Comment by Articulator on Am I Really an X? · 2017-03-13T08:32:52.899Z · LW · GW

To clarify, I was entirely replying to Dagon. I have no quarrel with your post itself in the slightest.

Comment by Articulator on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2016-12-15T08:28:04.944Z · LW · GW

It is a false dilemma, but the Super Happies won't give you one half without the other, I fear.

Comment by Articulator on War and/or Peace (2/8) · 2016-12-15T08:01:17.078Z · LW · GW

I think rather a lot of people view it as a means of reproduction first and foremost, and may even attempt to ignore the pleasure.

Comment by Articulator on War and/or Peace (2/8) · 2016-12-15T08:00:01.808Z · LW · GW

Eliezer may think so, but I have feeling that this is at least partially foreshadowing a disconnect between these future humans' values and our own.

Comment by Articulator on Epilogue: Atonement (8/8) · 2016-12-15T07:30:50.361Z · LW · GW

This comment, archaeologically excavated in the future, amuses me.

Comment by Articulator on Epilogue: Atonement (8/8) · 2016-12-15T07:26:30.880Z · LW · GW

And at the same time, they were both victims, as are we all, of human nature. Never let it be said that if you are a victim, you are only a victim.

Comment by Articulator on "3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism" · 2016-04-11T07:26:18.128Z · LW · GW

They've done a really good job of making it a pejorative. Anything's a slur if you hate them enough.

Comment by Articulator on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-04-11T06:05:06.754Z · LW · GW

I mean, charitably speaking, I imagine that the second-to-last paragraph could easily have been an argument from consequences, rather than rape apology.

The parable doesn't really characterize the boy as right, rather as desperate. I don't think that it's unreasonable to make an argument that some rapists are desperate for sex, nor that if fewer men were desperate for sex, there'd be less rape. Not saying it's true necessarily, but that it's at least arguable. That doesn't mean women should be forced into sex, of course, but it could still be true at the same time that there would be less rape if men weren't so desperate.

Maybe it's because I identify with the boy to an extent, but I don't think that this is really a moral piece, rather an emotional piece. This is the boy's journey, his perception. I'm sure that it could describe many people reasonably accurately. I will note that the author narrates, but does not pass judgement through narration, only characters.

I think that some people here might be having so much trouble with this because they think that feeling bad for the boy means that women should be forced to have sex, and resent being forced to agree one way or the other. This is a wrong question.

  • You can feel sorry for the boy and not condone the second-to-last paragraph, whether it actually symbolized rape or not

  • You can feel sorry for the boy, even if you don't think it would be wrong for him to never "have the branch lifted"

  • You can feel sorry for the boy and still condemn any other part of this story

Reasonable responses:

  • "I wish you didn't have to feel that way."

  • "I feel sorry for you, but that doesn't mean I will have sex with you."

  • "I feel sorry for you, but that doesn't justify rape."

There are a lot of false dichotomies of blame to fall into here, especially given that this is a parable, and a highly charged one at that. Please try to avoid them.

To the people who suggest that one finds other ways of coping, I look forward to you putting your money where your mouth is and being celibate for 20-40 years to show us the way. While this is a decidedly less black and white topic than most minority disputes, the idea that a member of the outgroup should claim to know the experience of the ingroup better than the ingroup is one that is a very common (and incredibly rude) fallacy, so I should certainly hope that no one falls for that trap, especially if you are part of another minority.

Comment by Articulator on Of Gender and Rationality · 2015-06-01T02:48:16.523Z · LW · GW

Pretty sure that the average IQ on LessWrong is above the mean, though. Therefore, a group with higher variance is more likely to have member in LessWrong.

The causality of that statement is atrocious, but I think the overall picture should still come through.

Comment by Articulator on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T07:37:33.524Z · LW · GW

The first rule of Transfiguration: you do not guess.

Harry proposed a hypothesis, but no further testing was committed. Without knowledge of PT, I'd rate the inability to transfigure all air (as a conceptually-singular entity) as an equally (or more) probable explanation.

Comment by Articulator on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T07:23:35.851Z · LW · GW

That was prior to PT.

Comment by Articulator on Bayes Academy: Development report 1 · 2014-11-20T00:16:38.541Z · LW · GW

This looks really interesting - do you have a timeframe on a playable demo, Kaj?

