Jordan Peterson on AI-FOOM 2019-06-26T17:05:49.221Z · score: 4 (8 votes)
Open Thread 2018-06-23T22:49:54.339Z · score: 8 (6 votes)
What are the Best Hammers in the Rationalist Community? 2018-01-24T14:43:18.611Z · score: 40 (10 votes)
What Is Love? 2018-01-24T02:05:09.794Z · score: 11 (4 votes)
What Is "About" About? 2018-01-14T18:54:48.179Z · score: -7 (8 votes)
Weaponized Fluffy Sparkles 2018-01-12T23:08:53.221Z · score: -1 (5 votes)
Examples of Competent Political Conversation in Contrast to Nerdy Responses 2018-01-10T19:00:47.891Z · score: -14 (8 votes)
Argument As Mental Arm-Wrestling: Who Has the Best BS? 2018-01-07T18:55:02.130Z · score: 10 (7 votes)
From Rationality to Power in 3 Steps 2018-01-01T15:56:54.173Z · score: 12 (11 votes)
The True Essence of Honesty: How to Lie and Get Away With It 2017-12-30T21:39:21.524Z · score: 12 (4 votes)
Mapping the Social Mind (Buttons) 2017-12-29T20:33:41.034Z · score: 21 (10 votes)
Maps vs Buttons; Nerds vs Normies 2017-12-28T21:11:40.577Z · score: 39 (30 votes)
Rationalist Politicians 2017-12-21T23:29:44.984Z · score: 19 (11 votes)
Social Insight: Status Exchange: When an Insult Is a Compliment, When a Compliment Is an Insult 2017-08-25T03:57:03.908Z · score: 5 (5 votes)
Like-Minded Forums 2017-08-19T18:26:39.350Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth - Pt. 2 2017-08-15T00:53:19.954Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth 2017-08-11T18:28:19.462Z · score: 8 (8 votes)
Should I study hypnosis? 2017-07-30T17:11:14.776Z · score: 4 (4 votes)
What Are The Chances of Actually Achieving FAI? 2017-07-25T20:57:19.395Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
People don't have beliefs any more than they have goals: Beliefs As Body Language 2017-07-25T17:41:21.764Z · score: 12 (11 votes)
On "Overthinking" Concepts 2017-05-27T17:07:37.260Z · score: 7 (5 votes)
[stub] 100-Word Unpolished Insights Thread (3/10-???) 2017-03-10T14:12:12.627Z · score: 8 (9 votes)
Why won't some people listen to reason? 2017-02-02T02:50:19.576Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Yes, politics can make us stupid. But there’s an important exception to that rule. 2017-02-02T01:34:44.698Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
Why We Should Abandon Weak Arguments (Religious) 2017-01-20T22:30:42.431Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
On Truth, On God, and On Faith (religious (obviously)) (Atheist material for believers instead of other atheists/ attempted use of a spoonful of sugar) 2016-12-20T23:07:35.369Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
(Religion/Atheist) - Reppert on the Defeasibility Test (No (conclusive) evidence possible for a being both all-powerful and honest) 2016-12-17T21:51:50.253Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Mapping the Movements of the Mind Pt. 1 2016-12-10T16:53:38.029Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Second Insight: Repairing My "Repairs" or Aspiring to Rationality instead of "Rationality" 2016-12-09T02:27:50.251Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Why GiveWell can't recommend MIRI or anything like it 2016-11-29T15:29:24.188Z · score: 3 (11 votes)
If Atheists Had Faith 2016-11-29T15:13:00.715Z · score: -4 (5 votes)
If Atheists Had Faith 2016-11-27T21:43:50.886Z · score: -6 (7 votes)
Your Truth Is Not My Truth 2016-10-28T13:35:01.968Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
An attempt in layman's language to explain the metaethics sequence in a single post. 2016-10-12T13:57:34.375Z · score: 0 (3 votes)
Street Epistemology Examples: How to Talk to People So They Change Their Minds 2016-09-28T21:19:55.276Z · score: 2 (5 votes)
Seeking Optimization of New Website "New Atheist Survival Kit," a go-to site for newly-made atheists 2016-08-16T01:03:40.784Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Motivated Thinking 2016-08-03T23:27:16.009Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
Street Epistemology - letting people name their thinking errors 2016-07-24T19:43:43.439Z · score: 7 (7 votes)
Meetup : Bay City Meetup 2016-07-05T17:25:45.407Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Bay City Meetup 2016-06-21T19:23:14.555Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Cognitive Biases Affecting Self-Perception of Beauty 2016-05-29T18:32:29.383Z · score: 0 (13 votes)
Meetup : Ann Arbor Meetup 2016-04-08T00:34:48.614Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Dissolving Deep Questions: A Decline in Contemporary Controversy 2016-04-08T00:03:09.431Z · score: 0 (9 votes)
Meetup : Ann Arbor Meetup - singing 2016-03-22T15:42:47.968Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Ann Arbor Meetup - Meditation 2016-03-07T17:56:58.246Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
AIFoom Debate - conclusion? 2016-03-04T20:33:49.919Z · score: 11 (12 votes)
Meetup : Ann Arbor Meetup - Saturday, March 5, 7 PM, Amer's 2016-02-28T22:01:29.861Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Critique on my attempt to teach rationality 2016-02-17T04:17:35.448Z · score: 3 (6 votes)
Meetup : Ann Arbor Meetup, 2/19/16 2016-02-11T00:28:05.769Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Stupid Questions, 2nd half of December 2015-12-23T05:31:34.030Z · score: 2 (3 votes)


