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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  1166 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Wired | Sam Harris and the Myth of Perfectly Rational Thought

Thought Daddy checking in.

It's a pernicious cycle - you're curious about the world, so you think about it and research. Then you form opinions. Then you have a conversation about something and you espouse that opinion. Because you've thought about it and they haven't, you become "someone to ask questions of." Do it enough and eventually people come to you with questions you haven't thought about. Then, to please your friends, you do your research on the spot and attempt to provide reasoned guidance. Before you know it, you've become an authority.

It's reassuring to think "that's okay, they'll only stick to their areas of expertise" and true to form, I go out of my way to say when I don't know something. But I also know that espousing ignorance about something solidifies my authority when I profess knowledge. When I take pains to lay out my bias, I convince myself that I'm giving a qualified opinion. But I know on some level that laying out some biases gives my audience permission (encouragement) to disregard any biases I may not be aware of.

I don't do this shit for money. I'm not qualified to take it. The Internet has been encouraging me to write my memoirs for fifteen fuckin' years now but sweet holy jesus nobody wants to read that shit and I sure don't want to write it. But the fact that I don't consider my own experiences worthy of praise doesn't stop people from asking me for life advice about all sorts of shit they should be asking a psychologist or counselor.

And I try.

(didja notice how the last paragraph is a painful exemplar of the paragraph before?)

If I believed my own press more, or if I was interested in a public-facing career, or if I hadn't decided 15 years ago that "blogger" sounded too much like "leper" for me to have much interest I would have been one of those wannabe Jordan Petersons or Sam Harrises. I mean, I can see there from here. Learning is like slapping your hand on a Van de Graff generator. Talking publicly is like jumping in a giant box of packing peanuts. They stick to you. If you like it, you become a thought daddy. If you don't, you become a cranky-ass curmudgeon on some internet backwater.