Ted Slocum

Absurdity, gambling, mindfulness, programming, golf, well-being, and my opinions.

31 Oct 2021

Consistency Not Required

Most of the personal needles that Mica sticks me with don’t hurt. Either because I have a reason for my actions or because I have accepted that part of myself. One however, struck a nerve: She claims that I hold inconsistent values. For example I was cautious regarding covid last winter, yet I was ready to hop on a plane to Mexico for my sisters wedding no-questions-asked.

Douglas Lenat explained a concept that has put my mind at ease. I am no longer terribly conflicted about holding inconsistent values and beliefs. Lenat works on a project aiming to build common sense into computational systems. In his opinion — honed over decades of work — consistency across all your beliefs is not how knowledge works. Holding inconsistent beliefs is actually a better model for operating in the world.

We know the world is spherical, not flat. Yet when we think about people in Australia, it is silly to think of them as being up-side-down.

In short: Context is very important.