Measuring up to incredible potential
Yesterday I wrote that people often talk as if events are basically determined by people’s values and capabilities, ignoring the difficulty of figuring out which opportunities to take, or even noticing opportunities.
I think one reason to have a better model is that this one doesn’t account for a substantial category of felt difficulty in being a human, possibly encouraging a general sense that one is ubiquitously failing, what with not seeming to be demonstrably grabbing the best of a vast multitude of possible options at each moment.
My own experience for instance involves often not remembering even the options that I noticed before, and these not seeming that multitudinous, except relative to my pitiful capacity to hold things in my mind. Also, regularly noticing new aspects of the world suggestive of many options whose existence hadn’t even dawned on me previously, even though they would be pretty obvious to a creature for whom logic was free. And mostly being extremely uncertain about what actions will lead to what outcomes. If I habitually model myself as roughly homo economicus, deftly directing my resources toward my goals, at worst according to my pristine priors, it seems like I am in danger of continually finding my real self incredibly disappointing. Plus, abstracting away parts of the situation that might be rich with potential for improvement.