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Sorry this isn't irrelevant, but I find this funny nonetheless.

"James Murley, Miami-Dade’s chief resilience officer, said it was important to avoid spooking the market since real estate investment produces much of the revenue that pays for these upgrades. This balancing act is especially important in Florida because the state and localities rely heavily on property and sales taxes for funding such projects."

Ah silly humans.



From the linked Guardian article, last sentence: "... if there’s no good explanation for why any specific person is suffering, it’s far harder to escape the frightening conclusion that it could easily be you next".

Which is why the greatest unspoken fear in the US among those still in the top 20% income backet is the fear of losing their current comfort level or somehow being inconvenienced. This leads to pretending that poor, sick, hungry, bombed, droned, etc.. people don't exist. They don't see them, so it must be more fake news. Or they don't bother watching what passes for news or reading new online, since they are too busy watching lifestyle shows on TV (travel, restoring old cars, renovating houses, etc).

On my recent visit back to the states (right after the election) I was hanging out with family members, most in top 10% income bracket, and it was like I was living in another world. Problems, what problems? Their biggest issue seemed to be they were having a hard time getting some part replaced on a vintage car they planned to eventually resell for big bucks.

Honestly, I don't know how they do it. These are people who think it is completely normal to own several homes and buying another boat so they don't have to keep transporting the boat at property B to property A is the ideal solution.

Sorry for the rant. Trips to the US do that to me, although to be honest, I'm not sure it is any less insane anywhere else these days.


This seems to imply that for humans, any change that occurs at timescales beyond human lifetimes (and maybe shorter) is essentially unnoticeable. If we grow up in a context, that context defines normal. Shifting baselines, writ large at the species level. No? Only changes that take place during our lifetimes, after we have formed our brain's "context" will be considered abnormal by our brains (or, it seems, by our medical professionals). And those will only be thought of as abnormal relative to our personal contexts, not to any context that previously existed.

The implications of this, in terms of the possibility of humans responding wisely to the many long-term challenges that present themselves, is remarkably depressing.


Hey look, you've scared (almost) everyone off from commenting again. Svengali's and regurgitation aren't my thing either.

I may be sorry to hear that your friend lost her mother, then again I may not be. I know that I was happy for all my grandparents to slip this noose, but then they were all old and had lived full lives. I found it more sad to see them linger.

If you want to retreat to your bubble (like everyone else) and make this a weepy blog about people we will never know then more power to you. My father-in-law more than fills that 'gap' in my personal life. I hear, for hours on end, about his Evangelical 'friends' that I don't know, never will, or really care to - he calls it 'visiting', which amounts to him bloviating endlessly.

Personally, I take some solice in finding people that are willing to confront how screwed we are, in whatever form they choose. Maybe that's just doom porn though, a product of my own haywire observations. I hope so.

I've enjoyed your work Dave (and passed it around), so thanks. Misanthropes Unite? :) Bye-bye

Jacob Horner

Hello Dave...yeah, 'tis I again...promise not to add any silly youtube videos. I usually only do that when I'm not feeling free to do so. And "I ain't scared neith'r, ain't scared o'nothin'"

For years I've been saving my internet info and links on Excel. Also long ago, I co-opted "Ignis Fatuus" as my working metaphor for all things having to do with delusion. "Ignis Fatuus" has its own workbook which, over the years, has become extensive. Much of your work and the results of travels resulting from your work are included.

So, this morning I read this post, sorted the particulars that caught my interest, and went on my way with Ignis Fatuus on my mind. First thing was mention of Dean Burnett. A few years ago I frequented his "Brain Flapping" (good metaphor, that) column in the Guardian. Since my return I'd forgotten him. Thanks, it appears he has continued regularly.

Second, and more important, here is the short of a serendipitous breadcrumb trail today: Driftglass > David Brooks > Michael Lewis > The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds > Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky...Ignis Fatuus and Dave Cohen all the way.

So, I first encountered Lewis and Kahneman and Tversky right here. And all the resulting breadcrumb trails led to many cells and rows and worksheets full.. an Ignis Fatuus bounty.

So, many thanks again Dave.

BTW...Driftglass has been ridiculing Brooks for years...very enjoyably so.

So, I'm not really breaking my promise...it's a vimeo video.


Ken Barrows

My idiot brain loves the day after Thanksgiving. The wastefulness of the day has its saving grace in eating leftovers for several days. Avoiding Black Friday is easy; it's a nice, mellow day. But that's just my experience.

Jacob Horner

May I add...at some point along the trail my unconscious provided a line from a very old song...I practice paying close attention...have no idea how it pertains, but it might. And since it's a Black Friday, someone might enjoy an old time Remedy. I wore this album out...on my all time greatest album list. That's for damn sure.

The line..."We're all normal and we want our freedom"


Dave Cohen

Nobody here in these comments (excepting Brian and, to some extent, Shawn) said anything at all about the CONTENT OF THIS POST. Motherfucker!

And why is that?

