The World Now Has a Lot More State

Another good Paul Graham essay, recently delivered at RailsConf.

Almost everyone makes the mistake of treating ideas as if they were indications of character rather than talent– as if having a stupid idea made you stupid. There’s a huge weight of tradition advising us to play it safe. “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,” says the Old Testament (Proverbs 17:28).

Well, that may be fine advice for a bunch of goatherds in Bronze Age Palestine. There conservatism would be the order of the day. But times have changed. It might still be reasonable to stick with the Old Testament in political questions, but materially the world now has a lot more state. Tradition is less of a guide, not just because things change faster, but because the space of possibilities is so large. The more complicated the world gets, the more valuable it is to be willing to look like a fool.

Filled with wisdom and funny asides. And good approaches to business.