We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Knowledge I do not want

Protected Rights is the money accumulated from ‘contracting out’. It is also known as
‘contracting out of SERPS’, a ‘rebate pension’ or an ‘Appropriate Personal Pension (APP)’,
and may contain an element of National Insurance contribution by means of a rebate into
your APP. Until 2012 Protected Rights benefits will have to be kept separate from non
Protected Rights within your fund.

That is just one paragraph from a guide to filling in a form related to my pension. I do not want this stuff filling up the hard disk in my head. I want to free up space for important things like the plot of the Lord of the Rings fan fiction I am reading or the details of Climategate or even some mathematics or the rules to Magic: The Gathering.

But no, the great game of Nomic that officialdom plays goes on, and the boring stuff requires ever more attention.

8 comments to Knowledge I do not want

  • First, thank you for supplying me with knowledge of the concept of the game of Nomic. Although I will probably never delve any deeper, the mere concept pleases me. Knowledge I want

    I do know exactly what you mean about unwanted knowledge. As you probably already know, and want to know, and I’ll stop lampshading it from now on, it says in the first Sherlock Holmes story that he tried to keep his mind clear of unnecessary knowledge even to the extent of trying to forget that the earth went round the sun. Doyle pulled back from having his character make quite such an extreme efforts later, as he probably realised that that very piece of knowledge might easily have practical applications to murder – but there’s something in the concept when the unwanted knowledge doesn’t even have the dignity of relating to the natural world; it’s all just the stupid, fickle, lying rules of a stupid, fickle, lying scam and group delusion.

  • First, kill all the lawyers.

  • Thanks for the understanding, Natalie. Your last sentence in particular describes the source of my despair!

  • If you’re interested in an introduction to some abstract mathematics that should be accessible to people whose only background is high-school algebra, may I recommend my website?

  • Wolfie

    Quite what the point of informing you about the status of Protected Rights is, now that they have been de-protected, I have no idea. This is not just knowledge you do not need, it is of historical interest only.
    You can do the same with PR money now as any other pension money.

  • I remember when the rules of Magic were simple enough that I could print them all out on about twenty pages of size 2 font (or whatever the lower legible limit of my printer was), and that one could realistically memorize all the rules with only a bit of effort.

  • Much as I agree with you, Rob, about resenting the necessity to give brain-space to SERPS, TWERPS or whatever other rubbish they come up with, my tastes in what I do wish to invite into my brain are very different from yours. In particular I have a huge blind spot when it comes to games rules. I enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons and D20 Modern but I have had to tell my fellow players that if they want me along then they must just accept that they will have to tell me every time what bonuses to add to a particular saving throw, because I am never going to learn it, ever. My brain produces virulent mental antibodies to combat any effort to insert such knowledge into my mind. Fortunately my fellow players are all male and therefore seem to actively enjoy discussing the differences between Version 3.5 and Version 4.0.

    Another little irony, my D20 character is a Lawful Good-ish thug and tax collector, and the one thing that can make me almost enjoy looking up tax-related gumf, which I hate doing as part of real life, is when I see the chance of giving him a good sneering line. The running joke in the game is that vampires and Dark Elves who snap their fingers at the police, army, MI5 et al go green at the gills (or racially appropriate equivalent) when threatened with a tax audit.

  • my tastes in what I do wish to invite into my brain are very different from yours.

    What a daft comment that was. Three out of the four links you provided interested me as they did you. It’s just that the fourth one curdles my neurons if I try to think about it.