1.3: Money and the Good Life

Paying attention to the right things and knowing things in the right way shapes your brain, trains your wisdom, and enhances the goodness of your life

Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are. – Jose Ortega Y Gasset, Man and Crisis

What this chapter is about

Knowing about knowing – Seeing clearly is about wiring your brain to systematically beat self-deception. This is a participatory process, grounded in an understanding of the four types of knowing, and how to use that understanding to set yourself up to generate systematic insights.

The Good Life – The Good Life is our only goal. That it largely defies definition is irrelevant (though this doesn’t stop people wasting energy worrying about it in a way that misunderstands that we are participating in a process, not trying to ‘win’ an objective reward).

What this chapter isn’t about

The end of history – Set it and forget it can be great investment advice. But investing in general looks through a much wider lens. You and your environment are continually changing, and because your relationship with money is so deeply embedded with this ongoing interaction, you cannot ‘arrive’ at a place where everything – or anything – is magically settled. This is a participatory process, not a thing to secure and protect. Use your understanding as a way of life, or lose it, and life with it.

An objective right answer – When it comes to living well, there is no objective right answer. But money makes us believe otherwise in subtle and pernicious ways. It’s important to recognise the difference between propositional and procedural knowing (statements of fact and technical know-how) that is only ever incidental to our lives, not integral or instrumental to them.

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