Comment by bound_up on Jordan Peterson on AI-FOOM · 2019-06-26T21:41:25.898Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW · GW

"once those things get a little bit smart they're not going to stop at a little bit smart for very long they're gonna be unbelievably smart like overnight. "

Celebrity opinions count for something in ways that expert opinions do not. They seem to reach more people, for one thing. That's partially because people just accept what celebrities say because they admire them, but it seems to me that it's also because celebrities tend to find ways of expressing the essence of ideas that are more accessible to laypeople.

Anyway, for whatever the reason, celebrities who openly express their opinions can make a difference, and I think we should celebrate when one of them gets something right and is willing to talk about it.

Comment by bound_up on Open Thread · 2018-06-30T09:53:29.215Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What's the exact wording and origin of the "when you don't know what to choose, choose power" quote?

Comment by bound_up on Open Thread · 2018-06-23T23:00:07.094Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm looking for a piece in the rationalist sphere, I think from 2018.

The section I remember talks about how if someone asks you what you're watching on TV, that updates your model of the world in several simultaneous ways, some true and some not. The point of the piece is that you can't "just tell the truth." No matter what you do or say, you will update people in the correct way, but also update people in other incorrect ways.

I thought it was called "You can't just tell the truth" or "The Impossibility of Just Telling the Truth" or something like this, but I'm not finding anything

Comment by bound_up on What Is Love? · 2018-01-29T20:50:13.462Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's a fine point! I think I understand pretty well why there's usually not sexual attraction between people of the same sex...If you take "love" and subtract the sex part out of it, is that what a close friendship looks like, or is there more to it than that?

Comment by bound_up on "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast" · 2018-01-25T17:12:06.415Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

An important lesson. At the same time, it can go both ways, at least, when applied broadly. Maybe the nuance to include is that slowness is for training and for learning. In the moment when you want maximum output right NOW, pushing to the limit will usually out-compete going slowly. So, methodical training, to-the-limit performance

Comment by bound_up on Hammers and Nails · 2018-01-24T15:16:35.073Z · score: 17 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I get a lot of mileage out of using Rationalist Taboo, or out of thinking about concepts rather than about words.

All of the following hot-button questions are very easily solved using this technique. As Scott Alexander points out, you can get a reputation as a daring and original thinker just by using this one thing over and over again, one of the best Hammers in the rationality community.

  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Is Islam a religion of peace?
  3. Is America a Christian nation?
  4. Is Abortion murder?
  5. But do I really love him?
  6. Does the Constitution create a wall of separation between Church and State?
  7. Is this what I should do?
  8. Are transgenders really women, or men?
  9. Was that a lie?
  10. What is a sandwich?
Comment by bound_up on What Is "About" About? · 2018-01-17T22:16:52.329Z · score: -4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I am indeed repeating myself. New descriptions and examples pointing at the same concept over and over. Is that a problem?

