Given our immediate constraints, it only takes the tiniest bit of critical thinking to realize that we can’t “do anything you set your mind to.”  Since that nullifies the romantic notion that simple brute effort is all it takes to achieve a desired result, what methodology is left to us?  

Assess and experiment, assess and experiment.  The ability to put forth great effort (definitely essential; i’m a giant believer in discipline) is merely a prerequisite to actual functionality.


15 thoughts on “Musings

  1. “…a man’s got to know his limitations…” – Dirty Harry
    I would counter this thought with a more realistic version of the romantic notion. You can accomplish anything WITHIN YOUR MEANS – skills, talents, discipline, resources and ability to improve those means – if you set your mind to it. I would cite you as an example, DSFB. You’re a published author that has sold copies of what you’ve written. You set your mind to it and accomplished it. From what I’ve seen of some of your blog posts, this feat took what I mentioned. What you didn’t do was set out to change civilization with your written word. Obviously, such a goal is possible, but there is a VERY slim chance of success. Instead, you wrote what you were capable of writing by using skill, talent, discipline, resources and the ability to improve one or more of those, and you completed the effort. By the way, good job 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with all you said and in an in-depth discussion, I’m fairly certain we would be saying the same thing in different ways. IMO, the trick is finding out what’s “within your means”, and I actually think arrogance can be beneficial sometimes, especially for younger folks. Being young and cocky is a way of finding the upper edge of your talent, and that’s necessary for some people to realize they might be in the top .0001% of performers. The trouble comes for the rest of us when we find out we’re not; do we then bemoan our lack of talent or just keep mindlessly driving forward? Or do we start using critical thinking and personal experimentation to outmaneuver our constraints? I’ve tried the brute approach and been consistently crushed, so now, as “an old man,” I opt for the other approach, LOL!

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  2. You use the terms “our” and “we”. Are you referring to every person, or are your musings about yourself only. Sometimes it is difficult for me to get what you are saying since I am not inside your brain. What I got out of this Musing is that: One cannot simply think about doing something and have it accomplished, one must actually couple that with action. Reading your posts here is a really good way to exercise my brain.

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    • In this one, I’m referring to the human collective, and indirectly referencing our inabilities to live in space or traverse galaxies, live in super low/high gravity, etc. etc…all the inhospitable scenarios presented to us in this universe alone. (maybe we can eventually find a way to live out entire lifetimes in those scenarios, but it seems like it would require far too much energy at this point to have it be feasible for more than one uber rich person). I was actually going the other way: one can’t simply power through and trust in willpower; one has to couple that with evidence-based assessment to constantly refine an approach and make it as efficient and ethical as possible, and only THEN can one say they’re doing their best. The willpower stuff is a prerequisite; you have to have that, but it’s only an ingredient, not a dish.

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  3. Aren’t we then technically brute forcing the trial and error method? 🙂

    I think the biggest discipline I’ve attained so far is the not giving up part. Now just for the rest of them…

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    • I’d disagree, as I’ve been misled by ideals and false security gained from faulty deductive reasoning and the idea that some more accomplished person pulled it off in a certain way, so I should be able to replicate it. I think the best approach is to use deductive reasoning and past instances as a guide to establish a premise…but then experiment and assess, because in the case of social endeavors, one never knows how an individual will react to a given circumstance (I think a super high correlation in social sciences is .7, which by no means is a definite guarantee). For example, I have a wealth of fitness advice I go by, but I can tell you from personal experience that individual biologies vary wildly, and in the case of fitness, experimentation is absolutely essential. Some people will respond well to things that have a null or negative effect on me, and vice versa.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh man I couldn’t agree with you more and all this shows me is that I need to communicate what I was attempting to say better because what you’ve said is exactly what I was trying to portray.

        The idea behind brute forcing trial and error was meant in individual terms. My attempts could vastly differ from your attempts and based on environment, perception and capabilities we’d have multiple ways to tackle a particular problem.

        My idea of brute force is how many times you’re willing to get back up.

        Trial and error is just part of life. “What does this red button do?” *vehicle transforms into a super speed demon freak machine and screams through a tunnel upside down* “Oh…thats why we don’t press the red button.”

        Liked by 1 person

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