Here are the main distilled points from @naval's talk with Brett Hall ( @ToKTeacher), in a tweet storm format

Excellent talk of two brilliant men, on the practical nature of knowledge and the Beginning of Infinity (from @DavidDeutschOxf )



The Beginning of Infinity book by David Deutsch is like a mind virus.

The genre of it is basically: "The genre of things that are directly useful"

When you're dealing with difficult concepts, it's hard to go at it on your own.

Thankfully the internet exists.
It is there to challenge you and broaden your reach.

A random guy from the internet can be your most valuable teacher of the year.

Most new ideas in physics were initially only for crazy people, until they became accepted.

That is true nowadays like in the past
(like for instance for Multiverse Theory in physics).

There will never be a point where we reached "the end" in terms of explanations.

It's easy to create, list and sell mental models.

It's quite difficult to understand exactly what the mental model refers to.

Even more difficult to understand it so well that you are able to apply it in your life.

Knowledge that is not practical is not real knowledge.

Most mental models need to be used to become pieces of your repertoire and your day-to-day understanding.

Explaining a difficult subject to others can be a great way to understand it yourself.

Science fundamentally is about explanations.

More specifically, about searching for the best explanations we can get our hands on.

The bottleneck of nature is not resources, but ideas in how to utilize those resources to our advantage.

Wealth basically is the complete repertoire of physical transformations available to you.

(definition from @DavidDeutschOxf book)

Whatever your explanation, it can always be expanded upon.

There can always be a deeper understanding.

That is the "Infinity" from Dr. Deutsch's book:
The process of science.

There is no "final answer".

That is the core of a self-adjusting, truth-seeking system.

The core feature of a "truth-seeking" system is the error correction ability.

Be it evolution, markets, democracies, innovation, science, etc.

Nothing will change if there is no feedback to indicate something is wrong.

Free speech is one ingredient for allowing error correction to happen.

You are never permanently right, you are only 'provisionally right' until proven otherwise.

If you want to tell a successful society or system from an unsuccessful one, look at which "have it all figured out".

"No changes allowed" is the hallmark of stasis and failure.

A successful society embraces error correction and feedback.

Constantly and uncompromisingly.

A "true explanation" is just "the best idea we have so far", and not "the literal truth"

Democracy is not a system for picking the best leader, but a system for removing the bad ones when they rise to power.

Same for policies. For institution. For companies.

The "overturning" mechanism is the key selection mechanism.

Like natural selection is for evolution.

If you want to start something, like a company, what matters is NOT the numbers of hours you put in, but the number of iterations that you go through.

The number of feedback loops is what sharpens the final system or product.

The incentives of politicians and rulers is to stay in power.

That's why if both parties agree with a policy, it is wise for the populus to oppose it, since that indicates it's more of a political game hack than anything based on merit that will help the people.

We don't have a pristine source of knowledge and Truth.

All we have are 'conjectures'.
Which are basically a fancy word for 'guesses'.

We have as humans the internal ability of coming up with ideas, and those ideas can rival the very best ones of the status quo.

Be it ideologies, mathematical theorems, scientific theories, or any memes.

The root mechanism by which all of our progress becomes possible is creativity.

We have the ability to come up with explanations, never seen before, and challenge what is known as "the common sense".

We as humans have the habit to test the limits out of what works and what doesn't.

A toddler challenges the parents because they wish to see with how many desires and pleasures they can get away with.

A toddler is just a little scientist running experiments on you.

We are all scientists. We constantly go about our lives trying to figure out how things work.

Science fundamentally is about trying to explain the Seen in terms of the Unseen.

Most of you have never seen an atom, and probably never will. But the atomic theory of nature is the best one we have, and it sure works well when dealing in matters of chemistry and making all the materials we benefit of.

