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comment by sarahconstantin · 2017-10-24T00:12:22.284Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm a fan of correspondences in general, but this one in particular seems good for communicating some intuitions about the flavor of ideals.

A big point of conflict I've had with other people in the "community" is that they're very White-based, and White framings are toxic to me. This is hard to communicate about, because saying something like "I hate goodness" sounds paradoxical, and most moral or idealistic words are White-flavored. The truth is something more like "the high-mindedness and formality of White feels dead and tyrannical to me, I want life and freedom and even greed." Talking about the color-feeling instead of the abstraction is a better way of expressing this. I'm Blue-Black-Red, instead of Blue-White. If I could push people (or myself) in a direction, it would be towards doing more cool shit (in a mad-science, art, business, etc sense) and putting less focus on trying to be righteous/pure/rule-abiding.

The White-vs.-Black conflict is alive and painful for me (as I live in a world of White but have some strong Black inclinations.) The Red-vs-Blue conflict always seems like a "wrong question" to me -- "reason vs. emotion" never quite resonates as a real opposition, and I can never tell which I prefer. As does the Red-vs-White conflict -- structure vs. spontaneity seems like a tradeoff depending on circumstances, not a cosmic struggle. Blue-vs.-Green and Black-vs.-Green seem like easy questions, rather than wrong questions or live questions; from my perspective, Green is obviously wrong.

White seems important but painful to me; I always want to dialogue with White, or trade with White. Green seems alien and like a thing I can't compromise with.

White ideal-words ("good", "right", "just") always feel at least a little aversive to me, but feel "binding" upon me. Black ideal-words ("strong", "proud", "independent") or Red ideal-words ("alive", "free", "joyful", "brave") excite me; these are magic words that motivate me powerfully. Blue ideal-words seem mildly positive but not magical, and Green ideal-words get tagged as "not relevant to my life."

I'd be curious to see other people's personal responses to the colors.

comment by Zvi · 2017-10-24T18:52:09.691Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Here are some white cards from the original set: Crusade. Wrath of God. Armageddon. Disenchant.

White feels oppressive because of course it's oppressive, it's the rules-imposing, order-loving color, but also because it's winning. And the winning kinds of white are not the good kinds. Ra is white, obviously. New World Order and the Technocracy in Mage is white (The Syndicate is black which is a hint that it's not actually in the Technocracy but rather the victim of a vicious propaganda campaign by the traditions). The AIs and AGIs we are worried about are white and we're trying to make sure they're blue.

You need white but you cannot let it win. When white wins the world dies. Of course, when most of the other colors win, the world would also die - red would see the world burn, green would see our cities crumble into dust, black would sell our souls to Moloch or worse. Blue wouldn't do the work to keep the system working, so even it needs balance. White talks a good game trying to make us fear those scenarios but the suffocation via white is the one that might actually happen. So rebelling against it is a reasonable immune reaction, especially if you feel vulnerable to its commands and slogans. Balance is necessary, although we can argue where balance should be - I can basically say, screw red mostly, but you absolutely cannot let it die.

This is as opposed to some other such systems - e.g. Spiral Dynamics talks a big game about how all the colors are valuable and important but at least one of them really should go die in a fire.

comment by Raemon · 2017-10-26T03:31:20.404Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You need white but you cannot let it win. When white wins the world dies. Of course, when most of the other colors win, the world would also die. White talks a good game trying to make us fear those scenarios but the suffocation via white is the one that might actually happen

This was an interesting crystallization of some earlier comments of yours, that I think helps me understand your point of view on some other things.

I'm 100% sure I buy it but it is at least a compelling concern.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T19:09:41.822Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by magfrump · 2017-10-25T06:31:34.019Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If we're sympathizing with the technocracy in this thread I just want to note that the Void Engineers are blue and also precious.

comment by Zvi · 2017-10-27T00:16:22.045Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Agreed, but they got pushed aside a while ago and are trying to find refuge with the traditions.

comment by magfrump · 2017-10-27T04:24:25.955Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Tradesies for the order of hermes? They can run universities or something?

comment by ialdabaoth · 2017-10-27T08:33:23.368Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My favorite Mage homebrew has them merging with the Sons of Ether and taking Forces, and the Solificati merging with the Order of Hermes and taking Matter.

comment by magfrump · 2017-10-27T17:17:21.597Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why did the SoE and OoH switch spheres?

And anyway Void Engineers are obviously there to pick up the slack of the dying dreamspeakers and get spirit back into the technocratic paradigm.

comment by weft · 2017-10-24T01:11:50.923Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think I am Green-White which would make me your polar opposite. I totally agree with you that people should be doing more cool shit, but where you would say "instead of focusing on being righteous/pure" I would say "instead of sitting around theorizing and philosophizing about the optimal shit to do and the optimal methods."

What I get out of Green is an acceptance for the world as it is. THIS is my situation. I can learn to be satisfied with it or try to change it, but this is what it currently is, and this is what I have to work with. I have pretty low tolerance for whining. I also dislike the tendecy to make grandiose plans for oneself that are obviously above your capabilities. Growth is good. Self-delusion is not.

My Greenness ties to my Whiteness. I like community because I am a human. It is the natural state for me to desire strong communal bonds. Millions of years of evolution made me that way, and I couldn't change that even if I wanted to. (Oftentimes my rationality plays out as "How do I-as-a-human function and can I use that to my advantage?")

I don't feel formal, but seeing lots of individuals moving in perfect unison is a special kind of thrill. I don't feel hung up on things like purity, but I do feel very anti-Black. Things like selfishness, self-centeredness, and not thinking of others is very aversive for me to interact with.

I have a pretty decent amount of Blue in me (I'm hanging out here, aren't I?) but my Blueness is more of a tool and a source of amusement than my driving force. There are issues where I can follow the Blues intricate logic chains, conclude that their reasoning is sound, but it turns out that I don't actually care.

comment by weft · 2017-10-24T17:31:28.212Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the Meantime by Spacehog just came on my music feed. I had previously wondered why everyone else seems to think it's meh, while I think it's wonderful. Now I realize it's because it's a strongly Green/White song.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T00:25:20.509Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-24T03:26:52.568Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's interesting how close this is to my own perspective, except for, basically, one point of opposition:

I'm Blue-Black-Red, instead of Blue-White. If I could push people (or myself) in a direction, it would be towards doing more cool shit (in a mad-science, art, business, etc sense) and putting less focus on trying to be righteous/pure/rule-abiding.

Me too!

The Red-vs-Blue conflict always seems like a "wrong question" to me -- "reason vs. emotion" never quite resonates as a real opposition, and I can never tell which I prefer. As does the Red-vs-White conflict -- structure vs. spontaneity seems like a tradeoff depending on circumstances, not a cosmic struggle. Blue-vs.-Green and Black-vs.-Green seem like easy questions, rather than wrong questions or live questions; from my perspective, Green is obviously wrong.

I feel that way too, but…

The White-vs.-Black conflict is alive and painful for me (as I live in a world of White but have some strong Black inclinations.)

White seems important but painful to me; I always want to dialogue with White, or trade with White. Green seems alien and like a thing I can't compromise with.

