Setting the Trajectory of the Day


A day is like a rocket without steering. The trajectory on which it begins determines the arc. Small changes in that trajectory matter a lot.

Beginning the day on my terms is important. The challenge is that those terms change and it's not always easy to tell what they are. What will allow me to feel free and in control of the day, vs. feeling dragged along by it?

Today, it was starting with a walk outside and a blog post. I knew I needed to avoid any screens until I had some protein, got some movement in the morning sun, and sat down with a fresh cup of coffee. When I sat down, I realized I needed a playlist and a few minutes to write before I opened emails or Slack or surveyed and prepared my week or work.

This allows me to create and think independent of any demands as the first activity of the day. It puts me in a frame of ownership. I feel balanced. So when the demands start coming, it feels easier to field them because I feel autonomous.

Some days I get up, hop right on my computer and immediately start checking emails and Slack and reacting to what I missed overnight. It feels chaotic and those days don't end well.

So consider this post the setting of my trajectory for today. Take charge of yours and enjoy it. I'll do the same.

Segment on Fox News


If you caught me on the news talking about Crash.co and discoverpraxis.com, welcome!

Crash was experiencing some outages due to crazy traffic, but please come back and check it out again. So sorry about that. Meantime, feel free to browse around here and check out some of my books and podcasts on education and career.

Some resources:

If you didn't see it, you can watch the clip here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PN22EBdqo0

 

 

An Internet Frog Talks Bitcoin


Watch on Streamanity:

https://streamanity.com/video/gWm9BeacgTaba4

On SoundCloud or any podcast app (under the Isaac Morehouse Podcast).

If you must, it's also on YouTube.

Inner Game of Startups #46


Read it here.

But How Do I Unsubscribe?


https://soundcloud.com/isaacmorehouse/but-how-do-i-unsubscribe?in=isaacmorehouse/sets/isaac-morehouse-podcast

Billionaires in a Free Market


Someone else having a billion dollars does no harm to you.

It very likely makes their life harder - not materially, but emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically - but it does nothing to make you worse off. If you feel less happy because you envy them, that is not caused by their billion dollars, but by your choice to judge yourself in dollars and against another person. That's an unhappiness only you can fix by changing your orientation.

It is possible that someone obtained a billion dollars through violence. The most likely scenario is via collaboration with government, as it would be very difficult and very rare to do so violently without at least some state cooperation. Gaining wealth via government, which is always backed by the initiation of violence, causes harm to the world. Taxpayers and those prohibited from peaceful activity by monopoly protections are harmed.

But notice it's the acts of theft and violence that do the harm, not the billion dollars itself. The having of the billion does not by itself cause harm, only if the process of obtaining it did. Then the problem is with that process, not the money.

One could use a billion dollars to do harmful things, like buy weapons to hurt people. But then the hurting of the people is doing the harm, not the holding or spending of the billion dollars.

There is no way in which another person having possession of a billion dollars can harm you. Outside the peaceful free market they may cause harm in obtaining it or use it to cause harm.

But if they obtained it via market means (no violence, just voluntary exchange) and use it on the market (again peacefully), not only does someone else getting, holding, or spending a billion dollars do the world no harm, it does tremendous good and creates value.

The only way to obtain money (absent force) is to take a resource valued at X, do something to it, and exchange it with someone who values it at >X. The > is the profit you earn, and also a measure of the minimum amount of value that was created. Value that did not exist prior to the exchange.

Even those who earn billions by investing in companies and then "doing nothing" while the company gains value are creating value. Not only by providing capital that the company needs to earn profit (create value), but the process of investing itself is so full of efforts and failures that it generates untold new information that makes the market better and better and innovating and creating new value. The billions earned on a few winning investments pale in comparison to the untold benefit created by all the failed investments that pushed ideas and products forward and created priceless info about what works and doesn't.

So billionaires in a free market are no threat, and their wealth is likely a sign of tons of value created for you and others. This doesn't make them morally good people or intellectual adept or fun or kind or anything else. It just means their existence is no threat and how they got there created benefit for others, intentionally or not.

Billionaires in an unfree market don't harm you by mere fact of having a billion dollars, but they way they got it or what they use it for could.

Fight for freedom, not against others having arbitrary amounts of money.

Inner Game of Startups #45


Read it here.

Big Changes Ahead!


We're going live with a major update to crash.co tomorrow. This is the beginning of the next big chapter in building the best career launch platform in the world. I can't wait! Lots more work to be done, but tomorrow's update will be the foundation we build on. Over a year of user feedback and beta testing has helped us hone it.

Isaac Morehouse


Isaac Morehouse is the CEO of Crash, the career launch platform, and the founder of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

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Epistemic Humility and Confidence


I allowed myself to briefly engage in a conversation on Twitter that I normally avoid. It was about data. Worse, it was someone asking me to opine on data shared by someone else. I really had no business engaging, but I was feeling charitable so I did.

