Say What You Want

lots of guys feel the need to give the girl the explicit option to decline sexual escalation. and this is encouraged by e.g. “anti-rape” feminists.

if she says time to go, and you say “you gotta kiss me first”, you are not forcing her. she can decline. she still has the option to decline. i bet you she knows how to say “haha no thanks” or many other things.

this applies to other stuff too. if you say “pay me $200/hr for this”, you don’t have to say “or if that doesn’t work for you, you could negotiate a lower rate”. they have the option to try to negotiate a lower rate without you telling them. it’s not your responsibility to suggest to them that they counter-offer. and it’s not your responsibility to suggest to a girl you want to kiss that she consider the “no” option in addition to the “yes” option.

not explicitly telling people they can say “no” is not force, it’s not rape, it’s not aggression. it’s perfectly reasonable.

bringing up the options you don’t want people to do just communicates you think there’s some reason they should or will seriously consider them. you are encouraging people to say now. you communicate there is something wrong with your proposal and/or you lack confidence and/or you are really passive/beta (it’s actually possible to be confident that saying “want to have sex? or also want to not have sex? your choice!” is the right and morally best thing to do. it’s very rare to be totally confident and say that, but a mix of partly lack of confidence and partly thinking it’s morally right is common.)

phrasing matters. if you think it doesn’t, then why do people resist saying “do X” instead of “would you like X, or not?” all resistance on this topic is because people are aware it matters. but it’s merely being assertive, not aggressive. it’s making a judgement about what should happen next and saying so, rather than asking the other person to decide for you. it’s good to make decisions yourself and doesn’t stop people from saying “no” if they want to. lots of people, especially girls in a dating context, would rather that you judge and they only have to think or take charge if a problem comes up, but by default you make good judgments and they go along with it. be the person who makes good judgments, instead of another person who is scared to think and decide and say so.

Ironically, lots of people only argue their side in what's supposed to be a truth-seeking, objective discussion. They look at things one way and try to say why their side is right, and other sides are wrong. But they don't think through what's good about alternative ideas and what's bad about their own idea. They are biased. But then when it comes to social interaction, a lot of people start being more broad minded – instead of only saying what they want, they also bring up alternative ideas they don't want.

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Dominique is Realistic

People often complain that Ayn Rand's characters are unrealistic. This is false. There are various reasons they are confused including denial and evasion about what the world is actually like, and trying to instead believe fantasies.

There is something about Dominique, from The Fountainhead, which is uncommon but not unrealistic. I see why it confuses people. Her actions in the book, like marrying people she dislikes, strike many readers as fantastical. They are missing the point. Dominique's ideas are not fantastical. Many people have stranger ideas. What's unusual about Dominique is that she actually lives according to her ideas. While making major life choices according to one's ideas is uncommon, it's not unrealistic or impossible.

Most people have all kinds of strange ideas. Actually it's much easier for them to have bizarre, weird, or extreme ideas, because what difference does it make? Since they don't live by their ideas, they have less incentive to work on making the ideas any good. Most people, whatever they think, won't stray too far from what's normal. To them, thinking is a bit of a game, but when it comes to the important things in life, they conform. Dominique doesn't.

People think Dominique's ideas set her apart, but it's the part where she actually acts on them that's key. Plenty of people would stand out even more if they actually lived by their own ideas.

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Public Privacy and Cafes

People go to cafes for privacy, for time alone to themselves.

How can that be? Cafes are public, they have lots of people. These cafe visitors have homes with fewer people.

Most people share their homes. They have a spouse, kids, parents, siblings, roommates, something.

At a cafe there are more people, and there's less space for you, and there's some noise. You don't have all your stuff just a few portable things.

But strangers are less distracting, because you think of them less, you care what they think or what they're doing less. Strangers exist less in your mind, so you can be more alone around strangers, even if there's more people. How alone you are in your mind, in your attitude, in your psychology, is more important than physically.

Another reason people visit cafes is to get away from their stuff to avoid temptation. They want to force themselves to do something, so they remove some other options. Their choice to do it, and their lifestyle, don't match up very well. Rather than becoming a more harmonious person, they use crude manipulation such as going to a different building which doesn't have their TV.

People also visit cafes during breaks at work when they aren't near their home. Partly this speaks negatively about their work environment, and partly their co-workers have more attention in their mind than the strangers at the cafe.

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Corrupt Clintons

Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department.

Who, at this point, is really surprised?

If you are, educate yourself. Ann Coulter explained what the Clintons are like in 1998. You have no excuse not to know. Here are a few hints Coulter gave us 17 years ago:
Back in 1992 Clinton promised America “the most ethical administration in the history of the Republic.” Of course, he also promised a middle-class tax cut. In any event, having warmed to the theme that he, Clinton personally, was virtue and goodness personified, his 1996 campaign ran a commercial that oozed, “As Americans, there are some things we do simply and solely because they’re moral, right, and good.” His campaign could afford slapstick commercials like this one because of the extensive White House coffees and Lincoln bedroom sleep-overs for major campaign donors during his first term in office.
Besides many coffees marked as being attended by POTUS (President of the United States), documents show others denoted as FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) [...]
In 1995 and 1996 alone, the White House, in cooperation with the DNC, held at least 103 coffees for 358 selected guests. These meetings, held in the White House Map Room, generated $27 million for the Democratic Party (that’s an average of more than $75,000 per attendee). Typically, each coffee was budgeted to raise $400,000 in contributions.
When Clinton’s deceased-parents excuse for turning the White House into a very pricey bed-and-breakfast disintegrated under a mound of White House memos, damage control from the White House was just as frantic as the fund-raising had been. (Maybe it was all that coffee.) White House Deputy Counsel Lanny Davis said, “We don’t sell access.”
Federal law—if not the Clinton administration—seeks to separate political fund-raising from public policymaking. It is a federal crime to solicit or receive campaign contributions on federal property.
This federal crime is just a tiny little slice of what the Clintons are like. If for some reason you haven't already, educate yourself and read the whole book.

With the Clintons, everything is for sale. Pretty cheaply.

As a quick aside, Ann Coulter has a bad reputation which was falsely created by her political opponents. She is actually a world class scholar.

