Free Your Mind: Admit Where You Got Your Ideas From.
Admitting where you got your ideas from is the first step to having your own.
If you went to a party last night, you might have heard something like this:
You know what I always say, “ Will cannot be called a free cause, but only a necessary cause.” I mean if you think about it, Free Will is only a particular mode of thinking, like intellect. If Will were infinite, it would still be conditioned to exist and act by natural laws, not because the universe expresses the infinite and eternal essence of thought. If you think about it like that, it’s pretty obvious that Will requires a cause by which it should be conditioned to exist and act. So my point is, If will needs cause by which it is conditioned to exist and act in a particular manner, the fundamental first cause of all existence cannot be an act of will. Or do you disagree?
How incredibly annoying! That’s not what I always say it’s just a random passage of Spinoza I memorized from a YouTube video. I’m unthinkingly recapitulating it for you in an effort to extend the length of time I get to hear the sound of my own voice. This style of conversational plagiarism the archetypal party fowl of the Social Media era, and it’s only getting worse.
The line between sharing an interesting idea, and falsely implying you worked an idea out from first principles, is broad and bright. Unfortunately, I’ve heard people who would never plagiarize on a research paper, say things like “Lately I’ve been thinking that it’s statistically probable that the universe is a simulation.” or “You know if you think about it, the winner of a marathon is always the athlete who applies the most force to the ground over the prescribed distance” as if these were amusing thoughts that came to them during their morning commute. Conversational plagiarism, creates stilted dialogue and punishes everybody within earshot that’s already heard the same podcast. The intellectual dark web is pretty mainstream nowadays, and there’s more people that will pretend not to know what you’re talking about just to avoid you, than will be your friend because they agree with you.
Long form Podcasts free us from stultifying cable news debates and allow us to hear people express their ideas in dialogue format. When you listen to all 500 hours of Jordan Peterson explaining his ideas on YouTube, you don’t just get his ideas, you get a preview of the questions these ideas elicit, and a pre-made set of snappy replies. If you like the ideas, it’s tempting to download these conversations into your brain, and breeze through your next drunken philosophical argument like a cleverly programmed chatbot. If you’ve done your homework, nobody will be able to take you off your script, but everyone’s gut will tell them they’ve been tricked into a simulated conversation. Playing this kind of trick is annoying if you do it writing and publish it on medium, but it’s worse in conversation because you’re forcing stale ideas down the throat of a captive audience.
Passing elaborate ideas off as your own is intellectual and social suicide. The mind works differently when it recollects external ideas or matches external stimuli like questions to memorized answers. People can tell when you are paraphrasing based on you eye movement and body language. The overall impression is that of a man turned into a puppet by a human hand forced into his rectum. One thing Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, and Jocko Willink have in common is that they don’t want their hands in your rectum, so you’re abusing them too. Eventually, people will start to avoid you even if they don’t know exactly why.
Discussions are valuable opportunities to formulate new ideas by engaging with existing ones. If you focus on recapitulating and defending something you heard and decided was “good enough”, you’ll never add anything to the discussion. On the other hand, if you present your friends with the ideas you like and share your opinions on the ideas as you understand them, you’ll inevitably create something interesting.
Suppose you’re job involves data entry, how does your experience filling out spreadsheets for 9 hours a day comport with the various notions of free will currently being discussed online? How has your experience at a dialysis center colored you perspective on the problem of evil? Popular ideas on the internet should inspire us to debate these questions, not create a conversational mono-culture, or divide us into ideological fan clubs.
Breaking unlike drinking, passing other’s ideas off as your own is an easy habit to break. You don’t have to waste time explaining where you got the ideas . All you have to do is distinguish the ones you were introduced to from the ones you worked out independently. You’ll have more friends and you won’t always wake up alone, with a horse throat, and no memory of anything another human being said to you the night before.
“This guy on the internet suggests that avoiding the “worst possible suffering for everyone” is a moral absolute based on quantitative criteria. I’m trying to think of the best way of quantifying suffering because it strikes me that if it’s not physically possible to measure suffering it’s not really a quantitative basis for morality in any practical sense…That’s a good point! You can’t derive an ought from an is unless you can know what Is. Speaking of suffering, how are things at the dialysis clinic?”
The same goes for Jiu Jitsu by the way. It’s not “some funny foot-lock you’ve been playing around with. It’s something Caio Terra put up on YouTube. The ability to learn from others is valuable! People will love you more if you tell them the truth!