I sympathize with you on the Java - easier than most other methods, but oh god the lack of style. I think even just making those choice buttons a little less default (non-serif font, lose the blue shading) could move it a fair way toward being presentable.

My primary concern currently is that even if you have a robust engine to abstract much of the coding, this looks like it would have a very poor input to output time ratio. Do you have any plans for circumventing that, or do you have enough time to brute force it?

Comment by Articulator on Fundamental Doubts · 2014-03-29T04:22:49.809Z · LW · GW

[I'm probably going to be the latest in a long line of people saying something like this, but I hope my wording, at least, makes this worth existing.]

"I think, therefore I am" is, in fact, deductive reasoning. The definition of "I am", as thought in the first person, as far as we can comprehend it, means "I think".

"I think, therefore I think" Or, more simply, "I think". The statement itself, as we are thinking it, cannot possibly be false - no matter the Demons we posit, we cannot be in simultaneous states of comprehending and not thinking.

"I am", by our very definitions, must be true for everyone who is reading this, as you are reading it. Because you are reading it.

I'm sorry, Eliezer, but I think you are mistaken if you think you can disprove "I am", thought in the first person.

Comment by Articulator on Fundamental Doubts · 2014-03-29T04:10:14.544Z · LW · GW

Fundamentally, the problem is that you need to get the energy somewhere. Currently, we get it indirectly from sunlight. In a world with no ability to obtain sunlight (as the justification of the Matrix goes), the second law means that barring geothermal (which doesn't require humans as a go-between), the total usable energy will decrease to zero.

It's like recycling. Can you ever expect to get better materials, or more materials than you started with without putting anything else in? (Including energy)

Comment by Articulator on Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality · 2014-03-29T03:55:06.166Z · LW · GW

Thinking about this in terms of AGI, would it be reasonable to suggest that a bias must be created in favor of utilizing inductive reasoning through Bayes' Theorem rather than deductive reasoning when and if the two conflict?

Comment by Articulator on The Moral Void · 2014-03-27T06:24:53.898Z · LW · GW

Excellent! Thanks for the mathematical model! I've been trying to work out how to describe this principle for ages.

Comment by Articulator on Is my view contrarian? · 2014-03-25T03:27:36.327Z · LW · GW

With all due respect, I feel like this subject is somewhat superfluous. It seems to be trying to chop part of a general concept off into its own discrete category.

This can all be simplified into accepting that Expert and Common majority opinion are both types of a posteriori evidence that can support an argument, but can be overturned by better a posteriori or a priori evidence.

In other words, they are pretty good heuristics, but like any heuristics, can fail. Making anything more out of it seems to just be artificial, and only necessary if the basic concept proves to difficult to understand.

Comment by Articulator on Is my view contrarian? · 2014-03-25T02:25:31.909Z · LW · GW

I don't think it is so much that it suggests Theism is useful - rather that Theism is a concept which tends to propagate itself effectively, of which usefulness is one example. Effectively brainwashing participants at an early age is another. There almost certainly several factors, only some of which are good.

Comment by Articulator on Initiation Ceremony · 2014-03-24T21:48:56.529Z · LW · GW

Or, perhaps, the "if" rightly implied a hypothetical scenario, and the contents of the room as he perceived them were entirely irrelevant.

Comment by Articulator on Don't teach people how to reach the top of a hill · 2014-03-24T20:39:53.978Z · LW · GW

Point. They are, however, nowhere near as robust as the ROM of old, and are often not truly ROM at all, so I wasn't really thinking of them in that category. Technically, you are correct, though.

The same can be said of the written English language (or just language in general). I expect, that with time and patience, it would be perfectly possible to reconstruct the system needed to read a data format, just from the data format itself. Harder, certainly, with more layers of encoding, but by degree, not kind.

If we are attempting to preserve data beyond the point where the human race can look after it themselves, chances are that any information at all, regardless of storage medium, will require a fair bit of detective work, decryption, and translation.

Comment by Articulator on Don't teach people how to reach the top of a hill · 2014-03-24T01:13:47.026Z · LW · GW

It was my gut reaction of about two seconds. At that point that I remembered Friendship is Optimal and chuckled internally at my amusingly illogical double standards.

As long as information and utility are both conserved, and ideally increased (in proportion to the entropy expended in the process), I really see no problems intellectually, even if I dislike the thought of mutilating books on principle.

Comment by Articulator on Don't teach people how to reach the top of a hill · 2014-03-24T01:10:04.353Z · LW · GW

The answer is a good sturdy ROM.

