Foreward by Scott Adams
You probably know that people have been sending me topic suggestions for Dilbert for years. But you don’t know that one person has been my most prolific source: Diana Wales, my guest blogger for today.
Generating a novel topic idea for Dilbert is not easy. To put things in perspective, if a hundred readers send me one suggestion each, I might find a use for 5% of them. Diana’s hit rate per email was closer to 80%. That’s insane.
So I asked if she was interested in coming out of the shadow of anonymity and trying her hand at a blog post. Does her x-factor in idea-picking translate to prose? Can engineers write? Let’s find out.
By the way, her username on my old blog was Dilgal. I’ll let her decide after she sees your comments if she wants to reveal her new username on this site.
Epiphanies – Diana Wales
Humans are stubborn creatures. For most people, once they pick a side, their decision making is over – forever. Any evidence that might indicate that maybe there is a better option is ignored or derided, unless they perceive obvious and significant personal benefits for making a change. And even then they might hold fast. I used to live in Chicago, and I knew some Cubs fans that were more likely to change their gender than their allegiance to the Cubbies, despite a century of disappointment.
But once in a great while, we’re confronted with something that makes us change our perspective on even our most cherished beliefs. Sometimes it’s something subtle, like a person against medical marijuana use until they see granny’s chronic arthritis pain relieved when she blissfully scarfs down brownies. And sometimes it’s traumatic, like a dog owner that believes their dog’s breed is unjustly maligned, right up until it eats their face off.
For me, my religious beliefs changed when it occurred to me that the choice of one’s religion is almost entirely determined by what you were exposed to by your parents and community growing up. People very rarely thoroughly research multiple religions before choosing one, so it’s basically up to the luck of your birth. And if there’s one “right” religion and the others are wrong, then that implies that God sends billions of babies’ souls to be born into families and communities that will doom them. And for that to be true, it seemed to me that God would have to be a dick.
So today I still believe in God, I just think he values how we treat each other over how we pray, dress, wear our hair, or if we love bacon on our burgers. Of course I could be wrong, in which case I’ll have a lot of company in hell.
Scott regularly tosses out thought experiments to get people to look at things from another perspective. Has he ever changed your mind on anything? Or have you had some other epiphany that caused you to change your stance on a fundamental choice, like your political affiliations, religion, right to bear arms, or choice of smart phone, and if so, what was it? What does it take to change a mind?
Read today’s Top Tech for one of the most brilliant apps ever, that helps the blind see. (This blew me away with its simplicity.)
And at Berkeley Start-up Review, see a start-up trying to be Uber for delivering food. I’ll use the service as soon as it reaches my area.
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My book on success: “I feel the best I have ever felt after reading a book.” – Puget Sound Paralegal (Amazon 5-star review Feb 20, 2015)