The ONE great idea
In the Aretae mind, there is a single uber-idea that suffuses every aspect of life…that explains not only how things are, but how things should be.
In one word: Feedback.
In a sentence: reality gives information awful cheap when you try stuff.
And it explains everything:
The history of life…how did life get here, how did humans arrive? Trial and Error (death), usually called evolution.
The human mind…how did it get to be how it is? Trial and Error (death), AKA Evolutionary Psychology
The history of civilization…how did humans become prosperous? Trial and Error(bankruptcy), usually called free-market economics.
Invention, improving stuff? Iphone 4 vs. 1? Edison’s light bulb? Trial and Error, AKA Prototyping. Lean is the Trial and Error-generated mechanism for formalizing (harnessing) the prototyping process.
Learning, and in particular, becoming expert? Trial and Error. Doing is the core of learning, and the serious learning occurs at the point of identifying errors.
What is it you want to understand about the world? The feedback system is the universal explanatory feature? The question is just how it applies.
Bloody Shovel with a long bit reminding us that the #1 enemy of tradition (and authority) is capitalism and the free market. I’m pretty sure I come down on the opposite side of most of the questions raised than does the author. For instance…I hate (with a white hot passion) both drill and ritual. But the thought process is right. Now if only the rest of the reactionaries would catch up and realize that tradition and capitalism are incompatible…
– the blogger known as Aretae
This really isn’t a proper Festschrift, since it’s only me singing your praises in this post (and finally adding you to my blogroll!), but I figured I’d introduce you and many of my readers to a fun German word. So why do I love your blog? Your short, pithy prose is often filled with lots of smart insights, especially related to education and how the brain works; you read and comment on reactionary bloggers without agreeing with their premises (in other words — you engage with the best of what your political opponents have to say); you link to a lot of good posts by other bloggers or academic studies* highlighted by other bloggers (your “Post of the Day”, abbreviated as PoTD); you accept HBD but at the same time believe biology and society are complex enough that IQ isn’t the only important biological trait associated with success; etc. On top of that, you and I seem to totally disagree on foundational issues of epistemology, not to mention our profound political disagreements when it comes to the proper role and scope of authority for the state (which came to a head in our kerfuffle over Senator Santorum). I also like the fact that you respond to your commenters — something I’ve tried to emulate at my blog. In short, you are a worthy intellectual opponent and sometimes political ally who I had the pleasure to meet with when you had business in Chicago and I hope, as I said before, we get to break bread again in 2012. Keep up the good work.
*This study you linked to last year blew me away — if the results hold up I would think the HBD community would become very interested in the subject of patience and how it can be cultivated and/or encouraged via public policy.