Cognitive Thrift 10 – OCD

In-Sight Publishing

Cognitive Thrift 10 – OCD

Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner

May 20, 2017

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How does this apply to you outside of diagnoses of OCD?

Rick Rosner: Through our talks I’ve developed of what I believe, I believe that simple forms of order are more likely to be self-consistent and are thus more likely to pop up in the world and in abstract systems of logic and abstract systems of analyzing the world. The self-consistency is kind of the key to existence. Things that are contradictory can’t exist for long.

And to me this feels as if this belief system is sufficiently pinned down that it will be durable and hard-edged once it’s fully developed. At the same time, my feelings about self-consistency being the key to everything or non-contradiction being the key reflect faith in order, and it doesn’t feel mystical to me. But if you push it far enough to the area of what I know and don’t know, and if you push it far enough into what I don’t know, there’s faith that these stabs are the nature of things will eventually become logically and scientifically substantiatable, but right now there is a lot of faith there.

I have an increasing belief that there are powerful forces favoring the arrow of time at work in the universe. Specifically, energy lost by particles travelling long distances across the universe and losing energy to space, but there’s a lot of faith in that in that my mathematical training is not sufficient to let me easily translate that into quantum mechanical equations or relativistic equations.

But I have faith that what I believe about that is translatable into sharper mathematical language and that it will be substantiated, but there’s a lot of mystical faith in science and what I think. In that, I’ve studied a lot of science. I’ve read a lot of science of various degrees of sophistication. I’ve had a couple semesters of quantum physics. At one time, I used to know how to use eigen values, but I have since forgotten all of that, and I’ve read kind of physics that is made easier for less mathematically trained people.

Via this big mass of scientific knowledge and semi-knowledge, I have faith that what I think will comport with hardcore science. Even though I am more ignorant scientifically than people who do science, there’s faith in science that everybody does, even super highly trained scientists.

Hawking has thoughts about what’s beautiful in physics. I’m sure it informs him in his judgment in how the world works.

There’s one caveat about the costs and benefits of non-empirical, spiritual and superstitious thought, which is the costs and benefits. We’ve been talking about cognitive thrift, which is the costs and benefits of thought itself for an organism, where the costs and benefits for religious or faith-based thought are not relating to the costs and benefits of thought itself. They are to the costs and benefits to the organism and society. It is a different kind of cost-benefit thing than the cost-benefit of thinking.

It is a different economy. A more – cognitive thrift is a little bit more at the expense of having a brain; whereas, it’s a more straightforward, the costs and benefits, of faith, say, rather than lack of faith, which is more easily understood under a more well-established economic framework. It’s not as new a framework as the costs of cognition. We’re talking about two different topics, even though we’re throwing them in the same little book.

[End of recorded material]



Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner


Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

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  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
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For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

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