]

"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be". I've seen this attributed to P.C. Hodgell, but without enough detail to check on it.

In response to Is Reality Ugly?
Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 13 January 2008 03:42:15PM 0 points [-]

"Mathematics is beautiful" + "Reality is not like mathematics" doesn't add up to "Reality is ugly".

Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 12 October 2007 12:44:59AM 8 points [-]

If people are that much more trusting when they're distracted, then it's important not to multi-task if you need to evaluate what you're looking at. Maybe it's just important to not multi-task.

In response to Feeling Rational
Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 23 September 2007 05:05:12AM 9 points [-]

It's my impression that men and women are permitted somewhat different sets of emotions--men are freer to show anger, women are freer to show sadness. And that showing emotion is more permitted now than it was a few decades ago.

As far as I can tell, it's possible to be emotional (or at least fairly emotional) and logical at the same time, so long as the emotion isn't territorial attachment to an idea.

Comment author: Nancy_Lebovitz 08 September 2007 01:03:45PM 0 points [-]

Part of why the future looks absurd is that people want novelty--not absolute novelty and not all the time, but a lot of smart and weird people are working on making changes, some of which will catch on. A futurist isn't going to be smart and weird enough to predict all the possible changes being offered or which ones will have a long term effect.

It's not just that technological change builds on itself, so does social change. I don't think it was completely obvious that the civil rights movement would contribute to gay marriage becoming a serious political issue.

No matter how hard you try, you are of your time. You can expand the range of your imagination, but the future outnumbers you.

I'm still working on the question of why the future isn't just unpredictable, it's absurd. Maybe there's something about human cultures which requires limiting both what people do and what people can imagine *anyone* doing to a small part of the range of possibilities.

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