Is Donald Trump perfect? No. But does he wake up every day and try to do better? Also no.
- Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) on Twitter
Why is this blog called Cutting Through the Noise? Because we tend to spend far too much of our attention and time on small things that don’t matter. We are fascinated by daily White House scandals, the latest Brexit brawl, what Elon Musk just said, hurricanes destroying homes, what’s trending on Instagram, and much more. We say we care about the environment, our children’s education, and the future, but we don’t really spend much time understanding what’s really important and what actions to take.
Even in science, business, finance, government, healthe care, education, and other areas, people spend most of their time on rigorous nonsense, signalling, and shared delusions. People think there’s a big difference between being a conservative and a liberal, who the president or prime minister is, which party dominates - but in fact neither political party goes very far beyond just securing and maintaining power without accomplishing much of their stated agenda in any meaningful way. They are far more alike than they are different.
We have big problems to solve in this century, and we are using last-century’s mindset to do it. These things are fundamentally broken, biased, gamed, and built to fail:
Public expression of common desires
Policing and incarceration
The banking system
The legal system
Patents and innovation
And much more. In general, we can look back ten years and see that we have wasted the vast majority of our time on trifling issues that don’t matter at all. Even the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which sound excellent, and on which we spend hundreds of billions of dollars, are based more on political cronyism than on rigorous cost-benefit analysis. And even that is skewed by poor research and analysis!
We live in a very uncertain world, where most of the important stuff slides past us unseen. It’s not in the newspapers. It’s not often in scientific journals. It’s skewed by think tanks, large corporate and government interests, and the noise of everyday life. There is no conspiracy trying to keep us from creating a much better future - the only thing in the way is us, learning to use our precious time better and do more of what counts and less of what doesn’t matter at all.
That’s why I’m here, and I’m the first to admit that I’m wrong much of the time. If I can be less wrong every day, I’m making progress. My goal is to share what I have learned and cut through the noise with you. I’ll be blogging, tweeting, interviewing, sharing research, and trying to help you build a toolkit to change the world. If this seems important, please help me tell more people about my new blog, follow me on Twitter, and join our Telegram group to make a real difference.
Each weekday I’ll post one thought and one “further reading” assignment or an exercise, then I’ll ask you to comment and help everyone else by adding your view and sharing. And I’ll encourage those of you who want to change the world to get involved and help build this new platform.
Please tell me what we need to do to make this work.