Comment by epigeios on How to learn soft skills · 2016-05-14T08:35:06.665Z · LW · GW

Soft skills are hard. I'm extremely good at learning soft skills. I try as hard as I can to teach one whenever someone desires one, but they're damn near impossible to teach. I've thus far only been successful at teaching someone how to do something related, in a way that their mind can grasp and run with, so that a few years later they will have developed the soft skill "on their own" (At which point, they will be doing exactly as I said exactly how I told them to, and they will tell me about this cool new thing they figured out how to do, and question why I didn't ever tell them to do it that way).

So rather than teach how to learn soft skills, I'm going to describe a few of the most useful soft skills I have.

  • Maximize information input in a way that maximizes timeless usability. It works like this: prioritize observations in opposite order. The observation with the highest priority is the observation that is most distant from the desired observation while still being distantly related. The observation with the lowest priority is the observation that was first intended. For example: when performing a scientific experiment, the lowest-priority observation is the result of the experiment. Literally everything you could possibly observe related to the experiment is of higher priority than the direct result of the experiment. The reason for this is that distant observations have a tendency to be more useful for the future than direct observations.
  • Minimize friction to maximize usability at detail. When welding, move the welding rod and heating device at the exact rate that keeps the rod molten, and the welding pieces not-molten. When using a common carbon fiber dremel cutting blade on metal, move the blade through the metal at the exact rate that just barely melts the metal in the direction of the cut. When hammering a nail, make the nail move at a consistent rate that is fast enough to slide past the wood, but slow enough to not split the wood (this is like air resistance at sub-sonic vs super-sonic speeds). When talking to people (assuming you want to maximize usability of the other person's mind), make statements and ask questions at a rate that doesn't overload the person's mind. When drawing a picture with a pencil, move the pencil across the medium at a rate that glides across the medium without catching on the medium.
  • Inference jump to maximize efficiency of skill gain. When developing a theory from a conceptual base, assume a related postulate to be true so that you can obtain more data from experiments. The postulate is most likely not true, but that's not important. Experimenting under the assumption that a postulate is true is very useful in determining why said postulate is not true. Believe nothing. Treat all beliefs and assumed truths as inference jumps, because doing so maximizes their use. In order to make inference jumps with highest usability, all previously beliefs should be considered irrelevant. Failing that, consider the possibility that what you know to be wrong, or believe to be wrong, is in fact true, and use that as an inference jump.

I personally think the conceptual base of Less Wrong is contrary to efficient soft skill development. However, I think the conceptual base of Less Wrong is a potentially good platform to use to begin soft skill development. The most efficient way I can think to do so is to learn to use the conceptual base of Less Wrong, then make the inference jump that everything you've learned from Less Wrong is uselessly inefficient. This is the pattern I see everywhere people strictly adhere to a conceptual base. It's almost always a good platform to expand further from, provided the expansion stops using the platform as soon as possible.

Comment by epigeios on How to learn soft skills · 2016-05-14T07:17:51.755Z · LW · GW

People's inner simulator is almost always more accurate than their explicit models. It's just less precise. The thing about your statement of [if it were more accurate, people would be using it more, and be successful at more things] requires a few initial assumptions to be true. The first is that people are able to use their inner simulator on purpose, which is usually not the case from my observation. The second is that people are able and willing to take the path indicated by their inner simulator when it contrasts with their explicit models, which is also usually not the case. Then there is an additional factor where the inner simulator can (and often does) output a result that is contrary to the facade a person is trying to keep up for social reasons, which provides an additional impetus to reject the inner simulator (even if it is indeed more accurate, and dropping the facade would be the best way to produce the desired long-term result).

In regards to learning/picking up soft skills. People do indeed pick up soft skills automatically. Soft skills are notoriously difficult to teach. Most people that learn a soft skill learn it on their own, through a long-term automatic process, after taking in information that sparks a complicated processing of that information. I've never met someone who learned a soft skill without it being at least partially automatic. There is additional complexity in this in that people are "born" with an "affinity" for certain types of soft skills, and have an extreme amount of trouble learning any soft skills outside of their affinity range.

The actual reason learning soft skills involves reading some amount of "wrong ideas/facts/information" is because the processing of information for soft skill use is different from the processing of information for explicit model use. Or more accurately, the mind has multiple ways of processing information, and is not at all limited to a neuron-only model. The method of processing information for soft skill use is more of a resonance/antenna model, which benefits from additional points of information no matter how wrong they are (as long as they are at least distantly related to something that has at least an iota of truth), up to a limit of what the resonance chamber can hold coherently.