Swap White and Green in both of these parts, and you get my view.

comment by Screwtape · 2017-10-24T15:25:38.508Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm Red-Blue, trying to shift towards Black as a deliberate effort. A common pattern I see in myself is spotting both a pragmatic solution that improves things for me and a needlessly clever and novel solution that I actually pick, and then kicking myself when the clever solution works but doesn't actually advance my position as much as the Black choice would have. I have absolutely said the wrong thing in conversation because I came up with some really fun turn of phrase that I just had to try. I enjoy watching other people's Red-Blue shine too; I even enjoy being heckled or argued with as long as the insults or counterpoints are sufficiently new and interesting. I share your evaluation of Red-vs-Blue as the wrong question. They feed into each other for me, Red providing goals and rewards and Blue providing means and methods. At the very core, I think of myself as fundamentally Black and selfish though.

I admire White, I think White has the best levers for completing large projects, I think that minor tweaks to White's rules can make a much larger difference in more people's lives than most ideas Red or Blue come up with, but I have a really hard time binding myself into White. I also have a mental tic where the most interesting thing about White to me is always how to break it, thinking about where the smallest wrench could be thrown to bring the whole thing crashing down. I wish I had more Green, but I think it was too late in my development before I realized it would be possible to be part of a pack. I still think I could (and would really enjoy) being part of a community like that, but at this point I think it would have to be formed for Black reasons (with each member feeling like joining and staying was to their own benefit.) Green groups tend to make me feel very nervous, like I have to watch them closely for the slightest hint that they're starting to turn on me and that I need to be able to run very fast when they do.

I feel comfortable with Black. I like it when I know what someone actually wants, and we can make deals or compete or help each other or stay out of each other's way. I guess I have a strong prior that everyone is fundamentally Black and when someone presents themselves as another colour I have to spend time figuring out what their ulterior motive is, while when they start by saying that they're Black we can cut to the chase a lot quicker.

comment by iceman · 2017-10-25T21:18:29.951Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The conflict you feel resonates with me. The parts of the greater rationalist community that make me feel uncomfortable are firmly White; I disagree with most of their moral framework and am often annoyed that many of their moral proclamations are unquestioned and are assumed to be 'good'; ie, effective altruism, animal rights charities, etc.

A large part of what drives me is a Blue/Black desire to know things to help myself and make my life more awesome. Unlike Sarah above, I am excited by Blue words ("knowing", "understanding") because they cash out in better ways to achieve my Black desires.

Whatever MIRI's public persona is, I think of their most exciting research as Blue/Black. The study of decision theory is firmly about enlightened self interest, especially when you start thinking of the differences between PrudentBot and FairBot. Let the two of us trade, TDT/FDT style, to our mutual benefit. Any constraints on our behaviour are not imposed, as White might, but are consensual self-modifications to our decision processes so that we may maximize our individual utility through superior understanding.

comment by sarahconstantin · 2017-10-24T01:32:06.609Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the best use of this system is in expressing what winning feels like.

For White, winning feels "bright, pure, high, exalted". Mountains. Crystal. Air. An uplifted face.

For Green, winning feels "peaceful, fertile, balanced, living." A green valley planted with orchards. A mother nursing a baby.

For Blue, winning feels "fast, intricate, precise, fluent". A virtuoso musical performance. Running with the wind. Straining your eyes to see into the distance. The feeling of stimulation and concentrated attention.

For Red, winning feels "fiery, beautiful, magnificent, fierce". A dance. A love affair. A frontier. A brawl. High-energy, angry/excited/exhilarated mood.

For Black, winning feels "heavy and satisfying, like a weight in the hand." Like literally acquiring gold coins or wielding tools/weapons made of metal. Getting. Counting up a tally. Clicking things into place. Aiming and hitting a target.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T02:56:05.720Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by lahwran · 2017-10-24T03:06:45.166Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I feel like, compressing me in this vector space, I'd be best represented with codes

{white: 0.8, blue: 0.8, black: 0.2, red, 0.2: green: 0}

that energy is pretty spread between the axes, which makes me think this basis set isn't super great. I do like the concept of using spaces like this as compressors for people, though. (vaguely, compression is a more flexible view of the thing clustering is an instance of)

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T03:07:47.512Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by lahwran · 2017-10-24T03:12:24.443Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not sure I conveyed what I meant, then; it feels badly wrong, like part of me is missing if I have a high magnitude of white and negligible magnitude in black or red. I feel very mixed, if we use these as the first axes.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T03:32:48.713Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-24T03:34:37.282Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Something's missing from this.

Winning can can feel like destruction. I suspect this is Black/Red (depending on how it's inflected).

With that element added, this feels complete.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T08:31:59.040Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Vaniver · 2017-10-23T22:15:49.183Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

For any list, I find a useful generative question to be: "what if the number is wrong?" Perhaps, for example, there are in fact six colors, or merely four; in the first case, the missing color should be leaving a hole, and in the second case, one of the colors should be fake (or there should be three colors that are actually two, or so on).

So, which color is the most fake? If there were a sixth color, what would it be?

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T23:18:30.702Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Rob Bensinger (RobbBB) · 2017-10-23T23:40:18.829Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Blue strikes me as the most fake, because it's mixing together things like "reflexive pursuit of knowledge for its own sake / need for cognition / hunger for new information" (red's flighty pursuit of things-that-seem-interesting-in-the-moment, perhaps mixed a bit with green's contemplative passive consumption) and "drive to optimize/perfect" (black's love of effectiveness/winning + white's love of order/focus/utopia).

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T23:44:22.695Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Zvi · 2017-10-24T19:24:21.075Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Many games include color pies. It is very rare to see six colors (and I don't think I've ever seen seven), whereas it is very common to see only four. Where you see more than five categories, they no longer claim to add up to normality or encompass everything, instead becoming factions or groups of people. So if you go above five, what you get is much higher and especially you lose the idea that we won't spam you with more colors into the future forever. Magic did sort of introduce a sixth color - grey, or colorless - to represent alien abominations and ancient artifacts and such - as part of the Battle for Zendikar block, which will forever profane our cards with a new mana symbol. Things that are grey are wrong in a profound way, a perversion of the world. You could think of it as the color of machine learning systems and potential unfriendly AIs and bureaucracies full of lost purposes, they've become completely divorced from all value. I think if I added a sixth color I would indeed want to stick with that rather than go purple, and it opposes all five normal colors (and is also opposing and distinct from being merely colorless).

When they cut out a color, it varies which one it is and how they distribute the spoils. I don't think you can cut out a color without destroying the dynamics and ideas that make the system interesting; when systems have only four colors, it seems more like a thematic 'you can't do everything in this game at once' thing rather than being thought provoking. It makes sense that designers have learned that four is better for letting people play their games reasonably, but I think of this as one of those cases where I wish we weren't following the incentive gradients as hard, because the relationships between five things are so much more interesting than the relationships between four things.

In terms of Magic's mechanics, the color that is least essential is white. There were periods where one could speak of 'the four colors of Magic' in this sense, because white had only a handful of cards worth considering, so you'd play a tiny bit of white or none at all, and the only white cards you would play were cards that were 'out of character' for white otherwise, like Swords to Plowshares (kills a creature), Armageddon (kills lands) and Wrath of God (unique special card at the time that kills every creature). They had to reshuffle the color pie to give white more things to do, and also green.

comment by Vaniver · 2017-10-25T22:13:55.840Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There are seven clans in Rokugan, which means seven colors for L5R LCG--but as you say, they are factions in such a way that it wouldn't be surprising that someday later we'll see an eighth or ninth clan.

comment by Zvi · 2017-10-27T00:20:03.806Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which is exactly what ended up happening to L5R eventually. It now has nine (Crab, Crane, Dragon, Lion, Mantis, Phoenix, Scorpion, Unicorn, Spider) major clans plus a number of minor ones.

