Intelligence is Partly Genetic

Intelligence (how high you score on IQ tests, or smartness measured in other ways) is partly based on genetics.

The problem is that we, as a society, value intelligence greatly and try and get everyone to be as smart as possible.

But, as it’s (partly) inborn, we fail miserably.

We should try and get everyone to level X. Don’t judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree.

Respect the diversity, whilst optimising for the reduction of suffering (not happiness, let’s leave that for another time).


Book Review – The Cult of Smart – Scott Alexander

More Notes

There are of course differences to be found and created with regards to education and its outcomes. But as a society we focus too much on the maliability and the expectation of that, vs seeing that other opportunities (not dependent on ‘raw’ intelligence’) are also possible.

Use These 3 Questions to Talk About Death

We should talk more about death.

Because it helps us better plan for it and do it with more dignity.

See more notes at Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

One way to talk about death is with these ‘simple’ questions, preferably over dinner:

  1. Has anyone died in your family?
  2. How did that make you feel?
  3. How do you want to have your death experience to be?


PT231 – Dr. Hassan Tetteh – Human Care Over Health Care – Starting at 29min

  • Conversation with perfect strangers, now still friends with the people
  • Liked that it was with perfect strangers, being able to be open and have a deep conversation

What happens when death is what’s for dinner? – TEDMED talk

I Have Died Many Times – CGP Grey

More Notes

Of people who want to die at home, only a third do (25% instead of 75%). Or 20-80% from here.

Another way of looking at death, looking at our history, is that we die many times. Our lives are ever evolving and we are not the person we were a few years ago. This will probably deserve its own page sometime.

Live for Now and Forever

I think you can think of your life in two different timeframes.

A part of you should live life for the now (and really be in the now, learn this via meditation). Be happy, strive for pleasure.

Another part of you should live for the future. It should assume that you live forever. That means you need to learn, retain that information, build your knowledge, relationships, and wealth.

Find a balance that works for you.

If you’re at one extreme, you’re addicted to heroin and working on getting the next hit.

If you’re at the other extreme, you’re busting your ass until you retire and find that you have wasted your life.

More Notes

This is not an original idea, so I should take some time to find other sources and possibly refine this idea.

Comment Activation Energy

Online comments are but a very small sample of readers/watches of some media.

The comments reflect the extremes, the ones who really liked or disliked something.

The insight from Cortex that I got was that some comments require more or less ‘activation energy’ to make.

This consists of two parts:

  1. How motivated is someone to comment
  2. How easy is the comment to make

“Someone has to feel 4x as intense, to leave a comment on something 2x complicated.”


From Cortex #112 at 1:17


Our brain is also dialled to focus on the negative comments. This might have been evolutionary good, but bad now.

You are reading comments in your own voice (in your head), and by that also receiving negative comments as direct critique. So read comments out loud (in a neutral voice), do downscale the personal-ness of them.