It was a waste of everyone's time. I shared the data I found, they shared theirs which did not agree, and everyone was supposed to base their interpretation of reality off one of these conflicting data sets. Inevitably, the motives or credulity of the person sharing the data comes into question, since the conflicting data itself can't be resolved by staring at it.

Of course neither of us can prove the veracity of any the data. It's all aggregated from third parties (most of whom have a history of poor data and all of whom have bad incentives and public choice problems). Does that mean beliefs about reality must be formed a priori, and not need any data?

Probably not. But it has to start there. That's inescapable. Data is meaningless without a theoretical lens through which to interpret it. That lens is always there, acknowledged or not. So you've got to at least work out a foundation a priori.

After that, when it comes to external data, I try to work in concentric circles of probability. Things I observe and experience first hand have the highest probability of being true and useful. Things one layer of reality removed have slightly less (e.g. something I have observed before, but not this time, being shared by someone I know in a context where motives are known). The further removed the data from my own experience, the lower the probability it is true and the less it should factor in to my view of what is real.

I consider this epistemic humility. To discount the probability of truth in proportion to its closeness to experience. I don't have to have solid true/false answers to everything. Nor do I need to pretend such answers don't exist. I can approach what I know directly with high probability and lower it with each step beyond experience.

Where does the confidence part come in?

It's the part that keeps me sane.

Epistemic confidence is to not need anyone else to perceive reality the same way you do.

It's incredible how freeing this is.

At any given time, I have ideas about reality, informed first by my a priori theories (law of identity, non-contradiction, action axiom, etc.), then by my direct experience, then by lessening degree with increased remoteness, data shared by others. It's always probabilistic, and changes as the information changes. Any conclusion is temporary fair game except those which violate basic logic. And at any given time, I don't need anyone else to understand or agree with this flux of worldviews.

That's when enjoyable discourse and discovery are possible.

Still, I sometimes get sucked into conversations about data and counter data that is so far from my experience I have no reason to weight it enough to justify serious debate.

My Summary of 2020


Prevailing narratives determine "reality" for society.

There's always a gap between those narratives and on-the-ground experience.

In 2020, that gap blew so wide open that two different realities seem to be co-existing.

New Threats Don’t Demand We Stop Living


One of my favorite entries from Present Concerns, a collection of essays by C.S. Lewis.

On Living in an Atomic Age

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat at night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented… It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds...

What the atomic bomb has really done is to remind us forcibly of the sort of world we are living in and which, during the prosperous period before, we were beginning to forget. And this reminder is, so far as it goes, a good thing. We have been waked from a pretty dream, and now we can begin to talk about realities...

It is our business to live by our own law not by fears: to follow, in private or in public life, the law of love and temperance even when they seem to be suicidal, and not the law of competition and grab, even when they seem to be necessary to our own survival. For it is part of our spiritual law never to put survival first: not even the survival of our species. We must resolutely train ourselves to feel that the survival of Man on this Earth, much more of our own nation or culture or class, is not worth having unless it can be had by honorable and merciful means.

Nothing is more likely to destroy a species or a nation than a determination to survive at all costs. Those who care for something else more than civilization are the only people by whom civilization is at all likely to be preserved. Those who want Heaven most have served Earth best. Those who love man less than God do most for man....

Let the bomb find you doing well.

Diet Pills and Persistent Error in Health and Science


Earlier this year, I was doing a deep dive into virology. Coincidentally, this was before Covid, in effort to solve my own health-related problems and mysteries. I had the same experience I've had when I went deeper into any field. A realization that nobody in the field knows what the hell is going on.

I don't know what viruses are or how they work exactly (no one seems to really), but I came across enough published work to discover the current theories are insufficient to explain reality. There are many things observed and documented in the world that would not be possible if the dominant theories were true.

It is a disconcerting notion. An entire body of science with widespread and accepted beliefs, billions in money and man-hours, and real-world implications could be operating partly or mostly in the dark? Yes. In fact, that is the norm in the history of science, not the exception.

People tend to respond to such claims with indignance. A common argument goes something like this:

If a theory were incorrect, and being incorrect had real-world implications, the theory would not persist. The fact that it does persist, and so many experts and laypeople alike believe it and billions are spent on the assumption it is true, must mean it is true.

Let's see if we can disprove the above argument. All you need to disprove a claim like that is a single example of where it does not hold. Then it can no longer be used as a proof. And we have such an example.

Diet pills.

Magic pills that make you thin have been around for a long time. The theories they are based on are faulty, AND this faultiness has real world implications, i.e. people buy the pills and don't get the results.

Yet millions are spent on them and they don't vanish.

This clearly proves that a false theory, with real-world implications for being false, can persist. But why?

Because people benefit.

If an incorrect theory that leads to outcomes that disprove it can benefit people, they can keep on believing in it for a very long time. The people making and selling diet pills benefit in terms of money. The people buying them also benefit. They get to relieve some psychic discomfort about their weight and appearance by buying a pill and feeling like they're at least doing something. They are buying hope. Trust in experts. Marginal relief from feeling like they're not making progress, all the while avoiding the hard work.

