1/ Keynes famously asked, "When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?"
2/ For many people, the answer is, "I restate what I already believe more stridently." In other words, when the facts change, they derp.
3/ You derp, I derp, we all derp. It is a natural human tendency that requires conscious effort to correct. The cartoon illustrates an example.
4/ We derp because humans evolved in cultures of tribal honor and authority, where changing one's mind was a sign of weakness, insincerity or untrustworthiness.
5/ To openly change your mind in such cultures is to admit that you are not omniscient and/or infallible. You don't know everything already. You make mistakes.
6/ Tribal cultures have many great features: they create solidarity and loyalty, provide meaning and motivation, inspire courage for war.
7/ But the great weakness of tribal cultures is that by default they are closed to new information, their honor secure behind a Great Wall of Derp.
8/ In a culture of tribal derping, you decide who your friends are, who your enemies are, and adopt unshakeable beliefs accordingly.
9/ In a tribal world of timeless sacred beliefs, where new information is profane by default, to change your mind is to betray your tribe.
10/ Derping is a degenerate form of motivated reasoning, where you don't even bother looking for confirmatory evidence. You just repeat yourself.
11/ Though most derping is tribal in nature -- think partisan politics and economic ideologies -- individuals can derp too.
12/ Individuals derp to protect their fragile psyches, preserve momentum in behavior and protect sunk costs in an uncertain world.
13/ Often the cause is a particular sort of trauma that scabs over. The original wound is often protected because it is a source of energy.
14/ It is easier to spot derping in others. The easiest response is to simply disengage. You will lose little since derpers rarely say anything new.
15/ It is harder to spot derping in yourself. One thing to watch out for is words and phrases that you find yourself repeating too much.
16/ A favored word or phrase is often the building block of derp. A heavily used and unexamined blackbox of beliefs that must be protected.
17/ To get out of the habit of derping, you can do two things: practice changing your mind in public and practice contingent reasoning.
18/ Changing your mind publicly -- on social media, emails or meetings -- will show you that people actually appreciate it. We are not Stone Age tribals.
19/ This does not mean a public confessional mode where you use your mind-changings as an excuse to masochistically debase yourself continuously.
20/ Contingent reasoning -- working with if-then assertions that have a finite scope rather than absolute, unqualified assertions -- is like insurance against changing facts.
21/ This does not mean slipping into weasel mode where you hem and haw about everything to avoid making decisions or acting.
22/ Changing your mind ultimately means steering your actions, not avoiding action. Derpers get stuck in a rut. Mind-changers can maneuver.
23/ When software eats the world, information is food, and derping is fundamentally an inability to eat. This means derping is death.
24/ In the short term, derping is a way to win friends, keep up your motivation and "getting things done" momentum. In the long term it is death.
25/ So dare to put truth above tribalism. Dare to sacrifice momentum and ignore sunk costs when new salient facts emerge.
26/ When the facts change, change your mind. Say no to derping. Live long and prosper.