Expertise Exchange

post by ChristianKl · 2018-03-14T18:04:58.276Z · score: 48 (12 votes) · LW · GW · 14 comments

There are multiple fields of knowledge that are very hard to learn about and where it's hard to find a rational person to give you good answers about the field of knowledge. 

I want to start this thread to give people the opportunity to request expertise in certain domains that they want to know more about but have a hard time finding good sources on. 


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by sarahconstantin · 2018-03-14T19:12:07.169Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd really love a friendly, narrative-style introduction to military history or space travel. (Audio, video, book, blog, in-person infodumping, all welcome.)

I have simple questions like "what are the parts of a rocket and how do they work?" and "what actually made Napoleon a great general?" and would like a level of depth that's higher than children's books but lower than Wikipedia.

comment by ChristianKl · 2018-03-14T18:10:14.795Z · score: 10 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Chakra's as a fake framework

Various yoga traditions use the concept of chakra's. I don't practice any yoga but I'm generally interested in understanding the major concepts that are around. In my quest to understand what the concept is supposed to mean I was meeting more weirdness than I expected in the beginning.

If there's any fellow rationalists who considers chakra's a useful concepts for themselves (even as a fake framework in which they don't really believe)?

If so, I would love to hear from you and if you don't like it to be public knowledge you can contact me via PM and I won't divulge your identity.

comment by sarahconstantin · 2018-03-14T19:31:10.824Z · score: 36 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Chakra stuff that seems empirically true to me:

*The pelvic floor (first chakra) is connected to the emotional sense of safety. You instinctively tighten it when nervous and relax it when secure.

Learning to feel and move your pelvic floor is useful; the correct way to push in childbirth is to tense your abs but relax your pelvic floor, and having practiced this a lot beforehand was helpful for me since it's counterintuitive for most people.

*Your abs (roughly third chakra) are obviously connected to willpower and strength, since you use them for all full-body challenging exercises. There's a similar tight connection between *feeling* willful and tightening those muscles as there is between feeling safe and loosening the pelvic floor.

*I suspect that there's a "softening" thing you can do with your lower belly/hips (second chakra) that has a similar emotional connection to feelings of vulnerability. I'm less confident about this, though; I am "bad at" second chakra in some sense. (Pregnancy made it clear to me that I'm worse than average at feeling sensations in my uterus.)

In general, I believe that muscles and emotions are pretty tightly linked. There are times when the only way to move a muscle in a particular tricky way is to evoke an emotion, and there are times when the only way to evoke an emotion is to move (or clench or unclench) in a particular way.

comment by Elo · 2018-03-15T05:18:18.259Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This matches Daniel Goleman from. His book emotional intelligence. There's a link between Physiological state and emotional state. And it goes in both directions.

This is evident when you can calm down by concentrating on your breathing. Among other examples.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2018-03-14T18:15:33.828Z · score: 14 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This blog post is the best attempt at a gears model here I've seen so far. I occasionally think and work in terms of chakras (mine or someone else's) and find it useful, and don't mind saying so in public. Lots of people have weird beliefs here but that doesn't mean there isn't a thing in the territory that's being pointed to. I expect reading about chakras to not be particularly helpful relative to experiential exercises.

comment by ChristianKl · 2018-03-15T06:26:00.051Z · score: 11 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He writes:

The “major energy centers” the so-called “chakras,” are mostly coincident with major glands in the body, e.g. the endocrine glands.

In a answer above from Sarah she says things like:

your lower belly/hips (second chakra)

To me it seems like in one first sense a chakra is something quite small (e.g. the size of a gland) and in the second presentation it's much larger (e.g. the size of the hip).

Do those two concepts have different Hindi names? How do they relate to each other? Why aren't other people confused by those two different views in a way that causes things to be written about them?

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2018-03-15T14:08:14.047Z · score: 12 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Second chakra definitely does not consist of your hips. I don't know what it does consist of, but it's probably more like a gland / a bundle of nerves / a bundle of muscles. It's tricky to separate these experientially because most things that would affect one of them (e.g. touching) would affect the others.

comment by sarahconstantin · 2018-03-15T20:00:49.946Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The gland thing seems weird to me. Most internet sources associate the first chakra with the adrenals, which sit on top of the kidneys and aren’t physically anywhere near the usually pictured location of the first chakra (at the base of your spine.) Most sources associate second chakra with the ovaries (which are in the right place) or testes (which aren’t, afaik, in anyone’s lower belly area.) I’d been thinking of second chakra as basically my uterus, but altering hip posture is relevant for e.g. relieving uterine pain.

comment by ChristianKl · 2018-03-15T06:57:46.681Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why do you consider it to be a good attempt? As far as I see the person who wrote it had no guidance and there knowledge mainly from books and thus doesn't have any experiences of energy flow.

Both on the phenomenological level and also on the practical level given that he writes about not being able to "last longer" which requires to get the energy flowing up.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2018-03-15T14:04:14.638Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Best" does not imply "good"! I suspect many of the particular claims are wrong but I appreciate that he made an attempt at all. He seems to be working from substantial self-experimentation but of course he is one idiosyncratic human and what works/doesn't work for him may not be so for others.

comment by ChristianKl · 2018-03-14T18:12:37.600Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Landmark Forum

In researching a subject I came about the distinction of completion and as far as I can trace the roots of the ideas I believe it comes from the Landmark Forum but I'm not sure given I have never been at the forum. I would like to talk to someone who was there and he believes he has a good handle on the underlying concepts.

comment by dksolo · 2018-03-14T21:32:03.054Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Tiago Forte, of Forte Labs, has an interesting post titled A Skeptic Goes to the Landmark Forum. It describes his experience day by day, and may be of intrigue to you. On Twitter he is generally open to engaging with strangers.

comment by norswap · 2018-03-15T16:24:33.835Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I love Tiago, with whom I have talked on occasions, but the title of his article is misleading. He is most definitely *not* a skeptic. He tends in the opposite direction actually: accept things as presented and see what benefits can be had from immersing yourself in the mindset. It's not an issue, but you have to be aware of that.

comment by t3tsubo (calvin-ho) · 2018-03-15T18:57:33.681Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If anyone is a multidisciplinary expert in some or most of the following: sociology, psychology, law, business, political science and economics; I'd love to reach out. I'm thinking of pursuing a post-grad after a few years of practice, where my thesis would be trying to combine/map out the relationships between those fields. Having someone to ping ideas off of would be great.

If anyone wants to ask me about Law and Economics, (mostly Canadian) legal theory and/or (Canadian) constitutional law, or behavioural economics, feel free.

Caveat: Don't consider anything I say as legal advice, everything is in an academic context.