Comment by donjoe on Terminal Values and Instrumental Values · 2016-10-17T23:58:36.105Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm noticing this very late, and I'm going to be off-topic, but I still have to stop to note that there's no such thing as "IP", not in actual laws (unless they've been infected by this term very recently and I just haven't found out about it). It's a bogus name lumping together things that the law does not lump together at all, a term invented purely for use in corporate propaganda, nothing more.

Comment by donjoe on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2016-10-09T09:30:22.697Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

More developments on the vibratory mechanisms of consciousness:

Comment by donjoe on How to Beat Procrastination · 2014-08-21T21:19:55.126Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the relationship Sapolsky described wasn't linear, it was more like a bell curve. And no, he doesn't cite any particular study in that lecture, so all I have is his word on this one. I guess you could just ask him. :)

Comment by donjoe on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2014-07-04T22:30:44.539Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This sounds like it might be helpful for people who encountered the same problem as I did in trying to apply DavidM's method, namely knowing what to expect (or whether to expect anything) as a result of performing the first-phase meditative exercises:

It would seem that having a purpose or expecting a result could be the very thing that prevents you from getting that result, in certain phases or aspects of meditation.

Comment by donjoe on How to Beat Procrastination · 2014-05-18T15:47:17.296Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, the Expectancy (probability of success) component is not that simple: you don't just maximize it to maximize motivation. As Robert Sapolsky shows in "The Uniqueness of Humans" (, motivation is proportional to the dopamin spike you get when you start to consider performing a task, and the dopamin spike is highest the closer your estimated probability of success is to (something like) 50%! The amount of dopamin produced when you consider starting a task that you have 25% or 75% chances of succeeding at will be significantly lower than for the 50%-chance task. So it's not that you need to be certain about your success, it's that you need to be pleasantly challenged, somewhere midway between "I'm so gonna fail" and "I'm so sure I can do this I find it absolutely boring" (though this sweet spot may not be at exactly 50% for everyone).

Comment by donjoe on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2013-01-26T16:47:47.721Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The first time I read this article I immediately thought that if this strange notion of "vibrations of consciousness" has any overlap with reality, it must have a lot to do with what we otherwise know as "brain waves", because those happen to have the same frequencies associated with the "vibrations" in the article and the comments: 7-10-20 Hz (which seems consistent with beta and alpha waves, i.e. meditative states and normal wakefulness).

Well, it seems that lately science is struggling to prove my association right:

Comment by donjoe on Terminal Values and Instrumental Values · 2012-05-13T07:21:47.970Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"instrumental values have some strange life of their own, even in a normative sense. That, once you say B is usually good because it leads to C, you've committed yourself to always try for B even in the absence of C. People make this kind of mistake in abstract philosophy"

... not to mention economics, where some people confuse the instrumental goal of "maximizing profit" with a terminal goal - instead of using something like "maximizing the total Human Quality of Life" - and end up opening car doors obsessively, all day every day, and preaching that everyone should do the same, no matter what pathological consequences that leads to or how far that takes them from any higher purpose they might agree with when pressed with enough "but why?" questions.

Comment by donjoe on Feeling Rational · 2012-05-01T09:44:02.053Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"our emotions arise from our models of reality. If I believe that my dead brother has been discovered alive, I will be happy"

Fallacy of the single cause. Knowledge of the physical fact of his being alive does not completely determine your response of being happy, many other things come into this, of which at least a few are non-rational. Maybe your brother is a convicted serial killer who recently escaped from detention, killed a few more people according to his old habits and is now reported to be alive only by virtue of having escaped a police hunt through the nearby forest (with officers ordered to shoot on sight). Yet still you may be happy to hear he's alive (and here comes the usual explanation people give, the real explanation) "because he's your brother". This is considered to be the most important factor in your being happy in this case - "because he's your brother" - and it encodes some non-rational baggage together with some arguably rational things (like an evolutionary preference to support the survival of your kin's genes etc.).

The fact is that any human preference results from multiple causes and at least one of those will always be non-rational (which is to say I don't know of even one single example where this was not the case) and will open said preference to being labelled "non-rational".

Reason is just a tool. Before you decide what to use the tool for, you have to have non-rational preferences about which things to even try to do. For example, first you have the non-rational desire to predict the future behaviour of physical systems with high accuracy and only afterwards do you employ rational methods to achieve that (which leads to science). The only rational part is what you're doing after you've established your fundamental goal. The fundamental goal itself can't be rational insofar as it can't be derived logically from any antecedents. Even if your desire to predict things was based on your desire to survive and even if the desire of the individual to survive could be justified on the basis of the evolutionary goal for the species to survive, you still end up at a point where you can no longer offer any justifications. Why should your species survive and not others? Maybe you think your species has the highest capacity of ensuring the survival of life-in-general in the universe for the longest time? But even then, why should life-in-general survive? Just because. Non-rationally. :)

Comment by donjoe on How to Beat Procrastination · 2011-09-28T08:12:15.378Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

While I don't have subscriptions to all those journals, so I can't check exactly what those studies proved and didn't prove, all I can say is that this example: "filling gyms during in the pre-dawn hours" tells me we're still not talking about the same thing, i.e. mental energy. I think there's a big difference between feeling physically energetic on one hand and feeling mentally focussed and creative on the other.

