What You Can’t Say

Very interesting essay by Paul Graham about forbidden thoughts and how to express them, or why we don’t.
One interesting question he asks; “Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?”
Actually not really… and not for the reasons he says. He thinks that if you don’t have opinions you are afraid to express, then you’re a conformist who goes along with others. But that’s not necessarily true.
It’s possible that you just aren’t afraid to express any opinion, no matter how controversial, because you simply don’t care what others think.
I know I say things that make people angry. From strangers, I tend to hear about it. Friends tend to not say anything, or to say something quietly to me. Honestly, I think it’s important to say them. Or I wouldn’t.
But he makes a very good point at the end of the article… “The most important thing is to be able to think what you want, not to say what you want. And if you feel you have to say everything you think, it may inhibit you from thinking improper thoughts. think it’s better to follow the opposite policy. Draw a sharp line between your thoughts and your speech. Inside your head, anything is allowed. Within my head I make a point of encouraging the most outrageous thoughts I can imagine. But, as in a secret society, nothing that happens within the building should be told to outsiders. The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club.”

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