Flip a coin
I just read an essay that may turn out to be one of the more important things I've read.
The title is: How To Choose.
The subtitle: "When your reasons are worse than useless, sometimes the most rational choice is a random stab in the dark"
The short form: faced with a decision, it's easy to get rid of choices that are obviously stupid and wrong. But because of cognitive problems, when we choosing among non-stupid options we are more likely to be driven by bad reasons than good ones.
But, yes. It makes sense.
It may be that there may be no "best answer" in which case whatever I do is a waste of time. But, the article argues, when choosing among the somewhat good answers, my decision-making process is likely to be so broken that I am more likely to choose a worse answer than a better one.
So I'm not just wasting my time trying to find the better answer; I'm spending time making things worse.
So my policy is: once I've eliminated all the bad, stupid, completely idiotic options, I'm going to choose randomly rather than spending more time trying to come up with the best.
This makes sense.
So here I am with twenty-three (ish) ideas for things to write about sorting through them trying to decide what's the best. Or starting on one, and deciding another is better. And then switching to that one, and deciding that there's another one that comes first.
And along comes an article that tells me: "flip a coin."
That resonates. It seems better than "choose one and go with it." Because I've done it, and failed. And I think I know why: as long as I am doing the choosing, my choice is open to my questioning.
But if I surrender control to the coin or the twenty-three sided die or the wave function for the universe, then it's made the choice, not me.
I can argue with myself (and have) but who am I to argue with the wave function?
So am I done writing this?
Heads, I'm done and I post it. Tails, one more pass. OK, flip this.