"Why Aren't You A Rocket Scientist?": The Disconnect Between Availability and Pursuit of Information

Let me start off by saying we should all be wealthy. No, really, there are enough books on investing and the reality of how money works to fill their own libraries with tips, tricks, realities and pitfalls of all the options we have. So why aren't we all wealthy? Or at least working on it?

That isn't a rhetorical question. In fact I also wondered why we are all not rocket scientists, mathematicians, master artists, polyglots and politically engaged citizens; none of us have any lack of availability to knowledge so why is it that we don't chase it? The answer is simple but it isn't obvious; most individuals immediately leap to "Well, I'm not interested in that and don't care." but how can you not be interested in how to not be poor, how to not be ignorant, how to not be taken advantage of or how to not fail in general and simply want to follow the footsteps of those who failed before you?

Is it not a confusing problem that if I asked a random person on the street "Do you want to be impoverished when you're 65?" and then asked them, "If I gave you this pamphlet on retirement plans would you read it?" that the answers tend to be the same flat no? The only difference between a rocket scientist and a general individual is the willingness to learn rocket science. Most individuals in most "high brow" careers are not above average in intellect (because that would defeat the purpose of an average, would it not?) so then they must have the tenacity and will and want to genuinely learn the items on the docket required.

Information Is Everywhere Yet You Don't Want It

"Why Aren't You A Rocket Scientist?": The Disconnect Between Availability and Pursuit of Information

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of modern life is the fact that people "wish" they knew things. In this day and age there are tutorials on tutorials of how to learn something so it isn't a lack of availability and for the most part it certainly is not a lack of ability as most things have been broken down into a mush so pulpy that it's thick enough to walk on! All of the barriers of cost have been removed; you can learn how to speak French on YouTube for free if you really wanted to, explore entirely different cultures, get intense history lessons, listen to political discussions and that's just one website!

You can sit in a TEDtalk which costs $10,000 to just be a member from the comfort of your couch and get just as much out of the exclusive conference's speakers as the attendees themselves. Oh and if you read a little lower the Vanguard Membership is a steal, only $5,000 or so should get you in! I don't bring up the price to talk about loftiness but instead how absolutely mind-blowing it is that you are surrounded, no, drowned in resources and yet so many people (myself and yourself included) simply don't use it! Time for the excuses:

"I don't need to be an expert in everything!"

No, you don't, and I don't recommend shooting for expertise in everything but so many people are bad at math that it is absolutely mind boggling. Not only this but people find it socially acceptable and encourage this to the point where you would think that it's got to be dangerous. Those links don't just say "Americans suck at math" but instead say "You're not bad at it!" and it turns out that if you ask about science and health you get the same results where people have no idea and generally don't care.

Most of us collectively will stand together and shame the parents who let their children die of Measles because they're beliefs were asinine and cost their children their lives ... immediately after taking your vitamin C supplement to ward off a cold. Lying is a multi-billion dollar business and you'll simply ingest whatever you're told works on a cultural basis because the odds of you actually doing research are rather low. Oh, and producers of information, they know this.

So no, you do not need to be an expert, but think about what good it would do you to know your basic cognitive biases:

"Why Aren't You A Rocket Scientist?": The Disconnect Between Availability and Pursuit of Information

Maybe, just maybe, you might make better decisions, realize that you're actually being fooled, understand business deals and pressure and finally not fear dealing with the car salesman because you actually have equal footing and are at least aware of, if not completely immune to, the Anchoring Bias.

"I'll never need that!"

"Why Aren't You A Rocket Scientist?": The Disconnect Between Availability and Pursuit of Information

Philosophy students score incredibly high on the GRE, LSAT and other standardized tests. I want you to think about that for a moment and take that in. People often spit on the Humanities as worthless yet involvement with art helps children with math and it turns out that you really do use that quadratic equation and your credit card payments are found through Calculus so are up against titans if you think that all you need is a little basic arithmetic and some elbow grease to make it through life as a prosperous person. In fact those cognitive biases I was referring to earlier are found in Psychology and Economics, two more things people commonly dismiss, meanwhile they worship Sciences that they honestly don't understand and claim to be "Rational" and "Forward Thinking" though 45% of students graduate with zero gain from college institutions.

