Rationality Dojo Examples?

post by XFrequentist · 2011-11-15T21:28:58.282Z · score: 11 (12 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 18 comments

Early on in my exposure to Less Wrong I encountered the metaphor of Rationality as Martial Art. I assumed at some point I would be a member of an active Rationality Dojo, regularly training and becoming progressively more formidable as I learned the Art.

Several years later, though I meet regularly with an awesome local group whose company I greatly enjoy, I still feel as though my training has not yet begun.

Can anyone point to an example of an active Rationality Dojo? What do you do there (Games? Exercises? Kata?)? Who are the instructors? The closest examples that I've seen are the Mega- and Mini-camps; can anyone shed some additional light on what went on there?


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comment by lukeprog · 2011-11-16T02:34:41.689Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I cannot say more at this time, but other camps are actively being planned, and rationality curricula are being developed. This is because you are correct that the world needs Rationality Dojos.

comment by ahartell · 2011-11-16T04:03:09.997Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Will a version of the rationality curriculum be put out for use in meetup groups? This seems like something the weekly meetup groups could handle and would 1) greatly increase the audience since the camps can't accommodate many people and 2) give the groups something to do which could lead to an increase in group creation/attendance.

comment by lukeprog · 2011-11-23T09:46:59.692Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Will a version of the rationality curriculum be put out for use in meetup groups?

Yes. Some Bay Area groups have already been used to test the material so we can improve it.

comment by Mercurial · 2011-11-16T05:08:53.081Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, that's another dynamic I meant to ask about. I could see SIAI wanting to make sure that the only Rationality Dojos they acknowledge are ones led by those whose rationality skills they've agreed are formidable (and, hopefully, who have also developed good teaching skills). But if that's the case, I'd still want to use the local groups to practice even if SIAI doesn't want to recognize or support us as "a Rationality Dojo."

comment by CharlesR · 2011-11-17T16:01:46.251Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder if we could get local groups to sponsor a member they want to send for training.

comment by Mercurial · 2011-11-17T17:19:09.291Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If the model SIAI uses is that they're the "hombu dojo" and each regular meetup group is a local dojo, then I think this would probably be downright necessary.

comment by XFrequentist · 2011-11-16T03:29:50.503Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Awesome! If you need help or a pilot group, let me know.

comment by Mercurial · 2011-11-16T04:11:01.144Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I second that. There's a fair number of people down here in southern California, and I suspect that many of us would be quite happy to be guinea pigs for rationality dojo training.

comment by CharlesR · 2011-11-17T15:55:14.591Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Have you been to the Westside Meetup?

comment by Mercurial · 2011-11-17T17:15:15.211Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think so... I went to one of the meetups at an IHOP. The weekly LA meetups are about a two-hour drive from me, though. (I'm in San Diego.)

comment by CharlesR · 2011-11-17T19:45:35.300Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Didn't realize you were SD. That would be a bit far.

comment by marchdown · 2011-11-16T07:25:22.473Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Third that. Please, when evaluating alternatives, consider that there are many people who would be willing to participate even in somewhat intrusive experiments online.

comment by Mercurial · 2011-11-16T04:08:37.298Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm glad to hear this. Can you tell us at least a little bit about what kind of general structure to anticipate? To give a few examples of the level of thing I'm asking about:

  • Maybe it's being planned as Boot Camp trainings paired with teaching manuals, to create and then support people who can run LW Meetups as Dojos. Maybe even with "ranks" and objective standards of excellence, if you really want to extend the martial arts metaphor. (In martial arts, it's common for instructors of local dojos to go to regular seminars where high-ranking masters refine and update the skills of the local-dojo instructors.)
  • Maybe a Khan Academy setup, where SIAI offers some kind of general guidelines about what sort of results (both positive and challenging) to expect from certain kinds of group activities. So this would be less centralized and standardized than the first option.
  • Maybe just a set of descriptions of exercises that seem to work well at cultivating certain aspects of Awesomeness. Perhaps paired with key references (e.g., Cialdini).

I'm not offering suggestions per se, though you're very welcome to take them. I'd just like to know what level of organization to expect so I know what my job is with meetups I am or will be involved in. For instance, if it's basically the last of the examples I give above, I'll end up wanting to apply my experience with research in educational psychology to basically develop the guidelines mentioned in the second example. But if that's what you guys are doing anyway, I'd like to know so I don't waste my time!

So can you tell us on that level of scope what you're cooking up?

comment by lincolnquirk · 2011-11-16T01:10:41.886Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I was at the Rationality Mega-Camp. I and some others blogged about the experience here: http://rationalitybootcamp.blogspot.com/

We had 3-6 hours of daily rationality sessions:

1) basic rationality -- cognitive bias, applying Bayes' theorem, microeconomics, 5-second skills

2) social effectiveness -- fashion training, rejection therapy, persuasion

3) fixing bugs in your emotions -- cognitive behavioral therapy, internal family systems, nonviolent communication

4) brain contortions -- memory, meditation, drawing, talking with Michael Vassar :)

5) long-term effectiveness -- business and entrepreneurship, planning and thinking strategically, high-impact philanthropy

Beyond the sessions, we had a number of people who were just really great rationalists spending time together talking about interesting topics. It was a very social, communal environment.

comment by XFrequentist · 2011-11-16T03:31:12.181Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is great, thanks! I'll check out the blog as well.

Are campers continuing training now that they're back home? Are you still in contact?

comment by lincolnquirk · 2011-11-16T06:06:25.245Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've talked with several of the other RBCers a few times since the camp, and we became close enough that I would be welcome to visit any of them (I think) whenever I wanted. I'm not currently continuing any explicit rationality training, though I apply a lot of the stuff I learned on a fairly regular basis. I am not sure to what degree RBC affected the trajectory of my life -- I seem to already be more successful than I was before, but don't know whether I can attribute that.

comment by CharlesR · 2011-11-17T15:59:12.487Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fantastic idea!

comment by Burrzz · 2011-11-15T22:51:03.132Z · score: -10 (10 votes) · LW · GW