Posts

Comments

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on The topic is not the content · 2021-07-24T07:38:25.521Z · LW · GW

Replace "content" with "process" and this makes sense to me.

"content" and "topic" are not synonymous, for me of course.
But "topic" is like the headline and "content" is the text below it.
So both deal very much with the subject matter.
But also you use "content" synonymously with "topic" informally.
In a pars-pro-toto/totum pro tarte-way.
So this whole article feels super-confusing.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Working hurts less than procrastinating, we fear the twinge of starting · 2021-02-28T00:00:42.147Z · LW · GW

"I think it's flinching away from the pain of the decision to do the work - the momentary, immediate pain of (1) disengaging yourself from the (probably very small) flow of reinforcement that you're getting from reading a random unimportant Internet article, and (2) paying the energy cost for a prefrontal override to exert control of your own behavior and begin working."
 

alternative theory:

It is not the pain of disengaging from the flow of reinforcement.
It is only reinforcing because it's the best way to self-lobotomize temporarily.
This is internal warfare and you are getting scorched-earth because the rest of your brain thinks you need to be put down HARD. This is necessary because your stupid plan leads nowhere incredibly fast.
There is actually no pain at all if you really pay attention.
But it feels like there would be pain. This is aversion.
There shouldn't be aversion. You shouldn't need to do a prefrontal override in the first place.
[nor should the rest of the brain need to fight you with scorched earth tactics]
The aversion arises because you have conditioned yourself to think when good strategy demands action instead.

lemme explain:
Your brain is trying to minimize prediction errors. [Friston tells us, that's all that brains really do]
The problem of procrastination is allowing yourself to think when thinking is not a viable strategy in minimizing prediction errors.
Thinking about doing/not doing/how to do "procrastination-object" is not creating any useful predictions, at all.
Without having started on the "procrastination object" yet, the space to predict is impossibly large.
Forcing yourself to think about it [because of course, you think you should], you short the system out and you flinch. Your brain correctly predicts that there is no more value in higher cognition and seeks a healthier more agreeable alignment between prediction and observation, by dumbing it down. Hard.
[or rather internal coalitions rebel against higher cognitive incompetence and overpower it]
So you become feral and play video games. [or read LessWrong and write comments, of course]

The solution is to do things without thinking. Just do it! How trite, I know....
But let me be more precise:
Start unthinkingly with your first guess and DO NOT QUESTION IT! 
Whatever heuristic you use, it probably won't be trash. 
And if it is, rely on an internal meta-heuristic to calibrate the second.
And certainly don't meta-question, if "procrastination object" is the best possible action, because asking the meta-question is definitely NOT the best possible action.
Soon enough, your first "dumb" actions will have massively cut down the option space and higher cognition becomes a viable strategy again.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Public transmit metta · 2021-02-15T00:23:50.741Z · LW · GW

My only experience with metta was in a 1-dollar store. 

Looking around at all the different useful things I could buy having to spend very little, the thoughtfulness with which it was all laid, organic but not messy, everything easily discoverable out for scatterbrained people like me. 

The gentleness of the implied "here's the thing you need, and also two other little things that you didn't know about, but make life a little easier in those hard times".

I was thinking about the global supply chains, the factories, the stores, the organization of it, the people that make it all possible.

And I was overcome with love for the great venture of capitalism, our shared, collective undertaking to overcome scarcity and suffering and make this world nice!

Actually just remembering it, brings tears to my eyes.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Sequence introduction: non-agent and multiagent models of mind · 2021-02-15T00:00:14.123Z · LW · GW

Yeah, that used to bother me too, when I learned about multi agent theory and pondering it, I of course pointed my attention inwardly, trying to observe it.

Then agents arose and started talking with each other, arguing about the fact that they can't tell if they're actually representatives of underlying structures and coalitions of the neural substrate or just one fanciful part, that's engaged in puppet phantasy play. Or what the boundaries between those two even are.

Or if their apparent existence is valid evidence for multi-agent theories being any good. Well, I suppose I wasn't bothered, they were bothered :) I/They just really badly wanted a real-time brain scan to get context for my perceptions.

Eventually, I embraced the triplethink of operational certainty [minimizes internal conflict, preserves scarce neurotransmitters], meta doubt, and meta-meta awareness, that propositions that can be expressed in conscious language can't capture the complexity of the neural substrate, anyway.

