10/10/2010

Assorted Thoughts

1. I wonder how many people do not get treatment for depression although they could benefit from it because they judge their outlook to be appropriate.

2. Though it's been said a million times that parents overestimate the extent to which others are interested in their - the parents' - babies, this knowledge is quickly forgotten by many upon becoming parents themselves - a hormonal thing perhaps? Maybe this helps: Babies are not persons in the standard sense of the word, i.e., you can't have a conversation with them.

3. Ben Casnocha blogs about the dilemma young people face when they meet "the right one" too early: "Do they commit to the girlfriend or boyfriend in their early 20's even if it means sacrificing other goals?" The tragedy here, though, lies not mainly in the situation, but in the fact that concerning the supposedly most private arrangements people's imaginations are as barren as the Gobi desert: Why not continue the relationship and travel the world? (Notable exception, at least given most people's emotional makeup: sexual relations.) W. I. Thomas would have agreed.

4. Tom Wolfe thinks that most people become authors of fiction not because they have "something to say", but because they discover they have a way with words. Here's a different hypothesis: Most people develop the wish to become an artist because they discover they have a way of perceiving that they deem unusual and precious. Possible exception: music.

5. Perhaps the only thing that's as hard to write about as sex: The magic of an alcohol-soaked evening with others, when time and self-awareness slowly disappear.

6. Pauline Kael is said to have said, "I can't believe Nixon won. Nobody I know voted for him!" If everybody who's ever looked down on Kael for saying that had internalized the implication of the quote - your model of the world, too, is subject to sampling bias - the world would be a wiser place.

7. Point often overlooked when making carreer decisions: How much control will you have over who you'll hang out with?

8. It would be useful to have most nonfiction books come in two versions: Standard version for the properly interested; highlights version for the mildly interested. Additional information about a given topic usually has decreasing marginal utility.

9. Reinterpretation for bloggers: Calling laziness "a taste for concision".

4 comments:

jaltcoh said...

There's research suggesting that depressed people actually do have a more accurate view of the world. "Depressive realism."

jaltcoh said...

9. Superiority for bloggers: calling books "indulging in verbosity."

LemmusLemmus said...

John,

as the article points out, "depressive realism" refers to the mildly depressed; an important qualification.

Eric Crampton said...

Isn't that we kidded folks think y'all are interested; it's just that the alternative is silence as our brains are mush from no sleep and no time for reading...