To put that in perspective that means that if you looked to your left and to your right and in a mirror the odds (Statistics, something else you don't know or care to learn) that two individuals have absolutely piss poor critical thinking skills (and don't even know it of course) is 30%! Statistically speaking that's insanely high but the frightening thing? The odds that all three is about 17%. That means about one in six groups of three individuals clustered together at random will all have poor thinking skills. That is a lot of people and it may contain you and you don't know it!

"Fuck you."

Wow. Really?

On a rather serious note however I would like to examine something of grave nature: We treat success as some kind of genetic hookum. The smart people were simply were weird and nerdy, the wealthy got lucky, and the athletic were genetically predisposed. The hours of work are completely disregarded. No one is born a rocket scientist. Why is the world, filled with so much information on how to succeed, petrified of success? You have twenty of these:

"Why Aren't You A Rocket Scientist?": The Disconnect Between Availability and Pursuit of Information

Yet you have zero of these:

"Why Aren't You A Rocket Scientist?": The Disconnect Between Availability and Pursuit of Information

And you gave all of your dollars to the person who printed this crap off so you could pretend that you're going to jump up and "do it today!" By the way there's a ton of information on this effect in Psychology of Marketing but uh ... I don't think you want me to inform you anymore of how this works. But I will let this person say it for me and quit here:

"Why Aren't You A Rocket Scientist?": The Disconnect Between Availability and Pursuit of Information


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Most Helpful Girl

  • You may be all well and good with printed information -- but, if the thing you're wondering about here is anything you actually NEED to wonder about (for more than like 2 seconds), then, YOU are similarly guilty of ignoring a wealth of data that's at yr fingertips.
    What I mean, of course, is the wealth of "data" in the form of PEOPLE. People that you meet every day.

    * Most people are fundamentally lazy.

    * Long-term planning is not a fundamental aspect of human nature. The pursuit of short-term gratification, on the other hand, most certainly is.

    * Very few people are willing to undertake anything involving significant time and effort unless at least SOME degree of success is reasonably assured.
    This goes for "risk takers", too. Even the least risk-averse individuals will very rarely be willing to do anything LONG-TERM with any non-negligible chance of losing everything, complete failure, and/or seeing it all go to waste.

    Finally -- and perhaps most importantly --

    * Most people are AWFUL at detecting the biases and/or true intentions of those who PRESENT information.
    There's a TINY amount of stuff out there that's rlly just put out there because the people publishing it are total nerds who just love knowledge.
    The rest of everything -- all the fucking everythings, dude -- is put out there by people/entities with significant self-interest. As such, much of it is, er, "fake news" ***to at least some degree***.

    And even if the person presenting information truly has the best possible intentions (educating the audience, etc), PARTIAL information is still a fuckermother.

    EXAMPLE:
    With a 1980's style, pre-internet lack of information, lots of people would avoid fucking around with drugs, anabolic steroids, etc because they were just too afraid to take the risk.
    Even if they knew on some level that "drugs are bad mmmkay" is SOMEWHAT bullshit, lots of people realized their own ignorance, and so they stayed square.
    Now, you have lots and lots of people who use the internet JUST enough to acquire drugs, use them, and ultimately fuck up their health/hormones/receptors with them -- but NOT enough to practice due diligence and sufficient harm reduction.
    The NET result is WORSE than the net result of "drugs are bad mmmkay".

    The same goes for potential benefits of things that aren't drugs. A LITTLE information is a dangerous thing indeed -- especially when it's served up by an entity that's more interested in profiteering than in its audience (IE **most**

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    • entities), or when it's being republished, re-republished, and re-re-re-re-republished by people who already lack the proper big-picture POV (as is the case with MOST online "help" for drug users).

      Worldly wisdom is not had without going out into the world. That's why it's called "worldly" wisdom.

      Dude.

    • fake news !

Most Helpful Guy

  • You are thinking far too narrowly. Maybe I just want to go out and have some fun or play a video game. Maybe I'd rather get some exercise and fresh air instead of staring at a book all day.

    There doesn't have to be a reason for ever thing a person does. They can do things just for the fuck of it. Who wants to go through life with their head in a book? A book is a very poor substitute for getting out in the real world and experiencing it.

    Yes, there is a vast amount of knowledge available. No individual will learn more than the tiniest fraction of it. So you balance your life between learning the tools you use in life vs actually living it.

    The trend I see is too much time spent learning, and not enough out living. I think it's really sad when people have only seen a bear, or raging waterfall, or a mountain, as a picture, but never seen one for real. I can learn all kind of intellectual details about a waterfall. Or I can actually look at one and go "Wow! That's fucking awesome!"

