Saturday, December 2, 2023
Thursday, November 30, 2023
The first step toward accepting that some things don't compute is realizing that the reason we have innovation and advancements is because we are fortunate to have people in this world whose minds work differently from ours.
It would be great if the world worked in predictable, rational ways. But constant uncertainty, misunderstanding, and the inability to know what people will do next is the truth.
-Morgan Housel, Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Of course, I have noticed that what I think does not control the workings of the universe, doubtless a cosmic oversight of some sort. Still, it might be a good idea to think things through before undertaking them. Granted, this would be a break with tradition, but a little adventure spices up life.
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
...............with Joseph Heller's Catch-22:
Insanity is contagious.
it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.
Morale was deteriorating and it was all Yossarian's fault. The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.
There was no telling what people might find out once they felt free to ask whatever questions they wanted to.
Major Major had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.
He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.
Clevinger had a mind, and Lieutenant Scheisskoph had noticed that people with minds tended to get pretty smart at times.
The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.
History did not demand Yossarian's premature demise, justice could be satisfied without it, progress did not hinge upon it, victory did not depend on it. That men would die was a matter of necessity; WHICH men would die, though, was a matter of circumstance, and Yossarian was willing to be the victim of anything but circumstance. But that was war. Just about all he could find in its favor was that it paid well and liberated children from the pernicious influence of their parents.
He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.
Now you've given them hope, and they're unhappy. So the blame is all yours.
“From now on I'm thinking only of me." Major Danby replied indulgently with a superior smile: "But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way." "Then," said Yossarian, "I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?”
I read about the duties of the Policy Review Board I am asked to join. It "serves a critical function in this work. The Board, consisting of leading citizens with many different backgrounds, philosophies, and experiences, functions to guarantee the objectivity of the Public Agenda's work. Board members review Public Agenda projects, publications, and other material to insure that they are free of ideological bias, that they are balanced and thoughtful, and that they represent the highest level of analysis and research." Prose like that gags, doesn't it? I mean, if leading citizens with different backgrounds, philosophies, and experiences guarantee objectivity, they why isn't the United Nations objective? And are we sure we want to be free of ideological bias? Isn't a hierarchy of values valuable?
-William F. Buckley, Jr., Overdrive: A Personal Documentary
The only quality of youth I covet is their health, not their age; life is wonderful, but the thought of reliving it is altogether repelling; spiritually, and even biologically, exhausting. When the character in Catch 22 said he intended to live forever or die trying, I sensed an exalted fatalism, nicely captured by the easy superficiality of the biological paradox.
-William F. Buckley, Jr., Overdrive: A Personal Documentary
General Dreedle had thrown open Colonel Cathcart's private skeet-shooting range to every officer and enlisted man in the group on combat duty. General Dreedle wanted his men to spend as much time out on the skeet-shooting range as the facilities and their flight schedules would allow. Shooting skeet eight hours a month was excellent training for them. It trained them to shoot skeet.
Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years.
-Joseph Heller, Catch-22
...........................more proof I'm getting old. Younger investors and real estate agents are bemoaning the "high" current mortgage rates. For half of our career, we would have been thrilled with this sort of rate:
A little context:
Monday, November 27, 2023
As blogger Tim Urban describes it, your brain gets hijacked by an instant gratification monkey, who picks what's easy and fun over the hard work that needs to be done. . . .
Many people associate procrastination with laziness. But psychologists find that procrastination is not a time management problem—it's an emotional management problem. When you procrastinate, you're not avoiding effort. You're avoiding the unpleasant feelings that the activity stirs up. Sooner or later, though, you realize that you're also avoiding getting where you want to go.
............if the underlying assumptions are correct. While truly not having a clue, I'm going to hypothesize that governmental re-regulation plays a considerable role.
"Best time of the day to be out there, though. You wake up before the sun, see a new day unfold right in front of you on the water. Ain't none of us guaranteed another hour of living, don't care who you are or how much you got. Might as well get up early and enjoy what time you got left, I say."
-David Baldacci, The Edge
If you've relied on data and logic alone to make sense of the economy, you'd have been confused for a hundred years straight.
Economist Per Bylund once noted: "The concept of economic value is easy: whatever someone wants has value, regardless of the reason (if any)."
Not utility, not profits—just whether people want it or not, for any reason. So much of what happens in the economy is rooted in emotions, which can, at times, be nearly impossible to make sense of. . . .
The danger, one you see often in investing, is when people become too McNamara-like—so obsessed with data and so confident in their models that they leave no room for error or surprise. No room for things to be crazy, dumb, unexplainable, and to remain that way for a long time. Always asking, "Why is this happening?" and expecting there to be a rational answer. Or worse, always mistaking what happened for what you think should have happened.
The ones who thrive long term are those who understand the real world is a never-ending chain of absurdity, confusion, messy relationships, and imperfect people.
-Morgan Housel, as excerpted from Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes
"Well-being depends less on objective events than on how those events are perceived, dealt with, and shared with others." This subjective layer is what we want to focus on in our quest to know other people. The crucial question is not "What happened to this person?" or "What are the items on their resume?" Instead we should ask: "How does this person interpret what happened? How does this person see things? How do they construct their reality?" This is what we really want to know if we want to understand another person.
An extrovert walks into a party and sees a different room then an introvert does. A person who has been trained as an interior designer sees a different room than someone who's been trained as a security specialist.
Your mind creates a world, with beauty and ugliness, excitement, tedium, friends, and enemies, and you live within that construction. People don't see the world with their eyes, they see it with their entire life.
Cognitive scientists call this view of the human person "constructionism." Constructionism is the recognition, backed up by the last half century of brain research, that people don't passively take in reality. Each person actively constructs their own perception of reality. That's not to say there is not an objective reality out there. It's to say that we have only subjective access to it.