It also seemed clearly to be a major weakness of the game that it had too many clans. You would open a booster and most of the cards wouldn't be relevant to your interests, and be forced to work with only a few cards each set since people had clan loyalties (and couldn't mix multiple clans the way Magic players mix colors). I still have a big soft spot for L5R, though. Great fun.

comment by sarahconstantin · 2017-10-24T00:37:21.210Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Comparison to other classifications:

MBTI has 16 categories, which is really too many. I don't think all of the categories are likely to be good "fits" for a group of people. Some of them are -- if I describe someone as an INTJ, I feel like I'm describing a type of person (the smart guy who thinks he's always right) that I encounter frequently. The axes seem to vary in how "real" they are. Extroversion vs. introversion is of course a well-established psych phenomenon. Intuitive vs. sensing seems maybe-fake to me, Thinking vs. Feeling seems very much like a fake distinction, and Perceiving vs. Judging seems very real to me intuitively.

Enneagram describes some people very well, but not all people fit firmly into a bucket. I've met people for whom the most efficient way to describe them is an Enneagram bucket -- 9's are a very distinctive thing, particularly among people with trauma -- but I've also met a lot of people, including myself, for whom the system returns "huh?"

Hogwarts houses are easily subsumed into a lot of other systems, like Magic colors or classical elements; they just use standard Western archetypes.

Four Temperaments seem like they're probably a real thing in psychology. Melancholic = depressive, Choleric = manic, Phlegmatic = "aspie", Sanguine = healthy. Real, but not that interesting.

Chakras, seen not as personality types but as human capacities, seem intuitively real, except that I'm not sure that 6th vs. 7th (both wisdom/intellect) and 1st vs. 2nd (both body/sexuality) are really that different from each other. I do have an intuition that "body/physicality", "willpower", "emotions", "speech", and "thought" are importantly different capacities, but I'm not sure that you couldn't lump them better as "body", "willpower/emotions", "speech/thought".

Integral Colors are a developmental hierarchy, not a typology: rungs on a ladder, not points on a wheel. I think they refer to real archetypes in modern pop culture, but not very accurate history -- the actual Enlightenment wasn't as Orange as the popular understanding is, the hunter-gatherer -> pastoralist -> agrarian path may not have actually been a trajectory that peoples progressed along over time, Green doesn't seem like a great fit for what socialists actually believe(d), etc.

comment by Zvi · 2017-10-24T19:13:44.427Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My discussions with people 1-2 steps removed from the developers of Integral Colors indicates that while they claim it's rungs on a ladder, they don't really think of it that way and in particular they see the key insight being that Green is Bad; when I asked if that was true while getting the initial explanation they acted like I'd passed a test or something; at a minimum I'd guessed the teacher's password. Then of course Boomeritis makes it explicit and isn't subtle about it.

MBTI I think you're right that some of them are pretty thin/rare, and they're trying to cover that up to make the system work out. That seems reasonably common; people have some insights, then they feel the need to 'fill out the grid' and make all the points on it seem valuable and important and so on, so they're stuck pretending all 16 are a legit thing. I do think all four contrasts describe a thing, though.

Hogwarts houses I think get way too much credit than they deserve and aren't especially well thought out, especially in canon where she (as I read/understand it) basically gives up on the idea that Slytherin isn't evil.

Enneagram I think deserves some credit for not trying to classify everyone?

comment by Unreal · 2017-10-23T10:18:32.935Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

[Previous MTG blogger here; so I've had thoughts about this before]

I think it's important to note that systems are almost always white.

As in, the individuals who partake in polyamory and BDSM are more likely to be B or R. But polyamory and the BDSM community itself are about using white frameworks in order to foster B/R needs in a safe, predictable way.

White makes things more scalable. So if you have any system at all that includes lots of agents in it, there's probably white involved. (It's easier to make copies of something rigid than something moving/chaotic.)

So the institution of marriage is white, but so is polyamory, and both have lots of norms and rules.

I'd be interested in hearing examples of non-white systems.

comment by ESRogs · 2017-10-24T08:33:07.063Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think ecologies and competitive landscapes could be thought of as green-black systems. Wherever you have survival of the fittest. E.g. Silicon Valley.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T08:50:49.100Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by mr-hire · 2018-01-06T02:05:57.613Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe black is the color of hormetic systems, green the color of selective systems, and white the color of robust systems. I suppose that would make systems based on effectuative principles red. Can't think of how a system would be based on blue, but I'm sure those exist as well.

comment by PDV · 2017-10-23T16:20:02.441Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree about BDSM but not about polyamory. One prominent subtype of polyamory is the aptly named "relationship anarchy", which explicitly rejects rules and commitments. The modal polyamorous relationship includes some rules, but The Book on polyamory, More Than Two, takes a very hard line against rules and organizing your relationships to make you priorities legible. (The other The Book on polyamory, The Ethical Slut, I haven't read, but I believe it's near the relationship anarchist side.) Modern polyamory is greenish-red.

I'd say the default Bay Area rationalsphere breed of polyamory does involve significant structure, and that it is more stable. But this is probably an effect of the founding population of rationalsphere polyamorists being heavy on BDSM, and so already having a framework that balancing structure into your hedonism makes it stabler and healthier. There is also, very speculatively, more of a desire for stability, though since I'm comparing mainly to college-dominated populations I don't know.

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-23T20:07:20.057Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

People who enjoyed this post will may also enjoy these very-much-related posts by Mark Rosewater, head designer of Magic: The Gathering:

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T20:48:02.247Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T05:34:56.948Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by PDV · 2017-10-23T07:41:27.940Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One thing I think is widely underappreciated about the color wheel as a classification system is the extent to which everything nonwhite is alien to modern society. We live in a culture and society dominated to a very large extent by white values. Our virtues are white; our fears are white; 1984, Stranger in a Strange Land, the Borg, FDR's Four Freedoms, the UN Charter of Human Rights, the military, the Peace Corps. The major geopolitical and ideological struggles of the 20th century were between various flavors of white; royalism vs. democracy, communism and.democracy vs. fascism, communism vs, democracy. Tradition vs. feminism and vs. racial equality. Religion and separation of church and state are also both white concepts.

There are important nonwhite concepts; capitalism is black at its most prosocial, atheism is blue, the sexual revolution brought on by The Pill is primarily red. Rationalism is, naturally, extremely blue.

But just like the correct answer to "What D&D alignment are you?" is almost always true neutral, the correct answer to "What main MtG color are you?" is almost always white. In order to get useful classification power you must adjust away from the baseline by treating someone who's 70% white and evenly split between everything else as your zero point.

comment by ESRogs · 2017-10-24T08:44:09.116Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

> the correct answer to "What main MtG color are you?" is almost always white

I was with you right up until this line. It seems like most or all the previous examples of White that you gave involved groups of humans cooperating, or the attitudes of society in general. And if we look from that kind of perspective, observing the collective, it seems like no surprise that we'd see White.

