Today’s Experiment

“‘But I hear the voices,’ he tells me. ‘I hear people say, ‘Why doesn’t he just be funny?’ That stuff has just never mattered to me. To me, it’s like, this is the experiment tonight. If you enjoy it, great, if you don’t, that’s cool, too. There’ll be another one tomorrow.'”

—Jim Carrey quoted in Lacey Rose. “Jim Carrey’s (Reluctant) Return to Hollywood: At Home With an Actor, Artist and Trump-Era Agitator.” Hollywood Reporter. August 15, 2018.

Obesity in America 2018: 7 charts that explain why it’s so easy to gain weight – Vox

“Sure, it’s possible to have a small, healthy meal at a restaurant. But researchers have found that people typically eat 20 to 40 percent more calories in restaurants compared with what they’d eat at home.”

—Eliza Barclay, Julia Belluz, and Javier Zarracina. “Obesity in America 2018: 7 charts that explain why it’s so easy to gain weight.” Vox. August 9, 2018.

Key take aways: eat at home, reduce portion sizes, drink water, eat a variety of foods, and reduce sugar intake.

Classy & Disagreeable

“The most obvious advantage of classifying the forms of disagreement is that it will help people to evaluate what they read. In particular, it will help them to see through intellectually dishonest arguments. An eloquent speaker or writer can give the impression of vanquishing an opponent merely by using forceful words. In fact that is probably the defining quality of a demagogue. By giving names to the different forms of disagreement, we give critical readers a pin for popping such balloons.”

—Paul Graham. “How to Disagree.” paulgraham.com. March 2008.

Classification also helps with determining whether it’s worth talking at all. If you aren’t at DH4 or above, is there any point in continuing the conversation?

Ideology & Pride

“But this is pride, according to Niebuhr: the inability to interrogate our own moral stances because we’re too committed to ideology. Pride has everything to do with power, because the ideologies we commit ourselves to belong to the tribes that we count on to protect, defend, and advance us. Perhaps the most radical thing Jesus ever did in his society was to ditch his family and leave Nazareth. The man had no back-up.

To be very clear, the lesson to be drawn from all of this is not that human knowledge (or lack of) shapes how we use power. To a disconcerting extent, it’s just the opposite. How we use power shapes how we choose to know.

To make things worse, Niebuhr says, humans have a capacity for “partial self-transcendence.” That is, we’re able to see how we can make things better, and tempted to think that means we can make them perfect. In other words, humans know just enough to fool them into thinking they’re not dumb. Big mistake. We do just enough of the right thing to convince themselves that they are good. Bigger mistake.”

—Daniel Schulz. “Pride in the Name of Power.” killingthebuddha.com. July 29, 2018.