I’m reading Julia Galef’s “The Scout Mindset” just now. It’s good. It’s a lightish read about why some people seem to see issues more clearly than others, and what I like about it is that its main thesis is emotional, not the sort of smug hectoring Dawkins rationalism that’s done so much to persuade us all to be smarter. She essentially wants to persuade us that being wrong (or at least, being prepared to be shown to be wrong) is good, and to be embraced, because it helps you be right.
Galef distinguishes between the “soldier” mindset most of us have by default – where we “protect our beliefs aggressively and ignore any evidence that we might be wrong” – and the “scout”, who “surveys the land, seeking accuracy and understanding to find all the available information – good and bad – to gain a more truthful picture”.
I like it. Obviously, like everyone, I’m naturally a soldier, but the last decade or so has made me want to be more of a scout. Nobody’s listening. Everyone already knows. That can’t be good.
Reading Galef’s book (and reviews of it) led me to Paul Graham’s 2009 article, “Keep Your » Continue Reading.