Good explanations have 3 things:
1. They are able to be proven false (falsifiable)
2. They have to make narrow and risky predictions
3. They need to be hard to vary

Karl Popper came up with the idea of falsifiability

For millennia people were struggling to delineate what science is and is not

Popper said that what we're after in science is what are called "falsifiable theories"

David Deutsch ( @DavidDeutschOxf) later expanded on that

A theory in the scientific sense is an explanation of the sources that give rise to a cause.

A hard to vary theory is a good one because ALL of the components and assumptions of the theory are required in order to produce the given cause you predict to happen.

Take away one of them, and the whole thing falls apart.

THAT's when you know you got the right picture

If someone scams you offering a crystal to cure your illness, and if he could have offered instead a crystal of a different material, size or shape, then that is an easy to vary explanation, and likely there is no theory behind it at all.

Just a scam.

Occam's razor is related to this topic

"You don't want to multiply assumptions beyond what is necessary".

"The simplest explanation that fully explains the phenomena tends to be the correct and most useful one."

Occam's razor is simply a matter of probability.

The theory with the minimal numbers of assumptions has the best chances of all of those assumptions getting checked.

The more assumptions you have, the likely one of them is wrong.

The universe is not a zero-sum game, it is not low on resources.

It is incredibly huge, we just lack the technical ability to get off the planet and make use of it.

Probably all alien civilizations (if any exist) that have left their home planet, will have a bias for cooperation and wealth creation, since they didn't kill each other.

If alien civilizations would make contact with one another, they would be interested more in trading than in war, since they would be interested in the ideas and information.

Resources can be found in their own star systems.

The bottleneck is not resources. The bottleneck is the ability to use them.

A rock in northern Australia is useless to most people, but not to those that are running a nuclear power plant and identify it as a rock rich in uranium.

Zero-sum, finite and scarcity philosophies are sadly the most common ones in our society.

In reality, there is plenty of raw material so to speak.
What is lacking is the ability to use them in creative ways.

All we have to do to ensure the rate of innovation and progress is to push good ideas forward, and stamp the bad ideas out.

Experimentation, trial and error.

The only real sin is a lack of knowledge.

And the greatest sin is preventing error correction from happening in the first place.

(like limiting free speech, restricting markets, regulatory capture, etc.)

The problem with academia is that they are paid to identify the problems (which is quite easy to do)

And they are not paid enough to come up with solutions.

It's relatively easy to identify a problem.
It's much harder to come up with a solution.

A problem-focused, pesimistic mindset will not make you wealthy.

A solution-focused, optimistic mindset will.

Believing in science kills the scientific mindset.
Being critical of science is the scientific mindset.
Being critical of most things for that matter.

Society is tuned closer to fear and this is seen in the level of excessive regulations we have

There should be some regulations, in cases where there are external costs unaccounted for or tragedies of the commons-type cases, but in many others regulations stiffle innovation

Science is an engine for finding solutions for the needs for people.

Markets become more volatile as they become more efficient, not less.

If the markets don't make sense to you, it doesn't meant they are not working.

If they were comprehensible for any single individual, then we wouldn't need the markets to give us an answer.

The difference between a market and a mob, is that a mob is a group of people that look for each other for what to do next, while a market is a group of people that each do their own thing and the result is aggregated.

Mobs are almost always wrong.

Failure is the main side-effect of progress, in any domain.

The paper basket of the musical composer should be full.

A piece of advice:

The best feedback is from markets and nature.
Because that's valid, and harder to be fooled by.

From people (yourself included) not so much.

The final lesson: Become an error-correction machine.

Always embrace error correction.

There is no other way to the Truth (being less wrong)


@ some people that might enjoy this thread
(which are also worth stalking):
@naval @DavidDeutschOxf @reasonisfun @Plinz @mmay3r @GRITCULT @elonmusk @waitbutwhy @TaylorPearsonMe @DellAnnaLuca @trylks

go up:
if there is interest I can distill the other clubhouse chat of @naval from 29 jan
You can follow @loopuleasa.
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