Comment by achiral on Open thread, August 5-11, 2013 · 2013-08-07T05:02:36.169Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Those all sound like some pretty awesome activities!

My question to you, with respect, is this: why not just reduce the amount of hours per day you spend on serious, solitary intellectual work and fill the balance with externally oriented, social activities till you find a maintainable balance of sociability vs. studying?

Maybe I'm misinterpreting you, but it seems you're essentially saying that when you (temporarily) hyper focus on solitary, intellectual activities you (temporarily) encounter more difficulty in conversations. This doesn't surprise me and it seems evident that the only real solution is to find the right balance for you and accept the inherent trade offs.

Comment by achiral on Open thread, August 5-11, 2013 · 2013-08-07T04:46:38.860Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Watching TV is not an intellectual activity in any real sense. Most TV stimulates the senses and evokes emotions in the viewer through storylines and such. This is obviously very different from studying mathematics seriously.

Comment by achiral on Open thread, August 5-11, 2013 · 2013-08-06T21:38:15.672Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think that the advice is well suited to your situation. I suspect that you don't realize this because you spend so much time isolating yourself from people to study math.

I think it's great that so many people here are extremely intellegent, but one can hardly expect to relate very well to most people when one spends most of their time studying extremely obscure subjects alone while they sit down and barely move. That's pretty much the antithesis of what normal people enjoy.

Balance intellectual activities with specifically non-intellectual activities that are not based around the passive consumption of media. Actually get out into the world, move your body in new ways, interact with a variety of people, seek novel experiences, travel around to new places far away and try to find new aspects of the area where you live. Basically just do the opposite of limiting your physical mobility and emotional expressiveness in order to focus on logical thinking about intangible intellectual subjects.

Comment by achiral on Need some psychology advice · 2013-02-28T02:51:31.857Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

How has this aquired negative points? This is the single best piece of advice in the whole woebegone thread.

Comment by achiral on February 2013 Media Thread · 2013-02-05T16:54:56.293Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A very good suggestion!

For those who don't know, Alexander Shulgin is one of the foremost figures in psychedelic drugs in the last century.

He discovered over 200 new psychedelic compounds himself and tested them on himself, his wife and a group of friends.

He worked at Dow and invented a "green" pesticide that allowed him to retire comfortably to work on his personal interests.

While he did not actually discover MDMA, it was due to his efforts that the drug was introduced to psychotherapists in the 70s and 80s.

Some of his books are banned in Australia.

He's a true hacker - although the HN crowd might not agree.

Comment by achiral on Minimum viable workout routine · 2013-01-16T19:57:04.585Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is probably the best all round training article on LW.

Still, I wonder if most people here would/could do even this. Perhaps a video tutorial that explains how to build a tire weight sled and shows someone dragging it would be more accessible. Sled dragging is basically walking on steroids, and as it seems the typical LWer has almost no athletic or movement base whatsoever, walking is a good place to start.

Perhaps even EY could improve his physical health and work capacity with sled dragging, despite his absolutely absurd claim that he is unable to adapt to exercise.

This explains how to build a sled.

Comment by achiral on Dreams with Damaged Priors · 2012-11-25T06:55:16.304Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed they do. However the dose they use in the psilocybin research equates to a much greater dose of mushrooms than the "average"(I'll assume 3.5 grams of dry P. cubensis) dose goldfishlaser speaks of.

The whole point with psychedelic drugs is that one must take a high, overwhelming dose in order to experience the full gamut of experiential states possible.

I have an excellent cognitive psychology book published by OUP called The Antipodes of the Mind:

The book takes an empirical, phenomenological approach. The author has gathered data from around 2,500 experiences with the plant based tea Ayahuasca(in effects it is rather like mushrooms yet typically stronger). He himself has taken the brew well over 100 times. This data is then analyzed in various ways: semantic content of visions, progression and stages of the experience, structural topology of visions, and so on. Please take a moment to browse the table of contents in the amazon online book preview to get a feel for both the academic seriousness of this book as well as the quite fascinating contents. Best of all, the author, Benny Shanon, includes numerical tables and a whole appendix devoted to explaining his research methodology.

