The Belly-Fat of Ignorance
If you feed your body processed food… you get belly fat, sluggish, and your body won’t be a fine-tuned machine, serving you.
If you feed your brain with processed information, your brain gets the same way: clogged, filled with junk… huge belly fat of ignorance.
What is processed information? It’s second hand information, Tree of Knowledge, filtered through someone else’s brain, for a purpose…
In food you need unprocessed food: so you can be sure what you are eating is an original. You process it and make your own body from it.
In information, finding the very few people with Tree of Life knowledge will give you unprocessed information that will nourish you.
Nearly everything you find freely on the internet is processed information.
That is why I recommend books… even though nowadays 80% of books is processed information… Even good books have only a smidgen of Tree of Life knowledge. And programs, like Tai Lopez’ 67 steps is 7% Tree of Life. When you do it inside my coaching program, I elevate it to near 100%. 1
What prompted this article is people emailing me links to articles and youtube videos… indicating to me, that you are on a junk-food diet for your brain.
If you ever wanted to become a person worth a damn, deserving of what you want out of life, this diet, junk, brain candy, won’t support you. Be forewarned.
The Pot Belly of Ignorance
What you eat makes a huge difference in how optimally your body operates. What you spend time reading and learning equally affects how effectively your mind operates.
Increasingly, we’re filling our heads with soundbites, the mental equivalent of junk food, processed food… looks like food, but it is food only in name… not essence.
Over a day or a week, the changes are barely noticeable. However, if we extend the timeline to months and years, we face a worrying reality and may find ourselves looking down at the pot-belly of ignorance.
Think of your mind as a library. Got it? Three things should concern you.
- The information you store in there?—its accuracy and its relevance;
- Your ability to find/retrieve that information on demand; and
- Finally your ability to put that information to use when you need it? Not just repeat it, but actually use it!
Knowledge that you can’t use, either because it is insufficient or because it is inaccurate is clogging the pipes… worse than useless. It is harmful.
Let’s take a look at what you put into your mind.
How discriminating are you when it comes to what to feed your mind? As the saying goes, “Garbage-in results in garbage-out.”
If your mental library is inaccurate or plain wrong, you’re going to struggle. You won’t be productive. You’ll muddle through things and you’ll spend a lot of time correcting your own mistakes.
The mind needs to be optimized.
Click Bait… what is it and how do you recognize it?
Click Bait is like those candy bars at the grocery store’s checkout. Or the dessert cart at your favorite restaurant.
You want it even when you are full… And you know it’s going to be harmful, but you can’t resist it.
Thousands of websites publish articles only so that you see their Click Bait… stay on their site long enough, so they can show you more Click Bait… some of those are advertising trash pretending to be content. You know what I am talking about, right?
Clickbait media is not a nutritious diet. Don’t brush this off and say that it’s just harmless entertainment.
It’s not harmless at all. It’s like crack cocaine, highly addictive. It causes our brains to light up and feel good. The more of it we consume, the more of it we want. It’s a vicious cycle.
The brain is giving you a mild dopamine rush, but like alcohol, it’s received the sizzle, not the steak… it is empty calories. You cannot subsist on a diet of alcohol alone.
Clickbait is rehashed information arranged and spoken as if it were profound… but it does not carry much meaning. This is one reason that when people re-read an article they don’t remember having read it. The brain determined it was trash and got rid of it rather than storing it. And that comes at a high opportunity cost –time is limited, you could have spent it more wisely than on an endless chain of mindless soundbites (more on that below).
Over days and weeks this isn’t a big problem, but over years and decades it becomes a huge problem.
Junk in the library messes with your ability to add accurate, relevant information, and gets in the way of effective and efficient use of your brain—it causes us to seek out more rubbish instead. You lose your ability to discern, and find accurate information boring, tiresome, and unappetizing.
Just like with our food, removing the junk and eating real food is painful. I remember when I first tried to eat salad without the junky salad dressing… Cleaning your diet, food or information is easier said than done.
One of the difficulties with information is that you don’t have the capacity to tell crap from useful.
