Friday, January 09, 2004


In tune with Kevin Kelly's question "what is your heresy?" ("...a strongly held belief that goes against the grain of their peers, something not in the accepted canon of their friends and colleagues...")...

via mefi, a great article by Paul Graham on how to better identify current heresies and moral fashions:
It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise.

...Is our time any different?

...What would someone coming back to visit us in a time machine have to be careful not to say?... excellent advice on how to go about looking into this and vivid insights, e.g.
[re Santa etc.] It is probably inevitable that parents should want to dress up their kids' minds in cute little baby outfits...a well brought-up teenage kid's brain is a more or less complete collection of all our taboos-- and in mint condition, because they're untainted by experience...

(and, the bone thrown your correspondent's way: "Nerds are always getting in trouble. They say improper things for the same reason they dress unfashionably and have good ideas: convention has less hold over them.")

Wishful thinking dept: have Edge do an anonymous survey of its usual cast of "leading thinker" characters, asking about their heresies. It would make for fascinating (and perhaps appalling) reading.

and- addendum(?) to the "natural laws from" post below - Geoffrey Miller's Law of Strange Behavior:
To understand any apparently baffling behavior by another human, ask: what status game is this individual playing, to show off which heritable traits, in which mating market?

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