Whereas, on the other hand if we looked at the daily life of an individual and asked why they do the things they do, wouldn't we be seeing everything as Red/Black?

comment by PDV · 2017-10-26T05:19:05.876Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Even if you look at individuals, we are far more concerned with social pressure, social status, and morality than could possibly describe a red/black world. Blue cares about what's true, black about what's useful, red about what's appealing, green about what's natural. Only white cares about what's good, and by extension what's bad.

The fact that shame works and guilt exists are solid proof that white is a very powerful force in our individual psychology. These are things that other colors find alien.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T08:30:59.422Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by whpearson · 2017-10-23T21:12:13.991Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What colour am I if want everyone capable of being autonomous and self-reliant <_< >_>

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T22:51:40.367Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by whpearson · 2017-10-24T11:03:49.755Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think weirdly part of my motivation is green as well. I seek to live in harmony with nature, by being able to recycle all my waste and just rely on sunlight as an input, like a plant. But I still want to maintain a high tech base (so I need blue). I do want us adventure to new worlds etc which is the red motivation. There are other aspects of motivation that I find hard to classify. There is an enjoyment of being able to create your own things, this seems red but is a different sort of red to the adventure of space travel. I'm not sure those two types of red are conjoined, I know people with one but not the other.

comment by Screwtape · 2017-10-25T14:42:00.346Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Honestly, I see that as being Black. If you're tutoring other people and supporting them in reaching self-reliance that skews into other colours, but I often think of Objectivism's "everything works better when everyone is selfish" as being a very Black way of seeing the world.

comment by Ashleigh Falhanner · 2017-10-26T22:13:18.066Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Black doesn't necessarily want everyone else to get the benefits of being black, tho

comment by whpearson · 2017-10-29T22:05:08.128Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought it an interesting edge case, which is why I asked.

I definitely skew into the tutoring and supporting side of things. I also don't think "everything works better when everyone is selfish", just that when people are capable of being self-reliant then they can move on from abusive situations or cope when the people that normally do a task no longer do so (for whatever reason).

comment by G Gordon Worley III (gworley) · 2017-10-26T21:36:34.303Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Reading this and the comments on it I think I'm really starting to understand why folks find these sorts of models so appealing (and as a corollary why developmental models are unappealing). Also, my apologies in advance, because this comment contains an implicit and inherent element of status positioning that will place me, the commenter, above you, the reader who finds these sorts of models useful, but please know I too used to find these models very appealing so I know what it feels like from the inside, but now I know what it looks like from the outside.

If trying to directly predict the behavior of real people by modeling them and making predictions about what they will do doesn't result in sufficiently accurate or precise predictions for your purposes, then you will be quite happy if there is a tool that will help you make better predictions. When there is only one category that contains all people your only method is to consider people fully as individuals, which is a lot of work and something you may not even know how to do (contrary to what the heavily Red and Green will tell you, understanding people on an individual level is a skill that must be developed just like any other if you want to do it well). If you add another category it gets a bit easier, though: now at least a person is either closer to one thing or another and you can make slightly better predictions without knowing anything more than 1 bit of information (think male/female, yin/yang, hot/cold, near/far). Adding more bits/categories means you can be more precise, so it's tempting to build models that have more categories that let you more accurately predict what other people are like so long as you can learn enough about them to categorize them, which is generally much easier than understanding all of their individual nuance.

But the human brain has limits, and 5 things is about the max most people can handle in working memory, so models will generally max out around 5 categories. More categories might help but even if they did it would weaken the model because it would be hard to keep it all in your head at once and you'd need to look for ways to simplify things. Additionally if you had unbounded numbers of categories that's just back to the same problem of as having only one category with everything in it only now you're thinking in terms of an unbounded multi-dimensional feature space rather than an unboundedly complex category.

So being able to categorize people along 4 or 5 dimensions is basically the sweet spot of trying to understand other people (or complex systems in general, but we'll stay on people here) without having to deal with the full complexity of treating them as individuals. It grants the most accuracy and precision possible without demanding potentially overwhelming effort. That these models consequently give us ways to understand ourselves and understand how others see us only adds to their appeal.

Developmental models, in contrast to these sorts of multi-dimensional models, provide no such usefulness because they are about one particular dimension (complexity) and say very little that will be directly useful to the object-level task of predicting what people will do except in those cases where you want to asses things like behaviors they are unlikely to be able to take. Yet developmental models also point at why I don't find these multi-dimensional models very useful anymore.

The trouble is that greater complexity means more capacity means encompassing more of what is possible, and so these models only work so long as a person is not so complex as to encompass the whole thing and the user of the model is not capable of the complexity of considering others individually with sufficient fidelity. To take myself as a ready example, I'm sure there are those here who would accuse me of a lot of Greenness, but that's mostly because I'm often leaning against the strong Blue vibe here and choose to emphasize the Green because my audience is already so Blue. And depending on what contexts you know of me in person, you may see me as more Black if you meet me in a White context and more White if you meet me in a Black context because I will be more of the other thing than the thing we are in. Red feels the most fake dimension to me, but if you think I am particularly Red or particular not-Red I suspect you it is likely because I am again closer to half-Red and so both farther away and closer to Red and not-Red than it looks. So I'm all the colors at once and what I look like depends more on the external lighting than any characteristic behaviors. And since I know this about myself I know it about others, so these models cease to seem very helpful because they can be washed out and I have other tools I can use in their place.

But lest I end this with you thinking I'm down on multi-dimensional models, I'm not. They are important tools and bridges that can enable deeper understanding. And in this sense everything is a bridge that can lead to deeper understanding. I just now understand for myself better why these models are so useful to folks even when there are "better" tools available.

comment by Raemon · 2017-10-26T22:09:57.408Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I liked this comment for spelling out the ways this sort of model is useful and limiting. Some meta-ish commentary:

I felt like it could have been more succinct, and that the caveats about status positioning and apologizing for "seeming down on these models" felt mostly unnecessary.

(I think that sort of thing is sometimes necessary, but most often is more like a red-flag that you could probably refactor your comment/post until they no longer felt necessary)

comment by Ashleigh Falhanner · 2017-10-26T22:11:22.621Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

^^^Parent comment is blue/green to a T

comment by weft · 2017-10-24T00:10:40.423Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some rationality culture things:

Solstice: White
Burning Man: Red
AI discourse: Blue
Slack: Green/White?
Living in the Bay/NYC/Boston/Oxford (and liking it): Blue
Having kids: Green
Deciding to have kids based on philosophical reasons: Blue
Dark Arts, etc: Black
Effective Altruism: White/Blue
Veg*nism: Green/White/Blue
"Animals don't experience qualia/ have consciousness" - Black/Blue
Self-hacking, nootropics, CRISPR: Blue
Polyamory: Hmmm...Maybe Red for other people, but Blue for the people who hang out around here, and it feels Green to me personally?

"It is good to make life better for the top 1% because it is raising utility"- Black
"It is bad to make life better for the top 1% because it is raising inequality"- White
Anti-deathism: Blue/ Black
Seasteading: Black/White??

comment by Zvi · 2017-10-24T19:32:36.531Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think Slack is Green alone. It certainly is not white. White doesn't think you have the right to Slack and tries to take it away from you. Often it taxes or outright punishes you for having it.

