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What Do You Believe That No One Else Here Does?
Peter Thiel is well-known for asking this question in interviews:
PETER THIEL: The intellectual question that I ask at the start of my book is, “Tell me something that’s true that very few people agree with you on.” This is a terrific interview question. Even when people can read on the Internet that you’re going to ask this question to everybody you interview, they still find it really hard to answer. And it’s hard to answer not because people don’t have any ideas. Everyone has ideas. Everyone has things they believe to be true that other people won’t agree with you on. But they’re not things you want to say.
He himself was unforthcoming when asked the question, though:
TYLER COWEN: Peter, tell me something that’s true that everyone agrees with you on.
PETER THIEL: Well there are lots of things that are true that everyone agrees with me on. I think for example even this idea that the university system is somewhat screwed up and somewhat broken at this point. This is not even a heterodox or a very controversial idea anymore. There was an article in TechCrunch where the writer starts with “this is going to be super controversial” and then you look through the comments — there were about 350 comments — they were about 70 percent in my favor. So the idea that the education system is badly broken is not even controversial. You know, the ideas that are really controversial are the ones I don’t even want to tell you. I want to be more careful than that.
So what do you believe that puts you at odds with everyone else? What do you believe that puts you at odds with Ricochet, in particular?Published in General
You are confusing two things: Reason (which is based in logic), and human nature, which is not. Logic is not necessarily tied to human nature, just as mathematics are not necessarily a reflection of human nature.
Titus – you do not see this, and I am not sure why not.
My position is really very simple: I reject rationality as having a self-contained moral value in itself, and so I reject natural law as bunkum. I think that people instinctively are irrational anyway (which was my original observation). Animalistic behavior is not rational, though it may be consistent with Aristotelian science.
And so I do NOT reasonably approach natural law. I think it is stuff and nonsense. History clearly shows that, in the absence of a moral code that exists outside knowable reason, the smartest people, when in control, always end up defending Might Makes Right.
Rick & the Pick.
True, but with a major qualifier. In a system of no term limits, even a president who was planning on hanging it up would have a tremendous incentive not to make that public until as late in the game as possible, so as not to invite lame duck status. The second you start telegraphing that you’re on your way out the door, your influence starts eroding.
For what it’s worth, this is why I’ve always hated the structure of the governorship in Virginia, where the chief executive gets one four-year term. They’re lame ducks from the second they take the oath of office.
And I, of course, agree with you that there’s no getting around fundamental problems of human nature. But I wouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. The fact that we can’t eliminate those baser instincts isn’t an argument against ameliorating them when we can.
I had this pegged right away as a convo-starting barn-burner. This thread will generate sparks for easily a year.
Patience, my agitated expat. It will come.
For the second time in Ever — agreed.
I think it’s difficult for men who allow themselves to get into the friend zone to fix themselves, yes.
I’m honestly kind of baffled by it. It just doesn’t seem like such a great question.
(I add this both because it’s an obviously minority view and because I can’t resist becoming #400.)
Precisely the observation that set Titus off.
In a morally relative world, the Man in charge ends up defining the Good as whatever he wants.
It is not so different from any corrupt politician. The rules do not apply to them, because they are in charge.
The friend zone is a myth. Not that men don’t end up in friendships with women who’d they’d prefer to have a romantic relationship with, but that the friendship is the reason it can’t transition to romance.
I don’t have time to drag out the research, but women are more likely to view someone romantically after getting to know them much better. If you are stuck in the “friend zone” you are really stuck in the “She wouldn’t date you friend or not zone”.
There is a crack in everything :-)
This doesn’t preclude the possibility that there are other “beings” that have some other condition than “intelligence” and what we know of as “consciousness”. What we think of as “awake”, “conscious”, “self-aware”, might be inconsequential – or maybe merely infantile – to such creatures. They may already be here (and everywhere), communicating away, but we are incapable of perceiving them.
We think we are at the pinnacle of creation and look for others who are as intelligent as we are on other planets. Of course we do, because we are glorious us. But our “consciousness” just here on Earth can be so many different things, dependent on input from our environment and cultural upbringing (what an Aborigine thinks Uluru is vs what I might think Ayers Rock is).
Our consciousness can be manipulated with brain surgery or drugs – how reliable is it really, how special?. Our perception and apprehension of the universe is based on such a fleeting experience of it. Why can’t the universe include “beings” who experience the deep time and vast distances involved as a routine part of their existence?
Emo Phillips once said “Of all the parts of the body, I think the most amazing has got to be the brain. But then I think “Well look who’s telling me that.””
We tell ourselves lots of stories.
Twenty pages of comments in, and no one’s mentioned this yet, so I’m feeling pretty confident:
The USDA and modern agroscience are directly, albeit unwittingly, responsible for the epidemic of obesity in the United States
The selective breeding that has been performed on wheat in order to make it more amenable to agricultural production has resulted in a foodstuff with profoundly harmful properties . The unique properties of wheat, in particular the gluten proteins in it, make it an extremely useful additive for processed foods, and thus it’s everywhere (look at the ingredients list on just about any box in the grocery store). Finally, a tremendous body of questionable post-WWII nutrition research  led to the conclusion that grains are good and meat & fat are bad, resulting in grains (which, for all practical purposes, means “mostly wheat”) occupying the foundation of the Food Pyramid™.
