After learning how to SCUBA dive while in high school years ago, my friends and I did most of our diving from the beach. The geography was fairly simple; from the beach the bottom had a gentle slope until reaching the (non-coral) reef of interest at a depth of around 30 feet a couple hundred yards offshore. Water visibility was typically 15 to 25 feet offshore, but could be less than five feet in the surf zone. After moving as fast as possible through the surf zone, we would regroup, sink to the bottom, and rely on our compass, backed up by our depth gauge, to find the most direct path (perpendicular to the beach) to our destination. Our depth gauge was supported by physical clues of our depth, like light intensity and even the spectrum of colors available.
But you don’t need to be a diver to see how poorly we maintain a straight and narrow path.
How To Maintain Your Grip On Reality
Make regular observations
Every nautical chart will tell you that “The prudent mariner will not rely solely on any single aid to navigation …”, which clearly means the same as that seventeenth-century proverb “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”. Failing to make regular observations is the simplest way to lose touch with reality.
Verify all information – “Google, don’t gossip”
If you don’t know the position or the reliability of the source, you can’t depend on it to find or even describe your own position.
Apply the same standards to all information
Don’t get all of your news from one source. Expect all sources to have some bias (that may not be clear). Politically, this means that you should not get more than 30% of your information from Rush Limbaugh or any lesser-known celebrity (regardless of political affiliation). Your sources should come from all around your horizon,
Don’t Throw Out Information Just Because It’s Unexpected Or Inconvenient
I’ve already discussed this in “How Large Is Your Universe”. If you are doing this, stop calling yourself a scientist and expect others to call you a bigot. We’ve all seen bosses who surround themselves with sycophantsD (ass kissers) and ultimately drive their Rolls-Royce off Reality Road into a ditch (Not surprisingly, none of their entourageD helps pull them out.) When scientists, whose job it is to describe reality, run across information that doesn’t support their theory they are forced to change their theory. Of course there are the occasional outliers,
And that is pretty much it. It is simple enough, but requires constant effort. If you think I left anything out, let me know. Other comments are welcome and appreciated. Now go apply this to your life. Thanks for listening.