Another author, Ayn Rand, offered some warnings about these issues. Atlas Shrugged (my emphasis):
Orren Boyle made a selfless sacrifice to the needs of others. He sold to the Bureau of Global Relief, for shipment to the People's State of Germany, ten thousand tons of structural steel shapes that had been intended for the Atlantic Southern Railroad. "It was a difficult decision to make," he said, with a moist, unfocused look of righteousness, to the panic-stricken president of the Atlantic Southern, "but I weighed the fact that you're a rich corporation, while the people of Germany are in a state of unspeakable misery. So I acted on the principle that need comes first. When in doubt, it's the weak that must be considered, not the strong." The president of the Atlantic Southern had heard that Orren Boyle's most valuable friend in Washington had a friend in the Ministry of Supply of the People's State of Germany. But whether this had been Boyle's motive or whether it had been the principle of sacrifice, no one could tell and it made no difference: if Boyle had been a saint of the creed of selflessness, he would have had to do precisely what he had done. This silenced the president of the Atlantic Southern; he dared not admit that he cared for his railroad more than for the people of Germany; he dared not argue against the principle of sacrifice.
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, "The Pull Peddlers" (my emphasis):
Although cases of actual corruption do undoubtedly exist among legislators and government officials, they are not a major motivating factor in today’s situation. It is significant that in such cases as have been publicly exposed, the bribes were almost pathetically small. Men who held the power to dispose of millions of dollars, sold their favors for a thousand-dollar rug or a fur coat or a refrigerator.

The truth, most likely, is that they did not regard it as bribery or as a betrayal of their public trust; they did not think that their particular decision could matter one way or another, in the kind of causeless choices they had to make, in the absence of any criteria, in the midst of the general orgy of tossing away an apparently ownerless wealth. Men who would not sell out their country for a million dollars are selling it out for somebody’s smile and a vacation trip to Florida. Paraphrasing John Galt: “It is of such pennies and smiles that the destruction of your country is made.”
This general situation helps protect the Clintons, who are guilty as sin, and have no honor. There's less of a clear distinction between the Clintons, and non-criminal-traitors, than their should be.

Going back to the current article about a few of Hillary's most recent crimes, note the small bribes:
Under Hillary Clinton, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments had given millions to the Clinton Foundation.
Compare billions with millions.
A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets
In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation
Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing -- the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 -- contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.
A $900k donation from Boeing related to a $29b deal. That's 0.003%. (Yes, the value of being able to buy or sell $29b of arms is not $29b to either the buyer or seller. They are only benefitting – coming out ahead – a fraction of the price. It's still small bribes compared to profit.)
In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors’ donations, making a more precise accounting impossible.
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation
That's in addition to the $165 billion mentioned before. $316b for around $100m. That's around 0.03% for the average bribe size. That's pathetically small. And illegal:
Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions -- a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy. But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.
During Clinton’s tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria -- nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria’s donation until this year -- a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.
The Clintons have a history of both skirting and breaking the law. If you vote Hillary, you have only yourself to blame when she skirts around and breaks more laws, and sells out your country for pennies on the dollar.

You may already know that Bill is a liar. If you didn't know Hillary is too, read this and consider who she is lying to and the gravity of the situation:
During her Senate confirmation proceedings in 2009, Hillary Clinton declared that she and her husband were “committed to ensuring that his work does not present a conflict of interest with the duties of Secretary of State.” She pledged “to protect against even the appearance of a conflict of interest between his work and the duties of the Secretary of State” and said that “in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the Foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.”

Even so, Bill Clinton took in speaking fees reaching $625,000 at events sponsored by entities that were dealing with Hillary Clinton’s State Department on weapons issues.
Note that oversight does not work:
Just before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation signed an agreement generally obligating it to disclose to the State Department increases in contributions from its existing foreign government donors and any new foreign government donors. Those increases were to be reviewed by an official at the State Department and “as appropriate” the White House counsel’s office. According to available disclosures, officials at the State Department and White House raised no issues about potential conflicts related to arms sales.
Federal records show that ethics staffers at the State Department approved the payments to Bill Clinton from Goldman Sachs, and the Lockheed- and Boeing-sponsored groups without objection, even though the firms had major stakes in the agency’s weapons export decisions.
You can't let these people police themselves, or expect someone else in government to keep an adequate leash on them.

I bet you don't have time to monitor the government yourself very carefully. You don't have the inclination to sort through all this stuff. But it's better if you don't support terrible politicians and only find out years later. Who else is truly awful besides the Clintons? I doubt you know. So what can you do that won't take too long? Let the experts figure it out for you and hang on their every word. Read Ann Coulter religiously and read Front Page Mag.

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help, my partner isn't ARR! a practical guide

i want my partner to be more Autonomy Respecting in our Relationship.

well, there's 5000 posts at the ARR Yahoo Group.

they can read them, discuss on FI, and become ARR.

but they won't do that!!!!

well then ATD.

no, they're so great, we can make it work.

umm how? if they don't wanna reason, how is stuff gonna work?

well you tell me, mrs. fancypants guide author.

if you want a contradiction, too bad. a guide can't help.

can't i just like be ARR myself and tell them a few things like i'm gonna have my own room now and don't be a needy helpless dependent bitch? and if i don't follow all my socially expected roles, get over it.

they might put up with that, for now, if it seems like they can't negotiate a better deal and don't want to find someone else yet. but why would they like and appreciate that? aren't you just kinda burning good will? even if they say it's fine, why would it be? it's not what they signed up for and they haven't rationally learned better ideas. they are just compromising.

no they totally understand, cuz i told them ARR, even tho they won't read it or discuss it properly.




yes way.

look, even if they wanted to disagree with you, most people don't know how to argue back any of the stuff you're saying. and if they do agree but don't know any rational arguments, they won't know how to express it. just cuz someone says they agree and seems to go along with stuff doesn't mean much because the same people who won't discuss it on FI also lack the skills to express/get what they want IRL.

so we're doomed?


doom and gloom? pessimism? sadness for eternity?

uhh, anyone who genuinely wants to think has that option. for those who don't, yeah it's grim. this isn't a negative view. it's quite a nice situation. choose life, choose reason, and you're fine.