I'm inclined to think that big companies and governments may already be doing this sort of thing, but since ROM is basically useless for consumers, we don't see any of it.

If it's not already being done, that's a big project someone needs to get on.

Comment by Articulator on The Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle · 2013-11-13T19:50:42.422Z · LW · GW


I have indeed used paradox incorrectly. Your latter definitions are more appropriate. My confusion arose from the apparent possibility, but I see now that 'paradox' would only be correct if my argument also still felt the existence of the zombie was possible.

However, I hope that despite that minor terminology quibble, you were still able to understand the thrust of my argument. If my argument is unclear from the line you quoted, it is worth noting that I explain it in the following paragraphs.

Comment by Articulator on The Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle · 2013-11-13T17:56:39.668Z · LW · GW

If we assume Reductionism and Naturalism, the concept of the Zombie is a paradox.

The two premises I have just outlined are mutually exclusive to the premise "beings that are atom-by-atom identical to us... except that they are not conscious."

That is like saying that there are two gears that mesh together, yet one one turns, the other does not. Paradox. There is no solving it. The only difference is the layers of complexity. We cannot, with only our own minds, find or prove prime numbers with many digits to them, but that doesn't mean that they do not exist.

If you truly believe that there is no external, supernatural cause to consciousness, then Zombies are a true paradox that cannot exist.

Since an argument like this rests on several necessary premises, one should really just attack the one with the least support.

I have noticed that Eliezer favors synthetic over analytic arguments, but sometimes, the later is much more efficient than the former.

Comment by Articulator on City of Lights · 2013-11-13T05:48:12.151Z · LW · GW

I have slightly more formally defined the existence of a logical and an evolutionary mind. Same general premise, but with more accurate, unambiguous, and intellectual terminology.

I completely agree with the duality and conflict of these two mind-states. I'm pretty sure it's one of the most common break-downs of human cognition.

Comment by Articulator on Yes, Virginia, You Can Be 99.99% (Or More!) Certain That 53 Is Prime · 2013-11-13T03:58:21.309Z · LW · GW

This is false modesty. This is assuming the virtue of doubt when none ought exist. Mathematics is one of the few (if not the only) worthwhile thing(s) we have in life that is entirely a priori. We can genuinely achieve 100% certainty. Anything less is to suggest the impossible, or to redefine the world in a way that has no meaning or usefulness.

I could say that I'm not really sure 2+2=4, but it would not make me more intelligent for the doubt, but more foolish. I could say that I'm not sure that 5 is really prime, but it would hinge on redefining '5' or 'prime'. I could posit that if 2+3 reproducibly equaled 4, I would have to change my view of the universe and mathematics, but were I to suggest that argument held any weight, I might as well start believing in God. Define any paradox you like and there will never be a correct answer. The solution is not to accept doubt, but rather to ignore truly unsolvable paradoxes as foolish and useless.

The problem in creating the parallel probability statements is not in the surety, for they would all almost certainly be mathematical as well, but in the daunting task of finding and stating them. This is not reason, this is a threat! "If you assign X probability, are you willing to spend X hours finding parallels?" We react in the negative not due to the reasonability of the rebuttal but rather the daunting task saying yes would hypothetically place upon us. Our chance to perform the task correctly is likely significantly less than that of the probability we have assigned.

Comment by Articulator on Yes, Virginia, You Can Be 99.99% (Or More!) Certain That 53 Is Prime · 2013-11-13T03:49:40.394Z · LW · GW

[Retracted fully]

Comment by Articulator on If You Demand Magic, Magic Won't Help · 2013-11-12T08:09:18.434Z · LW · GW

If nothing else, a lot of magic systems exist in extropic worlds, or at the very least, break conservation of energy. Plus, magic is often easier to use. Yeah, early D&D or Discworld is tough, but most systems these days are psychically channeled, in nature if not in name.

The technology and science in this world is awesome (and reality is too), but it's inaccessible. Most magic systems are not. Maybe its just laziness, but that's part of the appeal. Not having to spend thousands of years working out how to heal diseases, for instance.

The shift in focus from intelligence/memory to willpower doesn't hurt either.

What is really comes down to is The Taste of Grass. (And yes, there probably is a more official version, but it's a damn good story and it's after midnight.) As long as we can appreciate the difference, and not take it for granted, the grass can genuinely be greener on the other side.

