A Theory: Concisely articulated ideas tend to be true

The reason the recovery is so slow is most Americans no longer have the money to buy enough to create more jobs. It’s inequality, stupid.

Robert Reich on Twitter

I RT’d that. It may be an oversimplification, but it aligns with my views. Plus, I have this theory. The theory goes like this:

It is difficult to state a falsehood concisely. Conversely, ideas stated concisely tend to be true.

This is because truths tend to be self evident in simple terms. When you boil an idea down to its simplest terms, it is often readily apparent whether it stands on its own (evidently true), or requires additional explanation or argument to defend (less evidently true).

Turned out to be true

“Tell me, what was I like when I was young?”

[Ann] Bowers tried to give him an honest answer. “You were very impetuous and very difficult,” she replied. “But your vision was compelling. You told us, ‘The journey is the reward.’ That turned out to be true.

— From Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, emphasis mine.

I’ve always considered “the journey is the reward” to be a meaningless platitude, but I suppose if it’s what an early colleague of Jobs most learned from him, there may be something to it…

What Lance Means to Us

Lance Armstrong agreed to submit to sanctions yesterday, and will be stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles. He continues to deny the doping charges, and it isn’t clear that he’s guilty. It’s not even clear that stripping his titles is a just punishment: He’s still the best in a cohort where everyone, we are led to believe, cheats, and perhaps some sort of truth and reconciliation process would be more appropriate.

It isn’t even clear to me that doping is all bad. Granted, this is debatable, but I wonder whether performance-enhancing drugs shouldn’t become accepted in our technologically-advanced world, as biological purity begins to look quaint and indefinable. Lance can almost be seen as outpacing outdated rules…

However you see it, we are diminished by this. I’m not an avid cycling fan, but Lance is a cultural hero, popular for his character and his leadership in fighting cancer, and his fall from grace saddens me. He’s one of the very good guys. It’s unclear what it says about me that I continue to believe him, or at least want to, and that I still believe he’s one of our best, even if he is lying.

Lance’s statement is worth reading in its entirety. These aren’t the words of the disgraced. He goes out fighting.

One thing is clear: He’s still a champion.

Jeremy Felt and Meg Hourihan wrote some similar thoughts that inspired this post.

Update: Ben Kunz on Twitter:

“Maybe we all like the idea of Lance Armstrong more than we like Lance Armstrong.”