All models are wrong, yet modeling is essential.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Most kinds of noise stress me out a lot, and I have a strong preference for silence. I tend to quickly notice quiet environments. Does this occur to anyone else? Any idea why? · 2021-02-14T22:56:00.249Z · LW · GW

Well ADHD is comorbid/associated with stuff like that. Makes sense, ADHD is a specific kind of brain damage in five specific regions. Effects of brain damage can be diverse and random. [in addition to the more common predictable ADHD effects]

As to why? Nature is lazy and your brain is "good enough" to exist as is, even if the internal wiring is a mess.
[there is probably a better answer in the linked wiki article though]

Very rarely I feel what you feel, and what I believe to some kind of underlying sensory processing disorder
When I didn't get enough sleep, noises can become overwhelming and music at the gym is so distressing all of a sudden, that I leave immediately. Normally I just avoid loud environments and can't concentrate with laptop fan noise (if the frequency is too high or it's too loud). 
And I just dislike music (but can tolerate) music from Bluetooth speakers.
 

Probably being semi-deaf whilst a toddler made something not calibrate right.
But instead, I just live with constant songs stuck in my head, constant running mental dialog or daydreams. 
With the inability to really filter, parts of my brain adapted by trying to be louder than the noise. [these days much it's less bad, with stimulants for the ADHD and loads of meditation over the years]

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on The ecology of conviction · 2021-02-14T22:12:04.873Z · LW · GW

But I would like to add, that criticism can be constructive and affirming.
"Yes and" is also criticism, but it extends. "Yes but" affirms some of it. "Actually yes, but it's more subtle than that....." is also constructive, if the subtlety is explained.
Affirmation of "this is great!" isn't actually all that rewarding.
After all, you as the author already knew that. 
Also beware of wrong assuming as negativity what is actually blablabla nurture culture vs combat culture and so forth.... 
 

Let's talk about enthusiasm, though:
Enthusiasm for any idea is fleeting.
You might be enthusiastic about an idea when it just occurs to you and maybe you can tell the person who's next to you at that moment and infect them with your enthusiasm, too.
But thru the process of writing an idea down, you must put it into words. 
By creating an external representation, you get a clearer picture of it.
Perhaps now you can see hidden flaws and subtleties.

Even if all that reflection doesn't change your understanding, you habituated yourself to the idea, so it will lose its grip over your dopamine system. Or from a different perspective, you lose the ability to find it beautiful.
Do you really own your idea, when you're still enthusiastic about it, or does it own you?
Wrong question,  because you're in playful exploration mode, where this is not a useful frame.

But writing things down when you're still exploring it, is premature.
Writing is best for when you're sure about an idea and know its nuances, strengths, and weaknesses very well.
An idea matures if you sleep over it. Ponder it. Reflect on it.
Only then you can skillfully shape its presentation.

This is a problem of course. When you are most enthusiastic about something, you want to share it.

But..... I have written things, that I was enthusiastic about writing, but then later they weren't well-written or well-argued. Sometimes you come back to your writing and it's simply too verbose and in that spir

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Killing the ants · 2021-02-08T15:21:33.599Z · LW · GW

"It’s easy to push the harm we do, or that we risk, outside of our zone of awareness; to live with, or to strive for, a false sense of purity, propped up by attention only to what can be readily seen, or to what registers, by the standards of everyday conscientiousness and social reproach, as “intentional.” "

Small-animal deaths matter as much to me as whether I have an odd or uneven number of hairs on my head.
Certainly, something I could pay attention to as an intellectual exercise, but it's not something that naturally registers as being related to right or wrong action.

You should not claim that people are this way because they strive for a sense of "false purity", though.
This "sense of purity" (or a feeling desire for it, or feeling a lack of it) is simply not a universal human experience.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Taking money seriously · 2021-02-02T14:04:46.222Z · LW · GW

If people who don't understand the value of money (!!!), the role of plastics and of oil..... in other words, foolish, ignorant people who don't understand much of how our world works, believe a thing to be "A Very Important Thing", this is direct evidence that this belief is also wrong.
You are correct that competence and gaining knowledge is different from getting social status or power in such circles. 
You are incorrect, that such activism can be a force for good, rather than a purely destructive force.

