Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Morning Video

This morning's video is from Ted, so I'm sure at least a quarter of you have seen it. None the less, the point I would like to draw attention to is the unavailability of the patternisity problem. If you are going to see patterns in the world around you then you are going to make type 1 and type 2 errors. There is no way around this problem, short of omniscience. And given that you and I are fated to see patterns where there are none, and to miss patterns where there are some, the only reasonable response is humility and courage.

We must have the humility to admit that we will be wrong in both directions from time to time. And we must have the courage to act despite this lack of certainty. Without certainty to fall back on, then we must have some other method to avoid regret. And much like not believing in an afterlife demands that you make the most out of this life, not believing in certainty demands that you make sure that you did your best. Having done your best, no matter how dismal, allows you to sleep at night after a major blunder.

It does you no good to say "but I was certain" after its been proven that you flubbed it. But saying, "I did everything in my power to make sure I was right" lets you off the hook to a large extent. I have made terrible mistakes and had miserable failures in my life. But almost without exception I was doing my very best every day. And I sleep quite well.

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