6/17/2010

06-17-10 - Investment

I bought a Hattori knife a little while ago. It requires a lot of babying - it has some carbon steel so you have to keep it dry, the steel is quite soft so you have to make sure to only let it touch other soft things, you have to sharpen it with a whetstone every so often. It's an amazing knife, but you really have to invest a lot into it. The funny thing is that the fact that it requires so much work actually makes you more fond of it. It's like the knife needs you, it's great and that greatness comes from the work you put into it.

The Porsche is sort of the same way. I don't know if they actually do this intentionally, maybe they do if they're very clever, but the car is a bit temperamental, you have to baby it a bit, check the oil all the time, let it get up to temperature before thrashing it, etc. Of course that "quirkiness" is really "shittiness", a modern car should just run and not need to be babied, but that investment that you put in actually makes you feel closer to it, it makes you really fond of it.

It's well known that our attachment to children is based on the same principle. You put so much work into making a child that you then feel very committed to it.

Of course this is really all just a classic example of one of the major flaws in human intuitive reasoning - the fallacy of sunk cost. Just because you have previously put in lots of work to your child doesn't mean that you should continue to do so. You should ignore sunk cost and just evaluate future EV based on the current situation. If you're a rational human you should wake up each day and say to yourself "should I keep my kids today?".

BTW this is another rant but I do find it somewhat amusing that the most celebrated features of humanity are basically irrationality. There's only good decision making and bad decision making. Irrational decision making is bad. Anyone who is "emotional" or "sticks to their guns" or is "brave" or "puts their family before everything else" or whatever is a bad decision maker. That's not to say that a rational decision maker will never do anything that might be described as "brave" or wouldn't "put their family first", but they will do it based on considering the consequences of each choice and selecting one; anyone who does it based only on "feeling" is dangerous and not to be trusted.

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old rants