Some examples of valuable true things I’ve learned from Michael:
Being tied to your childhood narrative of what a good upper-middle-class person does is not necessary for making intellectual progress, making money, or contributing to the world.
Most people (esp. affluent ones) are way too afraid of risking their social position through social disapproval. You can succeed where others fail just by being braver even if you’re not any smarter.
Fiddly puttering with something that fascinates you is the source of most genuine productivity. (Anything from hardware tinkering, to messing about with cost spreadsheets until you find an efficiency, to writing poetry until it “comes out right”.) Sometimes the best work of this kind doesn’t look grandiose or prestigious at the time you’re doing it.
The mind and the body are connected. Really. Your mind affects your body and your body affects your mind. The better kinds of yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, etc, actually do real things to the body and mind.
Science had higher efficiency in the past (late 19th-to-mid-20th centuries).
Examples of potentially valuable medical innovation that never see wide application are abundant.
A major problem in the world is a ‘hope deficit’ or ‘trust deficit’; otherwise feasible good projects are left undone because people are so mistrustful that it doesn’t occur to them that they might not be scams.
A good deal of human behavior is explained by evolutionary game theory; coalitional strategies, not just individual strategies.
Evil exists; in less freighted, more game-theoretic terms, there exist strategies which rapidly expand, wipe out other strategies, and then wipe themselves out. Not *all* conflicts are merely misunderstandings.
How intersubjectivity works; “objective” reality refers to the conserved *patterns* or *relationships* between different perspectives.
People who have coherent philosophies—even opposing ones—have more in common in the *way* they think, and are more likely to get meaningful stuff done together, than they can with “moderates” who take unprincipled but middle-of-the-road positions. Two “bullet-swallowers” can disagree on some things and agree on others; a “bullet-dodger” and a “bullet-swallower” will not even be able to disagree, they’ll just not be saying commensurate things.