Comment by Articulator on Epilogue: Atonement (8/8) · 2013-11-12T07:55:00.145Z · LW · GW

The most enjoyable part of reading through these comments is that everyone is in a combined state of ethically relaxed and mentally aware. Makes for stimulating conversation.

Comment by Articulator on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2013-11-12T07:06:30.294Z · LW · GW

We are just simply too good at taking our own norms for granted. Thank you for explaining this in a way I can really get behind.

I think we sometimes forget that not only is all ethics relative, but that we have skewed weightings based on what is 'normal'. The number of people driven to depression and suicide by legal means...

I wonder, if certain negative strains of human social interaction were made illegal, and guiltworthy, while rape was made legal, and we waited for a couple hundred years, would people still rank them in the same order? If rape was something to 'get over', while surprise polygamy (trying for a word with as few connotations as possible - couldn't find anything) and bullying were horrible events to 'survive'...

Hmm, it's certainly a good question. Now, since I'm not a rape victim, I couldn't presume to guess very accurately, but perhaps the knowledge that it's a bad thing reinforces that it's a bad thing? I can't help but draw a rather unfortunate parallel with the broad range of human experiences that are scary at first, and then enjoyable. Before I get voted down into submission, consider that I have used the most physical descriptions I can, since those are the ones we are less likely to change.

In the least offensive way possible, would we want to go bungee jumping (again) if it was treated as a terrible thing? If we were told it was terrible our entire lives, then forced into doing it? Traumatic in the extreme. Consider, however, that some people are pushed in these heights-based sports. Off cliffs, out of airplanes, onto ziplines. They enjoy it in the end, so it's ok, right? Would they enjoy it if they weren't supposed to? If it was rape?

Interesting questions.

Don't worry for my morality, if this musing leaves you fearing for your orifices. I'm a perfectly well-adjusted nihilist, who values his continued (enjoyable) existence enough not to do anything silly.

Comment by Articulator on Rationality Quotes November 2013 · 2013-11-12T05:06:19.981Z · LW · GW

Consider the chicken, with its ingenious production line of eggs. Constant fertilization from a different orifice seems ideal, as (the source I just Googled suggests that) chickens have very short fertilization cycles. (They don't have separate orifices. Poor cloacas.)

Since fertilization occurs at one end of a long tube, and birth occurs at the other, I wouldn't be surprised if the optimal arrangement involved separate organs.

Comment by Articulator on Joy in Discovery · 2013-11-12T04:57:06.951Z · LW · GW

It is, I think, the satisfaction of both utility and curiosity, Engineering and Science, that makes the new discovery the best.

To know that this was the easiest way, and thus not diminish the discovery with futility, but yet to finally succeed in overcoming mental hardship, which is a joyous release. Not least due to the excitement in accomplishment, nor the pride of creating new advancements in aid of ethical positivity.

Or perhaps because having something that no-one else does is far too ingrained in our psyches, as a species.

Comment by Articulator on Why Eat Less Meat? · 2013-07-24T17:28:03.733Z · LW · GW

I'm a nihilist. Where do I fall on your hopelessly constrained list?

Comment by Articulator on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-15T11:41:40.616Z · LW · GW

Sorry, what I meant was that while I am using something similar to Error Theory, I was also going beyond that and using it as a premise in other arguments. All I meant was that it wasn't the entirety of my argument.

I certainly plan on reading those, but thanks for the advice. Hopefully I'll be up to date with terminology by the end of the summer.

Comment by Articulator on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-15T11:05:28.575Z · LW · GW

Well, I just looked it up, and I'd agree with it, though I do use it more as an intermediate conclusion than an actual end point.

Comment by Articulator on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-15T11:03:15.955Z · LW · GW

Firstly, thank you for replying and spending the time to discuss this with me.

P: Humans naturally or instinctively act according to a system very close to Utilitarianism

Were this true, the utilitarian answers to common moral thought experiments would be seen as intuitive. Instead, we find that a minority of people endorse the utilitarian answers, and they are more likely to endorse those answers the more they rely on abstract thought rather than intuition. It seems that most people are intuitive deontologists.

I admit I made a bit of a leap here, which may not be justified. I was careful to specify 'very close', as I realize it is obviously not an exact copy. I would argue that most people do attempt to follow Bentham's original formulation of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain instinctively, as that is where he derived his theory from. I would argue that though people may implement a deontological system for assigning moral responsibility, they are ultimately using Utilitarian principles as the model for their instinctive morality that describes whether an action is good or bad, much the same as Rule Utilitarianism does. I don't think I can overstate the importance of the fact that Bentham derived the idea of Utilitarianism from a human perspective.

