A good argument

Arguments […] can have a great deal of force for us even if, perhaps especially if, we recoil from [the] actual positions. The better the reasoning, the more [the] work requires us—if we’re going to be honest—to pick out the step where we disagree, and to see what consequences that has for the rest of our thought.

~ Stephen E. Sachs from, https://reason.com/volokh/2021/09/30/why-listen-to-abhorrent-speech/

I do think about this sort of thing.

In my day-to-day life, I rarely encounter something abhorrent. That’s partly because of my privileged position in life, but it’s mostly because I don’t try to overreach. I don’t try to watch “everything” or keep up with “everything” and I very emphatically do not try to have an opinion on everything. But I do, sometimes, encounter things that, while not abhorrent, rise to the level of odious. Which then makes me think, “do I want to have an argument?”

Increasingly, approaching “always” these days, I don’t feel I have the energy for a good argument. That’s not a good sign.


What do you know

Read that title in the Petulant Voice. (There are the 1st-person, 2nd-person, Narrator, Author, etc. voices; I’ve always thought failure to formally recognize Petulant Voice was a major literary oversight.)

Reasoned skepticism and disagreement are essential to progress and democracy. The problem is that most of what’s happening isn’t reasoned skepticism. It’s the adult equivalent of a two-year-old throwing a tantrum.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2019/02/distrust-intellectual-authority/

As in this article, the majority of what I’ve read—in the 32 years I’ve been reading stuff on the Internet—has been about the skeptic in the skepticism/disagreement relationships. But the responsibility is actually with the side claiming authority.


Because that’s the moral high road. (The high road is always less crowded.) If one wants to hold oneself out as an authority, then one is responsible for reaching down and helping others up. (Also, is “Tortured” a recognized voice?) One is not responsible for the skeptics whose attention you do not have. But one is responsible for those whose attention you do have; Those skeptics see you. There’s your chance to do good work.


Everything is figure-out-able

No matter what challenge or obstacle you face, whether it’s personal, professional, or global, there’s a path ahead. It’s all figure-out-able. you’ll find a way or make a way, if you’re willing to be relentless, stay nimble, and keep taking action. It’s especially useful to remember when things go wrong, because rather than wasting time or energy on the problem, you shift immediately to brainstorming solutions.

~ Marie Forleo



The Scientific Revolution began in the 1500s; the Industrial Revolution not until the 1700s. Since industrial progress is in large part technological progress, and technology is in large part applied science, it seems that the Industrial Revolution followed from the Scientific, as a consequence, if not necessarily an inevitable one.

~ Jason Crawford from, https://rootsofprogress.org/relationship-of-the-scientific-and-industrial-revolutions

It seems clear to me, (and the article does not disagree,) that the the Scientific Revolution was a necessary precursor to the Industrial. So, “was it necessary?” isn’t a very interesting question.

But the question, “how did it lead to and enable the Industrial revolution?” is a very interesting question. I hadn’t thought about how, specifically, did the one lead to the other. The Scientific Revolution didn’t simply create some sort of encyclopedia of human knowledge, (spread out among all the scientists.) It did that, yes. But it also set things up for the Industrial revolution because suddenly the regular, uneducated people believed the world was knowable and believed that they could tinker, and iterate to improve things.

Which is an interesting point to keep in mind the next time I’m ready to throw my hands up in frustration at some wacky something-or-other.



If you want to be successful in business, (in life, actually,) you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.

~ Jeff Bezos


Uniquely American

That answer is that each American should be able to decide for himself, with extremely rare exceptions. But each person should also be able to decide what kinds of speech are permitted on their property. And that applies to media corporations no less than individuals. Thus, I should be able to advocate virtually any viewpoint I want. But Fox News and the New York Times should be equally free to refuse to broadcast or publish my views.

~ Ilya Somin from, https://reason.com/volokh/2021/07/08/the-case-against-imposing-common-carrier-restrictions-on-social-media-sites/

Yes in-deedy Judy! (As I’m often wont to say.) The ideas of personal property, and of freedom of speech, are of special importance to this great American experiment.



One final note: say the obvious. Sometimes we might feel that something is obviously good or obviously wrong, and so we don’t say it. Or sometimes we might have a doubt that we don’t express because the question might sound stupid. Say it—that’s okay. You might have to reword it a little bit to make the reader feel more comfortable, but don’t hold it back. Good feedback is transparent, even when it may be obvious.

~ Erin Casali from, https://alistapart.com/article/async-design-critique-giving-feedback/

If you are a human, and particularly if you ever interact with other humans, I think you’ll like this article by Casali. I’m a level-100 Technology Wizard with a sub-specialization in Explaining Things, and I found several insighs—e.g., “timing + attitude + form = respectful feedback”—that improved my integration of what I know about feedback.