A good heuristic that such policies, that have (wannabe) mass movements behind them, consisting of passionate, morally righteous, and fact-ignorant True Believers are evil.
A good take on this here:
https://samzdat.com/2017/06/28/without-belief-in-a-god-but-never-without-belief-in-a-devil/

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Notes on Judgment and Righteous Anger · 2021-01-31T00:09:29.915Z · LW · GW

The Stoic case is in contradiction of the idea of Aristotle's idea of the "golden mean".
The passions are in contradiction to virtue, because in order to act reasonably, your judgement must not be clouded by emotion. Virtuous anger is thus a contradiction.
Their advice would be to excise it immediately as it impairs the soundness of mind required for rational action.
Seneca's "On Anger" makes this case citing examples from his times, nuances of anger, possible counterarguments and why they're wrong, why Aristotle is wrong.....

[tried to write the same argument using Friston's free energy principle, and mood as computational context supplying priors, but I got bored with it....]

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on New Empty Units · 2021-01-27T21:34:24.026Z · LW · GW

Robinson's example is off:

Ok, a tenant lives in a unit.
City A demolishes the old 30-unit building, builds a high-rise 100-unit building instead.

30 old unit tenants get evicted, since their original 30 units need to get demolished. 
20 new rich families move from their old units to new units from within the city.
Their 20 former units in the city will then be on the market again, available for someone else.
So far, the new building has caused -10 new available units to city-dwellers so far.

30 more people move into the city, but wouldn't have moved there, if this new building did not exist.
So we might say: they are not adding more unit-space for the poor local residents.
And in our little model it does not.
We are still at -10 units supply impact of this new development.

However, those 30 other tenants must have come from somewhere, let's call it city B.
City B will now have 30 more units on the market.
So the problem is now a prisoner's dilemma.
If city A does not impose any restrictions on doing the 30->100 switch and city B does not do it, 
then it'll all average out to +20 new units on the market, for each city.

Now for those remaining 50 units owned by people, who don't live in them.....
uhm..... yeah I dunno. 
The issue is framed as rich people creating an externality for financial gain.
But how could owning a unit, that is not lived in and not rented out to other tenants be profitable, 
if building supply in general is not restricted?
This sounds like the issue is only caused by restrictions like this in the first place.
Even if not, those same 50 rich people would presumably have a need for fifty units in city A.
So unless there is a law that prevents them from buying in units in city A, not building the 100 unit high-rise would still be worse, since they'd presumably just buy 50 already existing units instead which would be empty.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Non-Coercive Perfectionism · 2021-01-27T21:03:04.237Z · LW · GW

Yeah, fair enough. Probably was typical-minding.
I just want my actions to result in excellent things quickly.
And the frustration and demotivation when that is not working out, is something I can relate to.
But that's not perfectionism?

I personally don't experience all those things you mentioned, though.
Sounds downright alien, this guilt thing and all this obsession with shoulds and musts.
Or worrying about meeting expectations from boss/God/parents/whatever.
It sounds rather exhausting.

Btw, that penultimate line: "Use @byronkaties The Work to explore." seems out of place. 
Is that a Twitter-thing?

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Non-Coercive Perfectionism · 2021-01-27T12:23:34.769Z · LW · GW

"Perfectionism as a stubborn, sentimental and arrogant attachment to ones own high standards" is not my explanation for when I get stuck with spending excessive amounts of time trying to force marginal returns.
But a simple reframe is not a solution, because high standards are not the problem.

I think marginal returns being sub-optimal is obvious enough when it happens and "opportunity cost" is a cool word that humans probably understand instinctually, so I don't know if this is a plausible explanation of the root cause.

Marginal returns for effort become quickly obvious to me, yet I cannot stop myself from expending it, anyway, which adds to the frustration!
I think this issue has nothing to do with something abstract like guilt or values, but from logistical issues at a lower level of the stack. 

I flinch away from updating my plans when hitting marginal returns, because I am instinctively afraid of the sheer complexity of the inherent uncertainties of planning. 
Broadening the scope of my awareness again, reincluding original assumptions, actions and schedules decided on, comparing it with what just happened and how it is evidence for/against for modified or entirely new relevant assumptions and having to define new actions and schedules..... going back to that level of uncertainty, that's extremely difficult, when you are semi-comfortable with the certainty of executing one thing after another and doing only minimal, adaptive course changes.