I don't think "nihilist" is an interesting term, because it smuggles in implications that I do not think are useful (like "why don't you just kill yourself, then?").

In the longer formulation, I tackled this exact question, pointing out that is is more effort to overcome your survival instincts than it is to follow them, and thus an illogical attempt to change things which don't matter.

I like 'nihilist' as a term as it is immediately recognizable, short, punchy, and someone with a basic grasp of Latin or maybe even English should be able to derive a rough meaning. It also sounds better. :P

The practical advice I would give: do not seek to use ethics as a foundation, because there is nothing to anchor it on.

Well, as it currently stands, I'm happy with the logical progression necessary to reach my current understanding, and more importantly, it has given me a tremendous sense of inner peace. I don't think that it as such limits my mental progression, since I arrived at these conclusions through rational means, and would give them up if confronted with sufficient logic contrary to my understanding.

If there is no intrinsic value, then let us look for extrinsic value.

Would you mind elaborating on looking for extrinsic value? Is that like the Existentialist viewpoint?

Comment by Articulator on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-15T07:11:45.786Z · LW · GW

Some of the most worthless and nonsensical philosophy has come from professional philosophers

Oh, I know. I start crying inside every time I learn about Kant.

Well, I'll take what you've said on board. Thanks for the help!

Comment by Articulator on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-15T07:06:26.371Z · LW · GW


Thanks for that link. I probably should have read that sequence, I'll admit, but what is interesting is that, despite me not having read it previously, the majority of comments reflect what I stated above, albeit that my formulation explains it slightly more cognitively that 'because I want to'. (Though that is an essential premise in my argument)

Though this is probably unfortunately irrational on my part, seeing my predictions confirmed by a decently sized sample only suggests to me that I'm on to something, at least so far as articulating something I have not seen previously formalized.

It seems like my largest problem here is that I absolutely failed to be concise, and added in non-necessary intermediate conclusions.

I think of this as less an ethical system in itself, rather a justification and rationalization of my position on Nihilism and its compatibility with Utilitarianism, which, coincidentally, seems to be the same as most people on LW.

I know that this'll be probably just as failed as the last attempt, but I've summarized my core argument into a much shorter series of premises and conclusions. Would you mind looking through them and telling me what you feel is invalid or is likely to be improved upon by prolonged exposure to LW?

P: Naturalism is the only standard by which we can understand the world

P: One cannot derive ethical statements or imperatives from Naturalism, as, like all good science, it is only descriptive in nature

IC : We cannot derive ethical statements

IC: There is no intrinsic value

C: Nihilism is correct

P: Ethical statements are by definition prescriptive

P: Nihilism offers a total lack of ethical statements

IC: Nihilism offers no prescriptive statements

P: Prescriptive statements are like forces, in that they modify behavior (Consider Newton’s First Law)

IC: No prescriptive statements means no modification of behavior

C: Nihilism does not modify behavior, ethically speaking

P: Humans naturally or instinctively act according to a system very close to Utilitarianism

P: Deviation from this system takes effort

IC: Without further input or behavioral modification, most intellectual individuals will follow a Utilitarian system

IC: To act contrary to Utilitarianism requires effort

P: Nihilism does not modify behavior or encourage ethical effort

C: Nihilism implies Utilitarianism (or a general ethical system akin to it that is the default of the person in question)

I apologize if trying again like this is too much to ask for.

Comment by Articulator on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-15T01:04:16.418Z · LW · GW

Okay, noted. It's just that from what I've seen so far, a post with a net downvote is generally pretty horrible. I admit I took some offense from the implication. I'll try not to let it bother me unless N is high enough for it to be me, entirely, that's the problem.

Thanks. :)

Thank you for taking the time to give constructive criticism.

I will attempt to make it more coherent and summarized, assuming I keep any of it.

I appreciate I am likely to inexperienced to come up with anything that impressive, but I was hoping to use this as a method to understand which parts of my cognitive function were not behaving rationally, so as to improve.

I will absolutely continue to read, but with the utmost respect to Eliezer, I have yet to come across anything in the Sequences which did more than codify or verbalize beliefs I'd already held. By the point, two and a half sequences in, I felt it was unlikely that the enlightenment value would spike in such a way as to render my previously held views obsolete.

