I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me โ€” that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter โ€” except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

February 08, 2018 - 10:42 a.m.

Dow Down Down Down Down Down

I don't go out on rainy miserable day if I have a choice, so I didn't leave the house yesterday. I should go out just to have things to write about. I can say how miserable I was out in the rain and lament that I can't find my overshoes. Instead I just write that I could have done those things then move on.

I had something for Jane that I knew would be greatly appreciated. I could have just given it to her but that's not the way my mind works. I want things to be an adventure, so I just left it on her computer after she went to sleep so she'd find it first thing in the morning. Presentation is important in food, music, and friendship.

The two-day drop in the stock market, Friday and Monday, triggered all sorts of reactions by pundits and on Facebook; those triggered a scream of frustration by me.

We've been undergoing a bull market for years, it started early in the Obama administration. Trump and his supporters have been taking credit for the rise since he was elected. That's total nonsense, the president has very little influence on stock market prices and it takes quite some time for his policies to have any effect. For the first year in office it reflects more on the policies of his predecessor. Trump has been properly criticized for that. So far well and good. Then the market went down significantly over two days and 90% of what people said was nonsense; nonsense voiced with great authority. People who criticized Trump for taking credit for the bull market were blaming him for the drop. Sean Hannity who had been giving Trump credit for the rise had the chutzpah to blame Obama for the drop. That was frustrating but it's things I'm inured to, hyperpartisanship is the norm. What I found more annoying was comments by friends of friends. They were so sure of what caused the drop. They gave conflicting theories without evidence but of which they were sure. What did the economists have to say? That nobody knows why these things happen and we don't know if it will continue to drop, rebound, or stabilize at the new level. They know enough to know what they don't know. It was the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. Those that know the least are the most confident. Lacking in real knowledge the commenters were free to explain everything in terms of their prejudices and back it with confirmation bias.

These people are voters. Many elected officials are no better; perhaps most elected officials are no better as that's what many voters want, people that share their prejudices. People don't want to hear, "We don't know" and will listen to people that say they do without evidence. This leads to bad policy and my frustration.

One of the permanent items in my ideas bin is common cognitive errors. If I can ever get myself the energy to do the research I'm going to write in detail about it. For now, I'm going to leave it to Socrates.

  • When I left him, I reasoned thus with myself: I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.
  • I went to the artisans, for I was conscious that I knew nothing at all, as I may say, and I was sure that they knew many fine things of which I was ignorant, and in this they certainly were wiser than I was. But I observed that even the good artisans fell into the same error as the poets; because they were good workmen they thought they knew all sorts of high matters, and this defect in them overshadowed their wisdom โ€” therefore I asked myself on behalf of the oracle, whether I would like to be as I was, neither having their knowledge nor their ignorance, or like them in both; and I made answer to myself and the oracle that I was better off as I was.
  • am called wise, for my hearers always imagine that I myself possess wisdom which I find wanting in others: but the truth is, O men of Athens, that God only is wise; and in this oracle he means to say that the wisdom of men is little or nothing... as if he said, He, O men, is the wisest, who like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing. And so I go on my way, obedient to the god, and make inquisition into anyone, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be wise; and if he is not wise, then in vindication of the oracle I show him that he is not wise; and this occupation quite absorbs me, and I have no time to give either to any public matter of interest or to any concern of my own, but I am in utter poverty by reason of my devotion to the god.

Not only do I not know why the market went down I don't even know what I'm going to eat for breakfast. There will be eggs and some sort of pork product, but I don't know how I'm going to combine them. I'll find out when I get in the kitchen.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Valentine's Day Advice - February 13, 2018
It's the End of America as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) - February 12, 2018
Rock Lobster - February 11, 2018
Bruce Banner and Politics - February 10, 2018
Listening Lists - February 09, 2018

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Horvendile February 08, 2018
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