Happy Notice Your Surprise Day!

One of the most pow­er­ful ra­tio­nal­ist tech­niques is notic­ing your sur­prise.

It ties in to sev­eral deep is­sues. One of them re­lates to one of my fa­vorite LW com­ments (the sec­ond high­est up­voted one in Main):

One of the things that I’ve no­ticed about this is that most peo­ple do not ex­pect to un­der­stand things. For most peo­ple, the uni­verse is a mys­te­ri­ous place filled with ran­dom events be­yond their abil­ity to com­pre­hend or con­trol. Think “guess­ing the teacher’s pass­word”, but not just in school or knowl­edge, but about ev­ery­thing.

Such peo­ple have no prob­lem with the idea of magic, be­cause ev­ery­thing is magic to them, even sci­ence.


For the uni­verse to make sense to you, you have to have a model; for that model to be use­ful, you have to no­tice what it says, and then you need to act on it. I’ve done many things the wrong way in my life, but the ones I re­mem­ber as mis­takes are the ones where some part of me *knew* it was a prob­lem, and in­stead of hav­ing a dis­cus­sion with that part of me, I just ig­nored it and marched on.

It is good to no­tice your sur­prise. But that’s only the first step.


So any sto­ries, of tricks you no­ticed, didn’t no­tice, or suc­cess­fully pul­led?