Comment by Carmex on Raj Thimmiah's Shortform · 2021-11-15T07:05:54.624Z · LW · GW

If there's a book I begin to read and quickly fall in love with it, then I will stop reading, go back to page 1 and begin again. Sometimes I repeat this process a dozen times until I finally get to the end for the first time. This way, I can enjoy the same scenes over and over while still retaining that sense of anticipation without which the scenes would lose their something. Not sure the word for it but a scene whose ultimate consequences aren't yet fully known is somehow better than an equally stunning scene whose ultimate consequences I do know.

Not sure how this would apply to other forms of media because I've only done this with books. I read long series mostly because of how much time they take up so my above method gives me more of what I want from a book. But I watch a movie for other reasons so I don't feel the need to extend its play time.

I do have something for music though: my earbuds are very low quality, so if I've been away from my "battlestation" for a while, then I find myself quickly re-acclimating to lower quality experiences of my music. And I find that when I eventually do get back to my high quality set up, things are just that much sweeter thanks to using those trashbuds beforehand. But the music I listen to tends to be replayable in the first place!

Comment by Carmex on Alexander's Shortform · 2021-11-13T22:28:38.368Z · LW · GW

After reading your post, and seeing that crucifixion scene on youtube (now removed), I decided to go see it today (matinee). Worth it. I experienced frisson multiple times. Especially the part about the impending intentional birth of a transcendent consciousness. Though my intuition is that in reality we won't have to wait until 10,000AD for its arrival, but rather the much sooner 2026AD. The scenery is great eye candy, and wow that soundscape. I haven't read the book, so I don't know whether our protagonist (who is a very beautiful man, btw) is that prophesied-about consciousness or whether his messianic role is capped to something else. But I can tell the Emperor is intentionally laying out this path for the MC for some wider purpose ("make His paths straight!"). I did find it anomalous how the MC went from a dad's boy, to having to tag along with his mom. Usually we see the opposite, right? The whole seemingly "primitive" social structure in a far-future scifi actually makes sense to me. 

Comment by Carmex on Harri Besceli's Shortform · 2021-11-10T21:29:16.721Z · LW · GW

My intuition is that there's a limit to how aware we can be of our lived/dreamed experiences. So a real life experience may affect you X much, but you only ever have 0.1X amount of conscious access to it at any given time. On the other hand, a dreamed experiences may provide you with only 0.2X effect, which still lets you have that familiar 0.1X amount of conscious access to the experience so you won't notice in the moment of the experience any difference between a lived vs dreamed experience. But the lived experience causes a much larger overflow which can eventually be noticed, at least subconsciously. This would also explain why we can still become addicted to staying awake doing seemingly low-qualia stuff like browsing the web, instead of doing cool high-qualia stuff in dreams if we we were to just go to bed already.

In regards to the purpose of dreams, my biggest takeaway from my dreams is as a kind of signal of my decision-making in hypothetical scenarios. Sometimes I'll wake up and cringe at what I decided to do in the dream when I would have thought I would have done the more rational thing instead. That said, I will still do the rational thing if my mind can maintain its full sobriety. The dream mostly just shows me what I would do in the absence of sobriety.


For ex, one of my dreams had the typical grey aliens manipulating a group of humans to party and perform carnal activities in order to become infected by some form of future STD (perhaps to gain further control over the humans). The point was that the humans all chose to partake in the activities. Even if we were all sedated to some extent it was still considered as "consent" by whatever intergalactic government defined consent. I have many dreams like these and they were a huge wake up call that I needed to develop my decision-making habits, and ingrain them down into my psyche as deep as possible so that I would make the right choice even in a state of mental impairment.

I'm sure you're wondering this like I did: why were the aliens allowed to (partially) impair the judgement of their targets before getting their consent? My theory is that an intergalactic federation of independently-evolved civilizations will all each have their own different level of average intelligence of their own respective citizens. This leads to obvious fairness issues in intergalactic governance, but more importantly can enable a consent loophole that affects everyone else. Imagine that the citizens of the dumbest civilization that somehow still managed to join the federation has an average iq of around 50. You can then argue in court that the ridiculous contract you convinced the victims to sign is totally valid because the victims retained at least 50 iq during the act of agreement (even though the normal sober iq level of the victims is 100). After all, we let a civilization whose citizens have an average 50 iq join in federation-level decision making, so obviously 50 IQ is not too low for individual decision making either! Thus consent was attained even during mental impairment.

That leads to interesting issues about questioning whether we humans should even want to join a hypothetical intergalactic federation in the first place. What if we end up being the dumbest civilization? I don't want my mental faculties to potentially be impaired down to 100iq before I'm manipulated into singing some alien contract. At least if we don't join, then the dumbest civilization might have an average iq of 130 and I'd stand a better chance of not singing my rights away.

Comment by Carmex on Xylitol's Shortform · 2021-11-10T20:41:04.194Z · LW · GW

The common "invest my money today in order to donate more money later" rationalization might actually be a moral failure once you take into account the would-be recipients of the donation discounting the future at a greater rate than the rate of your return on investment. Assuming your morality dictates donation in the first place, of course.

Comment by Carmex on Robin Hanson's Grabby Aliens model explained - part 1 · 2021-10-11T20:28:21.548Z · LW · GW

Just because you think something is bad, doesn't make that thing bad. If you thought a billion dollar company was bad, does that make the company bad? No. The company is worth a billion dollars, which is an objective fact, regardless of your moral opinion.

Conversely, my opinion that children are good isn't just an opinion, it's an objective fact. It's an objective fact because all moral goodness necessitates the existence of children.