A book fucked me over when I was 12.
The book in question is called “Boys & Science”. It had questions such as “Could humans live forever due to new advances in tech?“. The answer was a clear and hard no. They even claimed there was a hard limit around 120-150 years.
I was fascinated by this book. It was like the bible to me. It had a scientific tone and the writers were convincing.
When I got older, I learned 2 things:
- Never say never
- Scientific facts change
We’re hardwired to learn from our parents and teachers. It’s called reasoning by analogy or what Tim Urban calls being a “cook”.
This was useful for the first 99% of human existence. There were almost no tech advances back then. When your mother told you “Don’t eat that berry or you’ll die”, she was probably right.
But now, when we’re a bit further along the exponential curve of tech advancement, the things your parents or teachers tell you are outdated.
Hell, even the books you’re reading right now are probably outdated. And it’s only going to get worse.
When my mother tells me “Don’t buy Bitcoin”, there are a few reasons why I shouldn’t trust her judgement:
- She doesn’t know how it works
- The rules she applied to succeed might no longer be relevant
- She operates from a different frame of mind
- Society has changed completely in the last 30 years
A better way to go about it is reasoning from first principles. This is what Elon Musk does and what Tim Urban calls being a “chef”. It means building a rationale from the ground up, based on smaller building blocks.
Old truths change. Society is radically different from even just 5 years ago. The true interconnectedness of the Internet has changed everything. Would anyone have predicted Trump? The Brexit? The alt-right? Kanye? North Korea peace? Redpillers? Incels? Cryptocurrencies? Smartphone addiction? Snapchat? Retail stores scared of Amazon? FAMGA dominance?
Reasoning from first principles is hard and I’m lazy. That’s why, in this post, I do not present any original ideas. I blindly copied the ideas proposed by Tim Urban and Elon Musk and reworded them. Oops.