Comment by bound_up on What Is "About" About? · 2018-01-17T22:16:06.253Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Warp sounds right. I'm picturing an uneven lens type of thing that exaggerates some things and diminishes others as you look through it

Comment by bound_up on Examples of Competent Political Conversation in Contrast to Nerdy Responses · 2018-01-13T22:30:04.709Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you, he speaks about some very interesting things. It's possible that, as you say, he has great in-person speaking power.

Comment by bound_up on Maps vs Buttons; Nerds vs Normies · 2018-01-13T13:38:42.769Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've definitely seen exactly this in large group dynamics. In 1-on-1 conversations, or maybe even with 3 or 4 people, I've seen chill conversations where people regularly pause for maybe up to 10 seconds before being interrupted.

Comment by bound_up on Examples of Competent Political Conversation in Contrast to Nerdy Responses · 2018-01-12T02:59:06.833Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's probably fair to say Julia's good. I wasn't aware of this valentinue figure; can you recommend a video of them speaking?

Comment by bound_up on Examples of Competent Political Conversation in Contrast to Nerdy Responses · 2018-01-10T23:15:18.877Z · score: 9 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm describing two extremes, really, so no one person embodies either extreme. The question to ask when talking to someone is not "Is this person a nerd or a normal?" but rather something more like "How nerdy vs political is this person about this topic?" and then adjust your speaking accordingly so that you can cause true beliefs

Comment by bound_up on Examples of Competent Political Conversation in Contrast to Nerdy Responses · 2018-01-10T23:12:51.684Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In order to cause only true beliefs, you must understand both languages and then speak in the language of your interlocutor. As long as you talk nerdy to nerds and political to politicals, I'm not sure I see how trust might break down. That seems like a perfectly sustainable dynamic to me, but one of greater appeal and more general value.

Comment by bound_up on From Rationality to Power in 3 Steps · 2018-01-10T00:17:17.691Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, it is a sad truth that it is easier to explain a math equation to people if you're good-looking, have a nice voice, competently play social games and other things that should be, but are not (and we must come to terms with that), irrelevant

Comment by bound_up on Argument As Mental Arm-Wrestling: Who Has the Best BS? · 2018-01-08T23:19:09.289Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Excellent points. My model above happens, but it's not the only kind of argument. As usual, there's a spectrum, and I was mostly just describing one extreme of it.

It's also worth pointing out that logic or proper reasoning don't weaken this kind of argument. They're unnecessary, but if you're well-put-together enough to use them without having to stop and think, they'll make you seem all the more impressive. So, logic doesn't ruin this kind of social grandstanding; it's just not necessary

Comment by bound_up on Argument As Mental Arm-Wrestling: Who Has the Best BS? · 2018-01-07T19:27:46.011Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A wonderful example of this is Richard Dawkins (nerd) meeting with Bill O'Reilly (competent political player) at

The great point is when Dawkins uses a reductio ad absurdum to point that Bill's argument proves too much, it can be used just as well for Mithras and Thor, and Bill's response is "Man, I saw Apollo over there; he's not doing so good. You don't want to go with Apollo." PERFECT example. Repulsive nonsense; perfectly effective political rejoinder.

A nerd might think that a 10-second pause before changing the subject is no better or no worse than such an absurd reply like the above, but politically, socially, there's an immense difference. Immense. If Bill had paused, lost for words for 10 seconds, and then changed the subject, it would have made headlines and would be a famous meme to this day. The content is no different, but the content doesn't matter; the competent BSing is different, and that's what most people care about.

Comment by bound_up on From Rationality to Power in 3 Steps · 2018-01-05T11:32:07.781Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not quite sure how I've managed to give this impression. The rank-and-file, order-repeating members of most coalitions don't necessarily have any skills at all. Naturally, some do; some are personable and charming and creative and so on, but that's not my point at all. Their ability to get others to join their coalition is probably just about being good representatives of their coalition, seeming nice and powerful, while also offering status to joining members, I suppose. I think of them them as completely different from the people who decide what talking points they want the group to adopt and why, who are also probably more aware of PR needs and stuff. Those are the people who actually have to know how politics works, while most people just need to know how social interaction works and then repeat what they're told to.

Thank you for the link; I'll check it out. Writing about this stuff has garnered a great many fascinating links :)

Comment by bound_up on From Rationality to Power in 3 Steps · 2018-01-02T16:04:38.385Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As for conspiracy theories, you may well be right. My first thought is that rationalists don't make up a strong enough faction, nor do they "infect" others enough to be worth paying attention to. It's also possible that, practically speaking, you don't turn a lot of normal order-following people into rationalists, you only turn nerds into rationalists, which is hardly a loss worth noticing.

