Winning doesn't need to flow through increases in rationalitypost by MichelJusten · 2023-06-02T12:05:26.615Z · LW · GW · 3 comments
Consider that there may be more rewarding pursuits than marginally increasing your rationality toolbox. Rationality is systematized winning None 3 comments
(My first LessWrong post. Written quickly, in the spirit of putting more of my ideas out there and seeing how they meet reality.)
Consider that there may be more rewarding pursuits than marginally increasing your rationality toolbox.
I get the sense that a lot of people in the rationality community think that others should dedicate themselves to the pursuit of becoming more rational, or that they themselves need to become more rational.
"If only they had read the Sequences, then they wouldn't have wasted their time on that class";
There is probably some truth here, but I think it's possible to be too fixated on increasing rationality, or hold the view that all shortcomings would have best been solved by more engagement with rationality.
. . .
Take Alice as an example. She's motivated to reduce suffering in the world as much as possible; an effective altruist, if you will.
As she first orients to her goal of reducing suffering, Alice may benefit a lot from engaging with rationality content. Scout mindset, some CFAR techniques, and some the Sequences will set her up to see the world clearer and make wiser decisions in the future.
But after some initial orientation to rationality and further readings when she feels like it, Alice may better achieve her goals by working on other multipliers [EA · GW] than engaging with more rationality content.
For example, rather than reading the Sequences, Alice may be helped more by...
- Fostering deeper connections with friends and family
- Prioritizing her physical health
- Lifting her sights higher and recognizing what might be stifling her ambitions
- Addressing any lurking mental health issues
- Diving into a side project she's excited by
Yes, perfect rationality would empower Alice far more than any of these gains. But that doesn't imply that Alice should dedicate herself to rationality. Increases in rationality are bounded, probably have diminishing returns, and Alice may just be one of those people who doesn't find that engaging with rationality content helps her that much. And that's fine.
As a community, I think we should be cautious of overemphasizing rationality engagement as the way to win.
This depends on Alice's existing familiarity with rationality practices, or her trait inclination towards rationality.
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