If you need some help with that, besides FI, read Ayn Rand.

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Learning; Bad Syllogism

Quotes from Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith, in the section on Rational Morality.

The section begins:
A rational morality, in essence, is a code of values required by man for his survival, well-being and happiness. The term “rational” is used because such a code must be based on the facts of human value, and only reason can determine what is and is not of value to man. A rational meta-ethics, therefore, is based on man’s need for objective values, his need to determine those goals that are conducive to his well-being. To take a simple illustration, food is of value to man, it is instrumental in maintaining his life; poison is not. If man is to survive, he must value food and disvalue poison. Man’s evaluations must be based on, and agree with, those things that are actually of value to him.

Just as a rational man is committed to facts and the use of reason, so a rational morality is based on the facts of human value and the role of reason in man’s survival. Three aspects of man’s nature constitute the foundation of a rational meta-ethics: the fact that man is a conceptual being, the fact that man is a volitional being, and the fact that man is a purposive being.
Can you tell what perspective the author has, what worldview, what allegiances?

If you can't tell, that's a really damning criticism of you. You have a big problem. To avoid spoilers, I'll provide the answer at the bottom of this post. Think about it a bit.
... A general example of this syllogism is the following:

Mr. Jones wants x.
In order to obtain x, one must do y.
Therefore, Mr. Jones ought to (or should, or must) do y.
This syllogism is false.

It doesn't follow that if you want something, and there is a particular way to get it, that you should do that. Maybe you shouldn't want it.

This kind of thinking is really bad and stupid. It's so grossly wrong it's hard to explain much about it. It's a non sequitur. He missed the possibility that a want could be immoral. There isn't much more to say. It's just awful and such a basic error it doesn't require much explanation.

That people don't know better is why the world is currently burning.

The perspective above is Objectivism. The author is an Objectivist. If you couldn't tell that from the two paragraphs I provided, then you don't know Objectivism very well. Objectivism is the most important and best philosophy. You should learn it really well. If you don't, you're living a bad life, and that disaster is totally avoidable. Read Ayn Rand. Study it. Ask questions, discuss it, learn it. It's that or bad a bad person with a bad life, forever – and when you say you didn't know any better, you will be lying.

Information about Objectivism is readily available. If you have any criticisms of learning Objectivism, post them here or at the Fallible Ideas Discussion Group and I will refute them or else send you $500. If you have no criticisms, do it.

(I make this money offer to remove some excuses to evade the issue. If you know better, no you aren't too busy to tell me for $500. No that isn't a waste of your time. Also to be clear, I'm talking about criticisms to the effect that people shouldn't study Objectivism so much. If you merely argue that it's only got 9999998 importance instead of 9999999, I will not pay you, because in that case you should still learn about Objectivism in detail.)

EDIT: I raised the issue of the syllogism with the author. He replied:
You don't understand the point of the practical syllogism, nor do you understand the reason I included a discussion of it in ATCAG. How you got the idea that I was saying that merely wanting x is sufficient reason to pursue x, or how you came to believe that this is entailed by the practical syllogism, boggles the mind. Any such notion contradicts everything I said in my discussion of ethics. So, no, I am not grateful for your "help."
I don't see any substantive counter-argument here, nor any clarification of the book material. He just flames me as a stupid person who doesn't understand – a claim he merely asserts and leaves at that.

Well, it's like I said: this is why the world is burning. Maybe his reply will clarify that for someone who didn't see the connection initially.

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Negotiating Sex, Gender Roles

Girls today in the West are pretty clever. somehow their negotiating position regarding sex is “if you want sex, you're pretty much scum. i'll put up with you being a nasty objectifier and borderline abuser of women, but you will pay for it, heavily. you better be hella nice to me whenever you aren't using my body."

despite the fact that girls want sex too. and get it. tons of girls will go have casual sex with an alpha. then when they get into a long term relationship they find a beta and make him feel guilty for looking at her sexually, and take a very hard line about sex.

and at the same time, girls also managed to give out semi-free samples early to get guys more hooked. and say it's mutual attraction, they like the guy too, etc. and still then they manage to extract a huge amount of favors, sympathy, etc, for having sex with their partner.

contradictions? who cares. "i love you so much and sex is an expression of our love. as a girl. but as a guy, for you, wanting me sexually is evil, so you owe me big time."

and so many guys think relationships don't involve negotiation. you mutually support each other! so sweet! it's all win/win! we both get as much benefit as possible. negotiation is mean. she agrees with this. she said so.

then the girl, without calling it a negotiation, makes the guy be her bitch.

and then cuz he's her bitch, she stops finding him attractive. a real man wouldn't let her make him her bitch.

then, reasonably often, if she gets a good opportunity with an alpha, she cheats on him (note the stuff in the video is merely what they are eager to admit to in public, on camera. the reality is much worse). girls cheat more because they care more about emotions and less about logic. in our culture, cheating is considered bad logically, but sometimes a fun emotional temptation. guys are better at resisting that because they care more about doing the right thing logically, and less about feeling good in the moment.

most guys have enough trouble getting one girl to fuck them, so cheating isn't an easy and great option. a lot the guys with an abundance of girls do cheat, but they are the minority, and also some of the players don't cheat because they just don't agree to be monogamous in the first place unless they actually want to. but tons of girls easily have lots of guys who'd be eager to fuck them (and pay a lot of money for the privilege – indirectly of course because whores are evil or something).

sex itself is dramatically overrated, by the way, so it's not really necessary to learn these social dynamics, although it's a fun challenge. sex is basically like doing drugs – your body releases chemicals and you feel good. but for no reason, non-procreative sex is treated as a completely different category of activity – as something important instead of like sitting around wasting your life getting high.

wives are dramatically overrated too. most women today are not very smart or rational, so where is the appeal in that? especially if you actually try in life and make a ton of progress, because there's very few great women. today we have Ann Coulter and who the hell else? if you look at the interesting, cool, worthwhile, awesome, etc, people in history, it's very male dominated. that dynamic is still in place today.

women are not biologically inferior, but for cultural reasons they typically emphasis reason and thinking less, and are less willing to go to extremes or be an outlier. a lot more men are willing to aim high than women. if you aim high – and if you don't you're reading the wrong blog, lol – then odds are you're a man who won't be able to find a woman to match him. but may settle for less, make excuses, etc. even semi-notable semi-interesting men with a mere hint of greatness have a very rough time trying to find women to match them. so they marry a dumb bitch and then put her on a pedestal, and hold her to a different standard of intelligence than a man, and she uses social skills (the thing she worked on instead of intelligence) negotiates-manipulates a ton of concessions.

