Yesterday I attended a program at the Helix Center called “Fake Knowledge: Knowledge and the Illusion of Knowing.” The Helix Center is located on the Upper East Side. The room was packed. One thing I will always enjoy about New York City is that intellectual tastes are not considered to be shameful.

There were six participants who sat and conversed in a circle. The President of the New York Psychanalytic Society, site of the Helix Center. The participants included five professors, two of them Nobel Prize winners and a magician.

The general topic was the relationship between beliefs and truth. The subtopic because of the location was the current status of psychoanalytic theory once regarded as “revealed truth” and whether its value could be proven. And Trump of course.

Here are two of the good points that were made:

Our beliefs come first then our reasons.

The idea that truth is relative was a position popularized by the left as part of post modern thought and taught to people like Kellyanne Conway who saw its value in politics. Alternative facts anyone?

There were magic tricks.

My favorite part was the Q&A. A psychoanalyst told his favorite joke. A rabbi is in his house; his wife is making soup. Two men come and ask the rabbi to settle a dispute. The rabbi listens to the first man’s side of the story and says ”You’re right.” He then listens to the second man’s side of the story and says “You’re right.” The wife indignantly pouts down her spoon and says “How can both men be right.” The rabbi says “You’re right.”

The psychoanalyst then told a story about a patient who became much better after 10 years of psychoanalysis. He rhetorically pointed out that the reason for the improvement could have been the specific issues resolved or being listened to sympathetically [there were more that I’ve forgotten.” Daniel Kahneman said “Or it could have had nothing to do with you.” The psychoanalyst replied “You’re right.” Laughter and applause.

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Does this scene sound familiar?
You walk into your office on Thursday. Five of the first seven people you encounter are wearing the same color [excluding black as an example]. You are not. When you point out the common color or fashion trend, someone says “Didn’t you get the memo?”
Except for a maybe on the JFK assassination, I am not a conspiracy theorist. However, I firmly believe that all Manhattan women receive a fashion memo in fall and in spring that tells them exactly and specifically what to wear. How else can you explain the coincidence that five out of seven professional women at an event I attended last week had variants of these boots popping out from nowhere like mushrooms:
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Yes?

You may be confused by this title. Let me be clear.
This post is not about the Game of Life. This post is about the Game of Life that dorky board game where you spun a wheel and drove around the board in a plastic car, got married, had children, bought a house and eventually retired. My Game of Life memories free-associated when I was riffing at work about the “Game of Work.” I could now go on to mock the assumptions built into the game; on the other hand, the “Game of Life” did show that the game of life is often a game of luck.

Truthiness is about the blurring of the line between fiction and fact in fact. Stephen Colbert’s contribution in bringing truthiness to our popular attention may lead to his becoming to future us what [fill in the name of your favorite thinker] is to present us.

But simultaneously, there is a blurring of the line between fiction and fact in fiction.Writers claim boredom with fiction or call it “fake and embarrassing”. Exhibit A of this blur is Knausguaard’s  My Struggle [s] which reads as a memoir but is sold as fiction. Exhibit B is the movie “based on a true story.”  What I am talking about could be autofiction or faction; perhaps Stephen Colbert could help out with a term.

The truthiness blur can be related to fake news etc which means that I don’t need to speak out. This post relates to the second blur.

Here’s the 2017 version of the “all characters are fictitious” disclaimer from News of the World:

This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments or locales are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity and are used fictitiously. All other characters, and all incidents and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not construed to be real.

This disclaimer is much richer and more interesting than the old fashioned everything in this work of fiction is either fiction or a coincidence.

 

 

 

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Without getting either too deep or too political here about reasons, people want to know about narcissists. Take Quora for examples of their “issues and concerns”.

I post to pass along a useful tip received at a NORML conference. The conference was organized to prep for an annual lobby day in DC so both politics and politicians were discussed. Justin Strekel, the Political Director noted that politicians were narcissists and that he sized up potential political employers by asking/figuring out if they had been always told they were special or were not hugged enough. He didn’t divulge resulting strategies unfortunately.

Either you are a “there are 2 types of people person” or you are not. I am a “two types” type so I think this dichotomy is fun. But I will also test as a heuristic; for special types,just keep the glass full ; for the under hugged, bring along the jug. On the one hand, less work; on the other hand, more reward.

If you borrow a DVD from a library, you should return the DVD to the library.

If you are returning a DVD to Netflix, you should drop the DVD in a mailbox.

By dropping library DVDs into a mailbox during a moment of habit caused unconsciousness , I have set up a natural experiment.

Will the post office return the library DVDs  I put in a mailbox to a library?

Day 1

Seattle is hilly

Seattle is rough

Seattle is green to the point of not being conscious of that fact

Seattle is a water city

Seattle is a town of  people who are vocally particular

Day 2

A conference is a conference is a conference

Alaska is a suburb of Seattle

Day 3

Seattle is a flower bower

Seattle is moist and fresh

Seattle is sunny

Day 4

Seattle is blue.

Day 5

Seattle is advanced coffee.