Speculation aside, as I said, I have no reason to think this is happening; I mention a prediction that this whole system would make (or, at least, what might superficially seem like an appropriate prediction) as a way of clarifying it, by addressing it from another angle.

Comment by bound_up on From Rationality to Power in 3 Steps · 2018-01-02T16:01:40.807Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I probably should have been clearer.

Good players in general are trying strengthen political coalitions in the form of political parties, special interest groups, political movements, etc. So, there's a natural push to grow each of these groups, that is, to fill them with people who will receive orders and carry them out in the form of reciting the groups talking points.

Then, the talkings come top-down, and are designed to use those groups, and the order-following, talking points-reciting pawns that make them up as vehicles to carry their vision, ie, the perception of the world that is warped to benefit them in some way.

As such, I wasn't really thinking about how to make humans into adults that follow the "orders" of their tribe; it's my impression that human are naturally tribe's-order-followers, so, no need to make the schools produce them or anything like that. The effort is focused on getting those humans into your tribe rather than into one of your competitors.

Comment by bound_up on Mapping the Social Mind (Buttons) · 2018-01-01T14:26:10.016Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, and the difficult part is to realize that the status-maximizing answers resemble descriptions of reality, so you have to be careful about interpretation, and remember to consider the status-maximizing hypothesis when you hear someone giving logically contradictory answers without caring to fix the contradictions when they find them.

Comment by bound_up on Mapping the Social Mind (Buttons) · 2018-01-01T14:23:27.293Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Insofar as we are "overthinking things," they seem to agree that they think less in certain ways. That's purely descriptive, which was my whole purpose. Normal people tend to use system 2 and abstraction less, near as I can tell.

If I were to get prescriptive, I'd agree that nerds tend to use System 2 at some times when they should use System 1. Neither system is unequivocally superior, though, since it's a spectrum, I wonder if there are some lucky souls who's dispositions land at the sweet spot in the middle.

As for calling the normal person's system of caching thoughts according to social doesn't seem very map-like to me. I mean, you can call it a map if you like, but the key distinction to understand is that at one extreme, we have an attempt to accurately describe the universe, and at the other extreme, an attempt to maximize social status, with real people falling somewhere in the middle, and the minority which are strongly biased towards accurately describing the universe called "nerds."

Comment by bound_up on The True Essence of Honesty: How to Lie and Get Away With It · 2017-12-31T16:35:44.268Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You are correct that someone is unlikely form a new belief about how the world functions or something just because they hear someone say so. On the other hand, they're very likely to form new beliefs about you, and in politics, about your fellows and your constituents, on the basis of what they hear you say.

Some things can be very clear, sure. First, I'd invite you to consider what you would do, as they say, in the least convenient possibel world. If you did have to work around impossible communication barriers that forced you to either shut up or deceive somebody, what would you do?

As for the realistic nature of this supposed situation, it's very easy to show indeed. Just think how often politicians accuse each other of "cutting" funding to some vital thing because they've proposed not increasing spending as much as some previous plan.

That's a very easily understood ambiguity for a nerd. The next one is harder.

Suppose you say you support gun control. If you're not naive, you now know that people will make many assumptions about your other stances, on taxes, abortion, and so on. They'll use one answer to infer your ingroup, and use your ingroup to deduce your other answers. Your answer will, you know, make them believe false things about your other stances. Maybe the best thing to do is weigh how many true and false beliefs will be caused by any answer you give and try to rank them somehow...

The next is worse.

Realistically, no one person can be expected to be an expert on even half the issues that, say, the president of the USA will have strong influence upon. Honestly, candidates should probably say something like "I have no idea how to solve these problems. I have a few ideas about X and Y, but, honestly, superior experts can probably think of better ideas, and I should just listen to them. My only real qualifications are, my judgment in choosing which experts to guide me, the list of goals I will try to achieve with whatever power I achieve, and my ability to play the political game in order to make those goals happen."

Refreshingly honest, self-aware, insightful, and suicidal, wouldn't you say? Nerds, and rationalists, especially, would love to hear an answer like that. But, all the insight would be lost upon political-thinking normal people, and when that's been washed out, all that would be left over would be various admissions of ignorance, which would be interpreted as admissions of weakness and inability. There are a whole host of false beliefs that such an answer would cause, but the central one would be that this candidate would suck as president.

