Friday, October 16, 2015

Bravery & Folly

I am sometimes way too brave for my own good. I will dare to do what other people won't to shake up people's preconceptions. It's not that I don't understand that what I'm doing can get me burned. It's not that I don't hurt when I burn. It's not that I haven't considered both sides. In fact, I go so far as to collect information from multiple sources. It's the old joke: take two people and there are three stories: his, hers, and the truth. My way of thinking isn't necessarily truth because it's all built on the foundation of what I think I know, what I've been taught, what I believe, and what I've had the fortune or misfortune to experience. None of that means I'm right. But if I can explain and give overwhelming evidence other people might agree. Prove it through experimentation, and other people will build an industry out of it.

I wish I had th money to establish an open anonymous forum for patients. Doctors would be allowed to read but not to comment. There used to be amazing forums at but they've been gone for a while. If such a message forum existed with a viral hit like The Spoon Theory that made people gravitate to the site, I think doctors would be pretty surprised. Oh sure, there would be a lot of mistakes, but that's not what's important. What's important to see is how easily people can compare stories to see if their stories match. Do that publically, and other people whose stories kinda match can compare notes, ask questions, and find out head in this direction or head in that. Someone who is actually experiencing the same thing can suss out whose stories match and whose don't. The marketplace of ideas separates truth from fiction, and lies from reality.

When you're a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. And the hammer doesn't like being confronted with screws. This is why multiple tools are needed. It's easy to be a screw and have your purpose and surroundings destroyed because a hammer came along and pounded you into the wood. This is exactly what happens in a misdiagnosis, whether it's the patient or the doctor who has made it. it's called patternicity: the ability to see patterns in what appears to be noise. Sometimes there is a pattern there, and we've got it right. Other times there are multiple patterns depending on your perspective. Still other times the pattern creates an illusion. And sometimes it's completely random. Schitzophrenics have an overdeveloped sense of patternicity. When they're in reality, they make amazing mathemiticians and economists. When their brain has gone overboard, they can be a menice to society and themselves.

We all have this potential for glory and madness, depending on the function of our brains, our environment, and what results as an interplay between the two. When it works, it can be an amazing feat of genius. When it doesn't, it's just as radical, only in another direction.

Bravery can be folly and vice versa. It really depends on how we judge the outcome. we can never take bad luck too seriously, because there's no telling that it won't work on the hundreth time. On the same hand, good luck has the same vulnerability. Skill and luck are sometimes indistinugishable. We often don't know ourselves which is which. There's a lot of work that has to happen to find out sometimes.

This blog post was inspired by the comments people have left here, so please share your ideas! Even absurd ones. The only thing I will block is spam and personal attacks. Attack an idea, sure, or even a stereotype. You can even be angry, the world knows I get angry. Just please don't verbally shoot one another!

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