Last, your two points in that thought experiment are explicit model only, and do not relate to soft skill learning or use. The difference would be that you have an explicit use in mind for each experiment. A soft skill necessarily has a soft use. The difficulty in translation of "flattering people doesn't help" is that such things are actually a general-scope statement, and they have to be for soft skill learning and use. So your thought experiment is akin to: "You read that white men can't jump. You ask a white man to jump, and he is successful." You're combining a general-scope statement with an explicit-scope experiment.

Comment by epigeios on Meditation: a self-experiment · 2013-12-28T14:00:01.407Z · LW · GW

RE: your frazzled after-busy state. Yeah, breathing meditation at that time is not only hard, it's kinda pointless. Well, until you get to the point where you can either enter a state of right-brain flow on purpose, or enter a REM-like state on purpose. When you can do those, breath control is a natural part of it.

A trick is to control your breath while you are busy. Every chance you get, especially when heavily focused on something, take a single slow breath, preferably into either your gut or your whole body (but just a slow breath with no direction is better than not doing it at all). If you can't do that while you are focused on something, practice. This is one of the most important things people learn by practicing QiGung or internal martial arts.

In my experience, controlling my breath while I am busy allows for a faster recovery, and lessens the need for sleep after recovery.

Comment by epigeios on Meditation: a self-experiment · 2013-12-28T13:34:17.578Z · LW · GW

The science of breath control is unexplored. From my own meditation practices, it works like this:

The entirety of the body cavity is lined with a fibrous tissue capable of contracting and expanding; or rather, tightening and loosening. Movement of the diaphragm and the resulting expansion of the lungs causes a pumping motion of the whole inside of the body cavity, which in turn causes a pumping motion of all of the interstitial fluid in the entire body. Loosening and tightening areas of the body cavity allows the pumping motion to be controlled, applying a greater portion of the force to a specific area of the body. Likewise, loosening or tightening any fibrous tissues in any part of the body causes the fluid force to pool in or avoid that area, respectively.

Breathing into an area requires relaxation of that area. Breathing into an area also pushes all of the fibrous tissue in that area to relax. All fibrous tissues in the body can loosen and tighten, including nerves, the extracellular matrix, and sharpey's fibers. All fibrous tissues in the body can be exercised and stretched. Exercising a fibrous tissue properly will improve it's ability to tighten and loosen.

Breath control was originally designed to exercise subtle fibrous tissues in one's body. For the majority of people, breath control meditation is going to produce the most results and have the greatest benefit in the shortest time.

Comment by epigeios on Meditation: a self-experiment · 2013-12-28T13:15:43.066Z · LW · GW

You said "... not life changing ...". I think you're underestimating how much your life is going to be different now that you have the ability to be aware of your body. Certainly it won't change the direction of your life, but it definitely changes what you are capable of accomplishing within your lifetime. It expands your potential skill-set by a relatively wide margin.

Just think, there are 7 other things (roughly) you can become mindful of which will equally expand your potential skill-set.

Comment by epigeios on Meditation: a self-experiment · 2013-12-28T13:01:06.263Z · LW · GW

Speaking form personal experience, the breathing meditation you did is what spawned the ability to be mindful of your physical state. This is because in order to successfully breathe into various areas of your body, you have to be mindful of that area. It is directly practicing physical awareness.

The fact that you have become aware of subtleties of flight-or-flight responses is extremely good. That's stage 2 of what it is possible to be mindful of.

Stage 3 is emotions. Try purposefully creating emotions. Try listening to music, and enhancing the emotions you feel from the music one at a time, and slowly. Try changing your emotions the same way you breathe into different parts of your body. Try creating an emotion when you breathe in, and letting it dissipate when you breathe out.

Stage 4 is thoughts. Stage 5 is intuition. Stage 6 is deep subconscious data grouping and relationships. Stage 7 and 8 are a lot more complicated. Stage 8 is what Taoists call "the Tao".

At stage 4, you should also begin practicing what is called "dissolving" in Taoist meditation. That's the ability to be aware of a stuck thought/feeling/whatever, and allow it to dissipate. Methods of doing this involve breathing into the very precise spot you feel is tense when you become aware of the stuck feeling, or slowly stretching and contracting that spot to get the tissues and fluids moving; and may also include image training to imagine that spot liquefying, then gassifying, then becoming a part of your breath so that you can breathe it out. The trick is to become as aware of the stuck feeling as you possibly can, and then relax it slowly. It's necessary to realize that your thoughts and feelings are connected to your fibrous body tissues in order to accomplish this (for example: thought control is connected to nerve tissue control).