Thus we find ourselves in the situation where our government experts are telling us to eat the stuff that’s making us fat, because the “science” is “incontrovertible.”
 W. Davis, Wheat Belly
 G. Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories
– Switching to direct elections of U.S. Senators was a good thing.
– The term limit on Presidents should be repealed solely for the entertainment value of a Democratic primary pitting Bill Clinton against Barack Obama.
– Ketchup on macaroni and cheese is delicious.
Yeah, I think that the “friend zone” thing is something frustrated nice guy tell themselves when they’re younger. Once you understand women, it kinda falls away.
Like any man can ever understand women…
Real men only need three downs to move ten yards.
“Men only like women because they don’t understand women. Women understand women, and they hate each other!” – read on the Internet somewhere.
When some man about to save the world gets power because of a divine law, terror ensues just as well. You maybe never read the book of Exdous–divine justice is really hard on everyone. But have you heard of Calvin’s Geneva? How about Savonarola? Have you ever heard of the English Civil War & the European religious wars?
Sure you can. Its easy once you know how. First step is to stop treating women like an Other. Women are just people. Beyond that, there’s a few specific details. Once you know them, you’ve got the whole game.
And if you’re married, and your interest in women (other than your wife) changes from sexual/romantic to gallant, then the whole thing is a hell of a lot easier.
But the main barrier is to stop seeing women as an Other.
Before you drag out research, you need to clarify your thoughts here. Someone less charitable than myself might laugh at you when you say, if she wants to be friends with you & get to know you, then you stand a better chance of charming fair lady–but then again, there are all these friends she has, yeah, they stand no chance. In fact, the admission itself that some men are going to stand no chance & others are not sought for friendship damns your very decent reassurance-
I think there is something that modifies Hamilton–the emergence of national parties that now & then threaten to put party above country for the sake of some principle. It’s better to have lame-duck presidents than to marry party to an exceptional leader–do not remove the only constitutional thing standing in his way.
You have phrased your response somewhat strangely. My statement seems clear, but I will attempt make it more so.
She may have all kinds of guy friends who have no chance at a romantic relationship with her. The mistake is in thinking that the obstacle to a romantic relationship is the friendship. If anything, the friendship increased their odds of success.
To clarify the phenomenon I’m talking about in terms of women finding men more appealing after getting to know them, if a large group of men and women (let’s use a class of 30-40) who have never met are put in a situation where they will be working together often, and you poll them on who in this group of strangers is a good potential romantic interest, women will mostly select the same 2 or 3 guys, the same way the men will select the same 2 or 3 gals.
After a month of them getting to know each other, the guys opinions stay largely the same, where as the women’s opinions start to diverge significantly. Men who previously had not polled as very appealing suddenly appeal to some of the women who have gotten to know them.
This is to say, if you’ve befriended a girl, and she has gotten to know you, and nothing romantic is happening, blaming “the friend zone” is a denial of reality.
Well, this sure explains me and my husband. He knew I was the one from the start. Whereas it took me a while to realize that all those goofy guys I kept bumping into were the same goofy guy: him.
From there it was just a matter of time before I realized this goofy guy was in fact devilishly handsome, heroically chivalrous, awesomely brilliant – in short, everything a girl could want in a Prince Charming, minus of course the spoiled royal attitude. But there was no way of telling any of this the first few times I laid eyes on him.
Women want a bad boy who will become good for them, and only them.
Men want a good girl who will be bad for them, and only them.
All of your argument is too decent for me to stand by & not try to tear it apart. First, you are wrong about friendship–it costs something, specifically it removes from men whatever traces of manliness are left. That is by itself likely to make them rather more unattractive, if you prefer your language in qualifiers. Then, too, this simple thing, that the way people think about friends is in the plural, shows you that it’s getting people to think in such a way that it leads to a dead end, called, rather foolishly, the friend zone.
I’m not sure how you conduct that experiment or whether it would prove what you think it would. This deserves its own thread–you’ve struck oil again, do something before the EPA sends the chicken or dear SWAT team to get you…
While we appreciate your substantive additions to this thread, let’s ease up a bit on the tone, which has been unnecessarily surly in some instances.
It has been performed before. They have these places called colleges, with an over abundance of hormone addled young adults who don’t know each other. This phenomenon has been formally studied before.
I think you are misinterpreting what women perceive as manly…as well as the actual nature of manliness. Masculinity contrasts from femininity in an inherent (and illogical) confidence in the face of risk.
Friendship robs you of your confidence in yourself? Why should it? I suspect thinking it does is a sign it was lacking in the first place.
Both of you, there is still time to take it back . . . .