LeBron James: “Basketball is easy!”


LeBron James: “Basketball is easy!”

All human characteristics exist on a curve. There are very few extremely short people, very few extremely tall people and more and more people as you get closer to the average. There are very few extremely ugly people, very few extremely beautiful people, and more and more people as you get closer to the average. Like this*:

Talents are the same, but skewed towards non-talent. Very few people are extremely good at basketball and a lot of people are bad at it. Something like this:

If you have talent at basketball, then basketball will seem much easier to you than to me (a man of little basketball talent). That all seems unremarkable, common-knowledge stuff. Why spend so much time making these crappy graphs just for that obvious point?

Why? Because it’s not always obvious. If LeBron James thinks basketball’s easy and that all you have to do is throw the ball through the hoop, he might get frustrated seeing people who seem to refuse to play basketball well, when, in fact, they aren’t refusing to play it well, they’re genuinely untalented. They are genuinely unable to play it well, no matter what. LeBron’s problem is that he doesn’t see himself as unique. He sees that others have arms, legs and a brain to control them, so why can’t they do what he does? It’s because he has talent and they don’t.

Talent and non-talent are pervasive. They exist in almost every aspect of human endeavor; sports, academics, arts, business, whatever.

I’ve recently been exasperated by the intellectual failings of others. Not just most people, but 999 of 1000 are nitwits. They seem hopelessly unable to reason out even the simplest concepts or ideas. My frustration isn’t because of the Nitwits; it’s because I haven’t recognized that I have a talent for logical thought and they don’t. They’re actually incapable of it to varying degrees. Because logic isn’t a skill set for Nitwits, their minds work in completely different ways than my own, making it difficult to relate to them and frustrating to interact with them.

Understanding talent is the first step to tolerance. It’s not fair for LeBron to hold me to his standard of basketball, nor is it fair for me to hold others to my standard of reasoning. People unable to reason communicate in emotion. They virtue signal. They say things that seem to have a logical basis, but are illogical. The reason is that they don’t care that 2+2=5 is logically incorrect. What matters is what 2+2=5 implies.

People are terminally tribal. I mean that they will choose groups with which they identify, and develop a vicious loyalty to those groups no matter how arbitrary or silly the defining characteristics of those tribes are. In the 2+2=5 tribe, the fact that 2+2=5 is logically nonsensical is irrelevant. The tribe’s members don’t see it a logical statement. It’s merely a slogan that they use to signal to the rest of the tribe that they are loyal members of the tribe and are, therefore, “good”.

That’s it. That’s the human mind for the vast majority. Marvel at the tribalism revealed here – you will never see the world the same as you did before.
There’s a major problem here. Being right or wrong is the difference between human flourishing and human suffering. It’s up to the Logically Talented to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong. But how can we communicate a logical conclusion to those who don’t grasp logic? How do you get the tribes to adopt what’s right and signal to each other correct answers rather than simply emotionally satisfying ones?

It’s like trying to explain mathematics through dance. It seems impossible, but the future of mankind depends on it. If we can figure that out, we can go a long way toward fixing the human world.

*The Y-axis says “percentage of people”, and should say “number of people”, but the thing was too hard to edit. you get the idea.

Conceptual logician, libertarian philosopher, musician, economist, almost-ran businessman and other stuff.
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