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"So knowing about the future (generally speaking) is no big deal, except in the sense that you've got to distance yourself from socially-engendered meaning and purpose. You've got to distance yourself from your hard-wired hope & optimism. You've got to question your faith in technology. And so on. And that is harder than it sounds. It helps if you don't have kids who will have to live in that future."

I'll add a few extra characteristics to this list:

1) The willingness to question oneself as thoroughly as when questioning others and to follow whatever conclusions may arise from facts and observations rather than picking and choosing facts and observations filtered to fit pre-determined conclusions.

2) The free time necessary to really allow both the questioning and the searching for answers. (Not having children certainly helps with this.)

3) A fluency in or ability to examine multiple fields as they relate to the questioning rather than being isolated in one specific field and only applying that knowledge (as an economist would do when drawing up solutions to climate change).

4) A pretty much unhealthy obsession with seeking out (at least more) objective truths - unhealthy in that more objective truths are often unpleasant, which makes even the healthiest and sanest people uncomfortable.

5) A constitutional ability to manage those more objective truths without resorting to self-destruction or self-deception.

All of the above, especially the characteristics you listed, filter down the pool of humans to a miniscule percentage of the total population, and the ones in that tiny pool are almost certain to have very little influence on others due to those very same characteristics. My observations of the most 'successful' people in this world is that they almost uniformly display opposite characteristics to this list.

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