Also, while I find it easy to accept that there are two kinds of people as mentioned above, I will still be looking for explicit proof that "most people" are "morning larks", like the original quote said.

Thanks for your patience.

Comment by donjoe on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-08-01T22:33:29.530Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think there's an even better description of my concept of "many-I's-consciousness" in the first part of this clip: than in Gurdjieff's rather religious writings. I was pleasantly surprised tonight to finally find my suspicions about how consciousness really works confirmed by someone who claims to have done their scientific homework.

Comment by donjoe on The limits of introspection · 2011-07-21T15:16:30.999Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Has this been tested on experienced meditators? Maybe you need to introspect for months or years, and by special methods, before you get at least decent at it.

Comment by donjoe on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-07-19T06:29:38.452Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So vibrations will not necessarily be observed by everyone doing this kind of meditation? Well how are stage 1 newbies supposed to keep their hopes up during their practice if the main marker of stage 2 isn't a sure thing even if you're doing everything right?

Comment by donjoe on How to Beat Procrastination · 2011-07-12T06:36:15.518Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"but most people have the most energy during a period starting a few hours after they wake up and lasting 4 hours"

There's no way this is true. Mentally, you're much slower in the morning than the evening. In fact, for optimal intellectual functioning, your body temperature has to be at its highest, not at its lowest and thus you're most productive in the last 4 hours before going to bed rather than the first after rising. I've had other programmer colleagues confirm this to me: how they feel twice as productive at the end of the day than at the beginning and my own experience is the same.

So your statement is simply the opposite of how reality works or there's more human diversity out there than either of us realizes. :)

Comment by donjoe on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-05-11T12:09:45.122Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Am I missing something? Why don't the practical instructions lead up to the final stage of "enlightenment" and instead stop at "partial enlightenment"? Is there a further stage after #4 that might be even more dangerous than #3 and that you don't think is safe to describe to anyone who isn't already at #4?

Unrelated question: Does this "enlightenment" include any experience/realization of the sort described in Gurdjieff's "Fourth Way" as the "many 'I's"? That hypothesis seems very plausible to me given the structure of the brain as subdivided into lobes that subdivide into circuits that subdivide into neurons. At my current level of understanding, I like to think of the "ego" as the locus of the majority of your neural activation potentials, continuously flowing around from circuit to circuit (according to the rules imposed by the particular structure of your brain at a given time), with some circuits able to take control of your body and others not. This would mean that what you call "I" is actually various things, successively: "I am John's hurt feelings", "I am John's desire for revenge", "I am John's intention to put revenge into practice", "I am John's action plan manager" etc. Sometimes the "many 'I's" could even be concurrently active, which in common terms might be experienced as being conflicted about something, or being "of two minds".

Comment by donjoe on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 1 of 3) · 2011-05-04T13:50:26.910Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, that's one of the main things this article leaves me hoping to see fully explained in future installments or comments: the term "attachment". Until I understand what you mean by it, I can't have a snowflake's hope in hell of determining whether it's something that afflicts me or that I might want to get rid of (by your method or by any other).

Comment by donjoe on Configurations and Amplitude · 2011-02-10T11:18:29.247Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"we send some photons toward the half-silvered mirror, one at a time, and count up how many photons arrive at Detector 1 versus Detector 2 over a few thousand trials. The ratio of these values is the ratio of the squared moduli of the amplitudes. But the reason for this is not something we are going to consider yet."

OK, but I'd still like to see a little link or something here that takes me straight to the next article where this is properly dealt with, since this seems to be the biggest gap in understanding that the current article leaves open: over and over you tell us that there are no actual probabilities involved in the phenomena at the level of the territory, yet in my quote you have exactly a probabilistic description, with multiple trials that arbitrarily yield one of the two possible results, in stark conflict with the rest of your explanation which tells us the same thing is actually happening each time (the amplitudes are always the same).

The tiniest extra hint would do a world of good here (or at the end of the article): is it that quantum impurities always stray unpredictably into our experimental setups in the real world and actually change the amplitudes involved? Or what?

Comment by donjoe on Frequentist Statistics are Frequently Subjective · 2010-09-27T21:02:11.928Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And while on the subject of confidence values and misuse of statistics in science, this should prove an interesting read: