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Second-handedness Examples

For He's A Jolly Good Fellow Lyrics

For he's a jolly good fellow [...] which nobody can deny

Phrasing it in terms of what other people can deny is second-handed. It views the world in terms of other people's opinions instead of truth.

Please post dozens examples of second-handedness in the comments below. It'll help you be a better person.

Elliot Temple on January 5, 2020

Messages (45)


> If Elliot could get a single paper published to a peer reviewed journal I'd be hella surprised. If his paper would get cited more than once then maybe you could call him a philosopher.

This is a second-handed comment. It judges by the opinions of others (in terms of what they cite) instead of the truth of the matter or the arguments.

Anonymous at 12:51 PM on January 6, 2020 | #15034 | reply | quote

#15034 You have no idea how peer reviewed journals work do you.

Anonymous at 5:10 PM on January 6, 2020 | #15036 | reply | quote

#15036 Peer review involves peers, scientists or philosophers who the journal judges are capable of judging work in that field, reading and commenting on a paper. So judging by peer review rather than by the content of a paper is judging by whether those peers agreed with the paper, which is second handed. The peer review system can help improve papers but surviving peer review doesn't imply that a paper is good.

oh my god it's turpentine at 12:25 AM on January 7, 2020 | #15038 | reply | quote

#15036 Inn addition, the comment to which you replied doesn't mention peer review so you can't judge the commenters knowledge of that topic by its content.

oh my god it's turpentine at 12:26 AM on January 7, 2020 | #15039 | reply | quote

I got flamed on Discord by Shadow Starshine because he thinks I'm not second-handed, which he thinks is bad:

> Curi strikes me as someone who everyone in the world could disagree with and he'd still think he was right

Yeah I judge by arguments about the issues, not by other people's opinions and how popular and high social status those opinions are.

curi at 2:57 PM on January 7, 2020 | #15045 | reply | quote

#15045 He was talking about communication you buffoon.

If you could make 0 progress communicating with everyone, you'd still blame it on others (which you do). This has nothing to do with "second-handedness" (which is a retarded idea on its own, we stand on the shoulders of giant) and everything to do with the fact that you're an emotionally stunted control freak. You behave like a neglected 5 year old who never grew up.

You blame others for your failures.

In reality, the blame is entirely on you because you can't explain yourself and you lost every single debate you had with SS, Kate, PP, TheRat and VSE. You are simply inadequate as a philosopher.

Rand would be dissapointed at 8:37 AM on January 8, 2020 | #15046 | reply | quote

Stick to programming Curi

Anonymous at 8:38 AM on January 8, 2020 | #15047 | reply | quote

oh, and you also lost to AY.

Anonymous at 8:42 AM on January 8, 2020 | #15048 | reply | quote

> Critical Rationalist: It is too bad. I heard from people who were glad I had joined this group.

It's second-handed to think it's too bad he's leaving a group because other people said they were glad he joined.

> Critical Rationalist: Some people define it as a gene.

His irrational evasion to triple down on a factual error was phrased in terms of what other people think and do.

curi at 4:27 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15054 | reply | quote

Shit Tier Blogger at 5:00 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15056 | reply | quote

> STB: He's an embarrassment :frowning:

Ambiguous whether "he" refers to Trump or Obama (bad thinkers have so much trouble communicating in basic ways), and viewing it in terms of embarrassment is second-handed.

curi at 5:15 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15057 | reply | quote

#15056 Caring about who gets what recognition is second-handed, as is thinking that people's unargued negative opinions are important. Good example.

Anonymous at 5:21 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15058 | reply | quote


> In reality, the blame is entirely on you because you can't explain yourself and you lost every single debate you had with SS, Kate, PP, TheRat and VSE. You are simply inadequate as a philosopher.

(assertion masterman)

🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔 at 5:40 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15059 | reply | quote

oops, last comment should link to #15046

🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔 at 5:41 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15060 | reply | quote

#15056 LMAO I am dying. At the post and at the title that Temple has acquired.

"Shit Tier Blogger" It is perfect.

Dying at 5:54 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15061 | reply | quote

#15061 Thinking in terms of who calls other people by what titles is second-handed. He's talking about someone acquiring a particular reputation. Titles are from the social status hierarchy like prince, king, duke.

Anonymous at 5:58 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15062 | reply | quote

#15062 Nobody gives a fuck what you think.

Elliot "Shit Tier Blogger" Temple is too god damn perfect.

And I don't even think ET is all bad either, the shit he plagiarizes from Deutsch is ofc going to be good. But god damn is he a terrible writer lmao.

Perfect at 6:06 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15063 | reply | quote

> Nobody gives a fuck what you think.

Notice the comment in terms of what other people's opinions are. More second-handedness. They can't turn it off well enough to briefly hide it to stop providing examples.

Anonymous at 6:09 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15064 | reply | quote

Sorry Shit Tier Blogger, you are not shaking that nick any time soon. You'd have to stop being a shit tier blogger. :P

Anonymous at 6:14 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15065 | reply | quote

Shaking (getting rid of) nicknames is a social, not logical-rational, activity. Success is related to other people's opinions about what constitutes a valid shaking. Another second-handed comment.

Anonymous at 6:15 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15066 | reply | quote

W/e you say Shit Tier Blogger :)

Anonymous at 6:19 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15067 | reply | quote

> W/e you say Shit Tier Blogger :)

Notice how he replies in terms of *who* said things as his way of evaluating them. That's also second-handed. He's (after factoring out the sarcasm) stating that he's rejecting an idea due to the source and the source's (negative) reputation (as represented by a negative nickname that he regards as socially legitimate).

Anonymous at 6:21 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15068 | reply | quote

You keep telling yourself that Shit Tier Blogger. :)

Anonymous at 6:33 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15069 | reply | quote

I mean if you had to bet on who has been the biggest embarrassment to the presidency it has to be the orange turd.

Anonymous at 6:47 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15070 | reply | quote

> embarrassment

Social, second-handed claim re what people's opinions of Trump are, and trying to evaluate a presidency by those opinions instead of by actions, accomplishments, policies, etc.

Anonymous at 6:51 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15071 | reply | quote

exactly, he's an embarrassment.

Anonymous at 6:55 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15072 | reply | quote


How do people get fooled into doing Sacha Baron Cohen interviews where they make fools of themselves? They're second-handed:

> “They said, ‘we’re doing a feature for Showtime — the top 20 people in the United States.’ It looked pretty nice [that] I made the top people.”


> Arpaio was convinced his interviewer was immensely popular in Finland.

How did he make a fool of himself? E.g.:

> Cohen's character - who revealed he bought 43 guns in preparation for the “upcoming race war” - was told by Arpaio that Trump would be a fan of his ideas.


> [Arpaio said] he'd accept oral sex from Donald Trump.

curi at 12:41 AM on January 10, 2020 | #15073 | reply | quote



Arpaio's career was built to a large extent on attempts to exploit second-handedness in others. He got played by a variant of the same game he spent his career running.

Arpaio's main innovation, which got him most of his fame, was in how he ran the county jail and especially the "tent city" he created for prisoners. He recognized, correctly IMO, that one of the problems in his county was criminals for whom going to jail was nbd, just part of the lifestyle and even in some circles an initiation badge of honor (cuz going to jail means you didn't flip and testify against somebody bigger in return for immunity).

So Arpaio did things primarily designed to lower the social status of criminals in jail. He made them wear pink clothing, including underwear. He made a big deal out of feeding them lower quality food than his dogs. He made them live outside in uncomfortably hot, dusty weather which made them perpetually dirty and stinky.

Part of this was an attempt to inflict direct suffering on the prisoners - which of course it did. But the main game he was playing was trying to lower prisoners' social status, make them feel bad about being in jail for second-handed reasons and make other second-handed people want to avoid jail more.

I don't know if Arpaio's jail policies were actually effective in deterring criminal behavior. I haven't looked into it and wouldn't trust media reports either way.

Andy Dufresne at 8:02 AM on January 10, 2020 | #15074 | reply | quote

Seen on facebook:

> [local] Library is hosting a demo of this very popular dice game

We are supposed to want to play the dice game because it's popular, not because it's a good game.

Anne B at 11:54 AM on January 10, 2020 | #15075 | reply | quote

#15075 Or they are mentioning that they are hosting a game a lot of people like. There is no implication that you should *want* to play the game for that reason.

Btw pointing out appeals to popularity in everyday life, a good philosopher it doesn't make.

Anonymous at 8:00 AM on January 12, 2020 | #15079 | reply | quote


Now I disagree both with what I originally wrote and with what you wrote about why they used the word "popular".

I think there *is* an implication that you should want to play the game because it's popular. They wouldn't put in the word "popular" for no reason. But maybe they just mean that since lots of other people like the game, it might be a good game, so you might like it too. I don't think they're trying to get people to play the game so that the *people* will be popular or something, which would be second-handed.

So I retract what I said in #15075.

> Btw pointing out appeals to popularity in everyday life, a good philosopher it doesn't make.

I do think it's important to learn about how our values are influenced by the social world we live in. That's part of philosophy.

As to whether it's part of *good* philosophy, I don't think I know enough to say that. But it seems like a good thing for me to examine. I want to be more aware of how I am influenced by wanting other people to think well of me.

Anne B at 7:31 AM on January 13, 2020 | #15080 | reply | quote

#15080 The attention given to other people's opinions is second-handed, and people do try to conform to what's popular because it's popular, partly in order to be more popular.

Anonymous at 12:16 PM on January 13, 2020 | #15081 | reply | quote

thread title is "Spent more that $200 on brunch today"

> Dating a girl who likes to order several different things at the same time. I don't even order because I just eat whatever she can't and there's still tons of food left over. A lot of times we'll offer some appetizers and entrees to the people sitting around us. She'll spend at least 15 minutes arranging everything just so before she starts taking pictures. The whole thing lasts several hours including eating.


Anonymous at 3:36 PM on January 18, 2020 | #15145 | reply | quote

From an ad I got by snail mail:

[transcribed, so there may be errors]

> Special Invitation

> You are cordially invited to an Educational Evening to learn how to Navigate Retirement at the prestigious [name of local fancy place] Country Club.

The financial services company is saying that the location they rented for their sales pitch is considered prestigious by other people. That's supposed to get potential clients to want to come to the sales pitch, so they can be associated with something that other people consider prestigious.

Anne B at 4:22 PM on January 19, 2020 | #15162 | reply | quote

Second-hand ad. Use it because prestigious people are using it to stay ahead of other people. And it's bragging about how smart it is, and how it'll help you be smart – this is a company allegedly with literature, reading and writing expertise (they do book summaries) – but they don't know how commas work.

curi at 12:52 AM on January 22, 2020 | #15193 | reply | quote

FH quote from the Stoddard Temple trial:

> The crowd would have forgiven anything, except a man who could remain normal under the vibrations of its enormous collective sneer. Some of them had come prepared to pity him; all of them hated him after the first few minutes.

Anonymous at 1:39 PM on February 11, 2020 | #15448 | reply | quote


13min he he basically says they are trying to get ppl elected to minor offices to gain social status the public will listen to what's said based on the source instead of the content of the message. despite being way behind in it, they're trying to play (and therefore sanctioning and legitimizing) the standard social climber game, b/c they think they should second-handedly pander to what the general not-that-interested public wants even though they don't respect the opinions of those they pander to. and what does that public want? the speaker says the public wants to be impressed by the title of the person telling them something, not by understanding the message. so it's a chain of second-handed pandering to second-handers, and it helps the establishment and it has nothing to do with ideas (ideas being where libertarians like the speaker in the video claim to have an edge).

Anonymous at 9:43 PM on February 21, 2020 | #15585 | reply | quote

I went out today to do an errand. I was deciding which coat to wear. I thought to myself, “I’ll be cold if I wear a light coat. But if I wear a winter coat on a nice day like this, people will think I’m an old fuddy-duddy.” Then I realized that the reason not to wear the winter coat was silly and second-handed, and I wore the winter coat.

Anne B at 7:11 AM on March 4, 2020 | #15740 | reply | quote


That's stucchio's wife. They are into the social climbing of getting attention from a high status person who had nothing to say about it.

The reaction is not like "This publicity will help with goals X and Y that I have." It's heart eyes, being flushed and screaming.

Anonymous at 5:01 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15747 | reply | quote

*The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History* by John M. Barry:

> The profession had grown large enough for maneuvering within it. If one listened closely, one could hear: “The appointment of Dr. Opie as the primary key man in this plan would be a fatal mistake.” Or, “Jordan seems at first a rather dazzling possibility, but I am a little afraid…that he is not a man who can be absolutely certain to stand up for his convictions in a tight place.” Or, “Of the names you suggest, I would distinctly prefer Emerson but I fear he would be particularly unacceptable to Russell and Cole, and perhaps to the [Rockefeller] Foundation group in general, as I have the impression that he has been somewhat at outs with them.”

curi at 11:56 AM on March 17, 2020 | #16008 | reply | quote


Attilio Fontana, the governor of Lombardy, in Italy:

> “Unfortunately, the numbers are not very nice, the number of infected people has increased a bit too much compared to the line of the past few days,” said Fontana. “We will have to evaluate if this is an exceptional fact determined by some particular episode or if this is an increasing trend, which would be a little embarrassing.”

He talks about the possibility of being a little embarrassed, not about whether his government is doing the right things to help keep more people alive.

Anne B at 5:30 AM on March 29, 2020 | #16182 | reply | quote

She'll Say Whatever She Thinks YOU "Want To Hear"

From the Girls Chase newsletter today: https://www.girlschase.com/dating-tips-newsletter

Couldn’t find this article online so pasting it:


When a lot of guys start out, they approach girls thinking women will give them flat facts.

Ask a girl a question, she'll just give you some facts.

Like, what is her favorite color? Blue!

That's a fact, easy.

How about this one: how old is she?

Well, 22!

And... she might be.

Of course she might also be lying.

She might really be 18 but doesn't want you to think she's too young.

Or perhaps she's 28 but is afraid you'll think she's too old.

So now, you see, it's begun to get more complicated.

How about ask her how much she likes her job?

Well, she hates it!

At least that is what she might say if she thinks you think an office job like hers is so stuck up.

If she thinks you are another office worker like her, and one who thinks office work is grand, she might say she likes it fine.

What about how many guys she's been with?

If you seem nervous, she'll realize you have no business asking this, and tell you as much.

If you're straightforward, but seem like a boyfriend candidate, she might say, "Not that many. Only four."

If you're sexy about it, and she feels like you are a powerful, sexual guy she can really open up to, she might admit, "Thirteen."

Which one's the truth? Is it *four...* or *thirteen?*

Women will deflate their numbers smaller for men they want in relationships.

However, sometimes they will EXAGGERATE numbers for guys they think are a lot more experienced than them.

They don't want to look like clueless bumpkins, after all.

Women tell you what they think YOU want to hear.

They decide what they think you want to hear based on your actions and behavior with them.

And the truth a woman gives YOU about herself may well be totally different from the one she gives someone else.


I like ambitious women.

A lot of guys don't. Most guys like their women submissive. And that's fine too.

There's just something about a cute sexy girl with a fire inside her who is trying to "get somewhere" in her life I find adorable, though.

Anyway, something I have noticed over the years is that women will instinctively portray themselves as a lot more ambitious with me than they do with other men.

They will confess to big dreams and goals and aspirations with me, that I find out only later many of them are not that serious about.

At the time I first meet them though, they paint themselves as TOTAL high fliers!

Even the women who are lazy layabouts will do this.

They do it because they figure out it is what I want, and they KNOW they have to do it to hold my interest.

Because honestly, if a girl tells me she just likes to lie around and watch movies and wants nothing more from life than that, I lose all interest in her.

Even if she is BEAUTIFUL... I just find her so *boring*.

I don't want to be bored.

I want the people around me to INTEREST me.

Most women sense that this is a requirement of mine, and they do what they can to fulfill it.