I do not think that you are really attached to the planned outcomes, in as much you are attached to the flow of "knowing what to do".
And mode switches like that are cognitively expensive.
Worse yet, the actual cost is mostly opaque to you, since you can't see dopamine concentration and other neurotransmitter levels in real time [even if you could perfectly interpret them], and under uncertainty you're more risk-avoidant. 
The risk being, that you get derailed entirely and neither plan for nor act on and in fact, completely forget your original intention.

[my argument makes too many inferential leaps, I noticed, this is a summary of something that I would need more time to write; though I'm happy to elaborate on specific points]

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on What is your electronic drawing set up? · 2020-10-14T11:47:52.976Z · LW · GW

I sent the book cover for the Tab S6 back, because the shortcuts are stupid. Like I can't press super+d, I have to press super first, then d. But I'm using a G915 TKL with it, and it doesn't have that problem. (switching between computer and blueeoth/tablet mode is extremely quick)
I don't quite understand the shift+space issue. As I also type fast, but never noticed pressing both keys at the same time. Maybe it's also not a practical issue with an external keyboard, as the book cover is just wonky as heck.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on The Sun Room · 2020-10-13T16:58:27.168Z · LW · GW

other keys:
Modafinil, if that doesn't work.... more Modafinil. (combine with coffee)
Stage 8 of The Mind Illuminated. (Prasrabdhi/mental pliancy practice; obviously you'll have to do stages 1 to 7 first, though)
Fully implementing GTD.

Liberally combine all of the above, have fun.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Thoughts on ADHD · 2020-10-12T17:34:28.956Z · LW · GW

[epsitemic status: mainly paraphrasing what Dr. Barkley is saying in those videos (worth watching!), maybe look deeper into the research for the claims he makes for a better/more precise understanding of the science, but that's above my paygrade/interests]

No, from my understanding, ADHD is a single trait, that specifically affects those five affected brain regions, predictably leading to specific deficits in executive function. 
those are:
Right Frontal Lobe (Orbital Prefrontal Cortex) 
Basal Ganglia (Mainly Striatum and Globus Pallidum) 
Cerebellum (central vermis area, more on right side) 
Anterior Cingulate 
Cortex Corpus Callosum (Primary Anterior Splenium)

And ADHD is also shown to be hereditary.
So ADHD is best understood as an alternative neurological phenotype, given the prevalence, not an uncommon one.
[Barkley doesn't put it like that, but that part is just semantics]

You can't spot the difference in an individual, because there's too much variance in how brains usually look like/different areas are sized, but this "five affected brain regions"-pattern becomes apparent, when they looked at scans of a lot of people having the ADHD diagnosis and people who don't have it.

You can focus on the "disorder"-part of the word, but whether it gets in your way enough to be diagnosed and called a disorder, strongly depends on your coping skills, your environment and also your goals.
For example, if your life is about being an idle rich person, who surfs on the beach and lazes around all day, there's no need to get you on Ritallin.

But put someone in a school setting or work place where they must pay attention, they'll have difficulty meeting expectations in a very predictable manner.

And also there's presumably a second disorder called SCT, which is posited as being a second "Execuitve Disorder"-disfunciton, where people are slow and very dreamy.
And that can appear with, but also independent of ADHD (and ADHD doesn't have to include SCT).
But also also, people don't like SCT, because try diagnosing someone's kid with "Sluggish Cognitive Tempo"-disorder without calling them stupid. 
[ADHD doesn't have a correlation to IQ, SCT I'm not sure..... also those labels are somewhat controversial and not everyone will use the same methodology, cause psychiatry is a sprawl]

And having ADHD increases risk of having other mental disorders, but this can partly be blamed on failing so hard, because you have ADHD. 
[a life of constant failure isn't great for the psyche and all that, but maybe it's the different neurology too]

 

EDIT:
Also apparently 1/3 of ADHD cases happen because of a neuro strep-infection causing an autoimmune reaction that destroys those parts, during pregnancy. If that's the case, there's a high likelihood of seizures, too. Those acquired cases seem to also be lumped together. Won't claim I fully understand, if/why that makes sense.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Thoughts on ADHD · 2020-10-10T22:58:34.377Z · LW · GW

There is a known physiological cause, though. A 30% smaller brain volume/developmen than appropriate for your age in five distinct brain regions.
There's also consideration of splitting apart SCT and ADHD. And of course, there's common comorbidities.
And personally I believe, ADHD genes are just executing a high-variance strategy. [as being mildly brain-damaged leads to interesting neurological adaptations and tradeoffs]

source:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2u8E5UqEHU&list=PLLZlFL4q6WTGKUsTMdHQ4l4Gu01lqEy8g&index=23 

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Thoughts on ADHD · 2020-10-10T11:40:48.800Z · LW · GW

Agreed, there is no "decision theory/rationality under ADHD coherence constraints". There should be, though. 
In a sense, you learn to make it up for yourself, as you go along.

