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A lot of the “wisdom” I’ve “gained” with age is the kind of wisdom that helps me channel James C. Then I realize it’s considered low-status and cringeworthy.
Scott instead of Richard Dawkins; how sure am I that this is the right path? Then I make a principled decision to avoid saying it – or say it only in a very careful way – in order to protect my reputation and ability to participate in society.
Or that eight years ago I was in a place where having Richard Dawkins style hyperrationalism was a useful brand, and now I’m (for some reason) in a place where having James C.
Scott style intellectual conservativism is a useful brand.
I remember when I was twenty, I thought the only reason adults were less utopian than I was, was because of their hidebound rose-colored self-serving biases.
Pretty big coincidence that I was wrong then, but I’m right about everyone older than me now.
It’s not just that it’s badly written, or that it uses an ill-advised Nazi analogy.
It’s that it’s an impassioned plea to jettison everything about religion immediately, because institutions don’t matter and only raw truth-seeking is important.
Intuitively, going back to earlier habits of mind would feel inherently regressive, like going back to drawing on the wall with crayons. We’ve been talking recently about the high-level frames and heuristics that organize other concepts.Wisdom seems like the accumulation of those, or changes in higher-level heuristics you get once you’ve had enough of those. ten years ago and notice I’ve become more cynical, more mellow, and more prone to believing things are complicated. Less excitement about radical utopian plans to fix everything in society at once 2. More concern that I’m wrong about everything, even the things I’m right about, on the grounds that I’m missing important other paradigms that think about things completely differently. Less hope that everyone would just get along if they understood each other a little better. Less hope that anybody cares about truth (even though ten years ago I would have admitted that nobody cares about truth). But most of them are in the direction of elite opinion.Or is it just a more stable, more thermodynamically-preferred state than innocence?And if I accept my intellectual changes as “gaining wisdom”, shouldn’t I also believe that old people are wiser than I am?
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And old people mostly seem to go around being really conservative and saying that everything was better in the old days and the youth are corrupt and Facebook is going to be the death of us.