Re: Plea (was ExI: Cognitive Extropians)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 14:18:30 -0800 (PST)

> I figure that it's better to be wrong than to keep least
> if your goal isn't impressing anyone, but is instead to solve all the
> secrets of the Universe within five years. If I'm wrong, I can be
> corrected, and then I know something. If I'm right, I'm right.
> Silence is ignorance. To err is to learn.

Bravo! I have never heard this put quite so succinctly and powerfully,
and I must wholeheartedly agree. I have often expressed a corrolary
to this, that tolerance is the obligation of listeners, not speakers.
Any suggestion that a man should refrain from expressing what he thinks
in plain, straightforward language is contemptable. Such repression
is the enemy of the rational mind, a roadblock to knowledge.

Rational minds cannot be offended. "Taking offense" is a symptom of
an intellectual pathology that the value of ideas can be judged by
emotional response instead of reason. To the extent one can express
an idea in a listener's terms, and relate to him from his point of
view, these are practical methods of communication; but one must never
let such deference to your audience dilute the message itself.

One does run the risk of being vocally, spectacularly, wrong. Eli
has assigned moral judgment to plants; I once proudly advocated
government funding of research. I shudder at those once eloquent
pronouncements of mine, and how they might have affected the minds
of others, but I cannot dwell on error. I must simply say "I was
wrong", and get on with the business of learning. No apologies, no
regrets, no limits.