Quote of the week
Apply yourself to thinking through difficulties – hard times can be softened, tight squeezes widened, and heavy loads made lighter for those who can apply the right pressure ~Seneca
What I learned this week
Follow up: A model of value differences
I found this blog by coincidence on Twitter: Slate Star Codex
Scott Alexander has a really interesting method in learning: He posts articles like the one from last week, synthesizes reactions, comments and so on and the writes a follow up post with the most interesting & challenging opinions. Really cool.
In the post he essentially discusses how certain ideas move from explicit models, to experienced emotions, metaphysical models are derived and the values are endorsed based on the essence of the idea. More concretly:
One the one hand of the spectrum you have a explicit model, like counting calories and eating a certain amount of vitamins if you want to live healthy. However, we also have an intrinsic feeling, an emotion, when we feel hungry: We know that we need to take in some calories in order to function properly.
Bringing those two together, we inherently know what‘s healthy and what not, and therefore what to eat: Chips or Apples, Beer or Water,… this is what‘s meant by establishing a metaphysical model. Finally we get kind of obsessed with healthy eating (some of us more, some of us less). We endorse organic food over all others, try to squeeze as many Apples as possible into a blender and think, that we live the ultimately healthy livestyle. We become a believer in the fundamental values of the idea.
Intuitively we could now try to map this model on a spectrum of human evolution: as a child you soley rely on intuition and emotion. Simple truths work very well on you, eg. „Eating Apples is healthy“, „Immigrants take your job“, „Politicians are all curruped“
The more you get to know models about the world and about yourself, the more you dive into models and values and learn to argue about them. You are able to talk about fundamental values and learn to hold multi-faced opinions.
However – and I think this is one of the most interesting points here – how you react can very much depend on your inner believe system. We often move fluidly across the spectrum based on our inner believe system.
Example? What would you agree with?
A: Barack Obama was the president, and his opponents should have treated him with respect even when they disagreed with his policies
B: Donald Trump is the president, and his opponents should treat him with respect even when they disagree with his policies
The immigration effect can also backfire
About a month ago I wrote about Romelu Lukaku and that I think, that stories like his could help foster integration of immigrants. Well, it seems like there now is another facet to the story.
Mesut Özil, a german midfielder with turkish roots, took a picture with the Turkish president Erdogan before the world cup. The German football officials and Özil’s management didn’t communicate anything about the incident during the world cup.
Now, a few weeks later, Özil announces his retirement from the German national team and argues he didn’t take the picture out of political motives and he also didn’t do it because he particularly likes Erdogan. He criticizes the German officials and accuses them of racism.
I agree with the article linked below: The loser definitely is society, as this behavior destroys the positive image of an icon for thousands of Turkish-Germans and it confirms the negative views of the far right. It’s the best example of a childish dispute where neither side is able to take a step back and resolve the conflict in a constructive way.
Cool Thing Of The Week
Obsession Music Video from OK Go:
Videos from OK Go are always amazing. From high speed shots, to stop motion, to parabel flights – those guys know how to make watching those videos scrub your eyes…