I'll bear your objections in mind, but I fear I won't let go of this theory unless somebody points out why it is wrong specifically, as opposed to methodically. Not that I'm putting any onus on you or anyone else to do so.

As I said, I am reading them, but have found them mostly about how to think as opposed to what to think so far, though I daresay that is intentional in the ordering.

Thanks again for your help and kindness. :)

Comment by Articulator on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-15T00:02:01.117Z · LW · GW

Okay, whoa, hey. I clearly and repeatedly explained my lack of total understanding of LW conventions. I'm not sure what about this provoked a downvote, but I would appreciate a bit more to go on. If this is about my noobishness, well, this is the Welcome Thread. Great job on the welcoming, by the way, anonymous downvoter. At the very least offer constructive criticism.

Edit: Troll? Really?

Edit,Edit: Thank you whoever deleted the negative karma!

Comment by Articulator on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-14T23:47:48.519Z · LW · GW

Hi everyone, I’m The Articulator. (No ‘The’ in my username because I dislike using underscores in place of spaces)

I found LessWrong originally through RationalWiki, and more recently through Iceman’s excellent pony-fic about AI and transhumanism, Friendship is Optimal.

I’ve started reading the Sequences, and made some decent progress, though we’ll see how long I maintain my current rate.

I’ll be attending University this fall for Electrical Engineering, with a desire to focus in electronics.

Prior to LW, I have a year’s worth of Philosophy and Ethics classes, and a decent amount of derivation and introspection.

As a result, I’ve started forming a philosophical position, made up of a mishmash of formally learnt and self-derived concepts. I would be very grateful if anyone would take the time to analyze, and if possible, pick apart what I’ve come up with. After all, it’s only a belief worth holding if it stands up to rigorous debate.

(If this is the wrong place to do this, I apologize - it seemed slightly presumptuous to imply that my comment thread would be large enough to warrant a separate discussion article.)

I apologize in advance for a possible lack of precise terminology for already existing concepts. As I’ve said, I’m partially self-derived, and without knowing the name of an idea, it’s hard to check if it already exists. If you do spot such gaps in my knowledge, I would be grateful if you’d point them out. Though I understand correct terminology is nice, I'd appreciate it if you could judge my ideas regardless of how many fancy words I use to descrive them.

My thought process so far:

P: Naturalism is the only standard by which we can understand the world

P: One cannot derive ethical statements or imperatives from Naturalism, as, like all good science, it is only descriptive in nature

IC : We cannot derive ethical statements

IC: There is no intrinsic value

C: Nihilism is correct

However, assuming nihilism is correct, why don’t I just kill myself now? That’s down to the evolutionary instincts that need me alive to reproduce. Well, why not overcome those and kill myself? But now, we’re in a difficult situation – why, if nothing matters, am I so desperate to kill myself?

Nihilism is the total negation of the intrinsic and definitive value in anything. It’s like sticking a coefficient of zero onto all of your utility calculations. However, that includes the bad as well as the good. Why bother doing bad things just as much as doing good things?

My eventual realization came as a result of analyzing the level or order of concepts. Firstly, we have the lowest order, instinct, which we are only partially conscious of. Then, we have a middle order of conscious thought, wherein we utilize our sapience to optimize our instinctual aims. Finally, we have the first of a series of high order thought processes devoted to analyzing our thoughts. It struck me that only this order and above is concerned with my newfound existential crisis. When I allow my rationality to slip a bit, a few minutes later, I stop caring, and start eating or taking out my testosterone on small defenseless computer images. Essentially, it is only the meta-order processes which directly suffer as a result of nihilism, as they are the ones that have to deal with the results and implications.

Nihilism expects you to give up attempting to change things or apply ethics because those are seen as meaningful concepts. However, really, the way I see it, Nihilism is about simply the state of ‘going with the flow’, colloquially speaking. However, that’s intentionally vague. Consider: if your middle-order processes don’t care that you just realized nothing matters, what’ll happen? They’ll just keep doing what they’ve always done.

In other words, since humans compartmentalize, going with the flow is synonymous with turning off your meta-level thought processes as a goal-oriented drive, and purely operate on middle-level processes and below. That corresponds, for a Naturalist, with Utilitarianism.