Because you are so self-absorbed -- Burnett calls this egocentric bias -- that you can not think about anything outside your pathetic limited self -- self-indulgent horseshit! And what about your pathetic sense of your own self-worth?

You are inadequate from my point of view. You are in Flatland. You can kiss my ass.

Here's what is happening -- reality is going on, the human condition is what it is, and you are merely a clueless participant in a Big Game you do not begin to understand.

On your death-bed, remember what I just told you.

-- Dave

Ken Barrows

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a sick society." J. Krishnamurti.


It all seems to point to no escape. It seems like amongst the traits of our species is a propensity for context-building. We may struggle against the deusions that surround us, and we may even momentarily escape Flatland, but the victory is temporary. We will instinctively create a new context out of the broken fragments that forks the basis of new delusions.

There are ideas in modern physics of new universes continually "bubbling up" from fluctuations in the background space-time in some kind of frothing multiverse. Are we condemned to just creating new Flatlands at various angles to the one we rail against?

But maybe just the awareness that we do so is something in which to take solace...

Phil Stevens

Dave's right: my evangelical cousin Ken maintains that we needn't care about climate change, or collapsing ecosystems, or famine leading to nuclear war because god will take care of everything. He's just as delusional as the crazy guy who roams around my neighborhood screaming about alien invasion. Just because Ken is a member of a community that shares his delusion while the crazy neighborhood guy is not does not make Ken's viewpoint any less idiotic.


The ability of this species to believe things for which no externally verifiable evidence exists and the corollary ability to dismiss, through various means of rationalization, evidence that calls into question such beliefs are part and parcel of the socialization process Burnett describes as "context" in terms of making judgements about "normal thinking." Being a tribal species it is incumbent upon the tribe to insist, for its own survival, that certain core assumptions are held in common lest divisions over the premises upon which conclusions, decisions, and actions are made either paralyzes the tribe or rends it asunder in dissolution.

We, who for only partially understood reasons, are cursed with the ability and inclination to question not only the premises but the process of their formation and consolidation and have reached the conclusion that it is an intrinsic component of what it means to be a member of Homo Sapiens and most importantly have recognized, acknowledged, accepted, and have taken ownership of and responsibility for possessing these same traits and actively make an attempt to ameliorate their deleterious effects would no doubt be classified as "delusional" by almost any identifiable tribal "context" we can think of.


Delusional beliefs are not a defect.
It's a feature, not a bug.
It lent us great evolutionary advantage in the past.
As we collectively slide down the shitter, it will again lend homo
sapiens great evolutionary advantage. The accountant
will not fair so well, evolutionary speaking, and
neither will most of us visiting this blog.

Again, let me shout it if you didn't hear me the first time:


Nothing is broken, no fixes needed.


You keep telling us that we are simply incapable of getting it. Yet you continue to chastise us for our inability to do just that.
What is it that you don't understand?



If we're so inadequate and self-absorbed and clueless, why do you continue to write this blog?

How is it that you seem to believe that you see and understand things that most of us do not?

If you believe that you have somehow overcome this "egocentric bias" of which you speak, will you please explain to the rest of us how to do so, as well?

- TH

Dave Cohen


Re: If we're so inadequate and self-absorbed and clueless, why do you continue to write this blog?

Well, there are people who read here who understand what I tell them. This blog gives comfort to them, for they needn't feel so all alone in the world. I know who those people are, and they know I know. Some of them commented above.

I have written this blog for six fucking years. If you don't get it now, you never will.

You of course are not one of those people I spoke of above. You are a clueless Flatland asshole.

And as the world goes downhill from here, as it surely must, I hope you get to know what true suffering is. Not that you will understand it when you experience it.

-- Dave

Dave Cohen


Re: You keep telling us that we are simply incapable of getting it. Yet you continue to chastise us for our inability to do just that. What is it that you don't understand?

Wrong question! Some people are capable of getting it. Apparently you are not one of them.

Did you stop to consider what I said in the post this comment thread is attached to?.

What is it about the human condition that you don't understand? That's the beginning of wisdom. See my answer to TH above.

-- Dave

Mike Cooper

The human ability to routinely believe things that plainly go against objective evidence is probably the major cause of more misery and flatland bullshit than any other flatland brain feature. Just look at what religion has done for us, for thousands of years. Great.


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Mike Roberts

Maybe the delusion is trying to find some kind of meaning to the world, instead of simply accepting the world the way it is. Presumably, all other species do just that (implicitly accept the world the way it is). It may not be pleasant at times but it is what it is. Some of us may well think we accept the world the way it is but then try to do something about it (either for ourselves and family, or for the world as a whole, or something in the middle). This could also be delusional.

steve c


One of my favorite cartoons seems appropriate about now.

Brucie A.


Coming at it from quite a different angle / scale, we have agreement:

Not so, says Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. What’s more, he says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction.

So according to Dr. Hoffman, we don't perceive the world correctly. And on top of that, we have delusional ideas about the world as perceived. We must be quite lost.

Brucie A.

...which it occurs to me is largely a restatement of J. B. S. Haldane's statement:

I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

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