Better People Than Scott Aaronson?
March 24, 2023 § Leave a comment
Reposting a letter sent to one of my Internet Heroes, whom I occasionally correspond with.
He is my Hero not because of his brilliant, thoughtful blog on quantum computing (though I do enjoy that), but his deep humility and public vulnerability.
who are undoubtedly better people than I am
For the record, no, they aren’t. 🙂 But the reason why is quite interesting!
My boss recently called me out for dunking on a coworker who was advocating the simulation hypothesis. We did eventually work it out, but what I realized is that the coworker in question:
- took a strong position
- based on inaccurate assumptions
- about something vital to me
- where I consider myself an expert
Put another way, it is easier to be charitable when you are less emotionally invested in something. 🙂
Not only is this useful for self-compassion, it also helps me understand why other people react so negatively to what I consider honest questions. It’s not that I am wrong in my critique; just insensitive and disrespectful to something they hold precious.
I suppose the positive lesson here is that if I properly appreciate other’s (and my!) emotional investments, I can take pains to address those issues gently, so as to avoid creating more heat than light.
I don’t know if this helps you, but it was useful for me to think through. I may post this on my own blog, but you are welcome to quote it as well if you want.
— Ernie P.
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