But the gulf between this truth and even a moderately acceptable answer is so huge that you pretty much have to lie if you want to win. You could always give up on winning, seeking honesty instead, but, as discussed in the previous paragraph, that would just lead to deceiving potentially fewer people.

Comment by bound_up on Maps vs Buttons; Nerds vs Normies · 2017-12-30T09:34:34.438Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Have you ever heard someone say "Don't you trust me?" And maybe you think "What's that supposed to mean? I basically trust you to act like you've acted in the past; in your case, that means I expect you to display behaviors X and Y with great consistency, and behavior Z with moderate consistency..."

I've done that a lot. "I trust you to do XYZ," I would say. But...even at the time, I had a nagging feeling that this wasn't really what they meant. This is what I (and other nerds) mean by trust, not what they mean.

What they mean by "trust," is roughly, an expectation that someone will model their own interests with pretty good accuracy and generally work to fulfill them. They will act as an agent seeking their fully general benefit.

So, "don't you trust me?" is basically asking "don't you think I more or less know what you want and will avoid hurting you, and also will help you as it is convenient, or sometimes even inconvenient for me to do so?"

They think of trust differently, and in their sense of the word, they can be perfectly trustworthy even while displaying the political behaviors that would make them, for example, poor scientists.

Now, you've probably always felt as I did that this question is never asked except the expected answer by "yes." I have a sense that there is some significance here, probably revolving around the idea that any answer other than "yes" is an insult, for which you will be in their debt, while getting that "yes" is a way of getting your commitment, and thus, your complicance...but I have a definite sense that I don't quite understand this completely yet.

At the same time, I think I see why my old "Well, I trust you to do XYZ" actually worked pretty well for me, even if it was by accident, out of obliviousness. It's not insulting at all, but it does get me out of committing to follow their lead generally, and thus, in the specific instance that they're probably trying to get me to help them out with.

Comment by bound_up on Maps vs Buttons; Nerds vs Normies · 2017-12-29T22:01:41.703Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You seem to have already covered much of this in your own way. Thanks for the links; I'm going to look them over.

By the way, this focus on social stuff and so this what they call metarationality? I've never quite understood the term, but you seem like you might be one who'd know

Comment by bound_up on Maps vs Buttons; Nerds vs Normies · 2017-12-29T21:57:30.528Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think you're right that it's really rare. I mean, we're sort of looking for beliefs(1) about how beliefs(2) feel from the inside. They'd have to turn to the nerd side, at least, they'd have to for this one area.

My first thought is that trying to get them to dig deeper by asking them about their responses is likely to lead mostly to:

  1. Free-associating off of your words (rather than your concepts) which will randomly push their buttons, ejecting the slips of paper stored therein.
  2. Blurring the lines between what you really asked and the nearest equivalent that they already have a good answer for, and answering that instead.
  3. Shutting down the conversation once you persist long enough that it's difficult to avoid having to resort to on-the-fly production of sayings on the spot.
  4. Or, if they're really smart, they might welcome the challenge and just amuse themselves trying to come up with cool new sayings, using your words (rather than your concepts) as inspiration, sort of like the conversational equivalent of a fun impromptu jam session

Asking them to think and talk like nerds ("Come on, just for a second, please? Have you tried just not thinking like a political animal?") a tricky thing.

I think a better avenue might be to narrow the group down to those people who are nerdy in at least one area of thought, namely, the area of thought dedicated to analyzing how nerds and normal people think. Then, those people can think nerdy about:

  1. The other areas of their life, which they don't think nerdy about. Like politics or religion (the tricky part here is that they're likely to lose their detached, nerdy analysis as soon as the topic switches to something like that...)
  2. The way they used to be. That's what I'm doing, trying to remember how I used to think and distilling out the key changes which have occurred. It's tricky because my thinking has changed so much that it's hard to imagine thinking how I used to. For example, I do have an embarrassing draft of a post from when I first found LW and tried to write a justification for believing in God that avoided any errors the LW audience would pick at. I've noticed that it's very dense, unclear, yet concept-sparse. It takes forever to explain a few simple concepts, because I'm using all the rest of the space to signal my intelligence and sophistication, probably in a subconscious attempt to argue along the lines of "smart people believe in God, too, so it should be considered a respectable option among the rationalist crowd."
Comment by bound_up on Maps vs Buttons; Nerds vs Normies · 2017-12-29T14:09:07.995Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you. I do feel it's a work in progress and am hoping to produce at some point a much more understandable and thorough version

Comment by bound_up on Maps vs Buttons; Nerds vs Normies · 2017-12-29T14:08:11.319Z · score: 13 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It's dehumanizing according to nerd standards, but, then again, we're familiar with the kind of social status afforded nerds.

