Hi! I’m Jess. This is where I post my very unpolished thoughts on whatever I happen to be thinking about. A lot of this seems to fall in the very broad category I’d describe as “being a person is hard” – i.e. talking about some of the challenges we all face just navigating daily life, that I wish were discussed more. I also have a slightly more polished website here: www.jesswhittlestone.com.

The term “coherent arbitrariness” is one I’ve borrowed from this behavioural economics paper, though I’m using it in a slightly broader sense than the authors. To me, “coherent arbitrariness” is about how our perspectives on the world are, though fairly coherent, often more arbitrary than we realise. We’re often very good at telling ourselves coherent-sounding stories about our experiences and the world. We’re very bad at recognising how we might have seen things differently were a few arbitrary factors changed. The fact that we’re able to make sense of things in a coherent way often creates this illusion that our perspective is the only possible one that makes sense. I’m interested in how we can become more open-minded, and ultimately get closer to the truth about ourselves and the world, by recognising this.

There’s a little more detail on what I mean by “coherent arbitrariness”, and why I think it’s important, here.