"What if I'm wrong?"
--> A question I like, especially on very touchy and personal issues.
Your first thought will probably be to say, "Well, it'd be a good thing to do anyways!" ... because that's just what people tend to do when considering being wrong.
But dig a little deeper. What if you were really wrong? Like, not just the wrong course of action, but what if your whole idea of the setup and cause and effect and payoffs and long term consequences of your actions were flawed? What if you made a serious mistake somewhere in your evaluations, and you were going to get the opposite result of what you wanted? What if you got a horrific result?
History is obvious in retrospect, but sometimes it's also obvious going forwards. If Pol Pot had stopped and asked, "Hey, what if I'm wrong and it's actually a bad idea to kill everyone who speaks a foreign language, runs a business, is educated, or has a background as an urban professional? What if I'd be permanently destroying Khmer society instead of delivering it?"
More importantly - what if French intellectuals had asked the same question in Paris. "Hmm, perhaps this Monsier Pol Pot is not such a good guy? What if we are wrong in this one?"
So, ask what if you're wrong. And seriously consider it. What if you're really wrong in your political positions? In your religious devotions? In your daily habits? In how you treat (or don't treat) people? What if you've got it backwards?
What if cracking down on crime caused a lot more crime? What if treating criminals compassionately made them more likely to go completely insane, have worse lives themselves, and ruin others' lives in the process?
What if your safe job is actually a trap?
What if your favorite food is making you fat and diabetic and killing you?
What if you're slowly killing the person you're trying to save? What if they're slowly killing you?
What if getting your preferred politics turned your society and culture into an apocalyptic wasteland?
What if your favorite leisure activity is wrecking your mind, making you stupid, and holding you back from heights you can't even imagine from where you're at?
What if being "ultra-hardcore" at the gym is likely to cause injury and destroy your strength, flexibility, and health? What if resting more actually produced larger, safer gains?
What if working less meant more production? What if working more meant better quality of relaxation and more quality of life? What if pursuing less status made people like you more? What if not shunning status let you actually accomplish meaningful and important things?
What if you're wrong?
Don't ask it too often. Second guessing too much will make you go crazy. But occasionally, really honestly...
What if you're wrong?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn left behind several uncollected short stories, one of which
I just finished reading "Being Wrong" from Kathrin Schulz. It explains why we are wrong, how we are wrong, and it shows why we have to be wrong and what good comes out of it.
Here is a TED talk at which she presents the main ideas of the book : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QleRgTBMX88&feature=feedlik
The book is fun and enlightening! She's even able to quote Socrates and Beyoncé in the same sentence...
For every belief X ask yourself:
"If X is false, what should I observe?"
"If X is true, what should I observe?"
"What do I observe?"
I draw the line at the point where I feel that asking that question once more will make me never ask the question again. In other words, if I notice that I need to eat, drink or sleep then I stop asking the question because otherwise I won't be able to ask it anymore. This also counts for pleasure and leisure, if I feel unhappy about not being able to play that new game then I am going to play it until I am satisfied. If I don't do it, if I don't play the game or watch that movie and continue asking myself if it is worth it, if it might be the wrong choice, then my unhappiness might turn into depression which in turn will make me reluctant or unable to ask that question anymore.
Becoming less wrong is just one of your preferences and needs, as a human being you also need to acknowledge and account for your other preferences and needs.
Everyone I know is terrified of air travel.
They have infinite power and zero accountability.
When you're in an airport, you're at the mercy of the people there. If they don't like what you're doing, they can do anything they want to you, and you have no recourse.
I understand the necessity of that coercive power - but such immense power requires immense accountability.
I used to play a ton of video games. Not like “a lot”of video games, I’m talking a shit ton of video games. Most of the times I played RPGs, (role-playing games, or games where you level up your character and otherwise make choices about their “development”) some, but not many, RTS’s (real time strategy, games where everything happens in real time and actions have to be constantly inputted and strategies revised on the fly. Command and Conquer anyone?) and a handful of just action/adventure games.
Note: This post is divided into two sections, first my story regarding video games and then what I learned from them, feel free to skip.
First I want to break some misconceptions about video games and gamers in general. For one they aren’t all fat, nerdy and awkward. In fact some of the coolest, chillest people I know play video games. A lot of them just do it to relax and escape, others just love to pour hours upon hours watching their characters advance. Some are “achievement whores” or gamers that spend all their time chasing numbers. Some are min-maxers, or people who through excel spreadsheets, repetitive testing and brainstorming determine what the “most effective” way to play the game is (something usually the developers only know unless they divulge a lot of information). Regardless in all these sub types I’ve met tons of people who are genuinely cool, laid-back individuals.
In almost all games I’ve played of every genre I’ve met people interested in different facets of the game. Some people like to focus more on the economy of the game and the ways the markets work. Some spend hours trying to make their character perfect, detailing every relevant piece of information and plugging it into various spreadsheets. Some focus almost solely on player-versus-player aspects and spend their time practicing in teams in order to outcompete. There is something for everybody.