Which I don't mean in a "we can hit them 'cuz they hit us" sense, but merely to say that they don't think it's dehumanizing to think their way.

Normal people are the majority after all, the ones who are political through and through are both the mob and its leaders, whereas nerds tend to be political only about...most things? A lot of things? Even if they're not political for humans, they're still quite political.

Rationalists are nerdier than nerds, in this sense, since they try to take the nerd mindset into everything, essentially undoing their political instincts (politics is the mind-killer?). Does that make them more or less human?

Well, I remember how political I used to get. I feel like I've improved; I feel that undoing my political instincts and overwriting them with cold nerd reason has been good, so, according to these standards, normal people who have even more political drive than I ever did are indeed worse off.

At the same time, nerds are often called cold and...inhuman, aren't they. Which is more human, nerdiness or politics? Well, normal people think it's that political nature that defines them as humans. In a sense, they're right. Nerds are trying to do instrumentally what would be correct for any species. Truth and (non-social) power would work as well for aliens as humans, so you can't really say that nerdiness is an especially human quality, quite the opposite.

Why, then, do I feel better having nerdified myself? Well, it may be less human, but I feel it's more alive, more aware, more powerful. It's only since I've become a stronger kind of nerd that I've become powerful enough to understand why nerds have the disadvantages they do, how they come about, and (I'm working on it), how to overcome them and give nerds the best of both worlds. Learning this required becoming more nerdy, not less. Ironically, the result is that I now appear less nerdy to those normal people who only ever judged nerdiness according to social terms, because I'm undoing the tell-tale social signs of nerdiness by understanding and correcting them. So, I think it's great!

But, a lot of this learning has come from banging my head on the wall that is trying to communicate truth to normal people and realizing that they really don't care. Well, that makes us different. C'est la vie. They're not going to grant me any more social power on the basis of any of this stuff, but will do so only insofar as I learn to swim in their waters and speak their language. They, in contrast to me, think it's great to not do these things I'm so obsessed with.

As for them having no concept of truth, it's not quite as bad as all that, it's just that when we say "beliefs" or "truth," those are about social signals to them. They do have real nerd-beliefs about the weather and traffic and their jobs and so on; they have them wherever they need them to properly navigate the world which is, to them, a social world. On the other hand, they don't have them about (almost) anything if having them would decrease their social powers. They don't really care about economics (that shouldn't come as all that much of a surprise, should it? And it shouldn't sound like any great insult, either; I assure you they don't think it does; they might even take pride in not being interested in such an obviously dry, weird, nerdy subject) for all that it sounds like they do as they assure us that their ingroup's economic plan will produce well-being for all and can recite the party script as to how that should function (even if it contradicts itself).

Comment by bound_up on Rationalist Politicians · 2017-12-27T00:32:26.206Z · score: 13 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I may have a better background in this than I realize. Having been exposed to the ins and outs of city and smaller state campaigns, I've seen what it takes to win and been unimpressed with the difficulty of it. Winning even a state office of some significance will require beating opponents who are only sometimes even moderately interesting to speak or listen to (even for their constituents).

While not trivial, the strategy of running for a smaller office and then just knocking on a few thousand (of the right) doors over the months leading up to the election (and being sufficiently versed in social graces and political talk to make that exposure a boon rather than a curse) is sufficient to probably win over half the time.

My general sentiment on winning smaller offices is "It's just not that hard." But I may have underestimated how much my experience gives me; perhaps those who haven't spent their time this way assume that the to-them-black box of political campaigning holds something rather more involved.

