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Pain makes us stupid
Here’s a few ways we can rephrase “truth-seeking”:
Changing our minds
Being changed by new ideas
Here’s a few of the kinds of pain that might accompany these:
Humiliation (e.g., at having been publicly mistaken)
Shame (e.g., at having been privately mistaken)
Guilt (e.g., at having acted on a belief you no longer agree with)
Confusion (e.g., at not knowing how to live with this new idea)
Identity crisis (e.g., not knowing who you are if you believe this new idea)
Social rejection (e.g., your family and friends thinking you’re crazy or stupid)
Loss of social status (e.g., your colleagues or Twitter followers losing respect for you)
Loss of relationships (e.g., people not wanting to be with you because of your beliefs)
Change of lifestyle (e.g., having to do things you’ve never done, or stop doing things you’ve always done, because of a new perspective)
Now — recall the camera shopping example from a few days ago:
Pain creates preference.
And from yesterday:
See that long list above?
Whatever idea might cause us pain if we believed it, we’ll automatically use our intellectual resources to avoid understanding.
We’ll use our intellectual powers to straw-man ideas to ourselves.
What’s too painful to believe, is too painful to understand. The threat of pain literally makes us stupid.
If we’re unwilling to feel the pain of being changed by a new idea, we will automatically avoid understanding it, so that we can’t see the sense in agreeing with it.
This applies even to math.
There’s delightful news hidden in this:
We can choose to increase our intelligence, by a ton!
Maybe we can’t increase our IQ by force of will — but we can release the brakes on our comprehension by becoming willing to feel the pain of being changed by new ideas.
We’ll start talking about how to do this, soon.