Connor_Flexman's Shortform

post by Connor_Flexman · 2019-10-16T21:31:55.112Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW · 3 comments


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comment by Connor_Flexman · 2019-10-20T17:44:03.787Z · score: 15 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Remember that just like there are a lot of levels to any skill, there are a lot of levels to any unblocking!

It feels to me like perhaps both parties are making a mistake when one person (the discoverer) says, "I finally figured out [how to be emotionally liberated or something]!" and the skeptic is like "whatever, they'll just come back in a few months and say they figured out even more about being emotionally liberated, what a pointless hamster wheel." (Yes, often people are unskilled at this type of thing and the first insight doesn't stick, but I'm talking about the times when it does.)

In these cases, the discoverer will *still find higher levels of this* later on! It isn't that they've discovered the True Truth about [emotional liberation], they've just made a leap forward that resolves lots of their known issues. So even if the skeptic is right that they'll discover another thing in the future that sounds very similar, that doesn't actually invalidate their present insight.

And for the discoverer, often it is seductive to think you've finally solved that domain. Oftentimes most or all of your present issues there feel resolved! But that's because you triangulate from the most pressing issues. In the future, you'll find other cracks in your reality, and need to figure out superficially similar but slightly skewed domains—and thinking you've permanently solved a complicated domain will only hamper this process. But that doesn't mean your insight isn't exactly as good as you think it is.

comment by Connor_Flexman · 2019-10-16T21:31:55.278Z · score: 14 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes people are explaining a mental move, and give some advice on where/how it should feel in a spatial metaphor. For example, they say "if you're doing this right, it should feel like the concept is above your head and you're reaching toward it."

I have historically had trouble working well with advice like this, and I don't often see it working well for other people. But I think the solution is that for most people, the spatial or feeling advice is best used as an intermediate/terminal checksum, not as something that is constructive.

For example, if you try to imagine feeling their feeling, and then seeing what you could do differently to get there, this will usually not work (if it does work fine, carry on, this isn't meant for you). The best way for most people to use advice like this is to just notice your spatial feeling is much different than theirs, be reminded that you definitely aren't doing the same thing as them, and be motivated to go back and try to understand all the pieces better. You're missing some part of the move or context that is generating their spatial intuition, and you want to investigate the upstream generators, not their downstream spatial feeling itself. (Again, this isn't to say you can't learn tricks for making the spatial intuition constructive, just don't think this is expected of you in the moment.)

For explainers of mental moves, this model is also useful to remember. Mental moves that accomplish similar goals in different people will by default involve significantly different moving parts in their minds and microstrategies to get there. If you are going to explain spatial intuitions (that most people can't work easily with), you probably want to do one of the following:

1) make sure they are great at working with spatial intuitions

2) make sure they know it's primarily a checksum, not an instruction

3) break down which parts generate that spatial intuition in yourself, so if they don't have it then you can help guide them toward the proper generators

4) figure out your own better method of helping them work with it that I haven't discovered

5) remember the goal is not to describe your experience as you experience it, but to teach them the skill, and just don't bring up the spatial intuition as if they should be guided by that right now

comment by mr-hire · 2019-10-19T22:47:36.049Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I like NLP's explanation of this. Submodalities like position and distance aren't common between people, but people DO tend to have similar representations with similar submodalities. I tend to be very kinesthetic with proprioceptive intuitions, but if instead I can say "do this task, wait for some sense, then tell me how you represent that", I can have them work with THEIR representation instead of mine.

This seemed to work decently well for teaching people strategies for overcoming Akrasia/procrastination, and I suspect with some tweaking it can be even more consistent.