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comment by drethelin
· score: 25 (6 votes) · LW
I've been thinking a lot lately about where I want to live long-term. I'm currently in Madison Wi, which is really nice, but kinda small and has an unfortunately hot/humid summer. Financially I can live pretty much anywhere I want, except maybe Monaco.
Things I want, not in order of importance:
1. A nice house. In an ideal world, the house would house several of my closest friends, be walkable to parks, shops, and restaurants, and be close enough to other friends that they drop by regularly. I am also very interested in running a public space or a semi-public space adjacent or close to the house, possibly a makerspace, possibly a cafe, or something else. This is one of the reasons it's not instantly obvious that I should move to Berkeley or Manhattan or something. I'm financially well-off but there's like, an order of magnitude in difference in cost of having a nice big place to live. On the other hand, I'm also pretty flexible about living in apartment or something, but for the long term I much prefer having a space I own and can modify and build up to become better and better over the years.
2. People. My best friend and one of my partners lives in Madison at the moment, but most everyone else I like to spend time with or who wants to spend time with me seems to live on one of the coasts or are scattered elsewhere. This is the aspect for which Berkeley is the most obvious winner: I know a ton of rationalists, like meeting new ones and rat-adjacents, and in general like having social situations that I don't personally have to seek out or plan. In the Bay Area, there are tons of regular events that I can go to without having to do the leg-work myself. In addition, there are millions of other people in places like the bay area and NYC of varying kinds and personalities.
3. Climate: I'm big, and while I'm losing weight I still get hot and sweaty very easily. My ideal place in terms of year round climate is the Faroe Islands, where it stays between 33 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit year round in the capitol city. I'd like a place where I can walk around without wanting to die for much of the year. The Bay Area is pretty good for this, but still tends to make me sweaty in the afternoons, especially if I'm walking around the hilly parts of San Francisco. At this point I'm pretty resigned to this, but it's still a factor in where-to-live tradeoffs. I also really enjoy having Seasons, love Autumn and Spring, so places that are as similar all year round as the bay are less preferable in that respect.
4. Walkability/transitability. This one is pretty standard. I like being able to go cool places without having to spend hours in traffic or hassle hugely to park my car.
5. Culture: I like living in a place that has lots of little cafes and bookstores and restaurants that are around, as well as museums and bars and live music and stuff. To a lesser extent I care about the culture of the kinds of people who live in the city, but in practice I'm going to end up mostly hanging out with small subcultures anyway.
6. Something one could summarize as Coolness/Importance: I like the idea of being involved in Big, World-changing Things, despite being very lazy. Places like Manhattan, Hollywood, SF, etc. are attractive at least partially because I can see and potentially participate in important cultural events and shifts. This is one of the things I could conceivably do in Madison but, like assembling a friend group of like-minded people from eg grad students, would be a lot of work.
7. The classic things like low-crime and not too smelly/loud would be good but I can mitigate most of these by living in nicer parts of places. Still, not a zero-factor.
8. I like the idea of being a locally medium-to-high status person whose place people like to visit and who people talk to when they want introductions, as a sort of community nexus type thing. This obviously trades off against moving to places where such people already exist.
One of the options I'm considering is buying a big house in Madison and setting it up something like REACH or the Blackpool EA hotel, and trying to lure rationalists to come live here, as well as making it an outreachy type place for local potential rats. The plus side is I'd get to stay in the city I know like, the downside is it would be a lot more work and potentially not even achieve the kind of life I want. But if I succeed in creating a mini-hub, I'll get to have pretty much all I want for like, 1/10 the cost of moving to SF. Another option is to nominally stay in Madison, but travel 2-3 months out of the year, probably in deepest winter/summer.
I'm looking for input like: direct recommendations for specific cities in ways I probably haven't considered, people who specifically like me commenting that they want me to live in their city, case studies/reports of people who have moved and think they're similar enough to me to give me good input, comparisons from people who have lived in multiple Big Cities as to which are Better, and whatever else people feel like mentioning. Also I want horror stories of living in Manhattan, SF, Berkeley, LA, and Seattle (this is my current shortlist).
