April 4, 2011

Contaminated mindware- how can we protect ourselves against it

5 comments:

  1. Some people's contaminated mindware gets ugly. They use well-practiced intimidation techniques which are hard to push back. The current intolerance for diversity in the US (think religious book-burning pastor) feeds other forms intolerance from the so-called opposition.
    Here’s one perspective on what to do:
    1. Slow down
    2. Don't expect them to change their perspective right away. Our expectations of change in them are not going to be met
    3. Don't talk about what they talk about. (never wrestle with a pig - the pig enjoys the wrestling and you get dirty). Politicians cornered by the media have always practiced not answering the questions reporters throw at them
    4. Acknowledge their state of mind, e.g., anger
    5. Constantly re-frame what they talk about, e.g., what you notice they have in common with the person they are attacking
    6. Maintain the slow-down mind-set and keep repeating #4 in different forms

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  2. thanks for your interesting thoughts; food for thought.

    btw, I like this one :"never wrestle with a pig - the pig enjoys the wrestling and you get dirty"

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  3. Thx, in SF language; Take them seriously, not literally.

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  4. There are some easy examples of contaminated mindware (cults) but the more dangerous ones would be ones that are generally accepted. Is there any chance neo-classical economics is contaminated?

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  5. Hi David,

    That is a thought-provoking suggestion. The underlying assumptions in about human rationality and choice have certainly been proven wrong.

    Furthermore, as Robert Frank has shown, being exposed to neo-classical economics during their education makes economy students gradually less prosocial.

    Now, to what extent could it be called contaminated mindware? Let's run it by its criteria: 1) appealing narrative, perhaps the narrative of "greed is good" is appealing to people (no need to feel guilty, your greed works out well on a the level of the collective), 2) rides on the back of more valid ideas: the invisibel had idea and the corrupted version of Darwinistic evolution could be seen as fulfilling this function? 3) self-replication instructions: I don't see neo-classical economics as such has this property. 4) evaluation disabling properties: I don't think it has this property.

    What do you think?

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