Certainly, as we look back on the past, this rule of thumb works well. A lot of the statements people got in trouble for seem harmless now. So it's likely that visitors from the future would agree with at least some of the statements that get people in trouble today. Do we have no Galileos? Not likely. To find them, keep track of opinions that get people in trouble, and start asking, could this be true? Ok, it may be heretical (or whatever modern equivalent), but might it also be true? Heresy This won't get us all the answers, though. What if no one happens to have gotten in trouble for a particular idea yet? What if some idea would be so radioactively controversial that no one would dare express it in public? How can we find these too? Another approach is to follow that word, heresy. In every period of history, there seem to have been labels that got applied to statements to shoot them down before anyone had a chance to ask if they were true or not. "Blasphemy", "sacrilege", and "heresy" were such labels for a good part of western history, as in more recent times "indecent", "improper", and "unamerican" have been
But the fact is, almost anyone would rather, at any given moment, float about in the Carribbean, or have sex, or eat some delicious food, than work on hard problems. The rule about doing what you love assumes a certain length of time. It doesn't mean, do what will make you happiest this second, but what will make you happiest over some longer period, like a week or a month. Unproductive pleasures pall eventually. After a while you get tired of lying on the beach. If you want to stay happy, you have to do something. As a lower bound, you have to like your work more than any unproductive pleasure. You have to like what you do enough that the concept of "spare time" seems mistaken. Which is not to say you have to spend all your time working. You can only work so much before you get tired and start to screw up. Then you want to do something else-- even something mindless. But you don't regard this time as the prize and the time you spend working as the pain you endure to earn it. I put the lower bound there for practical reasons
Wearing their wings, their boots polished, the trousers bloused into the boots, off they went. When they got home, they were objects of wonder to their parents and friends, obviously because of their physical fitness, but even more because of the self-confidence they had acquired in the past half-year. They had been through a training course that three out of five volunteers could not complete; they had survived Sobel's wrath and harassment; they had jumped out of an airplane in flight. They were elite. Not so elite, however, that they were free to ignore Army rules and regulations. Colonel Sink had warned them to get back to Benning when the furlough was up, but what with the inadequacies of the air, rail, and bus transportation systems in America in January 1943, an alarming number of the 506th were late reporting back for duty. Colonel Sink held a regimental parade. The men turned out in their class A, or dress, uniforms. They were marched down a sandy street to an empty lot behind the cooks' hutments. Sink called them to attention, then gave the command "At ease." They watched and listened in silence as a lieutenant read a list of names, one from each company, from among the men who had reported in last. "Private John Doe, E Company," the lieutenant called out
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