I guess my general advice would be to look at some local, or small state offices, and check who your opponents would be in each as the campaign season comes around. You may be surprised at how un-formidable the competition is, and at how often that's the case, and come to feel, as I do, that it could probably be achieved by any old smart person willing to put in the necessary practice and work, provided they were blessed to start out with (or otherwise develop) a reasonably favorable dispensation of social ability, and can parrot (without feeling too repulsed) the necessary slogans and incoherencies.

Comment by bound_up on The Craft & The Community - A Post-Mortem & Resurrection · 2017-11-04T19:39:23.690Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

According to, my healthcare as a US citizen in the UK would be about $70 a month, or 60ish pounds, if I had to guess

Comment by bound_up on Off to Alice Springs · 2017-09-24T15:22:45.746Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hey, D_Alex.

It's been a long time, I know, but I was thinking about going to Australia. Any tips you could give for the current day?

Comment by bound_up on Open thread, September 18 - September 24, 2017 · 2017-09-24T00:38:42.161Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm thinking of going to Australia as recommended here:

It looks like the program run by a fellower LWer at is gone now?

Does anyone know if there are still people who've put together a fast track for going to work in Australia?

Comment by bound_up on Open thread, August 28 - September 3, 2017 · 2017-08-30T15:31:06.048Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm trying to find Alicorn's post, or anywhere else, where it is mentioned that she "hacked herself bisexual."

Comment by bound_up on Shit Rationalists Say? · 2017-08-30T15:22:35.420Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"My utility function includes a term for the fulfillment of your utility function."

Awww.... :)

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: Status Exchange: When an Insult Is a Compliment, When a Compliment Is an Insult · 2017-08-25T14:29:23.935Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The obvious way in my case would be to do what I'm doing here, talk in my native tongue about the foreign one I should learn.

A powerful single piece of information would have been to talk about system 1 and 2 and talk over the specific times each fails, and how I should learn to be instinctive and reactive in many social and physical activities.

Another useful thing would be to watch exactly the kind of media I once found pointless and make explicit the rules going on. Chick flicks and girl TV are great for this.

The Improv and the Theatre text would have helped, as also The Gervais Principle series.

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: Status Exchange: When an Insult Is a Compliment, When a Compliment Is an Insult · 2017-08-25T12:13:37.283Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In my case...I think the instinct was there, but was effectively missing a lot of the time because it was being drowned out by the much louder filter in my head, the one interpreting things in a much more rigid, word-based, "literal" way. The nerdy way, as I've come to think of it.

I think that was the result of my search for truth. I spent time trying to nail down exactly what things meant and so on. This interfered with my thinking about things like "what will they think I mean?" and "what do they think that word means" stuff since I had formed beliefs about the true meaning of their words and stuff.

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth - Pt. 2 · 2017-08-19T13:54:38.473Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So, more that it's not so much inaccurate as it is coming from an unnecessarily unhappy place?

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth - Pt. 2 · 2017-08-18T18:49:38.661Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Would it be fair to say you don't think the post is inaccurate so much as you think it is unkind?

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth - Pt. 2 · 2017-08-16T11:52:26.898Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's my greatest fear about this.

We're all in our social bubbles, such that some of us don't know a single Young Earth Creationist or Trump fan (or hardly do), so we reject out of turn the idea that so many humans might work this way simply because the ones we hang out with don't.

I could find a better social circle; it sounds like you have, and I don't doubt it's more enjoyable for you. But, either way, let's not forget that the people we don't hang out with still exist, and there's a reason we don't enjoy hanging out with them as much as we do people like us. There's a reason they enjoy politics and partisanship and don't want to hear about your market functions unless what you really mean is how cool some group is.

And there's a reason they're the cool ones that wield all the power.

Humanity's current expenditure of resources is pathetically misaligned with its goals, and fixing that means power.

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-16T10:09:49.632Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've classically been a literalist super-honest guy, and now intend to be super-honest about what I make the other person hear.

I think them knowing I'm being honest about what they hear is sufficient to grant me all the benefits I've enjoyed in the past, while avoiding some of the disadvantages

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth - Pt. 2 · 2017-08-16T10:03:16.273Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Try for a while. You might be surprised how easy the game becomes once you explicitly understand the rules

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-15T00:49:18.670Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm actually just starting to look into hypnosis a bit. I found a blog by an LW person at

You have any recommendations? I'm getting enough to tell there's something interesting being described, but not enough to get it quite down pat.