Comment by achiral on Call for Anonymous Narratives by LW Women and Question Proposals (AMA) · 2012-11-24T21:49:20.288Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To learn how to trip more safely and more productively I highly recommend this book:

I have no idea what "role play control" is. The whole mindset of "tricks" to "control" yourself is generally counterproductive for tripping. Instead one should do their best to ensure a good set and setting, have a sitter and then "let go" and make themselves open to the experience.

Comment by achiral on What are you working on? August 2012 · 2012-08-07T15:05:05.384Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm pushing my bodyweight up and increasing strength. On July 22nd 2012 I was back squatting 90 kilos for 3 sets of 5. Last week I was able to squat 297lbs(134.7kg) for a single. I've also pushed my deadlift up to 130k for a single. In this time my bodyweight has increased from 150lbs to 167lbs.

My goals for Halloween are to deadlift 400lbs and squat 315lbs. I'd like to get up to a bodyweight of around 200lbs at 5'8" as a long term goal but that will probably take much longer than till Halloween.


  • Because it's fun
  • Because strong men are harder to kill and more useful in general than weak men
  • Because I have an undying fear of being a pussy
  • Because I want to increase my bone density
  • Because I want to compete in Olympic weightlifting competitions one day
  • Because I want increased strength for playing BJJ
  • Because I want to look AND BE strong and sexy for the wimminz(and possibly some guyz too)

What I will be working on come Fall semester: Intro to Abstract Algebra 501, Advanced Calculus 407 and spanish 101


  • Because I want my mind strong like my body and I need to major in something
Comment by achiral on The Sacred Mundane · 2012-07-17T14:11:34.891Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is one of the most informative posts I've ever seen on less wrong. I've always found it strange that the one technology that rationalists seem to shy away from is the technology of the sacred - that is, entheogenic plants and chemicals.

Comment by achiral on Rationality Quotes December 2011 · 2011-12-03T14:18:26.863Z · score: -6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The downvotes this comment has received probably indicate that the downvoters either don't understand the quote or perhaps think I was quoting myself.

I saw this unattributed quote on a web forum. The quote is speaking to emotional truths that, in all likelihood, can't be understood without life experience. It has to do with rationality because we are all emotional and social creatures, and therefore emotional awareness is extremely important to our mental health, with repercussions that extend to every aspect of our lives. Not being emotionally aware and healthy will be a hindrance to pretty much any other goal a rationalist might pursue.

Comment by achiral on Rationality Quotes December 2011 · 2011-12-02T16:07:11.115Z · score: -5 (15 votes) · LW · GW

"Hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people."

Comment by achiral on Rational Romantic Relationships, Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics · 2011-11-13T15:06:31.389Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that this whole thread, while admittedly I have been following it myself, is a net negative for LW.

It's my contention that (1) some people will be attracted to PUA tenets with a largely negative outlook regarding women, (2) some people will be attracted to PUA tenets with a largely positive outlook regarding women (3) some people will just organically figure it out without any significant use of literature and (4) people that enjoy reading/writing/debating about this will continue to do that and may or may not actually pursue relationships.

I don't think lukeprog's writing is going to substantially change anyone's inclinations or abilities in this area because relationships and dating are something one learns by doing and becoming, not talking and thinking.

Comment by achiral on A rationalist's guide to psychoactive drugs · 2011-11-01T14:22:56.017Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I realize it isn't typical to resurrect dead threads, but since I was searching for threads on LW about psychoactives I decided to go ahead.

Regarding the last bullet point:

I agree that cannabis can be frighteningly strong, of course. Even the renowned Alexander Shulgin, creator and consumer of many novel tryptamines and phenethylamines, doesn't react well to weed(see Pihkal).

I also agree with the second to last bullet point, as a generalization.

However, I felt that must address this, in case curious readers dig this thread up: Warning Psychedelics can absolutely be a whole new level more intense than marijuana. Please be careful with and respectful of all psychedelics, especially those used in conjunction with MAOIs and smoked tryptamines.