The truth is, most women are not really all that ambitious at all.

But around me, something like 75% of women BECOME super ambitious!

Funny how that works, huh?

It is the same way that a guy who thinks women are all "good girls" who do not like physical intimacy finds all women are exactly that.

Every girl he talks to is an asexual prude who wants nothing to do with anything remotely sexy.

However, every now and again, he spies his asexual prude girls getting all hot and bothered with some random sexy guy, and his world implodes.

How did it happen?

How did that guy "trick" her?

How did he manage to turn on this totally asexual prude girl?

Well, that guy did NOT trick her.

Instead, the girl just told and showed each guy what he wanted to hear and see.

The guy who thinks girls are all asexual prudes wanted to see a girl who was an asexual prude. So she gave him that.

When later on she ran into a guy who thinks women are all naughty sensual vixens, she showed HIM *that*.

There is nothing weird or unusual here.

It is just like how if a guy gets in your face trying to fight, he will see your "tough guy side" as you bristle to defend yourself...

... meanwhile if another guy comes up being chummy, cracking funny jokes, and offering you a beer, he will see your "cool guy side" instead.

People in a social environment will reflect back whatever they are getting from you.

Men do this.

You do this.

Women do it too.

Women do it to YOU.


Every moment of every day, you tell the people around you what you're looking for.

You may not realize it.

Often it's totally unconscious.

And yet, you DO it.

There are different ways men act when they're hoping for or expecting certain answers.

When you ask a woman if she goes out a lot, for example, she can feel whether you want her to say yes or you want her to say no.

Most women will not COMPLETELY lie (though some will).

However, most women will strongly ADJUST their answers to match what they believe you want to hear.

If she can tell you're uncomfortable as you ask how often she goes out, and detects you might be judging her, you are going to get a "Not often."

If on the other hand she sees you are a cool party guy and you expect her to be a party person too, you will get something more like "I go out!" even if she doesn't.

These little adjustments like this influence HOW a woman behaves with you.

The ripple effects aren't just little.

They're BIG!

The same girl will be reserved and aloof with one man, and all up on another (equally attractive) man, due to the read she gets from each guy.

Even if she LIKES both guys the same!

She believes one guy needs one thing to continue liking her (or like her more). And the other guy needs a different thing.

And she spins herself into whatever she thinks each guy needs.

If you don't think you're putting signals out like this... you are!

And the women around you pick up on them!

So... how do you fix this "unconscious" communication?

The only way is to pay MORE attention to yourself with women, and keep an eye on how you come across.

When you notice you don't come across in a way helpful to what you want her to do, change that.

Change it with THAT girl, if you can.

If you can't, change it with the NEXT girl.

It may take a few tries to get right.

However, you will find you can change a lot of your nonverbal communication.

The most important part here is the AWARENESS you are putting these signals out there.

You need to know they are there before you can start to change them.

Women are picking up on them.

And then, they are telling you what you want to hear. And showing you what you want to say.

Women aren't "fact machines."

They adjust their "facts" based on WHOM they think they're talking to.

If women are not telling you what you THINK you want to hear, there may just be a clue as to why in what signals you send them.

**You may be telling them to give you different "facts" than the ones you think you want!**

Once you realize this, you can start to tweak the signals you send.

Make yourself come across as more comfortable, for instance.

Or more encouraging on things you want to encourage.

Or discouraging, if you're talking about prudish things.

As you change the signals you put out, you will change the way women PRESENT themselves to you... often in some pretty big ways.

Ciao for now,


curi at 10:16 AM on March 29, 2020 | #16183 | reply | quote

Journalist Kelsey Piper admitted to being second-handed and consequently downplaying the danger of coronavirus:


> One thing I've struggled with personally - I told my family in early February that we should expect the virus to hit here and should buy what we'd need and plan to soon stop leaving our home. I wasn't that direct in a public article for three more weeks. Why not?

> I didn't want to sound alarmist. I didn't want to step out ahead of public health officials, who were still telling us that the risk was low. I wanted to tell readers what scientists were saying, and they too were trying not to sound alarmist.

