Mental models

from a man of the word

January 25, 2024

Well, not the Word, but still!

Don’t ask me about the mosque, didn’t do that!

More mental models

Herostratic Fame

People would rather be hated than unknown.

The “You either die a hero…” quote vibes are strong. One possible example are trash streamers - there were cases of deaths, teeth loss and, definitely, dignity loss.

“Mellstroy” seconds before doing a tabulafacial plastic surgery to Alena Efremova a couple of times

Hotelling’s law

Competing products tend to grow more alike over time.

Goes surprisingly in hand with Omer Ben Porat’s Anna Karenina principle we’ve mentioned before (The expected average similarity of each agent to all others, is roughly linearly increasing with their competence/success).

Why so? It can be named a particular case of artificial selection, with successful traits being broadcasted and copied/implemented. So yeah, a primordial broth of products where the most fit/adaptable survive 🙃

Reading recession

Right there with grade inflation, a sign of knowledge becoming a product instead of a tool for progressing:

Segal’s law

A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with 2 watches is never sure.

We’re too drowned in multiple sources of information, fakes, and plain bullshit to decide clearly. I’d deem it as a child of paradox of choice and analysis paralysis. And yeah, analysis paralysis sounds like a thrash metal band name…

And a great tip from AiChe: do visual summaries for your information.

An absolutely awesome art by Sci American

However, this pretty much sums it, too:

Beginner’s Bubble effect

You cannot learn what you think you already know. - Epictetus

A kind of a Dunning-Krueger-esque bias where knowing something about an area gives one an illusion of understanding, authority and clarity.

Another nice illustration:


Benford’s Law of Controversy

Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available.

Movie Critic -> Virologist -> Political Scientist

We tend to fill gaps in information with emotion. We fear what we don’t understand, love what we naively romanticize, etc.

A nice example is mentioned here: COVID/political science/military experts becoming such after a week of Googling, yet creating influencer profiles.

Another one, Virologist -> Oil Pricing Expert -> Coach -> Political Scientist


Too much safety and no stress is dangerous. We need a certain amount of stress to impose adaptation.

One example coming to mind is hygiene/allergies and autoimmune diseases, with the famed yet still unproven hygiene hypothesis:


Many of us are so eager to avoid ourselves that we’d rather do something harmful than do nothing at all.

Or, as Blaise Pascal elegantly put, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”




BibTeX citation:
  author = {Kogan, Zakhar},
  title = {Mental Models},
  date = {2024-01-25},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
Kogan, Zakhar. 2024. “Mental Models.” January 25, 2024.