Aug 14, 2021Liked by Erik Torenberg

Again, thanks to Morgan Housel for leading me to this article. It explains so many things I have been wrestling with like how to deal with narcissistic behavior (they seem to be the ultimate status seekers with no truth filter), how two groups so close in ideology and linked by history can be so at odds with each other when there are so many other factions that seem to be far more at odds with both groups (Middle East, Pakistan and India, uighers, Tutsi and Hutu, snowboarders and skiers :). Red v blue. Ford v Chevy. Etc. I guess it brings new meaning to the phrase “The truth shall set you free”. Free from enjoying too many friendships. It explains momentum investing and the GameStop phenomenon, it explains why local rivalries can get so explosive. My education is engineering and finance which seem more truth seeking, less group joining, group status seeking and it helps explain why technical skills become less valuable as I rise up in a big company where loyalty and groupthink are valued above “truthful” analysis. I am feeling both empowered by the insight and, simultaneously filled with dread and sorrow.

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Aug 1, 2021Liked by Erik Torenberg

on "Abolish the Police" - i get the x-group signaling aspect that you point out but want to suggest another motivation, which probably doesn't drive the discourse in this specific case, but might apply to others.

let's assume that some % of people who are saying "abolish the police" are dreamers - people who imagine a better state of the world where police are generally not needed because we're living in some sort of harmony. Where would that fit into this model.

Maybe the song Imagine is a better example of this? I know I'm mixing a ton of different ideas here, but can extreme statements also be in a 2x2 of "aspirational/tribal" as opposed to, let's say, "confrontation/tribal" ?

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Playing this out over the next 15 years:

1. People can only survive if they are "in a tribe" with all the rights/benefits of security/status that comes with that.

2. Right now, the world is too complicated to prove anything 100% verifiably since almost nothing is on a blockchain and we don't have the compute to analyze the data if it were.

3. Blockchain/Crypto + AI will *verifiably prove* certain things (h/t balaji) beyond any scope of wiggle room (wiggle room being: "what about this corner case!/that is unknowable/my interpretation is right"). Examples include who won an election, racial "inferiority/superiority", and astrology.

4. What will happen to the majority of people who are in tribes where it is 100% verifiable that their facts are "wrong"? Will this mean there will only be 1 tribe? How will people like Mike Lindell or the average astrology wonk respond to fully verifiable data?

5. Will this make people *further* retreat from society - maybe in to the metaverse?

6. My guess is that people will push incredibly violently against this new world.

7. How do we prevent this violence?

The interesting part about most of the articles that touch on this aspect of human psychology is they clearly identify the problem being just that - human psychology. BUT I don't see a call for a pouring of brains/capital in to how to teach people to value pursuit of truth over status.

This can be trained and imo feels like maybe the highest priority thing society can be working on.

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- understanding the consequences doesn't matter when loyalty path is taken but still wanted to ask; what does this say about actual winning and losing of the loyalty group and/or the outgroup? (unless the end goal itself is just signalling and making friends)

- does this also mean > what is right/wrong and correct/incorrect does not really matter at all?

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There is a ton of overlap with Crony Beliefs (https://meltingasphalt.com/crony-beliefs/). Both posts get amplified when read together.

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"What your brain has is a tendency to change its behavior in order to expect that things that happened before in a certain sequence will happen again."

This explains financial booms and busts quite nicely.

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The article as a whole was very interesting, but the last point got me thinking in particular. Since we seem to be evolutionarily wired to live in a zero-sum world, what will happen to us on a social/political etc. level in a time of abundance? You seem to think of abundance as a positive, and surely it does seem to be a positive word, but to me it feels more like a negative thing wrapped in false hope

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Nicely put together. Thanks, Erik.

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