Jan 21Liked by Erik Torenberg

Part III - "Thriving Without Illusions" in Julia Galef's book The Scout Mindset is another pretty good read on this subject! Delusions/Illusions can definitely be useful like you've mentioned in this article, but I like how she challenges self-delusion with some alternatives. I guess either strategy can work depending on the person/circumstances, but I've always preferred to try to get the most accurate picture possible, even if the odds aren't in my favor. Elon Musk said something to that degree I believe, like if the "expected value" or benefit is good enough, you try even if the odds aren't in your favor.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22Liked by Erik Torenberg

I think the best example of a falsehood that served us is 'the divine right of kings'. The idea is that 'God would have intervened if the king you just got was a bad idea'. By being born the eldest son of the last ruler, you were ordained to be the king ... and if God had second thoughts, he could kill you off with crib death or some other accident. So God is the surety of a kingship, and those who would have a different king were conspiring _against God_. God wanted this kingship. Else he would have made a different man king.

People in Europe were well aware that they were suffering from the rule of kings who did not measure at all up to an ideal of divine selection -- if this was God's choice for us then God must really hate us! -- People did not believe in the DRoK because they were delusional. It was just very evident that having a bad monarch was greatly to be preferred to having all out civil war every time the king died. I believe in a lie because the alternatives are worse.

Getting rid of kings when you decide 'Down with rule by kings. Rule by Parliament is better' will, of course be more difficult in places which had DRoK or DR of conquest, but that doesn't make the decision to embrace a falsehood as a political truth a bad idea for the societies who did so. 'All men are created equal' may be a similar falsehood we do well to act as if is true.

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“Luke, you switched off your targeting computer! What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I’m all right.”

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