Now, that’s not to say “turn off your meta-level cognition”, because otherwise, what am I doing here? What I’m doing right now is optimizing utility because I enjoy LessWrong and the types of discussions they have. I bother to optimize utility despite being a nihilist because it is easier, and less work, meta-level-wise, to give in to my middle-level desires than to fight them.

To define Nihilism, for me, now comes to the concept of passively maintaining the status quo, or more aptly, not attempting to change it. Why not wirehead? – because that state is no more desirable in a world with zero utility, but takes effort to reach. It’s going up a gradient which we can comfortably sit at the bottom of instead.

I fear I haven’t done the best job of explaining concisely, and I believe my original, purely mental, formulations were more elegant, so that’s a lesson on writing everything down learned. However, I hope some of you can see some flaws in this argument that I can’t, because at the moment, this explains just about everything I can think of in one way or another.

Thank you all in advance for any help given,

The Articulator (It’s kind of an ironic choice of name, present ineptitude considered.)

Comment by Articulator on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-06-14T22:01:32.554Z · LW · GW

They sell themselves short as just an anti-aging formula.

Comment by Articulator on Interpersonal Entanglement · 2013-06-14T06:24:56.413Z · LW · GW

I'll concede the first point, but bear in mind that as I said, it is harder for men to change their facial appearance than women, so while I couldn't comment on the magnitudes involved, I'd estimate it somewhat cancels out, at the very least. I also daresay, examining my understandings that lead to this point that my mistake was implying a direct causation where a slightly finer touch was necessary. Because let's not pretend that more facially attractive men don't have an easier time of it. Of course, this presumably increases their self-confidence, etc.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure 20% effort is too low to yield anything at all. I'll let you know if I ever find a point where a given amount of effort pays off.

Hmm, I see what you're saying. However, my counterargument, as I said previously, is that males start at a disadvantage, so even if they have an easier time evening the playing field, that still requires work I would broadly define as 'harder'. Perhaps that is partially my individual biases talking, but I'm not the only person I know who has expressed similar sentiments.

My claim, to paraphrase yours, is that while men are more likely to hit the threshold with training, women are more likely to without. To be honest, I think I'd take that offset over mobility any day.

For casual sexual partners specifically, however, I would point out that the libido difference between men and women means I daresay the gender ratios in that sort of environment aren't quite equal. As a result, I would expect a higher proportion of men than women are left without a sexual partner out of those who were looking for one.

Comment by Articulator on Interpersonal Entanglement · 2013-06-13T23:37:50.664Z · LW · GW

A very good idea, that.

Comment by Articulator on Interpersonal Entanglement · 2013-06-13T21:58:37.464Z · LW · GW

Men and women have the same amount of heterosexual intercourse on average.

Look at that statement. Tell me what's wrong with that statement. But, on the flipside, thank you. That made my night. I may have woken somebody up laughing.

This means that most of the sex going on is different women having sex with the same superstuds, and that the typical woman has sex with about 3 times as many people as the typical man does.

Because, as should be obvious, women almost certainly have an easier time of obtaining sexual partners, albeit perhaps not within the standards they would like to set.

Comment by Articulator on Interpersonal Entanglement · 2013-06-13T21:52:00.014Z · LW · GW

To be honest, I really don't see men being anywhere near as complex as women. I fully admit that I'm biased, but I honestly believe that men have simpler drives in relationships, and are far more open, especially collectively, as as to what those drives are.

Comment by Articulator on Interpersonal Entanglement · 2013-06-13T21:45:23.875Z · LW · GW

You know when you generalize about "Women", you are probably going to annoy most the females on here, who tend to be less gender-normative.

Less gender-normative being key. We're not complaining about the statistical outliers, as nice as you are, because most people aren't lucky enough to find many of them.

Comment by Articulator on Interpersonal Entanglement · 2013-06-13T21:42:58.319Z · LW · GW

Must... resist... archive binge!

Comment by Articulator on Interpersonal Entanglement · 2013-06-13T21:37:30.771Z · LW · GW

But I don't think it would be at all bad if people continued to have normal relationships, but occasionally fooled around with a catgirl on the side.

Especially when it comes to non-mutual fetishes. Why should you bring down your own satisfaction if you don't have to?

Comment by Articulator on Interpersonal Entanglement · 2013-06-13T21:27:11.047Z · LW · GW

If you have to pay them, then this is likely not satisfying their values in itself. Surely satisfying your values without dissatisfying others' is better?

Also, really? You think Dating Advice is enough?