The principle of accuracy

In an alternate universe, the field of psychology began fifty years earlier than it did in ours. Sigmund Freud was born into a society where psychology had utterly captured the public imagination: ordinary people got together and talked about psychology, kept up with newspaper coverage of the field, and so on, often cluelessly. Would-be psychologists took advantage of the interest and jumped into the spotlight, forsaking depth and rigor for pay and prestige, and holding entertaining and utterly uninformative psychological debates in giant theaters which always managed to find themselves full. Freud, seeing the state of the field, despaired of ever finding a halfway decent critic, but he soon hit upon an idea: he knew that the psychologists and the journalists didn’t read in great detail and often came away with clueless and muddled interpretations of what they had only skimmed, and decided to allow the casual reader to believe that he had written something absurd, but make it unambiguously clear that he had not.

Sure enough, the weekend after he released his book, the theaters all sold out, and their headline events all had to do with this strange man who actually believed — and this is not hyperbole! — that all your dreams are about your secret desire to fuck your mother. Thus is it revealed to Freud, and to everyone with a goddamn clue, who is and who isn’t applying the principle of accuracy.

Except for the spotlight, this isn’t far from what happened in our universe, so intent, while useful to those who want to ensure they can know who understands what they’re talking about and who doesn’t, isn’t necessary. People will naturally misread, exaggerate, pattern-match to the most ridiculous shit, and walk away confident that they understand what this dumbass they just wasted five minutes on was on about. But you already know that — and you already know that it can be used as a test, to see if they really understand what that dumbass was saying. Evolution contradicts the laws of thermodynamics! Checkmate, atheists!

By the way, Mencius Moldbug believes that a quasi-conspiracy that includes all of America’s top universities is secretly working to control what people are allowed to think.

3 responses to “The principle of accuracy

  1. Pingback: The principle of accuracy | Reaction Times

  2. Pingback: Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » Chaos Patch (#76)

  3. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2015/08/23) | The Reactivity Place

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