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Lets state up front that the worst possible case is you and everyone you love dying a horrible slow and agonising death.

With that out of the way, do we want to live our lives as if that worst case would become true? Spend every moment in fear of that possible, though unlikely, reality?

It may be clear that that would not accomplish anything. Not only would it make living unbearable, it would make it impossible. It simply does not make sense.

Keep in mind though that there is a balance. When making decisions we should weight risk and probability. Is it worth driving at 100 mph to be on time for a meeting when a delay of 5 or 10 minutes would not make any difference whatsoever? Yet many people will do exactly that.

Problem is that when it comes to risk and probability people suffer from a kind of blindness. We are afraid for very unlikely but highly emotional risks, while at the same time being completely ignorant about real tangible risks that have no emotional load. It thus can happen that we see people smoking while at the same time urging that we need to establish some kind of space defence against astroid impacts.

One of the recurring themes on this site is the fact that people are not so much rational as they are rationalising.


Originally posted at: 2016-12-20
Last modified on: 2016-12-20