You need a filter, and you need to be aware of what filters your information has already been through… It is like knowing what processes your food has gone through before it got into the supermarket…
How come a package of meat can be labeled good for three weeks… It looks unprocessed, but real food would spoil in a few days… would not last three weeks! Processed? hell yeah.
There are filters/processing everywhere.
Consider the CEO with six layers of management below them. Something that happens “on the ground floor” of the business, say an interaction between a salesperson and a customer, usually goes through six filters.
There is almost no way that information is as accurate as it should be for a good decision after all that filtering.
Now, the CEO might recognize this, but then they have to do something psychologically hard, which is basically say to their direct reports, “I’m not sure I got the right information from you.” They have to go out of their way to seek out more detailed, relevant, independent information from the people close to the problem. (A good assistant will do this for you, but in a political organization they will also be hung out to dry by all parties, the CEO included.)
So not only do we need to filter, but we need to be aware of what filters our information has already been through.
Let’s hit on one more related thought.
In our search for wisdom and high quality information to put into our library, we often turn to knowledge nuggets called soundbites. These deceptive fellows, also called surface knowledge, make us sound clever and feel good about ourselves. They are also easy to add to our “mind library”.
The problem is surface knowledge is blown away easily, like topsoil. However, most people are operating on the same level of surface knowledge! So, in a twisted bout of game theory, we are rarely if ever called out on our bullshit (because people fear that we’ll call them out on theirs.)
The result is that this surface, illusory, knowledge is later retrieved and applied with overconfidence when we’re making decisions (often driven by the subconscious) in a variety of contexts, with terrible results.
If you’re looking for a quick heuristic you can use for information you’re putting into your library, try the two-pronged approach of:
Time look and find out how relevant is this historically? How long will it be accurate — what will it look like in ten minutes, ten months, ten years? If it’s going to change soon, you can probably filter it out right here.
One way to determine if the information will stand the test of time is by gauging its accuracy by examining the details. They are the small but powerful vitamins of your reading diet.
Details are so important that Elon Musk uses them to tell if people are lying during interviews.
You want to learn from people with a deep, accurate fluency in their area of expertise: The best filter is an intelligent human brain, find someone who has considerately prepared, processed and neatly presented a palatable meal of thought – Michelin over McDonald’s.
One of the ways you can assess expertise is through the details people provide. Surface skimming articles are sometimes meant to be readable by the lay public, but more frequently it indicates simply that the author only has surface knowledge! Referenced work also shows you the author is aware of the filters their information came through too. It’s like knowing the vegetables on your plate are organic and responsibly sourced.
So be careful. We’d guess that 99.9% of click-bait articles fail both these filters. They’re neither detailed nor lasting in importance.
The good thing is that you can raise your standards over time.
This article, with slight rewrite by me, was from Farnam Street Blog
PS: Truth value: How much of what is written/said is accurate.
This number, expressed in a percentage, is actually very close to the number that expresses, how much of what is written/said is Tree of Life/Tree of knowledge.
“Truth repeated is a lie”. I first heard that 30 years ago, from Werner Erhard. It simply means that even Tree of Life knowledge, when YOU repeat it, is like parading in stolen feathers.
It is not your knowledge, it is not your experience, you have not done the work to make it yours. Stolen feathers.
I once had a friend who argued with me every time I said what was the source of the knowledge I was referring to. She said: don’t say that… just say what you say…
She never amounted to anything. She is still living on junk, soundbites, and parades in stolen feathers… and has no idea why all her work didn’t amount to anything.
You don’t want to end up like her.
- Don’t confuse this with Truth Value… that is a whole different thing. When you do it on your own, you get the 7% and the rest of it is rehashed, processed information. And with that 7% Tree of Life value Tai is producing the results he is producing… It seems, to the uninitiated, that he is offering a serious shortcut to attaining riches, but truth be told, the work you need to do to attain the good life is the books you read, the experiments you run, the actions you decide on, the actions you take on what you deem important… Unless you build your own solid foundation of knowledge, your decisions will be off… that is why I find it so mandatory to have the coaching… and honor the coaching. Not only what you agree about… Hint… hint… hint. What you agree about is what you already “know”… that is what got you to my coaching… If you insist on only using that… you are wasting your money. Seriously.