12.23.2016

Christian Tinkerers

Spandrell has a Jordan Peterson video up, where he discusses pragmatic philosophy. Jordan Peterson on Truth

I haven't dug enough into it, but on the surface it sounds like a philosophical formulation of what we might call American or Swiss culture. A nation of tinkerers, who eschew knowledge acquisition in and of itself, in favor of experimentation and practical arts. The American model was broken by German immigration, but as Mr. Trump showed in the campaign, there's still great support for the idea that plumbers, carpenters and mechanics are very smart people. If nothing else, the campaign showed that plumbers, carpenters and mechanics know more about politics than most university educated political experts.

In Taleb's book Antifragile he gives the example of jet engines created by tinkering, while the university scientists then explain it all and claim to have invented it. He says these types of learned men are "teaching birds to fly." Men who are focused on achieving a limited goal, of solving a problem, do not need to understand the big why, or how it all works, they only need the local knowledge that works. My favorite anecdote is the trader who bought and sold green lumber for many many years. Taleb discovers the man believed green lumber was wood that was painted green. He did not even know what he was trading, but understood enough to profitably buy and sell it.

When the Englightenment falls, not only will human knowledge advance more quickly, but it will also be accompanied by a religious revival.

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