Monday, June 06, 2022


Chuck Klosterman (pronounced KLOSEterman, I learned) "Definitely having kids does seemingly solve the nature versus nurture thing.  It seems. like. nature. Like it really seems obvious" The discussion with Tyler Cowan included that children are using niche strategies in the family, as they will seek niche strategies in other environments in the future.  But as those drop away, their genetic similarity will become more prominent.

Though I think this is true, the argument does not quite cover the waterfront. The genetic material we inherit from parents is not identical in each child, which he certainly knows, as he was discussing it in terms of his own siblings a moment before. It was his interviewer who mentioned the niche strategies first, though he embraced it.  He was likely oversimplifying to make a point. There are family similarities, sometimes more visible to outsiders because fish don't know they are wet, but the niche strategies are both genetic and derived from what was available when you were born and as life progressed. So some of that does not melt away, for the good reason that it is just as hardwired.

I find Klosterman interesting to listen to, though occasionally infuriating.  I tried to understand after this interview if there was some common thread to the places where I think he has gone wrong. He really is quite good at finding larger ideas in his observation of popular culture. Yet I think his weakness is that strength swollen out of proportion, as is usually the case for all of us. He thinks popular culture is more important than it is, likely because he likes observing it and drawing conclusions from it, and it is what he knows. Coaches see life lessons in sports - partially true; teachers see the world in the microcosm of the classroom - also partially true. So I suppose it sucks for my friends and family that I worked in a psychiatric hospital all my life, eh?

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