There is some good in being ever curious

Or: a healthy dose of skepticism should be accompanied by a healthy dose of curoisity. And, in my experience, people are seldom curious enough, so raising the bar is hardly a danger.

I don’t seem to have mentioned the 12 virtues of rationality before in this blog, but I have talked about rationality under another, hopefully less loaded, name: cognitive calibration.

This is an invitation to be curious about people around you and the decision they make, specially if they impact you. Why does a teammate want to go in a certain direction? Why does a colleague think our choice is poor (or stupid, depending on their niceness)? Why, what, who, when, where, how?

Cognitive calibration is all about having a better model of reality – the better calibrated our cognition is, by definition, the better our capacity to predict the future and understand the present.

One of the tools that can make a model give more accurate predictions is the abundance of data. Thus, always wonder, always question, always try to find out. If your model is wrong, or the way you’re getting data is biased, then your understanding of the present and future will be ever further from the truth.

In order to correct for this: wonder. Wonder whether you’re truly in the right, whether others are truly in the wrong. Look for the answers.

If reality doesn’t fit your predictions or understanding: wonder. Wonder about how stuff really works, about what’s really going on, about where you went wrong.

I’ve you’ve not changed your mind or don’t like questioning a particular subject: wonder. About when and why you became so protective, about how to overcome that protectiveness in order to better understand yourself and be able to wonder, once again, wonder if you are right – or how you can be right.

Curiosity seeks to anihilate itself, writes Eliezer Yudkowsky.

That’s true – but it’s like a phoenix in that it can be reborn time and again. For as long as I’ve been looking for answers, I’ve always found more questions. I think we’re far from the place where the amount of questions are going to start converging and reducing, the place where we know it all.

So please your curiosity and crash it into the facts, that you may be wiser, and curiouser.

Try not to get into trouble, but always bear in mind… how much trouble are you in by not knowing now, not being able to see, even in a blurry way, tomorrow?

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