    If I don't learn things, it's because I choose to spend my time in a different way. I also know where some really fucking awesome waterfalls are that very few people know about. I'd rather know that than quantum mechanics any day.

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What Girls Said 3

  • ----- need to read this again later.

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  • you are on to something here

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  • Well written

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What Guys Said 10

  • Seems kind of ignorant to the harsh realities of life. I've met people whose parents were so dysfunctional, that the kids took on adult responsibilities (ie they now have a little sibling to watch over and guide), usually at the cost of focusing on school.

    Sure, everyone can become a rocket scientist... if you have the money for it. Student loans, books, etc. costs a lot of money. If you make 30k a year and are only getting by on a shit job while you skim by on payments, already in a heap of debt, there is not much you can do about that.

    This is coming from a guy who is studying biology, became a competitive rock climber despite a fear of heights, published poetry and hopefully fiction one day in a magazine, takes martial arts, is learning Italian, and has taught myself how to play piano and guitar, performing regularly at venues.

    I wouldn't have done any of that if I didn't have the financial and emotional support from my family to achieve/want to achieve those things. Unfortunately, not everyone has that.

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    • in new york college is free starting sept. this take still applies to the situations you speak of. people like me who try and find loopholes to things or know the fact that there is easy access to info would get on some form of assistance if I didn't have the money, apply for jobs in new york and then complete my work there. You can be born poor, but what happens after that is up to you

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    • @FreedomByChoice Going to school for rocket science was your example... like you titled your MyTake after that haha

      Tuition free college doesn't mean that it is all inclusive, just that, if accepted, you wouldn't have to pay tuition... Not to even mention that there are probably prerequisites to submit an application. If you don't have those pre-reqs, you got to go to school for that. If it is competitive, most likely you'd have to do ECs and other activities to make yourself more competitive as an applicant. I could go on about the other hurdles you'd have to overcome. Those hurdles are easily impossible to get over for reasons I mentioned before. There are just so many factors you keep skimming by because you seemed convinced that everyone has an equal chance of making 6-figures and retiring at 40.

    • dude, this isn't mytake lol.. besides that, there are MANY programs out there which can help a lot of those hurdles. I would know because I was actually eligible for a large portion of fasfa but had to sign up for a draft. So the majority of stuff truly is covered, even the books that you have to get. This all entirely depends on what bracket you are in.

  • Wow! There's some deep stuff here, but a lot of truth in it. The biggest problem is there are a lot of people out there who live by their impulsiveness, and that gives them a lot of immediate satisfaction, but ultimately limits their future options. It's like some kid going to high school. He knows he needs to focus and do the smart things, but it's more fun to sleep in late, show up late, or maybe not show up at all. It's more fun to NOT study for a test, or maybe just drop out of school, because they 'know better'. That eventually limits their options.

    Then maybe they get a job, but eventually start coming in late, or just decides to call off for the day, or taking too many smoke breaks. When a promotion comes, the person who DOES make a difference and DOES what he's supposed to do, ends up getting the job. The irresponsible person's response? "It was rigged!", "So-and-so's a buttkisser!", "It's prejudice!" the excuses go on and on. They just don't get it that THEY THEMSELVES are the reason they aren't going anywhere.

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  • Because I know there's less stability , potential money and availability of jobs in research than there is tec.
    Honestly I think i and many others probly could be a rocket scientist if there was some armageddon type event that required me to be one.

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  • "In fact I also wondered why we are all not rocket scientists, mathematicians, master artists, polyglots and politically engaged citizens"

    Not everyone has a high IQ...

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  • I've taken advantage of the freely available knowledge plenty of times and so have a lot of other people that I know.

    The fact of the matter is that not everyone is interested in mathematics, rocket science, art or learning other languages. There are plenty of other things that people would rather learn that are more viable to them and more practical to as well.

    Also, not everyone can have a career in math, art or science because society doesn't work that way; we have jobs that still need to be done by skilled and unskilled laborers, the infrastructure of this country that most people take for granted has to be maintained and we need far more people to do those jobs. Also, the job market is already over saturated in a lot of areas, so that problem would only get worse as well. And, by worse, I mean catastrophic.

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  • simple:people want to be spoon-fed from cradle to grave even political leaders are infantile now.

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  • Interesting

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  • I am a rocket scientist

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  • Thank you

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  • Very deep take...

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