11.
You can mentally construct chains of necessary actions quickly and get a feeling of pleasurable productivity from doing so. It's not much trouble to folow the association chains, circle back to the problem and even have a very thorough plan!

However, then executing that plan is boring, so it won't get done.

12.
Extreme variance in motivation during the day; motivation is dependent on stimulant use and hidden, difficult to manage variables like "dopamine availability".
When you don't have it, you're also not motivated to deal with it.

13. [your 1, I think]
Dazed, low consciousness states where nothing gets done and you mindlessly follow the dopamine gradient. The so called "hyperfocus". [watching YouTube/playing video games/online chat/commenting on LessWrong...... damnit!]
Pretty sure, you could actually see less areas lighting up when neuroimaging.
Rejection-sensitivity? Not sure what it has to do with rejection. It's just that what I find important when I'm properly "with it" will not occur to me. Even if it does, it won't seem "plausible/meaningful" and be crowded out by stronger associations.

It's not so much that the utility function changes, but more like your utility function not being loaded, leaving you in a default, feral state. 
There might be vague awareness of this not being right at times, but there's no surefire way of fully waking up. Taking more stimulants might help, but can also fuel a more fun, extended "hyperfocus"-episode.

 

14.
Trouble is, you often can make plans just fine, but you might as well not bother, since you won't be able to know if/when you're going to be properly "awake" to execute them.

15.

Computer use is absolutelly necessary, but also extremely risky.

16.

Load times of a couple seconds or less are often enough to lead you to do another more engaging thing to do on the computer. Software and webpages satisfice hard for "acceptable speed", that can easily break your flow and disrupt concentration.

--

Not that those things are insurmountable. They are just very difficult, because you have to guard and manage your consciousness state from constant memetic threats trying to grab your extension. Internal (earworms, intrusive memories from TV shows, daydreaming, thinking thru random problems) and external (the internet, recommendations).
The digital world is actively hostile to an ADHDers coherence and there's no best practices for guarding against it yet.
I'm working on it, though.

Comment by David Gretzschel (david-gretzschel) on Comparative Advantage is Not About Trade · 2020-09-24T20:34:10.546Z · LW · GW

Baudel is criticizing Ricardo's model of "comparative advantage", which only has two agents, Home and Foreign.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage#Ricardian_model
Ricardo criticizes "comparative advantage" specifically for being too simple.

Your supposed explanation of it involves inland farmers, salt miners and English merchants connecting the two. This is indeed more complicated than Ricardo and thus seems to address Baudel's supposed confusion, but it also has nothing to do with Ricardo's model of "comparative advantage".

It simply does not make sense to say that there is an "underlying comparative advantage" between the salt miners and the farmers, since they're not trading with each other, they're each just trading with the merchant.

The merchant has an "absolute advantage" in "transported salt" over the farmers. The salt miners can't offer "transported salt", since they're in the "salt-mine salt" business.
"Salt mine salt" is completely worthless to the farmers, since their farms aren't where the salt mines are.
The English merchant by the act of transport, turns worthless (to the farmers) "salt-mine salt" into valuable "transported salt".
And if the English can force a monopoly over the river, sinking every non-English salt-trader who would turn "salt-mine salt" into "transported salt", this model also involves coercion.
 

A mercantilist ruins the potential for "comparative advantage" by slapping on import taxes, which is also coercive.
Ricardo assumes a free market, and shows that "comparative advantage" is also specifically the gain only a free market can provide. 

Just look how nice Portugal and England are to each other, seamlessly cooperating to maximize wine, cloth and minimize hours spent! Everybody gets richer without any coercion by being nice to each other. It shows that something beautiful would be lost, if England raised import taxes on Portugues wine and how it doesn't serve English interests. And that Portugal would lose by raising import taxes on English cloth, as well.

That's why classical economics is part science, part humanitarian philosophy.

Also the wiki article doesn't mention pareto or pareto-optimal or optimization. So I'm guessing you're confused what "comparative advantage" means, rather than Baudel.