Questioning Your Beliefs

Another thing we discussed at this CFAR alpha testing ages ago is that we’re supposed to question our beliefs. A way to do this is by hanging out with people with beliefs different from our own. My first reaction to this was that it’d be hard to do because 1) I don’t know any idiots, and 2) I don’t want to hang out with idiots.

The instructor gave an example of hanging out with vegetarians to understand what vegetarians actually ate and to help deal with the discomfort of thinking about the morality of meat. Another example was to hang out with grad school dropouts and people who were never in grad school to understand what the rest of the world thinks of academia and the importance of PhDs.

After some reflection, I realized most of my friends disagree with me on some things, but probably not on the big things, or if they do, we don’t talk about it because we don’t want to argue. I generally suck at arguing because I get annoyed and start insulting and punching the other person (figuratively‚Ķ).

This idea of engaging with people who think differently precipitated my beginning to participate more in internet communities. People don’t hesitate to disagree with me on the internet, whereas they are often quiet in real life, I guess intimidated by someone as wise and serious as I am.

Some topics where I discovered my beliefs are very different from the beliefs of most people:
1) HFT.
2) Politics.
3) Money.
4) Diet.
5) My own greatness.
6) Charity.
7. Olivia Wilde.
8) Patents.

I haven’t really modified any of my beliefs yet so I don’t know if any of this is working to make me more rational. However, I think I am understanding the opposing beliefs better. So here’s my modest goal for now: be able to describe what others’ points of view are on all topics where I have abnormal beliefs.