Originally posted as a Tweetstorm here.
Contrarianism is the simplest yet tricky superpowers anyone could have: I define it as the ability to consume information carefully, & build your own mental model about the world around you.
Why? The world is asymmetrical and any “secret” everyone knows is no longer able to deliver beyond linear returns. So if you’re stuck in the same path as everyone, you may be alpha rat, but you’re still just a rat. Add to that, groupthink is a common phenomenon, but while we’re wired to behave in this manner,
Groupthink + The media’s use of Emotive Conjugation to drive sentiment = Terrible Proposition.
No information is just information, it’s now colored in the tint of whoever controls the release of information. This fundamentally necessitates an individual analysis of every situation/all information. I found that healthy skepticism on information are best applied with the following filters:
Occam’s razor: My version is that any explanation that requires wild assumptions about intent are probably wrong. People are simple.
Hanlon’s razor: Don’t attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. No explanation needed. People are all kinds of stupid: absent-minded, overconfident while being ignorant, narcissistic, selfish, lacking control over their speech etc.
Munger’s razor: Never, ever, think about something else when you should be thinking about the power of incentives. When anyone is arguing ardently for something, take an objective look at the incentive structure involved. Judge intent before words or action.
Hitchens’ razor: If you don’t have any evidence, then we don’t need to have a debate. Simply put, don’t get caught up in bullshit theories. Seek evidence. Relatedly, Sagan Standard: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And lastly,
Grice's razor: It's not just the literal, but the implied that matters. Honesty is as much about what's not said as what is.
In summary: Stay Contrarian - Pay attention, keep a critical mentality, build your own mental models.