If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; … Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
I would like to offer accolades to the unsung vain females who dislike body hair and the constant need to shave. The availability and quality of powerful diode lasers has increased immensely, and the cost per watt has come within the reach of a handful of engineers such that they could achieve a remarkable milestone: www.lasermotive.com, all because diode lasers are ideal for permanently removing hair.
Because of those hair haters simple vanity, we will get out into space without the risk of blowing ourselves to smithereens (no space elevator required, the lasers themselves are enough). The technology will lead, in many of our lifetimes, to relativistic travel, which is a good one way time machine to the future, far safer than putting yourself on ice.
I seem to recall studies showing that entrepreneurs are, as a rule, irrationally optimistic. Given the odds of failure, only irrational optimists would choose to start companies. Having worked for several entrepreneurs, I can personally corroborate this result, and add that destructive narcissism seems to be overrepresented as well.
Whether innovation or conformity is more important depends on whether new ideas or social cohesion is more important at the margin. Some nations like Japan have succeeded while emphasizing maxims like, The nail that sticks out needs to be hammered down.
That the current Western perception is that pioneers like Britain or the US did well by (relatively speaking) promoting individuality over conformity does not mean that on net individuality is superior. It may well be -- in the longer run -- that the world makes more progress by emphasizing slow developing empires (cf. ancient China) over fast-growing by politically unstable systems (i.e. modern democracy). Even if this turns out to be false, are you so sure that -- at the margin -- the U.S. needs more innovation or more conformity?
The Crackpot Index
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,...Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
Yeah, that's actually the gamblers poem Robin. Throwing all my chips into the pot on my own four-fold artificial intelligence strategy;
'Emotion over Rationality’'Practice over Theory’‘Cognition as Upper Ontology’‘SAI as Teacher and Protector’
Fame and glory forever or utter humiliation, zero or hero, crank or conquistador, surfing ten thousand galxies of dark matter or washing windows at Denny's ;)
The universe or nothing.
Which will it be....Which will it be?
What exactly does it mean for something to "have to be done"? By saying this your are disregarding all sorts of useful information about the relative importance of various activities and just drawing a line at a certain level of importance disregarding all information about an activity except whether it is above or below that line.
My impression about humans in general is that confidence in one's ability to succeed is not terribly well correlated with actual ability to succeed.
If the grubbers fail, is it possible that they might learn something about themselves and succeed next time?
And what exactly can the grubbers be doing that is a better use of their time than trying out exploration?
I wonder what the many failed explorers will have thanked this thanksgiving? Those who tried to push their incorrect, contrarian ideas and lost their small but hedonically useful stash of youth, talent and money?
After reading Dan Gilbert's excellent book, stumbling on happiness, it seems that they too will be glad about the choices that they made. The mind has a way of changing its goals when the old goals are no longer plausible achievable.
Only by not trying. does failure come about. Success is in becoming.
Thanks for the disclosure.
Errr, that poem was written about a soldier, Leander Starr Jamison, and how he recovered from a disastrous defeat during the Jameson Raid into the Transvaal Republic to become Prime Minister of the Cape Colony.
Though, yes, I do agree that you are a contrarian. The fact that there is an extremely small number of people who agree with you (roughly 1000 people are currently signed up for cryonics) doesn't disprove that.
What's the difference between a contrarian and a crackpot?
Life is random. We all take credit for randomness. How would a molecule moved around by Brownian motion describe its good fortune in hooking up with a complementary molecule--through my efforts I arrived at the correct pair bonding.
My wife is a reference librarian at a city library. Many of her "customers" think they are independent thinkers. They also need a bath.
You certainly seem to think of yourself as a freethinking pioneer, and maybe you are, in fields that I don't understand. But I've been reading this blog for a while, and your views always struck me as fairly conventional (or, more properly, as conventional within a certain subculture). Most conventional thinkers think of themselves as pioneers, striving against a strawman view of some opposing, older convention.
On what evidence do you conclude that more good is done by self-fulfillment-seeking, establishment-snubbing contrarians than by grade-grubbing, workaholic conformists?
That you are the former is not such evidence. That there is a painfully cliche Western storyline favoring the former over the latter is, at best, very weak evidence.
> Soldiers, after all, help one side in a war at the expense of another side.
Still, it has to be done, the way human nature now is (not that you would necessarily disagree). And its real hard, I imagine. But anyway if it has to be done, then your comparison is a little like praising the liver over the intestine, or one valve of the heart over another valve. (I understand, though, that mankind is not like an organism; thats exactly why war exists.)
My suspicion is that most of the potential independent thinkers who have the chops to make a difference are going to go their own way without encouragement.
No need to give pep talks to them, or real rock stars, or real writers. They're gonna strike out on their own (and odds are strike out).
Those who need the boost of a pep talk are the grubbers who don't know themselves and are gonna fail.