Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Quotes of the day

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to do nothing.--David Tepper

Something they never teach you in school is how much more impact self-control has over the outcome of your life than raw intelligence. ... Metacognition is the act of analyzing your own thoughts and intentions, then outsmarting them. It lets you confront and outmaneauver your worst impulses. Failure to think about thinking is why the kid who couldn’t resist eating the marshmallows grows up into the man paralyzed by Internet porn. ... It’s much easier to apply metacognition if you’ve developed a goal or idealized vision of yourself in your head. For example, if you view yourself as a devout man of God, it’s going to be much easier to resist looking at pictures of naked women on the Internet. If you’re committed to becoming a successful entrepreneur (or successful anything), it’s harder to get tempted into watching TV because you know that watching movies will make it harder to achieve your dream. One thing I’ve noticed is how rarely you see very ambitious people who are overweight. It’s probably because of metacognition.--Mika Schiller

The innate wants are probably confined to food shelter, and sex. All the rest we learn to desire because we see others enjoying various things. To say that a desire is not important because it is not innate is to say that the whole cultural achievement of man is not important.--F.A. Hayek

What was true for the alchemists of yore remains true today: gold and reason are often difficult to reconcile.--Kenneth Rogoff

The American government has proven itself unable to govern, as evidenced by the fact that there's no plan for closing the budget deficit. If we had two rational and competing plans from the major parties, or even one imperfect plan, I would consider that some form of government. But no plan means we're effectively ungoverned. You might argue that the government is mostly working, and the budget deficit is just one wrinkle that will get ironed out in time. But given that we're in a budget death spiral that will eventually derail every other function of society, I would say that all we're talking about is a timing issue. By analogy, maybe your brain can remain conscious for a second after your head gets chopped off, but as a practical matter, you're not less dead. It's no surprise that our system doesn't work. It was designed hundreds of years ago, and it gradually worsened over time, just like everything else that was designed hundreds of years ago. It's the ultimate legacy system, bloated and hopelessly in need of replacement. And now, thanks to the brainwashing that all American kids get about the magic and wonder of our political system, and the near Godliness of our Founding Fathers, we're unable to see the system itself as entirely broken. Instead, we assume the problem is that the people within the system are corrupt or incompetent. Or maybe the problem is the Tea Party, or the crazy Liberals, or anything but the system itself. There's plenty of blame to spread around, but a good system should be excreting the crazies instead of embracing them. Why can't we have that system?--Scott Adams

I have been saying for more than two years now that the taxpayers would be better off if we just subsidized moving vans to get people out of the houses they cannot afford. I would rather create jobs for truck drivers and furniture-haulers than for mortgage servicing clerks.--Arnold Kling

... it's bizarre for a statist to attack libertarians when his own statist alternative works out badly.--David Henderson

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