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-13T23:05:08.132Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That is what most people are already doing. It has its advantages and disadvantages, but there are no advantages to being oblivious to how people are thinking

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-13T01:17:55.034Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Some of what Trump says is both emotionally and empirically wrong. The concept of "emotional truth" isn't a carte blanche to claim that anything you want is "true in some way;" it's a different way of communicating, and can be used to deceive as well as inform.

Some things Trump says are empirically wrong, but emotionally true, and those I have some measure of sympathy for.

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-13T01:14:54.419Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

We're mostly on the same page, really.

Much of what I've said applies to politics with large electorates, where the default case is that you can't effectively teach new concepts and people don't want to learn them, anyway.

In small groups, by all means, there are times when it's a very powerful move to try and teach people. There are even times, in all arenas, where saying "I'm better than you" is a useful move, you just don't want to be limited to that one move.

I also strongly value being honest and known to be honest. I find "you're the best" statements to be acceptable insofar as the other person KNOWS what I mean and is not deceived in any way. The key insight here is that the explicit meaning of the words is not the real meaning of a statement in many contexts. Don't ask what the words of a sentence mean, ask what it means for someone to say those words in this situation, in other words. "You're the best" doesn't actually mean "I would bet money on you against Muhammad Ali," and nobody thinks it does, which is why it doesn't communicate any false information. It doesn't communicate ANY information about how the world works, nor does it try to; it's more like the verbal equivalent of a shot of caffeine

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-12T18:19:40.699Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Suppose that a vast group of statements that sound (they really, REALLY sound) like propositions about economic cause and effect are ALL interpreted by a great many people always and only as either "Yay blues" or "Boo blues."

In that case, your ability to tell the truth is limited by their way of filtering your statements, and your ability to tell lie is equally hampered. All you can do is decide whether to say Yay or Boo or not say anything at all (which will also often be interpreted one way or the other if you're involved in politics). It is an illusion that you're saying something about the minimum wage, for example. All you're really saying is "Yay blues!" as far as a great many people are concerned.

And if you're aware of this and count on it, you can choose to use statements that way on purpose, such that that IS all you're really saying.

This is most of politics.

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-12T18:15:58.706Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think you've hit upon one of the side effects of this approach

All the smart people will interpret your words differently and note them to be straightforwardly false. You can always adjust your speaking to the abilities of the intelligent and interested, and they'll applaud you for it, but you do so at the cost of reaching everybody else

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-11T21:28:30.718Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Supposing that Y is the correct answer to a question, but you are incapable of communicating it to Y, some kind of less or differently true substitute must be used, in terms of the language that they speak and understand

Comment by bound_up on Social Insight: When a Lie Is Not a Lie; When a Truth Is Not a Truth · 2017-08-11T19:17:16.331Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can you say it again while tabooing "lie?"

My guess is that you're saying that if X says something that they know will be interpreted as abc, then it is a lie even if abc is true, if X personally interprets the statement as xyz, or perhaps if the "true" meaning of the thing is xyz instead of abc

Comment by bound_up on The dark arts: Examples from the Harris-Adams conversation · 2017-08-11T17:55:30.754Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The dialogue about Trump on climate change is a perfect example of how most people think in opposition to how careful, abstract nerdy-types think.

To a nerd, it's a crucial distinction to say something like while we may not, based on economic models, want to do anything about it, it is an entirely separate question whether or not global warming is actually occurring.

A great many people will not make that "fine" distinction. All they can hear is "yay my tribe" and "boo my tribe." If that's all they can understand, then is it really a lie to say something that you know will be interpreted as "yay you guys?"

I would say it's a lie to say something you know the other person will misinterpret in a way that leads them to a wrong conclusion, even if the way you would interpret it is true. The counterpart is that it's not a lie to say something that you know will be interpreted an acceptably true way ("yay you guys" is not true or false per se) even if the way you would interpret it is false.

Scott Adams understands the folly of trying to make fine distinctions about political issues when talking to most people, so he, just like them, interprets Trump's statement as a partisan rallying cry, and excuses it on the basis of consequentialism (he seems to think it's okay not to do anything about global warming). As far as he and they are concerned, there's nothing about that statement that CAN be "true" or "false;" it has all the informational density of a hearty "yay!"

Comment by bound_up on Should I study hypnosis? · 2017-07-31T13:11:16.188Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, Jimmy. Sounds great!