My last post, on the topic of resisting the circumstances in life, ended with a question. What choices should I make to resist maximally, given that choices make me stronger, i.e. choices have long term side effects on me?
So I would like to, probabilistically, maximise my set of skills in order to best be able to achieve some kind of ambition I have set for myself. Cutting off my hand will probably not help me, but learning arabic might. Being in a car crash is unlikely to be helpful, but being a marathon runner could conceivably be useful. Both involve pain, but one causes irreversible damage, the other causes an increase of strength if done properly. What is the ideal form of schooling for children (If we take the unlikely view that the purpose of schools is teaching things)? That which increases their ability the fastest, which is to say, the most difficult knowledge, the fastest speed of teaching that they can possibly cope with. The maximum trajectory that they can sustain without losing the grip or their interest in the subject.
Should I do the same in life, then? Probably, but it gets tricky, because life experiences that promise to teach me a lot are often unfamiliar, or dangerous, or otherwise involve pain. As we have seen, it is not the case that pain equals learning, but pain can be strongly correlated with learning. To be more precise: if I become crippled in a car crash, or by cutting off my hand, it is because I received stimuli from directions and with intensities that I could not withstand. Provoke me at a slowly building rate, and I will learn to deal with the provocations and perhaps bite back. Provoke me really hard and really fast from the start, and I will die. And then there are provocation vectors to which individuals cannot adapt in a single generation, for instance, drowning. Species might adapt to this kind of threat over several generations. Is not life precisely that which adapts to changing circumstances, potentials and provocations, in particular potential threats or benefits? But intelligent animals, like humans, are a special form of life. We can select what experiences to undergo, and thus what training to receive. This is how we can consciously adapt in advance when we expect a difficult situation. (Young animals play in order to train themselves for adult behaviour, but this kind of training has been conditioned by evolution over many generations. Are there any animals that train selectively to face threats that they have identified during the same generation, like humans do?)