Summary: Keep Your Identity Small by Paul Graham
People can never have a fruitful argument about something that's part of their identity
Original article: Keep Your Identity Small by Paul Graham (published February 2009)
Motivation: politics and religion yield unproductive conversations because they are tied to people’s identities.
No expertise is required to talk about your beliefs
When you want to explain why one programming language or concept is better than an alternative, you need to be an expert and deliver concrete arguments. But when it comes to religion or political beliefs, everyone is an expert. There’s usually no definite answer to those topics, so all you need to lead heated debates are strong convictions and strongly held beliefs.
“What makes politics and religion such minefields is that they engage so many people's identities.“
Keeping this in mind helps determine which kinds of discussions to avoid — no need to waste your energy on a battle you can’t win.
Core message & CTA
“If people can't think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible.“
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