Traditional Solstice is Green. Our Solstice is at least partly green.

I haven't been to Burning Man but if it's got black in it that means something is very wrong, at least to me - it's an explicit ban on black. But blue makes sense as a secondary color, even if the name is a giveaway for the primary.

Seasteading claims to be Esper (Black/Blue/White) but skeptics think it's actually Red/Black. Unclear who is right.

Polyamory is red, full stop, and I think people who claim it isn't are confused about how something works.

comment by ialdabaoth · 2017-10-25T20:30:12.963Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Burning Man is R/G/U. It explicitly bans Black, and implicitly shuns White, because the thing it actually wants is for the "colorful" colors to do their things and express themselves without the Black/White tension getting in the way.

As people have been saying, our current mainstream culture is MOSTLY White, and where it isn't White, it's Black. Most people don't even THINK about where their feelings come from, or what they actually want for themselves, or how a light-switch actually works when they flip it. They just want to be part of an order, and they want to compete for the best position they can within that order.

Burning Man explicitly says "Fuck all that! Make things! Be yourself! Do wacky shit!"

BM's anti-commercialism is an explicit ban on Black, but its "radical self-reliance" is an almost-as-explicit ban on White.

... Gah. Which means I should just break down what each of the Ten Principles is trying to do, color-wise. Let's try this:

Radical Inclusion (+G)

Gifting (-B)

Decommodification (-B)

Radical Self-reliance (-W, +GU)

Communal Effort (+GU)

Civic Responsibility (+WU)

Leaving No Trace (+G)

Participation (+GR)

Immediacy (-W, +R)

On net, that's GGGGGRRUUU, and two strikes against B and one (net) strike against W.

comment by PDV · 2017-10-26T04:59:58.080Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Most of the benefit I see from polyamory is the way it makes deliberately-assembled extended families instead of loosely-connected pair bonds. Certainly I started doing it because my boyfriend wanted it for love, but the reasons I actively want to stick with it are the social bonds and it making each component relationship more resilient. In an atomized society, a relationship style that coalesces a community into short chains of strong bonds supports a community ideal that feels quite green.

comment by weft · 2017-10-24T22:19:45.505Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Reading how you model the colors makes me think that I probably have something wrong, because our models don't line up, and I assume yours is closer to MtG canon for the obvious reasons.

You say:

The AIs and AGIs we are worried about are white and we're trying to make sure they're blue.

My interpretation would have been that the AIs we're worried about are blue (cold, perfect logic. Helps that blue is also the color of technology), and we're trying to make sure that they're white (compassionate, pro-social, caring).

I don't understand how Slack is not at all white, when much of the discussion and practice is coming out of the religious tradition of Sabbath. (If you say that just because something comes from religion it doesn't make it white, then I would say that just because something comes from emotion or sex it doesn't make it red.)

And saying that polyamory is red, full stop, seems obviously wrong from the perspective of my model. I'd agree that cheating is red. One night stands are red. (Marriage is white.) But polyamory is almost never entered into impulsively. It often comes from a very Blue deliberative thought process about the philosophy and effectiveness of monogamy.

Many asexual people are also polyamorous, so it is obviously not just a sex thing, although I'd disagree that anything dealing with sex is red.

I'd agree that polyamory as practiced by many NYC and Bay types has more red in it than it does elsewhere

comment by ozymandias · 2017-10-25T02:58:26.183Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The way I do polyamory definitely seems like it has red elements to me. The essential emotion here, for me, is feeling scared/trapped at the idea that someone might own me, and feeling... somewhat repulsed, but far more so confused, at the idea that I might want to own someone else. "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

That said there is another flavor that feels less red. It is saying "I throw out the rules that can protect me; I give you the ability to hurt me; I rely only on your kindness and decency and love for me." It is trust, like the moment before you jump from a cliff and you have to have faith that your bungee cord will hold. This seems... maybe green? But green doesn't have the risk/leap of faith element. It is certainly strongly opposed to black and (perhaps oddly) to white. White is orderly and safe, while the spirit of this flavor is more "The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."

comment by weirdesky · 2017-10-26T05:51:31.964Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One thing really interesting I think you brought up here is the idea of trust being a Green concept. It was something I tried to place on the color wheel (in order to place myself) while speaking with my friends of mine and I just sort of implicitly assumed it was white (prosocial, interacting with others, etc), but reading what you said here, I think you're totally right. That close your eyes, surrender yourself, kind of trust is definitely not white, like I originally thought. (In comparison to trust in the rule of law, which does seem kind of white, insofar as all things relating to rule of law are white.)

I feel like it's probably RG. Blue is too cognitive for something that seems so instinctual and impulsive, but Red and Green are all about instinct and impulse.

comment by Unreal · 2017-10-25T00:27:55.332Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think this gets confusing if you don't clarify what level of abstraction you're on.

The concept of Slack can be tried to be classified from a number of angles:
a) The type of person who most likely values Slack
b) Institutions that have come to value Slack and then institutionally protect it (which are likely white orgs)
c) Slack as an abstract entity—if it had some kind of agency, like Moloch, what color would it be
d) Which color's list of properties most closely seems to match up with Slack's properties
e) Which environment does Slack most thrive in, one where Green is cultivated, one where White is cultivated, etc. ?
f) Which color thinks Slack is winning

These have conflicting answers.

For instance, polyamory as an institution / practice is white—because almost all institutions / norms / communities are at least somewhat white. But polyamory as an abstract entity / which color thinks polyamory is winning -- that is red. The type of person who values poly is probably red.

The abstract concept of a 'system' is white. The abstract concept of 'culture' is green. But specific systems or cultures do not have to be white or green. So this gets confusing to talk about without first defining your layers.

comment by Zvi · 2017-10-25T00:27:23.240Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

White sets and follows rules to the letter. White's logic is far colder and more 'perfect' than blue's. Blue likes to Tinker, to do Compulsive Research. It gets Inspiration. A white AGI is aiming to follow some sort of rules set or maximize some variable. It's thinking, if at all, in the service of that. By contrast, something blue would be trying to actually understand what matters and maximize for human values, which at least gives us some hope. Facebook neural networks maximizing for clicks are very white.

Or worse, they become either black, or alien abominations (actively colorless) that don't have our values at all.

Sabbath is a ritual that originally served a number of purposes, but Sabbath as I'm proposing today is green - it's about preserving Slack (I'm saying that is green), being in harmony with the world rather than imposing your will on it, getting back to nature (anti-technology is very green), and you pick the way you would do it that does that for you. Yes, it has a rules aspect, but it's not from on high and doesn't apply to everyone, and the whole point is to resist the white order, so at least in modern context it isn't white. A Sabbath prayer service at the temple is totally, totally white.

Solstice is celebration of the seasons (green), an adoption of a naturalistic/pagan appreciation of same (green), and so forth. Yes, it is organized and so on, but it's definitely not high church.

