1/ The parable of the three blind people and the elephant is deeper than it looks.
2/ In complex systems, there often IS no elephant. Or what is almost the same thing, no sighted people.
3/ To navigate, you must be able to switch perspectives fluidly. Most people think of this as an emotional intelligence skill.
4/ They think it is about cultivating empathy, learn non-violent communication and active listening.
5/ These behaviors create harmony, but harmony is neither sufficient, nor necessary for complex-system comprehension.
6/ Comprehension involves either harmonizing truths (not people's relationships) or proving one side wrong.
7/ For comprehension, you need to reconstruct others' mental models, and a principle called Miller's Law helps do that
8/ It states: "To understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of."
9/ The computing metaphor of running a "virtual machine" of the other person's mental model in your brain shows why this is hard.
10/ You must have enough room (an "open mind") and preferably, a faster "processor" than theirs.
11/ The high cost of doing this means you should only do it when you suspect the other person is not just bullshitting, trolling or lying.
12/ Frankfurt's definition of bullshit, as the utterances of someone who is indifferent to truth rather than lying, fits neatly here.
13/ With bullshit -- and there's a lot online -- Miller's Law does not apply. There is nothing the other person even WANTS to speak truths about.
14/ Liars and trolls are also not worth a Miller's Law effort. I'll leave you to think about troll and lie detection for yourself.
15/ Once you eliminate bullshitters, trolls and liars, you are left with sincere people who believe they are right.
16/ Your job is to either get their truths to harmonize with yours, prove yourself wrong, or prove them wrong.
17/ Only the first goal is truly interesting for Miller's Law. If you suspect only one of you is right, it's a zero-sum debate about a non-complex system.
18/ To get truths, rather than people, to live together in harmony, you can use either a fox or hedgehog strategy.
19/ The fox strategy is to simply learn when to apply each truth. A hedgehog strategy is to seek a Grand Unified Theory.
20/ Either way, the job is one of constructing a mental model that is intelligible to you, out of the data that is the other person's view
21/ There are no formulas for this, but there ARE three handy rules of thumb that prevent 80% of Miller's Law failures.
22/ First, resist an attribution error where you prematurely conclude the other person is just biased and generalizing from their own experience.
23/ The second is to be sure to translate across the greatest divide in emulating other minds: moral reasoning versus logical reasoning.
24/ The third is the simplest yet most violated: factoring out dislike. We easily assume somebody is wrong just because we dislike them.
25/ If this sounds like a lot of work, you're right. But it's worth it. I believe a high-effort Miller's Law application is at the root of many great relationships.
26/ This is especially true on the Internet, with it's currently low emoji-fidelity relationship support capabilities, based 90% on text.
27/ As YouTube comments show, most people utterly fail to develop quality relationships on the Internet.
28/ But a minority not only succeeds, but often creates far richer relationships online than offline.
29/ This minority enjoys a very powerful edge over those who are not skilled enough at Miller's Law to thrive online.
30/ Miller's Law blackbelts in healthy online forums tend to be 6-12 months ahead of the curve in their fields.
31/ The situation awareness edge may seem small, but it compounds over time to create a vast lead in mental model sophistication.
32/ As our worlds shift increasingly to online streams, your fate might very well rest on your ability to create such a lead.
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