Imagine yourself a successful business owner. Through hard work, discipline and lots of effort you managed to establish your brand. You have now amassed wealth and recognition. By now running your business is more of a flat walk than going uphill.
So you start diversifying and investing in new ventures. You start spending money on new things you believe will make your business grow. But suddenly things start going south. Your old business is not performing as expected and the new ventures are not picking off the ground. You first tell yourself that it’s only a seasonal thing. But as a year goes by, things look even worse, and you are now losing lots of money.
It is at that moment when you realize the difference. When you first started your business you had not much to lose, and so the fear of losing already attained wealth was not so big. However now with the new ventures, the fear of losing the first business is huge.
So what would be your first instinct? Focus on the old, proven business? Focus on the new ventures?
The rational answer would be to analyze, get data and make an informed decision. However the first instinct would probably be to get rid of the old and go back to the roots. Go back to the old way which you know it already worked.
Countries seem to be not so different. The two major genocides happened when once wealthy countries had a hard turn in history and suddenly found themselves powerless. Even with people, there’s this psychological effect of returning to the roots and disposing of everything else when in a very deep down turn.
So now we turn to the USA, specifically to the GOP front runner who doesn’t need to be named. Just taking a look at his campaign title “Make America Great Again” can give you a sense of what’s going on. Trump’s behavior and campaign goals are perfectly aligned with this instinct of disposing everything new and going back to the old ways. The problem with this ideology is that it is completely emotional and has no rational basis. It exploits the fears of the people which can lead to violent reactions.
The question still unanswered here is why is this all happening when the USA is still the most rich and powerful country in the world? I believe this is happening because the people in the USA fear that the country has stopped growing. This is why I believe that Trump gaining so much attention and votes can only be interpreted as the American people feeling their country is not anymore what it once was. And so it is the best signal for an upcoming American recession… Unless, of course, people’s feelings are the product of an emotion synthesizing machine called the Media of the United States.
You should always try to take risks. And no, I don’t mean to say that you should take your savings and buy as many lottery tickets as possible. I mean that in everyday life, even in the most trivial decisions, you should take risks. You should take the unknown option, the one you have no idea what’s going to happen. You should go about your life taking apparently irrational decisions. You should try to break out from whichever routine you have, and try new things.
Just think about this. Kids aren’t afraid of failure even in the tiniest of situations such as trying to make a new sauce by mixing every unexpected substance they can find. Now think about at which age did you use to learn faster? Probably when you were a kid right?! And this is no coincidence. Our brains are information processing organs. We receive daily huge flows of data from our experiences. However as Shannon tells us, repeated data brings actually no information. If you hear the same news over and over again, do you think you are being informed? Probably not.
So what happens when we start taking riskier decisions? We effectively increase the throughput of information to out brains, and so can learn much more faster. This is a very important reason why kids learn faster. And this is why making a habit of taking the more unconventional decision will keep your brain in good shape.
And taking risky decisions not only helps us learn faster by acquiring more information. It is said that what you don’t use, you lose. If we live the same experiences over and over again, those parts of our body which helps us cope with new things will die out. While it is possible to live like a machine, much of life has to do with improvising, with learning, with living the unknown and letting ourselves adapt to new situations. So if you want to feel more alive, you should probably start taking my advice!
Of course there is a limit after which taking the riskier decision is a bad strategy. “And the Lord said: let there be entrepreneurs”. Entrepreneurs live at the boundary where taking always the riskier decision stops being the right choice. For example betting all your savings on a building a new company. If the company’s failure will devastate your life enough so that you will never be able to climb back to where you were, than probably you should not start the venture. This is why being an entrepreneur is the art of measuring your failure thresholds and managing risks. Of knowing exactly how far you can go.
However for most people, fear makes these boundaries appear to be much closer than what they really are. So if you haven’t failed recently, you should both start trying new things, and also increase your risk thresholds.
Yes you read that right; science needs religion. Science cannot evolve and advance without some sort of static belief system. Without such an ideology, science would be in danger of becoming itself a religion.
What happens when science becomes a religion? What happens is that we stop doubting science. Even more dangerous, we start protecting scientific dogmas based on belief alone, not on evidence . When that happens science will stop advancing, it will freeze into a certain state where it would be difficult to get out from. Imagine radical people hanging on to science as their reason to be. Then you can imagine what would happen if anyone should try to doubt these beliefs. Not too different from today’s religious radical people.
So even though 41% of the scientific community claims to be agnostic or atheist, trying to keep a notion of science which is both a belief system and a method to objectively understand the world is a fool’s errand. And I don’t mean to say every atheist uses science as a religion! However I do imply it is very easy for science to become the belief system of people.
Like anything in this world, a solid base is necessary to build upon. One thing that distinguishes a solid base it’s that it doesn’t move, it is static rather than dynamic. However science must be dynamic, must be self-challenging, thus coming in conflict with being a solid base. This is the reason why it needs something else to provide the base, which so far has been religion. Since religion is based on belief and not in evidence, it is better as a base. Advancements in science have eroded this base, rendering millennial-old belief systems inadequate for being a good base.
So what can people hold on to if you take away religion? It’s not difficult to see science taking its place, even though no one meant it to be so. You can see some of this effect in this video.
It is amazing how humans tend to ‘solidify’ science into a belief system. Which only ameliorates the argument that humans need a solid belief base. The problem now is that we have been using the same religions for more than a thousand years. It is quite amazing that they have hold up for so long! But now they have lost their some or most of their credibility depending on who you ask. What is the solution?