Allow me to introduce myself
It was around the early months of the COVID pandemic that I realised how our minds are conditioned to market economies. In my early years of college, I came to believe that in a free country, where one doesn't have to bend to authoritarian lies out of fear, humanity would pursue what was most beneficial to it: the truth. Instead, we conditioned our minds to consuming exactly what satisfy and discard anything that doesn't. Information ended up becoming a product in itself, it needs to be excessively tortured and warped for mass appeal and consumption. A moment spent in silent reflection was instead replaced with a litmus test measuring every insecurity against every imperfection. That was my "black pill", a phase that I'm still stuck in but I think I'll come to accept ourselves for our imperfect design.
In a single decade, our lifestyles have undergone so many radical changes faster than we could realise, let alone comprehend, them. Everything you write shines a bright light of clarity in this confusing age. I've found my abstract thoughts described perfectly into words in a way that I couldn't, even had them challenged and won over by more reasonable ideas, and my perspective fine tuned in the end.
So kudos and all the power to you, mate. Looking forward to see you climb.
It feels amazing to read your thoughts. A lot of times it feels like you are converting my thoughts to eloquent words, and a lot of times it feels like I'm learning something completely new and something obvious that I have missed. I hope your words reach more and more people.
My mission in life is somewhat similar to yours, I want to work on reforms in the (Indian) education system that will enable a space for students to think critically. So I get to learn a lot from you. I hope someday I'll also be able to write about my experiences like you do.
Gurwinder, I cannot wait to see your Substack go from strength to strength. This really gets to the heart of the free speech debate online: "as if it were possible to quarantine fools from falsehood." Onward and upward my friend!
I agree that the stated principles (equality of opportunity, freedom of expression, primacy of truth) are fundamental and welcome the approach to truth as a horizon.
Being a data nerd, this hierarchy of states of cognition listed below helps me classify content with the understanding that there are distinguishable processes to compile content from one stage to the next. I suggest using it for identification thinking that the deconstruction enabled by this view can help clarify - even on what level a discussion is taking place.
The list is a compilation of elements described by Edgar Codd (normalizing facts to data), Clifford Stoll, data to wisdom, Frank Zappa adds truth (and the rest for fun).
Facts are not data.
Data is not information.
Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not understanding.
Understanding is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
(Music is THE BEST.)
I've come away from so much of your writing feeling like I've been foolish my whole life. Please continue making that happen.
I too was an idiot...well beyond my teens. I'd like to hold those same principles close to my self - equality of opportunity, freedom of expression, truth no matter how inconvenient. Thanks for this. 2023 is the year I divorce social media & get back to real life and do right by those values and encourage others to the same.
Stumbled on your blog. Wonderful insights. Thank you Gurwinder.
When I used to read about dictators like Hitler and Stalin and how they got their countrymen to yield and rapturously support their agenda I blamed it on lack of information and thought that we had progressed beyond that sectarian mindset. In American, Indian & other societies the same divisiveness is being used by political leaders, which is to be expected since they only want to win elections, and being vociferously adopted by the populace at large. I don't know whether there is a hope in hell for humanity as a species since bigotry, global warming, war, racism, pandemic are just a few of the issues in which one thought picking the right choice would be a 'no brainer'. Apparently a lot of us are no brainers which does not augur well for the future.
Very well-said. More and more I am still left curious, eager in trying to understand what little I can. Trying to comprehend and evaluate and articulate and discover and recognize and be aware and notice and compute and imagine. What a scary yet awe-inspiring feeling.
This was beautifully written.
Beautifully written! Well done!
I really liked the way you explained the twisting of information through jig saw analogy. I was aware of it but never really understood it completely. This analogy made it clear.
The last paragraph is just so beautifully put. Looking forward to new content.
Thank you for this wonderful introduction.
I don't know where I first found you -- maybe OvercomingBias or LessWrong years ago?
In any case, I'm glad you're writing here. I'm looking forward to your posts.
Cheers 💚 🥃
I love that you’re starting this. Will be great to be able to share your thoughts with friends/family who don’t use Twitter.
Just became aware of your existence... The concept of learning something new and relevant excites me but the understanding of the said concept still eludes me.
Gurwinder I need your help... enlighten me
How can one form a single critical thought when one’s idea of objectivity rests on tired western tropes, popular biases, spying and infringing on a people, and inconclusive evidence that’s then fed to a hungry press? To develop the intellect the first thing we do is examine and shed our own biases and abandon mainstream narratives. The art of filtering information is spotting the bias. Once it’s identified, all that precedes and follows it must be examined under the intellectual microscope and cross-referenced repeatedly. Credibility lost is a reader lost.