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Eugene Gendlin Philosophy Introduction

Introduction to Philosophy
Rather, he has a felt sense of the answer.
This, in bold, pretends to be an explanation or important conclusion, but doesn't really say anything useful.
Earlier Meno had asked Socrates about the following puzzle: If we don't know something how can we even ask about it? We wouldn't know what we are asking about. But if we already know it, why ask about it? So it seems we cannot inquire into anything, since we must either know it or not know it. Socrates had answered the puzzle by saying that the soul has lived before and knows all things. We need only "recollect" them.
Recollection is the wrong answer to knowledge creation. It's not quite as dumb as it sounds though. Where can new knowledge come from if you don't know about evolution? It could be created out of thin air magically. Recollection is perhaps a better answer than that – the knowledge already exists somewhere so it doesn't have to be created, you just kinda have to find it.

The main question here is kinda silly. One can have partial knowledge of a topic, and already know something about it, and ask questions and try to know more. There isn't really a mystery there. This also gets into the issue of reach where an idea you know about one thing may help lead to a new issue.
The puzzle of either knowing or just not knowing is solved because we can think on the edge of what we know, and enter there.
Thinking on the edge of your knowledge is a kinda OK way to put it. I think it's OK as a rough indication of the concept here, but when it gets taken more seriously in detail, and the essay tries to build on it later, I think that's a mistake. It's just a loose metaphor.

That's the end of the first section. My main comment so far would be this claims to be an introduction to philosophy, but so far it isn't. It's just talking a little about some specific philosophy problems, it's not giving an introduction to the field. I think a philosophy introduction ought to say things like what the purpose of philosophy is, why one would be interested in it, what problem(s) it can help solve, some indication of how one can learn about it, maybe some very brief overview of the history of the field, and maybe try to teach some especially important and general (but also simple) philosophical idea. Like fallibility is a pretty good starting point because it's pretty easy to understand and then it leads into other philosophical problems like, now that you see error is possible, how do you deal with error? That question of how to deal with error is a lot harder and more involved, but once you understand fallibility then you can see why it's important and valuable to you.

The Plato section starts really emphasizing words which I think is bad.
For example, someone leaves a weapon with you for safe-keeping. Months later the person comes and asks you to return it. Is it fair and just to give it back? Yes. All right, but what if the person is obviously berserk and crazed with anger just now? If you return the weapon, you harm the person.
Umm they might harm themselves with it, or might harm someone else they shouldn't. Or not. And people's mental states are not obvious.

This part is really far removed from a good introduction to philosophy. A philosopher questions what everyone thinks they know. This, instead, takes for granted a bunch of vague common sense nonsense. A big part of philosophy is recognizing that some stuff people consider obvious is false, and trying to understand things better than the ordinary.

One thing the author is trying to do is show that life is complicated. Normally you would give someone their property back that you held for them. But then in some circumstances, maybe you shouldn't. So life is more complex than "always give back property" or "never give back property". Life takes more thought than that. And, the author says, Plato and other philosophers were good at asking questions to point out some issues in life. But the author doesn't really say this very well. You have to read between the lines a bit to get the point, which is especially bad for an introduction. And a fair amount of what the author writes, like the next paragraph, is rather confusing.

For the Aristotle section, you can now figure out the author is trying to show a progression of philosophy, something about how it was discovered and developed. He should have said something about this at the start, so you'd know what you were reading. In any case I think he's chosen poorly for a general introduction to philosophy that'd be useful and valuable to someone today.

Most of the Aristotle section is confusing. I think this kind of "introduction", which an expert can find confusing, turns people off philosophy. To a lot of people, philosophy is supposed to be confusing. You ponder and get kinda confused and call that a good day. But better philosophy explains itself better, and actually solves clear problems and is used in life. This author has vague answers to vague problems that largely aren't connected to his life or to my life.
Galileo began the great advance in Western science by the radical -- seemingly insane -- concept that everything in nature is ordered by numbers.
Introductions ought to be way more careful not to introduce very complex and controversial ideas – like what is "insane" – when it's unnecessary and they aren't going to discuss it. I think the author doesn't realize he said anything non-trivial. That's a really bad trait for a philosophy introducer to not know about what's messy or simple.
Of course sometimes the data just says "yes" or "no,"
He shouldn't be saying "of course" in front of his claims, or thinking his ideas are obviously true. That's so contrary to the spirit of philosophy.

And, as I've so often noticed after an "of course" or "obviously", this claim is false. Data doesn't say things. BTW the author should have been more suspicious because he was using a metaphor – he knows data doesn't speak literally. So what's the non-metaphorical version of his claim, and why didn't he say that? (He hasn't thought that through, and his position doesn't actually work.)
In philosophy a human being was long thought of chiefly as a rational process. Emotions and desires were discussed, of course, but the human being was chiefly the source of the kind of connections which move from 2+2 to 4.
Now he's decided to talk about whether humans are rational without talking about what "rational" is.

He is taking for granted the common misconception that rationality has to do with being right or intelligent or an authority. This position is vague and doesn't have a clear conception of what reason really is or how it works, and people who think this way don't use words like "rational" totally consistently.

There's also a vague premise here that all emotions and desires are irrational, and a fully rational person would be a kind of ivory tower monk with no personal preferences, and quite possibly no interest in material comforts. Ideas like this turn people away from reason. No argument is given here. And anyway if you want to call this "reason", my concept of "reason" would still be a separate concept and we could just name it something else and pursue it instead. That is, we could say something like, "reason2 means thinking using methods that are good at error correction – the better at error correction, the more rational2 the thinking". So having the dumb concept of reason, even if it was explained and argued about and fleshed out, still wouldn't be an argument that reason2 is a bad thing to pursue, or reason2 doesn't work how i think it does, etc
Kant pointed out that 2+2 is just 2, and at the next moment again 2, and then still only 2, unless there is a unifying continuity that keeps the first 2 and unites it with the next 2, and makes a new unity, the 4. The number series requires keeping and continuing.
This is basically incoherent nonsense plus some kinda vague claim that without causality and continuity over time stuff would break (which could have been said better without the arithmetic – and which isn't a good summary of current physics with, as David Deutsch talks about, no flow of time).

2+2 in general is dealing with abstracts, not physical objects that change over time. If you want to get into physical objects then the issue is computation. Saying something "unites" the first 2 with the second 2 and makes a "new unity" is a terrible vague nonsense description of how computers work with electrical currents, memory storage, NAND gates etc. When people do math, it's more complicated, but the stuff about uniting isn't helping anything.
This view of humans has some great advantages. For example, it implies the inherent equality of all human individuals. You can see it in the inherent "unalienable" and "self-evident" equality in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. After completing this historical sketch, I will take up the question how we can preserve logic and equality within the wider order of experiencing ......
This comes right after the Kant junk. It's a good example of how this whole essay keeps skipping around with very little attempt to explain what one thing has to do with the next. First it was geometry and squares, then metaphorical edges and words and changing concepts, and asking questions and noticing complexity in life, and then stuff about sounds with no one around to hear them for no apparent reason, and that's just the first 3 sections. It's really jumpy and doesn't even try to give an outline of the plot. It's in chronological order though, I think that was one of the main organizational tools.

The next section brings up some stuff from earlier. But also starts talking a bunch about rights. This essay tries to say way too many things and none are explained well.

It doesn't end with a summary or bring everything together. It's just talking about another specific topic and then there's no more text.

It still never tries to say what philosophy is, why to care, or other basic introductory stuff.

I think the concept is more like: philosophy is about stretching your mind with ideas you don't fully understand. So it shows you what that's like while going over some major historical examples (in the author's view, I'm not agreeing they are major). The author is satisfied with vague understandings of things, and expects his audience to be too. Not just satisfied but actually impressed. There is a common mistake, which Ayn Rand especially criticized, where people think if they don't understand an idea (and it's said by someone with some credentials or status, or appears to be. in this case even if you don't know who the author is, he writes with big enough words and names enough famous philosophers – like he's just repeating their ideas – to give enough sense of authority to the essay. and he actually does have a PhD) then it must be really important and above you. People sort of defer to what they don't understand and get impressed. Lots of philosophers write confusing on purpose. This is a good introduction to that, in the sense that it gives you a sample of it. If you didn't understand this essay but somehow liked it, then I guess you'd like a lot of other philosophy too. (But the good philosophers, like Ayn Rand and Karl Popper, are different. They write to be understood.)

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computers are very important but using computers all day can hurt your hands and wrists (and eyes, neck, shoulders). this is called RSI (repetitive stress injury).

it’s VERY VERY important to a good life to understand how to deal with RSI. there is a lot of information about this, but i wanted to add my emphasis to how important it is. and i noticed a lot of the information is lacking in the stretches and squeezes area – it will list several and leave out a ton of others. so making a better list there is my main motivation for writing this.

RSI can absolutely cripple people's lives and doing some stretches and squeezes can make a huge difference in staying healthy.

here are some of the most important general things:

do not wait until you have a problem and then learn about RSI afterwards. by then a lot of damage is already done and it will be much harder to manage and you might not fully recover ever.

take breaks. regularly. seriously, do it.

if anything hurts, that means you should have taken a break BEFORE IT HURT. you need to stop immediately, but more importantly take a break sooner next time. never ever ever ignore pain.

you should type with your wrists straight. whatever you do, DON'T put your palms on the table at the base of the keyboard, then bend your wrists up to type on the keyboard.

using a trackpad a lot can hurt your index finger which does most of the work. laptop users should seriously consider using a mouse part of the time. (mice are also better input devices – faster and more accurate. if you don’t experience it that way, that’s due to a lack of skill with a mouse which is completely fixable. also having acceleration enabled can make a mouse a lot worse to use.)

if you use a trackpad a lot or have issues with a mouse, you should learn to use trackpad and/or mouse left handed in addition to right handed. you'll be slow at first but you can learn it. then switch off sometimes. if you use your left hand a quarter of the time, that's a lot less work for your right hand.

trackpads and mice are harder on your hands than a keyboard. learn keyboard hotkeys/shortcuts and create new ones.

get a keyboard which requires a low amount of force to press keys down. apple's recent keyboards (with the very thin keys) are good here. there are other good ones too. if you have an old keyboard with full size keys (like half an inch tall) it's probably really bad. type with a light touch.

also a lot of mice really suck – they have problems like weighing too much, requiring too much force to click, having too much traction when you try to move them, and being imprecise. get a mouse that you can use with a light touch. also you need a good surface, probably a mousepad, so it actually works well (mice work poorly on most desks). Razer makes good mice. Apple makes bad mice (i tried an apple wireless mouse several years ago and it was heavy and the bottom had a ton of friction with the mousepad instead of sliding easily, and it took more force to click than a razer mouse and it wasn't very precise.)

get a good chair. and think about the arm rests. i use an Aeron chair with a pillow over the arm rests which creates like a big arm rest accross my entire lap. (i like this a lot but you need the right kind of pillow in terms of size, shape, softness. most pillows wouldn't work very well. i don't know where to buy a good one, sorry). i used to use a cheap office chair that was good too, but a lot of the cheap ones suck.

eyes: staring at a screen can hurt your eyes. look away and focus on distant objects sometimes. close and squeeze your eyes shut hard sometimes. massage your closed eyes with your palms sometimes. look into Flux and Gunnars.

google information about monitor height, keyboard height, chair height, etc. i won’t go into details on that for now except to mention that by attaching the screen the the keyboard, laptops make good ergonomics impossible without an external keyboard and/or external display. a good computer setup has the keyboard lower than the screen. it’s fine to use a laptop in your lap or in bed sometimes, part of the time, but using it like that all the time is a bad idea.

you should stretch sometimes. with skill, you can tell when you need it, when stuff is tight, etc. if you don’t have a lot of experience and understanding of this, do it regularly. you can stretch when away from the computer, e.g. when waiting in line, when waiting for your microwave, while walking to another room, while on the phone, etc

lots of websites and videos with information about stretches are way too incomplete and leave out a ton of great hand stretches (and often all the squeezes and all the shoulder/neck stuff too). here is a better list:

note that in general anything done with one hand should be repeated with the other, and all stretches should be held for a few seconds. that can be 15 seconds or 30, it depends what you’re comfortable with. at first you should do ALL of these things (it really doesn’t take that long once you’ve done them a few times and remember everything). as you get more experience with them and get a better understanding of your body, you can get a sense of which are most helpful to you.

you should read a bunch of different guides on this stuff and learn a lot about it. my above information is pretty quick just to give a general idea. learn more. now here are stretches and squeezes which i will be more complete with:


make one hand flat (with the arm straight), gently push on your fingers with the other hand to bend your wrist back. also repeat the same thing without using your other hand – just using the muscles in the first hand instead of pushing on it. and anything that’s for one hand, repeat it with the other hand after.

push the other way, on the back of your hand, to bend the wrist the other direction. and repeat without using the second hand to push.

pull your thumb back with the other hand.

put your two flat hands together (palms and fingers aligned). press downward so your wrists bend back.

rotate your wrists both ways and push gently with the other hand.

grip around your wrist and the area behind it with your other hand and twist the skin both directions. then move your hand up your arm a little and repeat. this massages it. also squeeze and slide your hand instead of twist to massage more.

put your hands on your hips with the thumb separate from the other fingers and press in to stretch the thumb away from the rest

spread out all your fingers. push them all outwards and backwards. (with their own muscles, not your other hand)

bend fingers over and under the next finger over. index to middle. middle to ring. and ring to pinky.

squeezes (it’s very important to do squeezes and use your muscles, not just stretches): make a fist, squeeze hard. bend just the tips of your fingers in and squeeze. make a fist with your thumb inside it and squeeze. grip one forearm with the other hand and squeeze. also get one of those balls to squeeze in your hand if you want.

put your left hand flat with fingers facing up. then grip it with your right hand, so your palms are together, but your hands are rotated 90 degrees to each other, so the fingers on your right hand will point left or forward. you should have your left thumb, then right thumb, then left 4 fingers, then right 4 fingers, in that order, counter-clockwise. then bend in your fingers and squeeze. and repeat with the other hand facing up.

interlace your fingers so they alternate one from each hand. with your palms together, squeeze – press in with all your fingers.

fingers still interlaced, put your arms at full length, palms facing away from you, and press outward.

shoulder and neck rotations (both directions) and stretches (move or turn head or shoulders in each direction they go to the max and hold it a bit)

yes, try ALL of these stretches and squeezes. over time you can learn to feel which ones your body needs when and see which are most valuable to you. you should still do ALL of them sometimes, but you can adjust the frequency and amounts for different ones.

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To suffer, you have to prefer X and then something contrary to X happens. If everything that ever happens matches your preferences, you’d be pleased with it.

If you do prefer X and things go another way, then consider:

What kind of preference is it? Is X a “nice to have”? A vague dream? An aspiration? Or a must-have?

And, specifically, either you are OK or NOT OK with not getting the X preference met. There’s only two possibilities there.

If you prefer X, and consider no X to be NOT OK, and X doesn’t work out in reality, then you’d suffer – you are NOT OK with how reality is.

There’s no other way to suffer.

And even if you get this kind of situation, you can think “well, this is a problem to be solved. so i’ll temporarily be OK with no X while looking for a solution. maybe i can find a different way to get X, and the delay would be OK rather than NOT OK. maybe i can find out X isn’t so great after all and genuinely lose interest in it. i’ll take a look.”

So suffering also requires that attempts to do rational problem solving like this fail.

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Missing Parts of Books

i stop listening and think about other stuff when listening to Atlas Shrugged sometimes

i don’t pause or rewind. i just tune back in later. i know the book well enough it’s not a problem. i know what’s going on where i pick up.

i do the same thing, sometimes, with books i’ve never read before. if that’s how it’s convenient to read, so what? why try to get every detail out of the book? if it’s so great, read it again later in the same low-burden way.

figuring out what’s going on after missing some is interesting anyway. both with books about ideas and books with plots.

and it’s actually not fundamentally different than reading without skipping anything – where you also have to make guesses and use creativity to figure out what’s going on. all novels give incomplete information about the plot and leave you to try to figure some things out. all philosophy books try to explain a lot but can never do all your thinking for you.

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Feminist Refuses Discussion

I spoke with a Feminist on Twitter.

So first she accused me of not being open to discussion, then she ambiguously accepted my invitation to discuss. Then she didn't come have a discussion.

I'm not surprised. It's sad and pathetic though. Someone who is unwilling to discuss uses accusing other people of being closed to discussion as one of her main tactics.

I was going to follow up after a week and give her the benefit of the doubt, but I noticed her tweets were gone. Her Twitter page is now private. This hid all her tweets from the discussion above. Maybe she was embarrassed. Fortunately I had screenshots which preserve the record of her irrationality.

Although she won't listen, I still wanted to share a few of my thoughts on the subject. Some of the things I would have told her, if she was open to discussion.

The point was not to defend fat shaming. I think fat shaming and fat-shamer shaming are both bad. (I do not think all criticism of fatness is fat-shaming though! There are legitimate criticisms of being fat, both in terms of health and beauty.)

I value diversity of thought and opinion. I think most feminists do not.

Roosh is an asshole (so what?). I only followed him on Twitter recently and already complained about several of his tweets to my friends. He's interesting though for being willing to say some unpopular things, some of which have truth to them. Unpopular truths are very valuable, even if someone isn't right about 100% of everything. Also I don't think he's trying to be mean and hurt people, whereas many feminists seem to actually want to hurt their opponents.

