Collection: Charlie Munger - #165 'The Dangers of Intense Ideology'

Video Link: https://youtu.be/7uhixP3yPN8

In this episode, Charlie Munger talks about why should you avoid extremely intense ideology and how does it cabbages up one's mind?

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why should you avoid extremely intense ideology?

  • Charlie Munger's iron prescription that helps him to keep sane.

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(Source: https://youtu.be/jY1eNlL6NKs)


Another thing I think should be avoided is extremely intense ideology because it cabbages up one’s mind. You’ve seen that. You see a lot of it on TV. You know preachers, for instance, you know they’ve all got different ideas about theology and a lot of them have minds that are made of cabbage.

But that can happen with political ideology. And if you're young, it’s easy to drift into loyalties. And when you announce that you’re a loyal member and you start shouting the orthodox ideology out, what you’re doing is pounding it in, pounding it in, and you’re gradually ruining your mind so you want to be very careful with this ideology. It’s a big danger.

In my mind, I got a little example I use whenever I think about ideology and it’s these Scandinavian canoeists who succeeded in taming all the rapids of Scandinavia and they thought they would tackle the whirlpools in the Aaron Rapids here in the United States. The death rate was 100 percent. A big whirlpool is not something you want to go into and I think the same is true about a really deep ideology.

I have what I call an “iron prescription” that helps me keep sane when I naturally drift toward preferring one ideology over another. And that is I say, “I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people do who are supporting it.” I think only when I reach that stage am I qualified to speak.

Now, you can say that’s too much of an iron discipline. It’s not too much of an iron discipline. It’s not even that hard to do. It sounds a lot like the iron prescription of Ferdinand the Great, “It’s not necessary to hope in order to persevere.” That probably is too tough for most people. I don’t think it’s too tough for me, but it's too tough for most people.

But this business of not drifting into extreme ideology is a very very important thing in life if you want to have more correct knowledge and be wiser than other people. A heavy ideology is very likely to do you in.

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