Kelsey Piper on reddit about it:


> For what it's worth, I don't think I failed to say more about coronavirus because I felt pressure from Vox's political/cultural environment. (I do experience that sometimes, on things like 'the travel ban from China was a good idea', but it's a distinct thing and one I think I'm much better at noticing.) I might write more about this on some medium that's not Twitter, but I think the thing that made it hard to shout "fire" was much more "having a position of perceived authority and reasonableness" than anything specific to that position being at Vox. I had a bunch of templates for how reasonable people talk and what kinds of things they say, and they do say things like 'many public health experts tell me they're underprepared for a pandemic', and they don't say things like 'every American should be preparing right now to spend the next six weeks under a lockdown without historical or legal precedent'.


> What it felt like from the inside was that the implications of my beliefs were too ridiculous for me to feel comfortable committing them to public scrutiny. People on Twitter would yell at me and other people would quietly lose respect for me and I might be wrong and it would be sufficiently embarrassing that rather than contemplate whether this tradeoff was the correct one (yes, it was), I just held all those implications in abeyance, not assigning them a specific probability, considering them likely enough to be worth preparing for but not, like, likely enough that I would want to be associated with them.


> I think the correct strategy to have prevented this is actually kind of simple (and yes, I'm now doing it.) When I said things to my family, I should have put an actual number on them, instead of saying vague things that didn't require me to notice their implications. I should've asked Scott if we could sit down for a weekend and figure out the most important questions and agree on our best guesses. If I'd done that - just nailed my beliefs down enough and propagated all their implications - then it would've been obvious that writing more, faster, sooner, spending social capital at work to do so if necessary (it likely wouldn't have been -- again, no one at Vox pushed back on the articles I did want to write, at all!), was worth it.


> There was, separately from that, a thing where I had compartmentalized my family as a domain where I had heroic responsibility to actually keep them alive no matter what happened and my job as a domain where I had mere ordinary responsibility-to-have-done-as-much-as-one-reasonably-could, which was uncomfortable to notice but which I again don't really think is about conforming with Vox (it's mostly about the fact that pointing heroic responsibility at one's EA job is emotionally exhausting and always results in tearful breakdowns about how spending time on reddit literally kills people). I'm thinking about how to fix it but I haven't come up with anything yet. This one is clearly really important, but it's also really rough -- I have definitely tried just flipping on the 'I am responsible for these articles the way I'm responsible for my children' switch at work and the result is being crushed by guilt and worry.


> If someone is in a similar situation I think my advice to them would be to notice the desire to be reasonable, have a place where you are explicitly and deliberately unreasonable, and to pin all your beliefs to the wall with actual numbers so that you notice if you have anything in a vague 'likely enough to act on it for some things but not likely enough to have examined all its implications' bucket.


Matt Stoller deleted his similar public admission of second-handedness, so here's a screenshot:

curi at 10:30 AM on March 29, 2020 | #16184 | reply | quote

when discussing neighborhoods to live in, someone said of one option "I don’t know anyone that would take me seriously if I lived there past age 25."


Anonymous at 1:17 PM on May 24, 2020 | #16572 | reply | quote

> It's so, so, so guache to demand sympathy for yourself as a landlord in any conversation that might involve renters (renters from the majority - not the tiny chunk of rich people choosing to rent in expensive cities).

The person typoed "gauche", which is a word meaning "lacking ease or grace; unsophisticated and socially awkward". They're more interested in what people think about being sympathetic to some group of people than who is deserving of sympathy.

> Not extending you empathy at our own expense isn't the same thing as saying you're all Jared Kushner. It's just saying "read the room." Do you lecture unemployed people about how lucky they are to have "free time?" Do you hang around hospitals to remind cancer patients that blow drying your hair takes a lot of time?

More secondhandedness was at @ "read the room."

Source: https://fyre.it/lXxjuPIz.4

Anonymous at 2:36 PM on May 27, 2020 | #16583 | reply | quote

Want to discuss this? Join my forum.

(Due to multi-year, sustained harassment from David Deutsch and his fans, commenting here requires an account. Accounts are not publicly available. Discussion info.)