I think PUA has a lot of good points. I particularly like Mystery. I read some of his old Usenet posts, watched his TV show, and watched some of his PUA training DVDs, so I'm familiar with his ideas. This certainly doesn't mean I automatically like everything else vaguely in the same genre as PUA.

I often follow people on Twitter to see if I like them, and I'm very willing to unfollow. I was (and still am) giving Roosh a chance – he's in the undecided category. In general, I've noticed I find the anti-feminist Manosphere type people insufficiently PUA and dislike that. Plus they can be mean. PUA isn't mean! But on the other hand, there's a million things wrong with feminists, so sometimes I do agree with anti-feminists.

Anyway I think diversity of thought is a good thing. There are mistakes being made on both sides, so attacking Roosh and shutting him up isn't the solution. Feminists should try harder to get their own house in order.

And also, insulting Roosh won't shut him up. He retweets people flaming him. He likes the attention. He likes that people are reacting to him. The strategy of irrationally flaming him is only going to make him more confident that the feminist side is stupid, and he'll have fun with it. He won't be hurt.

Strategically, giving Roosh more stuff he likes to retweet is not how you fight him. That's absurd.

And shaming people is not how to deal with shaming. If you think shaming is bad, don't do it. Being inconsistent and contradictory is the wrong approach. Look at this deleted tweet by another feminist:

In their (purported) crusade against meanness, they can sure be mean.

Shaming and being mean also isn't truth-seeking rational argument.

I realize they've found being really mean works well to bully some other people. But it's absolutely not going to work on Roosh, who enjoys it when his opponents act like this. So it's inconsistent and it's terrible tactics.

I have plenty more to say on this if any feminists actually want to have a discussion. How about you join my discussion group and say hi, and we can talk about it? Any takers?

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David Deutsch Hates Philosophy and Scholarship

One should study philosophy only if addressing an originally non-philosophical problem forces one to.

Stay the fuck away from philosophy unless FORCED.


Once upon a time, DD promised me he’d write a good book about TCS before he died – I raised the issue because he intentionally left out major important TCS type ideas from FoR and BoI. He lied to me.

also DD misquoted Popper (C&R p95 for me in paper, i checked both paper and ebook, his text does not match popper’s text. it’s chap 2, section III, near start). and dropped italics which isn’t OK either. and DD’d replaced “which arise” with “[from]” just b/c of tweet length limit. (actually just to fit italics he’d have to drop the period on the end, no problem, and the space after the colon, ugh lol. but he still should have done that)

get a fucking ebook and stop inserting typos into what are supposed to be exact quotes. (Popper: “philosophize”. DD supposedly quoting Popper: “philosophise”.)

DD also omitted the quote source. presumably cuz of tweet length limit. ughhhhh.

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Steve Jobs and Critical Thinking

Quotes from Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader. Bold text in quotes is my emphasis.
Given his uncertain position at the time, it wasn’t surprising that Steve was the more volatile participant. He was willing to admit a few mistakes, even allowing that Bill was correct in saying that Apple should have taken the IBM PC more seriously. Then he took that thought further. “The singular event that defined Apple’s place in the industry in the 1980s was actually not the Macintosh,” he announced. “That was a positive event. The negative event that defined Apple’s place was the Apple III. It was the first example I’d seen in my career of a product taking on a life of its own and developing way beyond what was necessary to satisfy customer demand. The project took eighteen months more than we’d planned and was overdesigned and cost a little too much. It’s interesting to speculate what would’ve happened if the Apple III had come out right, as a lean, mean upgrade to the Apple II that offered incremental features that made it more suitable for business. [Instead,] Apple left a real hole.” Later, he made clear that much of the blame could be laid at his feet: “One of the reasons that the Apple III had problems was that I grabbed some of the best people from that project to do research on how to turn what I saw at Xerox [PARC] into reality.”
Steve admits mistakes, Bill doesn't. Steve doesn't get credit. It "wasn't surprising" because of Steve's external circumstances. This is an example of quality critical thinking.
It was a fascinating admission. Steve was never much for looking back at his own mistakes, and yet during this very public conversation with a friend whom everyone but Jobs now acknowledged as the leader of the computer industry, he was downright contrite. Later in the conversation, he even pulled out a story he’d ripped from the pages of Newsweek to make sure that Bill wasn’t offended by the author’s claim that Steve was no longer his friend. “I tore this out and I was going to call you before I knew we were getting together,” he said, brandishing the page like a trial attorney. “This is not true at all, and I have no idea where they got that.”
This is the very next paragraph, after talking about Steve looking back at his own mistakes in a serious and thoughtful way, and making comments like how it's "interesting to speculate" about such matters. And what does the author do? Declare, without example, and contrary to the examples he just gave, that Steve "was never much for looking back at his own mistakes".

And with Bill, he implies Bill did not admit mistakes during the conversation, but because he expected that he doesn't criticize Bill over it. He's holding Steve to a different standard for no apparent reason. (People who are less succesful admit more mistakes? Bullshit. It can go either way. The guy on top might think he's in a strong enough position he can admit to some mistakes. External circumstances like these simply don't dictate who admits what mistakes.)
Theirs was a quiet, sincere friendship, enabled in great part by Catmull’s maturity. “Steve and I never argued,” he says. “We had disagreements; I won several and he won several. But even early on, when he wasn’t particularly skilled at dealing with relationships, I always felt that he was talking about a topic, not about who was right or who was wrong. For a lot of people, their egos are tied up in an idea and it gets in the way of learning. You have to separate yourself from the idea. Steve was like that.”
Again we see Steve has critical thinking skills others lack. He's called not skilled at dealing with relationships – meaning social graces and appeasement of irrationality – but at the very same time it's admitted he was superior at purely good skills (rather than mixed compromises) like focusing on ideas instead of making things personal.
The two men would eventually know each other and work together for twenty-six years. Catmull says he saw enormous changes over the years, but allows that this, too, was something Steve would never acknowledge. “I look at Steve as someone who was actually always trying to change, but he didn’t express it in the same ways as others, and he didn’t communicate with people about that. He really was trying to change the world. It didn’t come across as him being personally introspective.”
This is another passage with a strange duality. On the one hand it says Steve was good at something. But then it criticizes Steve, on that very topic, somehow. In this case it says he hid his virtues rather than bragging. Normally that'd be praised as humility rather than arrogance. Yet somehow Steve has a reputation for arrogance, and stuff like this is not used to dispel it. Instead, nonsensically, the lesson the book tries to convey here is not to hide your virtues from people around you – the very same virtues the book quotes people who knew Steve talking about, because they were not in fact hidden (which is somehow overlooked).
[Steve Jobs] believed that Amelio, who ascended to the CEO position after just one year on the board, had maneuvered himself into the gig by positioning himself as a turnaround expert. “But how can he be a turnaround expert,” Steve asked me, “when he eats his lunch alone in his office, with food served to him on china that looks like it came from Versailles?”
A nice anti-prestige comment. Steve is held up as this arrogant asshole who thought he was above the rules. Someone like Gil Amelio doesn't get that kind of criticism (partly because no one cares about him, but also partly because he's seen as normal and people don't see much to criticize. he just lacked the mysterious "greatness" quality, which isn't his fault or something that can be controlled – people falsely believe).