Polyamory is at core saying you will make it all right to do things because you feel OK about them against the rules of society, the classic red vs. white battle. Red is allowed to think and plan in service of what it wants, but it's still being emotional and selfish about it. Using logic to argue it's a good idea is a thing that happens, but doesn't make the act blue, that's giving blue way too much credit. Blue is kind of a sellout that way. I'd say that sexuality as a motive is red, but it can serve any color.

comment by Raemon · 2017-10-25T02:43:24.175Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Polyamory is at core saying you will make it all right to do things because you feel OK about them against the rules of society

This just seems false to me - or such an oversimplification that if I were poly I'd most likely not be engaging with the argument.

(I could argue here further but... I sort of feel like I should be holding you to a standard that is engaging with the non-Straw version of a thing?)

comment by Zvi · 2017-10-27T00:24:19.063Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Agreed that this is a reasonably unfair simplification / perspective, and if I was trying to persuade on a level beyond share-my-instinctive-color-assignment I'd say a lot more, but I think that usefully and fairly saying more would mean saying a lot more, so I won't do that until I'm prepared to write the full post.

comment by sarahconstantin · 2017-10-24T19:46:56.437Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Agreed on poly being red. Sexuality is red generally, and "freedom to do your own thing" is red.

Hippie shit is generally heavy on red, unless it has people over 30 in it, in which case there may also be some green involved.

Psychedelic culture is primarily red (creativity, freedom, exploration, etc), with some blue where it intersects with inquiry about chemistry/psychology/AI, and sometimes green where it intersects with spirituality/wisdom/evolution insights.

comment by ESRogs · 2017-10-28T00:39:02.510Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

> I think Slack is Green alone.

I am surprised that Slack would not be classified as Black. Isn't it about storing up resources in order to accomplish goals or fulfill desires?

comment by hamnox · 2017-10-28T06:32:24.523Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Slack feels distinct from keeping a buffer—Black would definitely think of gathering extra resources to overdetermine their victory in a way that they might not think to in general take the less-than-maximal path towards accomplishing their stated goals. Gathering resources is just gathering resources.

I promote Red Slack. Break your chains, before they break you.

comment by PDV · 2017-10-26T04:48:25.972Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think Slack as you describe it (haven't read Sub-Genius yet) is blue-green. It's not just about letting the world show you your correct place in it and letting that make things easier. It's using a green tool, circumstance judo and relaxation, as a means to an end, in a systematic way. A pure-green approach to Slack would never see any reason to consume it; it would not have the concept of Worth It. It seems outside the spirit of true slack to not ever do anything.

I think blue as the other pole, both because it's an analytical framework (and Subgenii are mainly drawn from a very intellectual, blue subculture) and because it a) is definitely a contrast, a "if the string is too tight, it will snap; if the string is too loose, it will not play" deal, and b) Slack seems more strongly opposed to the black philosophy of power, than it is to the blue philosophy of understanding. Blue is already more willing to hang back and wait for the right moment.

comment by magfrump · 2017-10-25T06:19:56.239Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Polyamory feels green to me. My natural state of being involves falling in love with lots of people, and what I want out of polyamory is to be genuine and accepted in that and to be able to live that part of my life. I can easily imagine how it would be other colors for other people though. For example, acceptance mostly makes sense with more committed partners, and someone who is committed to solo poly but otherwise similar to me might feel like their poly is mostly black.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T00:27:02.501Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by ialdabaoth · 2017-10-25T20:33:22.404Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's quite a bit of Blue in Burning Man. Any Black that goes into Burning Man is supposed to happen *around* Burning Man, but never *at* Burning Man. Part of Burning Man's semi-explicit goal is to let Red, Green and Blue do their thing without having to worry about the White/Black tensions of mainstream society.

comment by Screwtape · 2017-10-24T14:47:28.205Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Solstice is attempting to Build Community and Feel Emotions. Doesn't that make it green/red?
Polyamory for me is Red successfully beating the socially expected White order of things.

comment by a-question-of-balance · 2017-10-31T20:18:28.541Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
A blue one is going to want to talk it over and figure out exactly what's wrong.
The key recognition is that all of these ways of being are okay. They're all good, they're all evolved and refined, they're all adaptive and workable.
But they're different. If you're blue/green and you walk around implicitly believing that everyone else is, too, you're going to be confused and disappointed at how everyone is just regularly screwing up, and how they don't even notice it.

This has happened to me. I'd tentatively call myself blue-green-white but when I have a problem I'm blue above all else, and I've asked people "why won't you let me help you?" if they didn't want to talk about their problems, even though they'd told me it helped them more to distract themselves. I don't do that anymore, but I still have the gut instinct of "if only they talked about their feelings they'd see that it helps".

I didn't know the colour wheel before and I had a hard time classifying myself. I don't have a strong sense of self (it's not that I don't observe myself, it's that I change all the time!). I'm always some variant of blue-green-white though.

I found myself having emotions about which colour I should pick, instead of seeing it as a mere description of facts - I'd pegged myself as white-green in the beginning, then felt bad about white's oppressiveness, then you mentioned Professor McGonagall and I was happy about it again. I noticed my brain doing this, though, and while I grumbled about the white I didn't manage to convince myself that actually I'm not white at all.

How I feel about the individual colours:

I'm actually very wary about White structures - feeling powerless makes me panic. I like structures that I control or approve of, and structures that I could get out from if I didn't want them (voluntary commitments). Having a good structure makes me feel safe, but at the same time, I worry I'm going to start chafing under it.

Blue seems like the sort of thing I should like, and after reading its paragraph I did like it (I'm excited about science!). I was initially turned off by "perfection", though. The culture of constant self-improvement has a way of triggering my scrupolosity, so I stay far away from wanting perfection as a goal. When I embrace being okay at things, I get a lot more done than if I had beat myself up for not being perfect. But thinking things through, logic, self-knowledge are integral to my identity.

Black is a colour I don't want to act like. Sometimes I catch myself thinking like this, but I don't want to think like this; I could rationalize that but I think it's just an aversion I have - I don't want to manipulate people. Black characters are interesting to read about in fiction, but I wouldn't want to be around a Black actor in real life.

Red also seems very selfish to me. It has more sympathies, though - a while ago I had a Red phase when I'd gotten out of a very White structure that had hurt me. I needed to prioritize my own freedom over everything else for a while. Red characters are extremely fun to read about (Miles Naismith Vorkosigan comes to mind) and I wouldn't mind being around Red actors in real life; I think they could be fun. But I like the security of a more stable life more.

I thought I'd really like Green, but I'm conflicted here, too. I like acceptance when it comes from myself, but I absolutely hate it when people tell me that I should just accept things. So I'm a Green person who could never live in a Green structure, I guess? My Greenness is also definitely influenced by my Blueness - I accept that what's there is there, but I want to know what it is.

I think Green vs. Blue also asks the question of truth vs happiness . Which is a big one for me. I skew to the side of happiness (I'd rather not know some things even if they're true) mostly because my mental health issues are hard to balance and continuously having truth knock them out of order would be pretty unpleasant. I remain aware at the back of my brain that I'm deliberately ignoring the truth; though. I'd be interested in hearing how other people think of this.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T05:36:37.468Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Vaniver · 2017-10-23T22:13:35.663Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I observe that Wu Xing (the five phases) might be expected to have a mapping to the five MTG colors. But it doesn't look like it to me, or at least it's not obvious. Wood reads as red/green, Fire as red/black/green, Earth as... possibly green/white, Metal as something like white/blue/black, and Water as something like blue/green.

