When you describe the world, you describe yourself

I recently enjoyed a late summer BBQ on a sunday afternoon. Grassfed beef, self-made chili sauce, baby spinach salads, cabbage and carrot salads….a full buffet of paleo goodness.

There were quite some couples in their late 20s present. The girl across from me frequently expressed to the girl next to her:

“Everyone I know is having a baby right now! It’s crazy, like literally everyone! Well, except me. But to be honest, I don’t even wanna have one right now!”

Expressions like this fascinate me. It doesn’t take much rationality to come to the conclusion that obviously not *everyone* in her social circle is pregnant. A few are. And even admittedly some more. It might raise an eyebrow, but that’s not what’s important. The point is…in her mind *everyone* is pregnant indeed. Her Reticular Activating System, the part in her brain that puts selective attention onto things of value and screens out things of no value, makes her perceive the world like this.

Which objectively tells a lot about her and very little about the world.

Getting closer to 30, without a guy in sight to settle with, becoming more and more aware of The Wall, the priority to replicate increases, mightily incentivized by her genetic programme, and thereby its subjective value and thereby the selective attention focus, that is put onto it. As a result, all she can see is pregnant women, although there were a lot of non-pregnant and non-fertile women as well roaming around those BBQ festivities, which I became aware of after her statement. But to our girl the non-fertiles become invisible gorillas.

The takeaway is this: the girl across from me was convinced she made an accurate observation about the world. But the world is too coincidental and too complex to make a simplified observation like this and have it be true.

As she described the world, she actually described herself.

This is a valuable insight to any progretarian that wants to grow and evolve into his best possible self, in order to give back to the world.

“To get a person’s real opinion, ask what she thinks everyone else believes… If people truly hold a particular belief, they are more likely to think that others agree or have had similar experiences.” — Tyler Cowen

So, to identify the beliefs you hold closest, ask yourself what other people belief. Write them down. Reflect on them and evolve. They are most likely wrong. And the more you haven’t thought about the validity of some of your beliefs, the more likely they need revision.

Do you think, most people believe in God?

Do you think, most people believe big companies exploit the little man?

Do you think, most people believe the government is corrupt?

Do you think, most people believe immigrants are lazy?

Do you think, most people think women don’t enjoy sex and trade it for goods?

Do you think, most people think in order to get rich, you have to take it from others?

Do you think, most people believe watching TV relaxes them?

Do you think, most people believe, that sometimes you have to treat yourself some nice things, no matter how many maxed out credit cards they have?

I’ll invite you to dive into the many facets of the progretarian idea with me over the course of the next years.

It’ll be a helluva ride!

When you describe the world, you describe yourself

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