The new thought experiment is live and this time it is about unpopular opinions, which your peers don’t share with you.


As usual, let me tell a couple words about the concept. Every 2 months SavingNinja posts a hypothetical question about FIRE or life in general. Then one is encouraged to write their answer in one go (just putting their raw thoughts as they come) without editing afterwards.

I already took part twice (losing everything, projects when FIRE and overview of other people responses) and I definitely enjoy the process.


This time I am again writing this in the morning (in case it is something scary, the “losing everything” impact still didn’t wear out). SavingNinja thanked { in·deed·a·bly } for a subject, so I am definitely curious. Also did SavingNinja start running out of ideas or was indeedably’s idea so irresistibly good?

“Unpopular opinion”

The new experiment statement is:

A different opinion is somewhat frowned upon in our clique based society, but some of the greatest minds of all time were outliers. They weren’t scared to go against the grain and stand up for what they believed in. So, for this Thought Experiment, I’d like you to reveal yourself: What opinion do you have that most of your peers do not share?

Its page is here and there you can read other people answers, which I definitely recommend. In the last experiment I even did an overview of people responses and I definitely enjoyed reading all the diverse opinions.

My answer

Oh, that’s a tricky one. I.e. I have to enumerate my beliefs and then compare them with beliefs of other people and estimate the intersection. I definitely like that the question talks about “my peers” and not people in general, because then it would be completely impossible. Here I can at least estimate by remembering anecdotes.

I am not sure whether I will come up with one concrete answer. So far I have 2 options - the positivity of the concept of FIRE and negativity of alcohol. I think my views on alcohol have a good chance to be the rarest across my peers.

Basically, I happen to be not a fan of alcohol. Somehow when everyone was starting to drink alcohol, I didn’t like the taste much and didn’t start myself (but I definitely tried, peer pressure is a strong motivator especially in the young age). As a result I don’t drink any alcohol. Obviously, this topic gets raised at almost any celebration. As a result, I suspect that such an opinion is extremely rare across my peers. I don’t mean that my peers are constantly drunk, but somehow I can remember only 1 other person who does not drink any alcohol due to non-religious reasons and one - for religious. It is funny that in the former case their views were even more extreme than mine - they disallow people to drink any alcohol at celebrations in their home. I personally don’t mind that. In the end each has their own life and if someone enjoys drinking (even people who I care a lot about), but they don’t overdo it, then it is fine with me.

I suspect that this view may be quite rare across the general population as well. I think the keyword is a teetotaler (Teetotalism). I am not part of Teetotalism per se, but I suspect that for an external observer it will look like I am.

Ok, I suspect that alcohol abstinence (to clarify, I don’t restrain myself from alcohol and I often have to actively refuse) is my opinion, which the fewest of my peers share (so far I can remember only 2 people).

Could I probably beat this number? Is there something one person or no one else shares? Thus, let’s get to the second point. FIRE. Obviously, I don’t talk much to my peers about the concept. I work at a normal job and even though my colleagues are very understanding, this might be too dramatic for them. Across my immediate peers (e.g. not FIRE related people in the Internet who I actively tried to meet) I know only 1 other person, who is into FIRE and considers this to be a positive thing. I assume that others either don’t know about it (majority) or find it unattractive or unattainable. Why didn’t I put this before the alcohol? Because I did actively go to FIRE related meetups and I met quite a few people interested in or even pursuing FIRE. I have no clue whether I should classify them as my peers or not. Probably not, but I am not sure. Thus, it is up to you now.

Overall this experiment does not invite to write a lot. I wrote a couple paragraphs and already have 2 opinions. Oh, let’s also phrase them as opinions. So, the first one is “I should not drink any alcohol aka there is no point in alcohol” (this is just my opinion, if you see a point in alcohol, that’s your opinion and I will actively force myself to accept it as yours and to respect it). The second one - “I should pursue FIRE, FIRE is good and will make me happier and improve my life”.

So now I would like to go a bit meta. In general I try to avoid using society opinions when making my decisions. I speculate that “average” opinions in society are often wrong and misleading and may even be artificially created e.g. by some companies or the system in general (see my post on how capitalism benefits from this). One concrete example is other people age. I think that society has unwritten rules “advising” one not to communicate across large age gaps. I consider this very weird, because when two people communicate, age plays very little or no role at all. Imagine that there is a set of people, with whom you would enjoy spending your time (this can be any activities, e.g. just talking, doing sport, walking, hiking). Then if you add an artificial limitation based on age, you just remove some people from this set, i.e. make finding interesting people even harder.

Obviously I can see where this is coming from. This indeed works as a stereotype and a heuristic. Most of the time people with a large age gap may have different interests, goals and problems in life and, thus, establishing the communication may be hard. However, if you somehow happened to see that another person is in your “interesting” people set, not building a relationship due to their age would be a waste of opportunity.

Also I don’t try to do opposite to mainstream opinions. That would be weird. I just try to assign them an artificially smaller weight in my decision process.

So this artificially lowered weight of mainstream opinions could be another example of an opinion which few of my peers share. I think I know only 1 other person like that, but they are just a random acquaintance and we don’t talk much these days. Obviously, I don’t discuss this much either.