I find that when I've tried to classify people with phases, I have much more often been able to identify someone as having a single phase--"ah, yes, Steve is fire and I am water, and that explains [event] and [reaction]"--than I have been able to identify people as having a single color. (Steve and I are both deeply blue, and also rather white; if anything, I'm more red than Steve is.) This suggests to me the Wu Xing has a much better ability to compress human variation / is pointing at clusters that are thus 'more real.'

Sadly, I don't seem have to have a great presentation of the Wu Xing available; the link at the top of this comment is the best thing I could find on short notice. From your read of that, do you have thoughts on the two / any cruxes that come to mind that would make you favor one or the other?

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T23:10:59.405Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Vaniver · 2017-10-24T01:00:32.948Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I found another source that I worked off of earlier, which is five wikipedia articles: wood, fire, earth, metal, water. They paint a stronger picture of the difference between wood and fire (I would fill this with examples of people if I thought we knew the same people; I'd be very surprised if you knew Steve, for example).

I noticed a thing that seemed cruxy for me, which is that the MTG color wheels have, at their heart, goal-methodology pairs, which the Wu Xing doesn't have. Blue looks like the consequence of an optimization process, whereas Water looks more like an empirical cluster. This feels like an additional constraint that is more likely to reduce than increase the color pie's alignment with reality, while perhaps making it more compelling / memorable / or so on.

Which brings up that it seems like the MTG color wheel could be instead a goal-methodology matrix, where you consider the five goals combined with the five motivations. It seems like all of "peace through acceptance," "peace through action," "peace through ruthlessness," and "peace through knowledge" are real things. Things with very different flavors, to be sure, but it's not obvious to me that "peace through order" would seem more real than "peace through ruthlessness" without the priming of MTG. (Legalism is more real than Confucianism, for example.)

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T01:15:23.039Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T05:35:52.090Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by sarahconstantin · 2017-10-24T03:34:49.383Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Where would you put Nazis (e.g. Mein Kampf)?

Tentatively I'd guess Red/Green, mostly because the big enemy is Blue, and there are very strong themes of aggression/emotion (Red) and tradition/nature/evolution (Green). Black (dominance, power) and White (sacrifice, purity) also show up sometimes, but never Blue.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T04:02:16.037Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by JenniferRM · 2017-11-22T10:04:04.096Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm a fan of pretty much any vocabulary with decent construct validity and a large installed base of pre-existing users, so I'm positively disposed towards this :-)

However one thing that makes this system a bit hard for me is my object-level familiarity with the original card game that this vocabulary is extracted from.

Like... in MtG itself I often wanted to make blue decks because I value knowledge and cleverness and blah blah blah, but counterspells and library manipulation can usually only be part of a well rounded deck. It is rare in my experience to find a pure blue deck that wins reliably. I've seen a really strong deck using mermen... but this is the exception that proves the rule because the inspiration was "How do I make a white weenie deck without actually using white cards?"

And like... what about flying creatures? Blue and white are the classic colors for this, and green's spider webs and hurricanes are mostly anti-flying. Is "flying" a symbol for something or not?

Red tends to be easy to play. You just hit hard and fast and then fireball at the end and hope it works. Is that a humorous commentary on people who are ruled by their passions, or... ?

And what about colorless artifacts?

And the primary resonances of black is about is death and rot. It has cards like Royal Assassin, Terror, Gravebind, Blight, and Pestilence. This doesn't make me think of Ayn Rand, it makes me think of Sid Vicious, suicidal goths, crack houses, and Aum Shinrikyo. So like.. uh... what?

I guess my core question is about the degree to which you think this archetypal vocabulary system is separate and different and more useful than the card game from which it was abstracted, and how you tell which parts of the card game's stereotypes are "just game mechanics" or "unproductive imagery" and which parts of the card game's stereotypes "encode useful psychological abstractions"?

comment by Rob Bensinger (RobbBB) · 2017-11-22T16:54:16.318Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The system here is largely an after-the-fact attempt to rationalize particular themes in the card game, privileging simple and "interesting" themes. To the extent the rationalization resonates, I think it's for reasons like: People associate "white" with goodness and Christian imagery (even though quite a bit of the unusual character of Christianity has historically been its blueness). If black is then treated as the "anti-white" color, then it gets both the opposite set of virtues (personal ambition, etc.) and the opposite set of associations (death, darkness, corruption, etc.).

Rebellious punk/goth/etc. seems about right. Cf. most versions of Satanism, Slytherin, etc.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-11-24T06:33:41.895Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by JenniferRM · 2017-11-24T23:05:22.458Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm still super curious about the process you used to distinguish color patterns in the game that are "mere mechanics" from color patterns in the game that are "useful for a larger motivational ontology".

Could you maybe talk about how you sift the ontology using the idea that "White and blue have more than their fair share of flying creatures while green tends to have few flying creatures but many counters to flying" as an example?

Is there a such a thing as a "way to be wrong" here? If so, how do you notice that you are more or less wrong in this domain?

Is flying just a game mechanic or is it a symbol (perhaps for "openness to new experience") or is there some orthogonal issue to pay attention to that is much more important?

comment by FireItself · 2017-11-04T02:34:17.682Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't follow why Green is considered very low Openness. It seems like acceptance of things should be very Open?

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-11-07T23:38:14.473Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Chris_Leong · 2017-10-23T11:24:41.517Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not a fan of this framework.

Myers-Briggs works as a fake framework as its usefulness isn't contingent on its four scales being a "special" way of carving up people-space (see Slatestarcodex). All you have to do is pick four broad, reasonable sounding categories that are somewhat orthogonal and you'll end up with a good number of strong correlations between certain combinations and other attributes.

On the other hand, with this model, you've divided up people space into five categories, then you've added all these theories of adjacent categories, opposite categories and contrasting categories, ect. Unlike Myers-Briggs, you are trying to get the model to put out more than you've put in. What are the odds that all of this symmetry just happens to exist, as opposed to this being the result of reality being bent into shape in order to produce a clean model? I mean parts of this feel psychologically compelling, but my best rational analysis is that this is the result of the human tendency to impose order and find meaning in chaos.

I was mixed on whether to upvote or downvote this. On one hand, I appreciated the time and effort taken to write up and convey the framework so clearly. On the other hand, I wasn't convinced that there was much value in the object level framework.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T18:40:11.045Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Vaniver · 2017-10-23T23:54:49.654Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My impression of what happened here is something like:
OP: "episteme of how the color wheel works, gnosis-claim that it's useful"
Chris: "I don't see the episteme of why this framework is useful, and am pretty suspicious of claims that frameworks are useful."
Conor: "I made a gnosis claim, and you should update based on gnosis claims using a different mechanism. I agree that I don't have the necessary support for an episteme claim."

In that view, everything here seems right; the right way to update on the relevance of gnosis claims is indeed by querying your models of the person making the claim.

But I worry this comment will land poorly without that explicit framing, especially if a reader doesn't see that the thing coming out of the other end is doxa instead of episteme or gnosis. That is, the end state of knowledge looks something like "some respectable people appreciate the color pie typology" as opposed to "the color pie typology is correct" or "the color pie typology is useful."