Thanks in advance!
comment by Raemon
· score: 12 (3 votes) · LW
A major consideration / uncertainty here seems to be "is a hub in Madison something remotely practical?", and you might want to specifically test that with something kickstarter-esque (i.e "I will try this if and only if at least X people commit to moving here if and only if X other people commit to moving here, etc")
(Testing this unfortunately is fair bit of work, but relatively small compared to the work involved in the actual project, so maybe also a good test of "can drethelin [LW · GW] pull this off?")
comment by drethelin
· score: 2 (1 votes) · LW
Something I've been thinking of doing is asking a lot of specific people I like who else would have to move somewhere before they would move and seeing if there's a smallish cluster
comment by marcus_gabler
· score: -3 (3 votes) · LW
Well, I think your rationalistic approach is not appropriate here.
While I basically agree that most or even all issues/questions can be best answered rationally, your quest seems to lack considering emotional aspects.
Strictly rationalistic, you might even actually prioritize and weight your above criteria, like by assigning points from 0 to 10 and then summing up the score for various properties or locations.
I can't help but feeling there would be something fundamentally wrong about such approach.
Did you consider the following:
- Where do I feel at home?
- Is living in a house really the best option, or are 2-3 apartments maybe an alternative
- Many people want to live in a quiet, safe area in walking range of cafes etc. Many people also want a Porsche. But does it make them happy? Or will they get used to the Porsche sooner or later only to feel they now need that Lambo?
" I'm looking for input like: direct recommendations for specific cities... "
Looking for specific input seems biased.
What seems interesting is that you can imagine actually having friends LIVING in your house or even doing something like a hotel. Most people would live in a house with their family.
Only you can know how strong this idea is. Doing so could really be a fulfilling thing, but you only mention it on the side, so I kinda doubt you are determined enough.
" I like the idea of being a locally medium-to-high status person ...."
Well, rationally, what does that have to do with your future home?
Either you are that person or not. NOT moving to some city just because the already are such people is 100% wrong.
" I like the idea of being involved in Big, World-changing Things, despite being very lazy. "
Well, do you really mean lazy or depressed/unmotivated?
Anyway, there is a lot in your post that makes me guess you first have to review your mindset.
I could write a lot here guessing into the blue, but if my comment (hopefully) rang any bell with you, feel free to contact me.
Take care, Marcus.
comment by Raemon
· score: 10 (2 votes) · LW
Hmm. It sounds like you may have been reading some stuff into drethelin [LW · GW]'s comment that they didn't necessarily imply (I don't think he said anything about his approach being rationalistic in the first place)
comment by hamnox
· score: 14 (5 votes) · LW
Folk values -- the qualities of the "I love science" crowd as contrasted to the qualities of actual, exceptional scientists -- matter too. The common folk outnumber the epic heroes.
This holds true even if you believe that everyone can become an epic hero! People need to know, rather than guess and hope, that walking the path to becoming an epic hero might look and feel rather different than doing active epic heroing. In theory one ought to be able to derive the appropriate instrumental goals from the terminal goal, but in practice people very frequently mess this up.
The general crowd has a different job than the inner circle, and treating this difference as orthogonal propagates fewer errors than treating it as a matter of degree.
Folk rationality needs to strongly protect against infohazards until one gets a chance to develop less vulnerable internal habits. Folk rationality needs to celebrate successfully satisficing goals and identifying picas rather than going for hard optimization because amateur min-maxing just spawns Goodhart [LW · GW] demons every which way. Folk rationality needs to prize keeping social commitments and good conflict mediation tools; it needs to honor social workers straightforwardly addressing social or resource problems. Folk rationality needs luminosity [LW · GW], and therapy. Folk rationality should also have civic duty of proactive personal data collection, cheering on replications, participating in RCTs, and not ghosting or lizardmanning surveys... because science needs to get done d'arvit.
Interested in cruxing