But really, Steve was more down to Earth. He interacted with people at his company, he could sully his hands with regular dishware, he was fundamentally more approachable and more a part of the regular world.
The four men became the core of what Catmull calls the Brain Trust—a collection of Pixar writers, directors, and animators who provide constructive criticism to the director of every Pixar movie. It’s a unique idea—the Brain Trust has no authority whatsoever, and the directors are only asked to listen and deeply consider the advice of its members. It became a powerful tool, helping to reshape movies like The Incredibles and Wall-E. But Steve was never a part of it. Catmull kept him out of those discussions, because he felt that Steve’s big personality would skew the proceedings.
Steve Jobs was the best critical thinker of the people involved with this. And he was kept out of the group that provides criticism, because he was too good at criticizing – intellectually – and most people don't actually like criticism and only want limited criticism.

Even with his stature, prestige, reputation, money (he owned 70% of Pixar when it split away from Lucasfilm, I don't know how much later but still a lot), people still had very mixed feelings about Steve because he was especially good at critical thinking.

How valuable is a critic like Steve?
Steve had his own misgivings about Toy Story’s commercial potential, mainly based upon what he was hearing from Disney’s marketers. “Disney came to do a big presentation to us about the marketing,” remembers Lasseter. “They told us they had a big promotional plan with Sears. Steve looks around the room and goes, ‘Has anybody in this room been into a Sears lately? Anybody.’ No one raises a hand. ‘Then why are we making a deal with Sears? Why are we not going for products we like? Can’t we be doing a deal with Rolex? Sony high-end audio equipment?’ And their answer was basically, ‘Um, um, this is what we do!’ He poked holes in every one of their ideas. He was just so logical. Why associate ourselves with products we can’t stand?” (In the end, the most prominent sponsor would turn out to be Burger King.)
You may think that sounds easy, he hasn't done much in this anecdote. And yet, it took Steve to get up and say this. It's a skill worth billions of dollars. The vast majority of people, for one reason or another, are unwilling to be like this. Steve would challenge things and criticize. Yeah not every criticism is super hard to think of, so it's deceptive – a big part of the skill is being willing to think of and say criticism at all, rather than being scared of being declared an asshole and excluded from the Brain Trust and other things.
In early 1998, just a few months after his return to Apple, he asked his chief information officer, Niall O’Connor, to come up with a proposal for an online store where Apple could sell its computers directly to customers, much like Dell Computer was doing then with such great success. O’Connor asked Eddy Cue, who was then an IT technician in the human resources division, to sketch out an initial version of what the store might look like from a programmer’s perspective. “I don’t think Niall thought I was his best person,” says Cue, “but he did think I could deal with Steve, for some reason.” Cue, who had never met Steve and knew little about e-commerce or retailing, sought advice from a number of people, including head of sales Mitch Mandich. “Give him your best ideas,” Mandich told him, “but it won’t matter because we’ll never do it. It would piss off the channels [the stores and distributors that had traditionally sold Apple’s computers].” One week later, Cue, O’Connor, Mandich, and others attended a meeting to review the initial proposal. Cue handed his presentation to Steve—he’d made it visual, because everyone had told him that Steve preferred visual presentations, and he’d put it on paper, because everyone had told him Steve hated sitting through slides, especially in small meetings. All the research seemed to have gone for naught. Steve looked at his pages, handed them back, and said, “These suck.”

Despite his gruff initial reaction, Steve asked the others in the room about Cue’s proposal, and about the basic idea of selling direct to customers online. The executives around the table started to talk about all the problems they could foresee with an online store—tying customized purchases into a manufacturing system that had been built to create computers with standardized configurations; not having any research indicating that customers actually wanted to buy computers this way; and, most worrisome, the potential for alienating Apple’s existing retail partners, like Best Buy and CompUSA. Mandich, who was senior enough to know that an interesting discussion was developing, kept silent. Finally, one of the senior guys opposing the idea spoke up. “Steve,” he asked, “isn’t this all pointless? You’re not going to do this—the channel will hate it.” Cue, who didn’t know any better, turned to him immediately. “The channel?” he exclaimed. “We lost two billion dollars last year! Who gives a fuck about the channel?” Steve perked up. “You,” he said, pointing at the senior exec, “are wrong. And you,” he continued, looking at Cue, “are right.” By the end of the meeting, he had asked Cue and O’Connor to create an online store where buyers could customize their purchases—and to have it completed in two months.

The online store went up on April 28, 1998. As Cue prepared to drive home that evening, he walked past Steve’s office to tell him they’d sold more than a million dollars’ worth of computers in just six hours. “That’s great,” said Steve. “Imagine what we could do if we had real stores.” Nothing would ever be enough, Cue realized. He liked the challenge.
Eddy Cue is now a Senior Vice President at Apple, and has done great work. That wouldn't have happened if the company was run by normal anti-critical people, instead of by Steve who appreciated Cue's critical thinking.

Even though critical thinking is worth billions of dollars, people still don't like it, to the point of excluding even Steve Jobs from things – and it's much harder for most would-be critical thinkers who don't have Steve as their CEO.

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