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T00:06:33.945Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Chris_Leong · 2017-10-24T05:38:31.589Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I feel that this summary doesn't quite capture what I was saying.

We should definitely be suspicious of anecdotal evidence of frameworks, but the core claim was that the particular structure of this framework made it more suspicious than normal (as described in my comment above). I provided the Myers-Briggs framework as a contrasting example where the structure of the claim made it less suspicious, ie. sort of an anti-prediction.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-24T08:33:53.609Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Chris_Leong · 2017-10-23T22:38:25.923Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Your belief causes me to update a little, but I worry that the "best" framework will be very subjective as people have very different experiences of the world. Some people will find that everyone seems to act one way, while others will find that everyone seems to act another.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T23:19:59.785Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by Unreal · 2017-10-23T12:55:58.414Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I feel confused by this comment.

The value of the framework has been demonstrated (at least to the author) by the use cases given in the post. The fact that it might be 'humans imposing order on chaos' does not affect the question of its usefulness. Usefulness is a separate question from whether someone 'just made it up'. They're orthogonal. Which I feel was one of the points of Val's post on Fake Frameworks.

comment by Chris_Leong · 2017-10-23T22:26:13.752Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Consider horoscopes. Suppose I give you a horoscope each month for a year (which consists of super generic, but specific sounding claims) and it seems to match your experience very well. Do you then start believing in horoscopes or do you realise once a certain kind of narrative has been proposed, we are surprisingly likely to accept it because of confirmation bias? So I dispute the claim that the "value has been demonstrated".

comment by Vaniver · 2017-10-23T22:39:43.971Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I feel like there's an easy way to rule out the Forer Effect for a typology, which is whenever someone looks at it and says "oh, I'm definitely not an X." If observers agree that Picard cannot be well-described by Red, this is more impressive than him being well-described by White/Blue, because the theory is confidently predicting that things won't happen instead of always providing high probabilities.

comment by Unreal · 2017-10-24T07:52:23.039Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can't shake the feeling that you're making the type error as described here:

I suspect it’s a type error to think of an ontology as correct or wrong. Ontologies are toolkits for building maps. It makes sense to ask whether it carves reality at its joints, but that’s different. That’s looking at fit. Something weird happens to your epistemology when you start asking whether quarks are real independent of ontology.

In particular, I'm confused by the phrase 'start believing in horoscopes'. Which implies that I'd take horoscopes as some kind of truth about the universe. Which is not the stance of someone using a fake framework the way Val describes. I want to avoid 'believing' in a fake framework—I want to hold it very lightly. This is how one gets the benefits of 'ki' while being able to understand it as conflicting with physics. So I'll use physics to predict most observed physical phenomenon, while I'll use ki to learn martial arts, and the two don't have to sit badly with each other.

I hear your worry about confirmation bias. It's good to watch out for it. But my preference is not to avoid all systems that might lead to confirmation bias. But to use the system and 'hold it lightly' so that evidence of its 'bad fit' can be raised to my attention as it comes up. I do not want to live in fear of 'confirmation bias'.

In general, my stance is to try to wear any sufficiently interesting fake frameworks as they come into my view. And then see what happens. If they seem good/useful/insightful, I keep using them. If not, I discard them, probably in favor of other better frameworks. I could see myself starting off using horoscopes, but I imagine I'd quickly find better things.

comment by Ajay Patel (ajay-patel) · 2018-01-15T21:54:24.124Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Zaheer from The Legend of Korra is a good example of a red archetype. He values freedom more than anything and could been seen as anarchist in order to acheive it. The Avatar and the governments of the different nations that exist within the Avatar-verse acted as the ultimate barriers to the free will Zaheer desired for the world as they reinforced order and law.

comment by Trivmvirate · 2017-10-27T10:22:39.964Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I know you've put all 10 'guilds' on equal footing here, but I think there is an additional dimension that can be added here, which is the allied vs. enemy colours. I've done a lot of thinking about this following your article, and there is definitely a sort of implied harmony in the allied colour combinations (for the uninitiated, that is those which are beside each other on the wheel) vs. the enemy ones, which I believe may lead to a lot more inner conflict. I'm no psychologist, but all I'm suggesting is that a personality based on UR or WB combinations is potentially more unstable. This could be why creative geniuses may also often be vulnerable to depression, and is behind the cognitive dissonance and 'unfair' viewpoints often visible in 'tribal' conservatism as displayed by WB personalities. Mark Rosewater has written a lot about this as well and how there is a definite difference in the amount of overlap and tension between the colours.

The positive thought I get from this is that I personally consider myself to be red/green/blue, and have faced my share of psychological problems in the past. But using this framework, focusing on the 'harmonious side' of my personality (the red/green side) and stepping away from the blue for a bit has really helped me. This for example shows in how practices like mindfulness, which actively encourage you to stop trying to understand/question everything and just to be with emotions/accept things, have really helped me out, while at times i feel that the green/blue parts of my personality pull me in different directions and can leave me very confused about what to do or what to think. I don't know, just a thought.

comment by CoolShirtMcPants · 2017-10-23T15:49:25.757Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Grouping things into categories seems like a great way to form biases and have a limited scope of how to think about people. Do we really need to have another system that categorizes personalities?

This might seem like a harsh example, but horoscopes is an example of what this system reminds me of.

The overall picture I see with this, is that we are giving limited value to a word that could mean many things, and could be interpreted in many ways, when most things are more complex than this (especially people). Basically, it seems to me to be a vague way to express something. I personally am of the mindset that it's of a benefit to not group people into categories.

comment by gjm · 2017-10-23T16:14:25.388Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, let's suppose astrologers have come up with 12 personality types, and then they claim to be able to tell which one fits you best by careful consideration of your date and time of birth. It seems to me that the big problem there is with the second half, not the first. (Even bigger problems if they claim to be able to use the information to predict what's going to happen to you, of course.) But the second half is exactly what isn't present in Conor's analysis here.

I don't know whether the advantages of having a small number of personality archetypes and pigeonholing people as combinations of those archetypes outweigh the disadvantages. Nor do I have any opinion worth listening to about whether the particular set of 5 archetypes described here is a particularly good one. But "it resembles one thing astrologers do" is not a good argument against it.

comment by CoolShirtMcPants · 2017-10-23T17:53:43.473Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You did mention making useful predictions with your 5 color types, which was why I wasn't afraid to go with horoscopes as an example.

That's paraphrase seems to have taken quite a leap in what I was trying to say. I can elaborate if you'd like. It's just that this post doesn't appear much different from other personality tests that group people into categories. Psychology used to have a similar approach of trying to categorize people, but as they make more advance and learn how different everybody is from each other. They have learned to have a more open approach to people rather than a category to put them in and work from a bias to determine what steps to do next.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T18:23:52.775Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by CoolShirtMcPants · 2017-10-23T18:43:10.107Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I see. I think I understand where the disconnect is here then. I'm making a claim that personality tests such as MBTI do not appear to be useful in general, and are potentially more harmful than they are helpful. My logic behind this is that it's basically a way to form tribes, and a way to create more bias. My example on psychologists in the reply just before this one is along the lines of what I'm thinking.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T19:10:14.254Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum

comment by CoolShirtMcPants · 2017-10-23T19:40:44.041Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I appreciate looking into my point of view!

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-10-23T23:38:30.227Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Loren ipsum