So it persists.

The majority of theories in human health can be explained the same way. The more you dig, the more you find that almost all the dominant theories are incorrect. There are too many stubborn facts that contradict them. But they persist because it benefits the researchers to have a theory, it benefits policymakers to have a specific target to which to direct money, and it benefits the public to feel safer believing that the health troubles in the world are understood by experts and have cures. Most are not and do not.

This is different than placebo. Placebo is probably the most effective and efficient form of treatment in the history of health. Unlike these incorrect theories, placebo actually works. We just can't explain the causal mechanisms that make it work. Incorrect theories and diet pills have theories we can explain, but they are incorrect and do not work. They are anti-placebos; beliefs that makes us feel better but make our outcomes no better or worse.

Science at large faces this problem far more than the diet pill industry. Many if not most theories that are treated as fact fail to produce outcomes they'd predict. They are demonstrably false. But because no clearly correct theory can be found, pretending to understand persists. Researchers get money for concrete claims of knowledge. Policymakers get to have definable problems and solutions to tout. The public gets the comfort of "knowing" how it works, complete with cute little animated posters and 3-step action plans.

Nobel Prize winning biochemist Dr. Kary Mullis, inventor of the PCR process (incidentally this is the process used in Covid tests, despite its inventor's insistence until his death that this was not valid use of the process), spent the last years of his life fighting against the claim that HIV causes AIDS. I was shocked when I came across him and the other researchers and a substantial community around the AIDS not caused by HIV claim.

I do not claim to know whether this is true, but according to Mullis, he watched his own technology (PCR) be misapplied to diagnose disease, and he watched sloppy science get rushed out to meet a social and political demand for an answer to AIDS. The money, press, and public would rather have an answer than take the time to prove the answer correct. He said he watched nearly all his colleagues shoehorn their unrelated research into AIDS-related research, because billions were being doled out, as well as status and fame, all because the political class, media, and public wanted to believe there was a known cause and therefore clear research to be done to cure it.

Mullis maintained that no one had yet figured out what caused AIDS. There were some theories, some with fewer problems than the HIV theory, but none of them were free from contradictory evidence in the real world. He said, however, that public science cannot abide the very thing science is supposed to do best; questions. It needs answers. Incorrect theories that provide clear action steps, even if they lead to broken outcomes, exist and persist.

The history of science and medicine confirm this. Theories have been believed and acted upon even while making the problem worse. Over and over and over.

The odds are incredibly, ridiculously slim that that is not happening right now with almost every theory. The more public and political the health or science issue, the greater the odds that the theories funded are incorrect. The incentives are just stacked too far against the truth, which is usually something like, "We don't really know what's going on, but sometimes this helps some people."

This is why science tends to progress in sudden, violent lurches, instead of the smooth linear path you might expect. Incorrect theories are prematurely turned into gospel by the scientists with the best political skills because the incentives to have an answer are so strong. This means falsifications and superior theories face an incredible battle and require a massive cataclysmic shift and/or changing generations to break through.

PS - One of the more interesting things I came across was the many cases through history of healthy sailors at sea for months (long after the incubation period claimed by viral theory) suddenly contracting the flu at the exact same time as people on land a thousand miles away. This has been observed and studied for several hundred years, and to date, no mainstream viral theory can explain it. Therefore, all current viral theories must be incorrect or incomplete. How unsatisfying.

What’s It All For?


Whenever there's a lot of hysteria around dangers to "public health" (a phrase invented to control people), you see escalating calls for more and more dehumanizing mandates. You have to stop at some point and ask, why are people destroying all the things that make life good? What do they hope to achieve?

Every single human being will die. There is no escape from that. If you could reduce your odds of dying younger than average by a few fractions of a percent - or even a few percent - by locking yourself away and living a fearful, pathetic existence, would it be worth it? Of course not. Which is why people get in cars and drive every day. It's not worth it because life is not measured just in minutes lived, and increasing the statistical probability of more of them. That's not life, that's death.

Life is about the quality of minutes lived, not just the quantity. Quality takes work, risk, ups, downs, unknowns, challenges overcome and battles won. It cannot be had with fearful avoidance.

People who wish to impose quality destroying restrictions on themselves and their fellow humans claim it's in the name of preventing some tiny percentage increase in the odds of death. They are partly right at least. It is in the name of death. Death is their god, fearful and terrible, and they will sacrifice anything and everything at its feet. Public health fear-mongers are trapped in a death-cult without knowing it.

Most of these health concerns are completely overblown if not fabricated entirely. But even when they are not, they ought not lead us into death-cultism. The only way to be free is to step back and find meaning deeper than a maximization of minutes lived and a slavish fear of death.

Isaac Morehouse


Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program making degrees irrelevant for careers. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

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