The Purpose of Being Well Read No Matter What Your IQ.

[T]he data is pretty good you know. You don’t have to be a genius. You just have to be well read. Being well read means reading the right books, not just any books – but the right books at your level of experience.

Now, the more causally accurate the argument, the less allegorical and more operationally descriptive it is. The more operationally descriptive it is, the further it is from experience. The further it is from experience the greater the detail needed to construct an analogy to experience. This is why simple narratives are easier to comprehend. They reduce complexity.

However, by reducing complexity, they obscure causality.

So that’s a hard way of stating that for about every 15 points of IQ we have entire literatures saying similar things at higher and lower orders of precision, and therefore greater and lesser degrees of content, that have higher correspondence with reality, or higher correspondence with our levels of perception and cognition.

The more literate you become, the more you grasp that there are a limited number of fundamental ideas. That those fundamental ideas are counter-intuitive. That evolution did not provide us with intrinsic means of grasping or using those fundamental ideas. 

But that to cooperate in large numbers and to understand the structure of ourselves, our actions, and the universe in which we act, we must somehow master them. Either at high operational correspondence that few of us can master, or at low operational correspondence but high intuitive correspondence that all of us can master.

 – Intuitive expressions <- pre rational reactions  
 – Moral arguments <- normative arguments
 – Allegorical Arguments <- abstract arguments (most people)
 – Historical Arguments <- facts (educated people)
 – Scientific (Empirical) Arguments <- specialists in causal relations
 – Economic Arguments <- specialists in emergent relations
 – Ratio-scientific Arguments <- synthesis of specialized arguments
 – Constructivist Explanations <- description of reality

It gets harder as you climb that ladder. Most of us can manage allegorical. But beginning with Historical arguments one enters the realm of empirical rather than intuitive, and that requires a lot more knowledge at each rung on the conceptual ladder.

If you cannot explain something in constructive (operational) language you do not understand it. But if you can at least explain something, then you are at least able to determine possible courses of action.


You read what you can. You climb the ladder as far as you can. At some point you will get good at climbing the ladder. At some point you will realize that you can climb no further. For some of us, we learn how to add rungs to the ladder itself.

But the important thing to remember is that there are a very small number of fundamental concepts, and a very small number of intuitive falsehoods that evolution cursed us with.

At every 15 points of IQ someone is writing a book in your language. IN the level of abstraction that you can grasp.

Read the best book you can. Try the next book up the ladder. stop when you cant climb. And the truth is, that if you want to live a full life, you do not need to add to the ladder, only to climb beyond the intuitive limits that evolution left us with. At that point you will be close enough to the truth (correspondence with reality independent of human cognitive limitations) that you are no longer hindered by your mortal coil.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute

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