Why Ideology is a Prison

By Jordan Michaelides
March 20, 2017


Image: Louis Theroux

We’ve just passed another long weekend here in Australia (Melbourne in particularly). With any long weekend it’s a chance to catch up with family, relax or stack on a few kilos with some dubious nutrition decisions - whatever your preference.

One thing I always love about seeing family is the gags, jokes and teasing that’s delivered in my family catch ups. The teasing of my serious old man, the prodding of my sisters sensitivities, the moral detective work I try to do like Louis CK . It seems though that my family don’t think I’m very funny - more just of a pain in the ass really.

In fairness, it’s always been my mother and my girlfriend who’ve laughed consistently at my jokes. So perhaps I’ve had a comedic veil pulled across my life for too long. Or perhaps it’s just the fact I just enjoy lambastic, morality pushing humour ( like Aunty Donna ) a bit too much.

Have you found crickets while telling a joke? Then you’ll probably enjoy this structure breakdown of how Louis CK tells a joke , and it’s even helped my writing.

Why Ideology is a Prison

Ideology in any form (religion, politics, etc) will wrap your brain for a lifetime, distorting your view of the world.

Two documentaries recently gave me an astonishing insight into Scientology, possibly one of the most effective cults ever to exists. Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie , and Going Clear are must watching viewing for any adult.

The level to which this organisation utilises cognitive therapy to “cultify” their followers is amazing (and frightening) to watch.

Oh Snap: A Tale of Cognitive Folly

Most of us are familiar with Snapchat. Whether you use it as a millennial or gen X’er, or see your kids using it as a baby boomer. You may also have noticed that they recently listed on the NYSE at a ridiculously overvalued price .

The value investing model, which over the course of the last century, has been the most effective and consistent model for investing (see Warren Buffett, Walter Schloss, Charlie Munger, Benjamin Graham et al) - clearly shows that this company is inflated beyond belief.

So why discuss it? Because I think this is a brilliant example of cognitive biases at play (see cheat sheet of biases here ).

Whether it’s the belief bias (logical evaluations distorted by tech dogma), confirmation/congruence bias (the search by tech bloggers to find information that supports Snap), or just Anchoring (using future predictions as the basis for reality) - this company listing is the greatest example of humans not checking themselves, and running with the wind. As Charlie Munger says, “to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.


Image: VentureBeat

A Metabolic Journey

Having now watched Peter Attia’s discussion & presentation on human performance , I’m absolutely convinced that it’s the most succinct and enlightening analysis of how low-carb to high-fat diets dramatically improve your physical performance.

The video is 70 mins, incredibly approachable, and highly informative for the following reasons:

  • It gives context; Peter was a marathon runner & swimmer, yet had >20% body fat and was on his way to “metabolic syndrome”

  • It provides education; Peter identifies how we metabolise food in the body, in a simple visual format, including how chemically we are suited to Ketones v Glucose

  • It highlights chemistry; in particular, the analysis on how the body uses Ketones to our advantage over Glucose is fantastic. When you realise how detrimental glucose can be to muscle growth in particular, it’s super useful

  • It provides a roadmap; through his own journey, Peter highlighted how he first quit sugar (over 1 year), how we swapped out high glycemic carbs for low glycemic carbs (> 1 year), and eventually went for full ketosis

For me, this is particularly useful as I’m at the stage of swapping out high glycemic carbs (mainly rice, root vegetables, etc) for low glycemic carbs. Quitting sugar was relatively easy as I don’t have much of it in my diet, but the difference in mental performance has been particularly useful. I think the moral of this story is you need to have a progressive long term change, and you’ll reap the long-term benefits of it.

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Happy reading,