Judging things by their outcomes

This post is beyond the contest between consequentialism and deontology, before anyone starts firing up his philosophy brain. I notice in our society there is a profound resistance to judging actual outcomes, whether it is a public program, government service, educational process, or even a workout routine. The tendency is to try to judge either the process for its own sake or to judge the intended outcomes of the process. A workout program seems fun at the gym – it’s a great program! But… did you gain strength and muscle, cut fat, or increase your athletic capacity? We can’t abandon…

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“Star Wars Fans” and created identities

Just a little follow-up to my post yesterday: Being a “fan” is no to a large part a function of identity. However, it is fundamentally different from other forms of identity, such as race, ethnicity, or religion. For ethnicity, membership is generally obvious and immutable – either you are the descendant of an ethnic group or you are not, with the only grey area being multi-ethnic individuals in some circumstances. For religion, identity is primarily how one views himself and his alignment with tradition and creed that has been passed down, and so is in most cases not up for…

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Social Proof

“Social Proof” is something you NEED to become familiar with. It’s essential if you are going to be doing any kind of marketing. What is social proof? Basically, it’s this: Other people think this, therefore it is likely to be true. If you are thinking straight away that this is a logical fallacy, just hold your objections. I’ll explain how social proof is different than an appeal to popularity. Social proof is a very fast method of judging initial likelihood of truth – A filter, more than “proof” in the logical sense. This is in the realm of induction, obviously.…

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The Material Mind – What makes a mind “alive”?

I detailed in a recent Star Wars Mandalorian analysis a rare entry into the the true science fiction space in the mighty space opera franchise. In the final episode of the first season, a droid character acts as though he is sapient, even making moral calculations, but at the same time denies that he is alive. This becomes important when the Mandalorian, who never removes his helmet in front of living beings due to an oath, allows the droid to remove his helmet and treat a life-threatening wound. This creates some dissonance with the titular character – he has come…

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What is Talent?

The word “talent” is not always used consistently in the English language. Often, it is used interchangeably with the word “skill” to denote a level of accomplishment, such as, “Michael is a talented translator.” However, most people will admit that it is something distinct from mere skill, which can be acquired. “Talent” communicates something deeper than the result of practice – something is at least partly inherent in the subject. At the same time, it is impossible to discern talent in the absence of outcomes which include skill development. Nobody will recognize the talent of an artist who has not…

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Change Something Once a Year – Growth through change and stress

As we come up on the new year, it’s a good time to talk about MEANINGFUL growth and change. 1) Growth is a response to stress. Nobody expects their body to improve by sitting around on the couch avoiding the stress of exercise. Same with intellectual and spiritual growth. There are limits to this obviously, but seeking a carefree, stress-free life will make you stagnate. Worse, it will weaken you.Don’t avoid stressful things if they are part of you reaching your goals.  2) Change something MEANINGFUL about your life once a year. Change jobs. Move. Have another kid. Write a book. The bigger…

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The 5 phases of Corporate IP Ownership

For the purposes of this discussion, “IP” means “Intellectual Property” and comprises copyright and trademark ownership – such as the ownership of franchises like Star Wars. Phase 1: Creation A lone visionary or small team create something that is an unexpected success, usually on a small budget. Phase 2: Explosion The corporation looks to capitalize on the unexpected success of the creation. They buy up the IP to make movie and game adaptations, or order sequels to quickly deliver additional products to the market. The original team is still mostly intact with increased salaries to ensure they participate in initial…

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Errors of Addition

Let us examine the two most common types of thinking errors that occur within the human mind, as I have witnessed and experienced as a writer, critic, philosopher, and political commentator. These are errors not of argument (though they can cause poor argumentation), but in understanding. The first is the error of Addition, which is where one adds information to a set of data or facts. The second is the error of Ignorance¸ in which one ignores or down-plays information that is relevant to a subject or judgment. Of these two errors, ignorance is the one that has over the…

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There is No Such Thing as a Bleeding Heart Liberal

Love of the poor. Care for the infirm. An infinite metric of the empathy of one human to another. And yet, not.   The term “bleeding heart liberal” gets thrown around from time to time, as often as not from the “bleeding hearts” themselves, but it represents nothing of the position of the American left. The belief in government assistance programs, and their targeting of the “underprivileged” in America seems to imply an excess of empathy. That excess of empathy is derided by the right and worn as a badge of honor by the left. The reality, however, is that…

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