Should I reply?

Someone says something on social media. I want to reply. Should I really reply?

Here’s a decision diagram that approximates my filtering process:

a decision graph; see dot source code

source code

Martin Jambon, September 28, 2022

Respect is earned

Tolerance can be imposed but respect is earned. Like love, it’s not something that can’t be enforced with rules.

tolerance: intentional avoidance of destructive action
respect: feeling of appreciation toward someone’s behavior as in “I like what they do”
disrespect: absence of respect
love: feeling of appreciation toward a whole person rather than specific behavior
hatred: feeling that someone should not be around (?)

Martin Jambon, September 20, 2022

Lasting interest

A good painting for home is one that looks a little bit different each time you look at it. Public space art displays - even museums - don’t have this requirement. It’s often enough for them to be cool the first time you see them and boring thereafter.

Repeated exposures to a movie or to a significant have the same issue.

Martin Jambon, September 16, 2022

The value of art

An example of cheap but expert-level tools are those involved with minimalistic crafts. For those, the simplicity of the production process is an essential feature of the product. In this class of products, the use of advanced machines in the production process devalues the product. A product is not just the final, functional piece but also its production process and even the history of the production process. By buying a product that’s hand-made and fits in a particular culture and tradition, one acquires a piece of cultural significance. That is, we can tell stories about its origins. The more unique yet interesting its story is, the higher a luxury or non-functional object can sell:

Great art is the product of a unique and remarkable timeline, making it hard to truly duplicate. It’s relatively easy to duplicate the Mona Lisa, but the resulting copies are worthless in comparison because they don’t add much to the history of art. However, discovering a new painting by Leonardo da Vinci, even a mediocre one, would be a major event and the painting would immediately have a great value.

Martin Jambon, September 10, 2022

Expert vs. professional

When buying supplies for a new craft, you’ll find products under four broad kinds of labels:

One might think that “expert” and “professional” are the same but they can actually be opposites. An expert is someone with advanced skills who’s able to take advantage of tools that are too tricky for a beginner. On the other hand, a professional is someone who makes money from their craft and can afford supplies that makes their work easier. Therefore, a beginner with money might prefer professional-grade tools as long as they’re not only suitable for experts.

Naturally, using two different labels to advertise products goes in the way of effective marketing, which prefers simpler formulas. For the customer, the recipe is simple: if you can afford it, buy professional-grade supplies. Of course you’ll have to make sure that they indeed make your work easier. Now, there is the other dimension - beginner vs. expert. While some tools may be cheaper, they may only be suited to experts. An extreme example and metaphor is bicycle training wheels. Here, an expert - an ordinary bicycle rider - doesn’t need to buy training wheels. Riding without training wheels is faster and cheaper. In that case, the expert-level product is no product at all. Not many actual products fall into the cheap-product-for-experts category, though, because experts are often also professionals who can afford and will pay for better tools.

Martin Jambon, September 10, 2022

There’s no correct perception

There’s no correct perception, only useful perception.

The interpretation of sensory input - perception - is a process that generates concepts in a given context. Elements of context that influence perception include:

Perception is imagination primed with sensory input. Too little imagination and no useful concept or abstraction emerges. Too much imagination and the concepts are no longer relevant to the surrounding environment. In both cases, the consequence is the failure to take on actions that benefit the mind’s body.

Martin Jambon, September 05, 2022

It doesn’t matter what qualifies as art

It doesn’t matter what qualifies as art. “art” isn’t an absolute or necessary concept, it’s a label that may or may not make sense in a given context. When a label stops making sense, obsessing over it is madness.

Martin Jambon, September 04, 2022

Why do beliefs matter?

In my model of mind, beliefs are explicit (conscious) parts of the world model that a mind maintains. They can be communicated or revised as necessary and in that sense, they’re no different from notes on paper. So why do they matter? They’re used like notes or any other symbols that were planted in the environment as reminders of some concepts. I view this “symbol planting” as a way to (re)populate the imagination on demand. It could be your own imagination or the imagination of others. It bypasses original sensing. For example, the written description of a banana can substitute itself to the sight of an actual banana. I see beliefs as imagination primers, and imagination sets the context for (intuitive) decision making. That’s why it’s important that beliefs or their communicated form be sufficiently correct for the application at hand.

Martin Jambon, September 03, 2022

Own your sh*t

Own your sh*t. It’s called sh*t for a reason. It’s your legacy and it’s not perfect. It never is.


Society emerges from the recognition of individuals. An individual is located in space and time. More than this, it is tied to a sphere of influence. We assigne causes to events and we stop in the chain when hitting a decision center - the mind of an individual. For example, a recognized causality chain would be:

global warming
⇑ [caused by]
excessive CO\(_2\) emissions
⇑ [caused by]
bad governance of world countries
⇑ [caused by]
leaders of world countries
⇑ elections ???

It’s generally the leaders of the countries that are held responsible, not the citizens that put them in power.

Individual members of society are considered responsible for their actions, or they’re not members of society. This is how various societies have emerged throughout history. sometimes, some individuals are considered less responsible than others but nonetheless, it’s hard to find cases where someone else is held responsible instead. Examples of classes of people that have been historically considered less responsible include:

While there’s no scientific reason why the world must be comprised of one or more societies, it is the framework within which humans operate. It follows from the emergence of individuals minds although it’s not necessary. Many animals arguably have minds but are not meaningfully organized as societies. Even a human, when stranded alone on a desert island, ceases to function within a society. Another class of scenarios with unclear consequences involve hive minds. A hive mind a spatially distributed, which may temporarily be split into individual minds due to communication network failures but eventually reconnects. It is what humans might turn into if they became telepathically connected, possibly using brain implants and wireless communication networks. We don’t have historical evidence of actual hive minds to have a clear sense of how responsibility and justice would be implemented in such societies, if we may still call them societies. We could speculate that hive minds tend to not be competitive in the world and die out precisely due to the lack of blame assignment to their individual constituents, as well as the lack of competition between multiple hive minds if they keep merging into bigger hive minds on first contact. This is to say that a hive mind may not be evolutionary competitive unless it implements some mechanism that guarantees its evolution and survival in changing environment. This is a concern when one considers that the major contributor to the evolution of intelligence in humans may have been intraspecific conflict, i.e. war. Modern communication technology may be bringing humans closer to functioning as a hive mind. However, we still operate as a society with well-defined individuals, and we have laws and traditions based on that. Historically, efforts to assign or deassign responsibility from actual decision centers - the individual minds - have failed massively. See for example dictatorships or attempts to create pure collectivist societies where everyone is equally deserving regardless of they do.

Martin Jambon, August 17, 2022

Causality doesn’t exist

Causality doesn’t exist in the scientific sense. While it’s present in many useful models, it is always possible to extend the model without respecting the causality relationships.

Causality is usually of this form:

Martin Jambon, July 15, 2022