Information

Inflationary COVID

Well, dang. I thought we had peaked late last week, based on good numbers over the weekend. Not true. We apparently set a new death high yesterday. Of course, if a plane crashed and some of the passengers had COVID, they'd probably lump all of them under "COVID deaths."

I'm exaggerating, of course, but it's my understanding that, if someone dies of, say, a heart attack and it turns out he was COVID positive, it'll be listed as a COVID death. If you tested positive for COVID and your parachute failed to deploy, well . . .

There's also this rumored problem: Hospitals suspect they'll later receive federal funds to the extent they are involved in the COVID crisis, so they are characterizing everything possible as COVID-related. A client told me yesterday of an outrageous incident he's aware of where this precise thing happened (elderly man went to hospital, tested negative for COVID, was placed in COVID wing anyway, later discharged with no problems, discharge paperwork listed "COVID" as reason for hospitalization).

So, can we believe anything? Nope. I've long maintained that our confidence on information sources is waaaaaaaaay too high. Yet we keep believing the "information" anyway. It's natural.

Man acts. That's a fundamental principle.

He acts in order to improve. In order to act in a manner that allows him to improve, he needs knowledge. Accurate information helps increase knowledge, which lets man know how to improve, which lets him act accordingly.

But that doesn't mean we need to be a dupe for every media outlet. In today's world, we need to resist that natural urge to accept information because it will let us act more effectively. We need to get rid of that toxic security blanket.

How to do that? That's something we all have to sort out for ourselves, though I'd suggest one principle: keep it local. Depend on friends and family. Depend on your experience. After that, I'd recommend you find a few a priori principles that you know are true and "go from there," but that latter one is one of the biggest problems in philosophy, which puts it beyond my pay-scale and way beyond the scope of this post.

In the meantime, you might want to rely on this advice from Steve Martin:

“I guess I wouldn't believe in anything anymore if it weren't for my lucky astrology mood watch.”

Eric Scheske

Eric Scheske