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October 25, 2018


Aaron Headly

An anecdote, perhaps related:

I am deaf in one ear, and it came on suddenly as I approached age 50. I went to a specialist to see what was wrong (a rather prominent specialist, actually).

Part of the diagnosis was to get an MRI to make sure there wasn't a tumor, possibly a cancerous one.

I almost didn't go because, for one thing, MRIs are expensive (even though my then-decent insurance would cover it), and, for another, the chance it was a tumor was minute (rather less than one in a thousand; I checked).

Have I internalized more economics than I realize? Or was I borderline-suicidal? Not certain. I hope the former.

I did get the MRI in the end. The diagnosis? My left ear just broke. No clear pathology, also no tumor.

B.L. Zebub


At any event, I'm glad it all ended well in your case. It may be a terrible way to learn something, but one hopes the learning shall remain after one's memories of how it was acquired vanish.

Let's hope the American petty bourgeois liberal intelligentsia is still capable of learning.

Luis Enrique

Most of your readers do care. Phew.

I wonder how successful we would be if we attempted to teach ourselves phronsis, in schools and such like. In some respects, it's remarkable how we teach e.g. history but when it comes to our mental habits, anger management etc. we just leave it to everyone to make it up as we go along.

I have always been - for no good reason, really - a sceptic of 'therapy' etc. but more recently have come to think that 'mindfulness' and cognitive behavioural therapy is useful and can make a meaningful dent in our less helpful mental habits, including our primal fears.

Maybe future generations will be superior, not because they are genetically engineered, but because everyone gets CBT at school and at work.

Andrew J Dodds

Well, me, and my doctors, decided that the collection of symptoms I had were almost certainly the result of a reaction to an infection, and would go away of their own accord with no more than a few painkillers.

Actually turns out that I have a 1-in-200,000 autoimmune illness and very nearly died, and did end up with a lot of lasting injuries.

Funnily enough, I am also often noted for being extremely calm in normally stressful situations; I may match the description of phronesis, at least in part. But it would appear that Bayes has it in for me..



Look for stoic demeanor and anemotional states the barren deserts of psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder.
Medically, the same effect can be achieved with beta-blockers among the military sniper crowd. Helps the subsequent PTSD too.

"Reason is the fetish of the progressive. They have not yet learned that reason’s role is “not to make us wise, but to reveal our ignorance” (Kierkegaard). As well as the lesson of Hume, the most important of all Enlightenment thinkers: reason is, and ought to be, the slave of the passions." some author


Congrats on the diagnosis!

Not so smart kid

I had a medical check up yesterday. The cold, emotionally non-responsive lad technicians tells me: "Well, you have a mass build up in your neck. Get it checked for Cancer"... and then she left the room..

Mathematically, numbers are in my favor. But still..

Thanks for sharing the experience. I can totally related to it now.

Also, interesting comment regarding IQ and poverty.


Great to hear that you're OK.

And no, giving a damn about this isn't just educational self-interest.

Richard Exell

Chris, that's such good news. We all give a damn about a threat (however small) to someone choose to read regularly.
In any case, heightened emotion can also make us more aware we're really here and that reminder is useful.

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