The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Tag: 2019 Fundraiser

Fundraising Update and the Art of Thinking

We have raised $9,353. That means we’ve reached the first two milestones, and I’ll write sixteen reviews of books with useful information.

The final milestone is at $11,000, and is to be a booklet, “How To Think: Understanding the World.”

The fundraiser will end at midnight this coming Friday, June 28th.


I deeply appreciate all the subscriptions and donations. They will make a difference to my life. So thank you to those who have given. (And ongoing subscriptions are counted in the donation total, at three times the monthly amount.)

Let’s talk a little more about the booklet, in case we make it to the $11,000 milestone.

One of the great problems with thinking clearly is that it’s anti-survival and anti-inclusion.

It is safest in almost all circumstances, and certainly best for one’s career and better for staying good with one’s social circle, to simply agree with the beliefs of whatever groups we belong to.

If you are wrong in the same way as other people around you, and especially as important people, then you will not be blamed when things go wrong.

So to think accurately it helps to be an outsider, or to cultivate an outsider’s mindset.

At the same time, to think well about social issues, you also have to understand insiders, people who rarely have a thought or belief that is different from their social groups.

This is tricky psychologically. Generally, people who grew up or live in a society but who feel like outsiders have the best chance of pulling it off. They still have to live in that society, so for their own protection and survival they need to understand the in-groups, but the lack of identity gives them distance and some objectivity, if they aren’t too bitter.

Relatedly, in the same way that we often understand other people better than we do ourselves, there are times when we can see other societies more clearly than most people who live in or have more knowledge of that society. Because we are outside, we can see the forest.

And then, sometimes, lack of knowledge does trip us up. It’s hard. And adjusting the telescope/microscope to find the right scale is one of the tricks of analysis and understanding.

Also important is identifying what scales you’re good at, and places where you are unable to take the outside or inside view. You can then find ways to compensate, if possible, or you can simply stop trying to understand if you decide it’s not worth it. (For example I’ve simply accepted that I’m not very good at predicting elections any more. I know why, and I could try to calibrate, but it’d be a lot of work, I might not be successful, and it’s not important for me to be able to predict elections because I have very little ability to influence them or take advantage of that sort of prediction.)

At any rate, if the booklet is funded, we’ll deal with issues like this and many others.

If you want to see it written, please subscribe or donate.


2019 Fundraiser

I am raising funds for 2019. The more funds I raise, the more I write.


The specific goals for this year are:

$5000—10 non fiction book reviews on books which are helpful to understand society.

$8000—Another 6 book reviews to the series.

$11,000—A booklet, “How To Think: Understanding the World.” A lot of people believe thinking ability is mostly about IQ, but intelligence, however it is measured, is only the ante. It’s possible to out-think much smarter people than oneself, because most people don’t know how to think, and good thinking about the world requires us to accept facts about the world which are painful.

This booklet will try to teach this sort of thinking.

Subscriptions will count triple compared to donations. Current subscriptions will be included in the count.


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