You spend years trying to learn new stuff but then look back and realize that maybe like 10 big ideas truly changed how you think and drive most of what you believe.
Brent Beshore recently listed the biggest ideas that changed his life. A few of mine:
Everyone belongs to a tribe and underestimates how influential that tribe is on their thinking. There is little correlation between climate change denial and scientific literacy. But there is a strong correlation between climate change denial and political affiliation. That’s an extreme example, but everyone has views persuaded by identity over pure analysis. There’s four parts to this:
Tribes are everywhere: Countries, states, parties, companies, industries, departments, investment styles, economic philosophies, religions, families, schools, majors, credentials, Twitter communities.
People are drawn to tribes because there’s comfort in knowing others understand your background and goals.
Tribes reduce the ability to challenge ideas or diversify your views because no one wants to lose support of the tribe.
Tribes are as self-interested as people, encouraging ideas and narratives that promote their survival. But they’re exponentially more influential than any single person. So tribes are very effective at promoting views that aren’t analytical or rational, and people loyal to their tribes are very poor at realizing it.
Psychologist Geoffrey Cohen once showed Democratic voters supported Republican proposals when they were attributed to fellow Democrats more than they supported Democratic proposals attributed to Republicans (and the opposite for Republican voters). This kind of stuff happens everywhere, in every (Read more...)