These drugs can be absurdly powerful and weird. It's all too easy to be unexpectedly plunged into a whir of terror, forget that one has consumed a drug, feel as though one is dying, perceive oneself to be tortured for eternity, perceive oneself to be poisoned, perceive demonic entities, and all the while perhaps be experiencing physical symptoms like vomiting and screaming/crying.

Psychedelics, as typically used by recreationally motivated Westerners(ie your typical LSD or whatever dose), are fairly easy to manage. In no way does this mean that all modes and forms of psychedelic drug use are 1) anywhere near as safe psychologically 2) anywhere near as easy to manage/undergo/guide 3) anywhere near as limited in the broad range of both positive and negative effects.

Comment by achiral on Why would we think artists perform better on drugs ? · 2011-11-01T13:37:36.389Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding "peak experiences": May I suggest that, if you feel pretty comfortable with tryptamines already, you experiment with 1) smoked tryptamines and/or 2) using the harmala alkaloids.

I also encourage you to read 1) The Entheogen Review 2) The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 3) advanced drug discussion subforum of

Comment by achiral on Why would we think artists perform better on drugs ? · 2011-10-30T18:05:35.030Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I feel that the approach taken here is rather lacking.

Firstly, any attempt to understand drug use in humans is going to be greatly hindered if one has not had a decent amount of experience with the drug(or similar drugs) in question.

Secondly, this article doesn't seem to significantly differentiate between the effects, reasons and motivations for use and harms encountered of different kinds of drug use. There is obviously a huge difference between the art and drug use of Alex Grey or Simon Posford ( ayahuasca, DMT, various other extremely powerful tryptamines) and, say, a talented punk rocker who enjoys alcohol and cannabis primarily.

Drugs are a very, very deep subject and I don't think it's possible, at least with our current understanding of the brain, to productively speculate on creativity and drug use without 1) first hand knowledge of drugs and artistic creation 2) knowledge of academic literature regarding creative states, artistic talent, etc.

In the book The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide the 9th chapter extensively discusses the enhancement of creative capacities in people on LSD. The chapter contains an explanation of methodology, tabular data, and subjective user reports. The subjects were 26 professional men, including 16 engineers and a few mathematicians.

Edit: I found an appropriate article, an essay by the renowned visionary artist Alex Grey where he discusses entheogens(psychedelic compounds used in a particular way) and creativity. I suspect this article has more insight on drugs and the creative process than the contents of this LW discussion.


Comment by achiral on [deleted post] 2011-10-14T15:12:01.803Z

I don't really desire to know your specific fantasies. However, if fantasies are something meaningful/concerning to you then that book is the best source of useful knowledge about them I have ever seen.

I also think the book is one of those that becomes even more meaningful when one has more relationship history, rather than being intended primarily for the inexperienced.

Comment by achiral on [deleted post] 2011-10-12T13:59:28.979Z

Please don't be offended, this is not my intention at all, rather I intend to offer what I believe are valid suggestions.

Obviously, you like and love many things about her, yet you two were ultimately incompatible. In my experience partners often compliment each other in both good and bad ways. I suggest therapy because, to be perfectly honest, it's quite likely you have about as many problems as her(just different ones) if you were with her long enough to get engaged.

I also suggest an excellent book called The Erotic Mind. You (presumably) have a high degree of sexual compatibility with her, yet now you have broken up and it's highly likely that your sexual dynamic contained unhealthy elements, was probably turbulent at times, etc. This book has helped me tremendously in figuring out my sexuality, learning to love my sexuality, not feeling inhibited or ashamed of my fantasies, and it gave me a lot of insight into the dynamics of my relationships.

Comment by achiral on Developing Empathy · 2011-07-24T17:51:23.741Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

No. It's good, although risky, advice. In my life, the two single biggest factors involved in making me more empathetic were 1) powerful psychedelics taken with healing intentions 2) a loving, long term sexual relationship with a very empathetic girl.

To all interested persons: Please read the following review paper about MDMA's use for psychological healing. There are many wonderful papers that can be found in the references list as well. Pay close attention to Greer and Tolbert.