Be careful of image meditation. If you choose to go beyond halfway through the path of meditation, you will have to remove all of the images you accidentally lock into your body.

PS. "stages" overlap. "stage" is a loose term I came up with to describe it just now. The Taoists call it "the 8 bodies". They're just a reference so that you can know what is possible, and approximately how much effort is required in order to accomplish it. Half way through, the game changes. All of the way through, the game changes again.

Comment by epigeios on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-05-20T11:39:12.690Z · LW · GW

I just realized that this is precisely why I think LessWrong will fail in the end. And why I have been unable to help.

From what I have seen, beyond all of the awesome information on how to use one's thoughts appropriately, LessWrong suggests that people attempt to interpret things correctly. I strongly disagree with that ideal. Interpreting something correctly is, in the end, just as bad as interpreting something wrongly; because both are equally different from perceiving something.

This is why people call science and reductionism a religion. Interpreting something and assigning it a truth value is trying to assign a truth value to an interpretation. Yeah, that's an obvious sentence, but what I mean is that interpretations are never true. Sure, interpretations can mimic or look like the truth, but only the original perception is true. And perception is true regardless of how it is interpreted. The difference between common religion and the religion hidden in science is a simple matter of different interpretations. Interpretations that are less wrong are more useful only because it's easier to extract information of perceptions from them. This is extremely useful, but only as a transition state designed for communication purposes (including communication with oneself).

For those of you who might read this and think "but directly perceiving something is impossible, as all perceptions are filtered and interpreted by the mind." So? That never stopped me. Try interpreting things in multiple, opposing ways simultaneously. That's how I started learning how to differentiate between perception and interpretation. Also, try considering that the interpretation doesn't exist, and so doesn't actually matter. Eventually, all interpretations become useful, as all have information of the original perception hidden within them. Trying to set one's mind on interpretations hinders one's ability to perceive. The less interpretations one believes, the more one is able to perceive. I am speaking from direct experience, and also observation of tens of thousands of conversations, and hundreds of individuals over time.

Please. This is an important step toward sentiency. Hell, it's the definition of sentience. Please try to be sentient. LessWrong is my greatest hope of a sizable community capable of sentiency. Yes, I am literally begging you to attain sentience. It's really lonely up here.

Comment by epigeios on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-05-20T10:22:29.197Z · LW · GW

Well, I hate to say something against your post here, because I quite agree with it all. Except there is one Mind Projection Fallacy of which I question whether it was done on purpose. The fallacy where you are reducing the poem to it's parts.

The majority of poetry is metaphor. All of the specific examples in that poem are metaphors for the feeling of majesty. So to the poet, those three examples are quite the same. The poet's distaste for scientific reduction isn't that everything is explained away, it's that explaining something reduces it's perceived majesty.

Now, to us reductionists, it is the opposite. Explaining something increases it's perceived majesty. The more explanation required (literally required), the more majestic it is. The difference is a simple alignment of the feeling of majesty. Whether it be aligned to interpretation, or to perception.

So yes, believers in things will likely read the poem and presume that the poet means that rainbows are explained away. Most believers in things certainly react that way, including you. But that was not the intent of the poem (presuming the poet was not a hack). In modern times, the only reason that explanation of the poem is available to us is because we already know that mythical creatures (including ghosts) don't exist. The only reason that explanation of the poem is available to us is because most non-reductionists are actually reductionists, having a strong, deep belief that many things have been explained away by reduction.

However, back when mythical creatures like gnomes and haunts were imagined, it was not without a reason. Never assume that people are referring to mystical creatures and magic when they talk of their perception of reality. They are simply using metaphor to explain something their brain cannot grasp at the moment of perception. Most of the time, they don't even know they're doing it, and so believe the metaphor to be literal. But just because they use the wrong words, that doesn't mean their perception is false, only that their interpretation of their perception is false. The haunts in the air and the gnomes in the mine are still there, they're just not called "haunts" and "gnomes".

So, like the rainbow, haunts and gnomes were not explained away. All three were just explained. What was explained away was the interpretation. What was explained was the perception.

Comment by epigeios on Attention control is critical for changing/increasing/altering motivation · 2013-03-22T13:42:37.201Z · LW · GW

Crap! I'm sorry I didn't see this. I've had a love/hate relationship with LessWrong while I've been getting as far as I can with meditation. a year late, hopefully you get this response so that it may have some use. In this post I describe the steps for learning the prerequisite to Taoist meditation. At the time, I was not able to properly describe Taoist meditation, despite being very familiar with it. I can at least try now.

The prerequisite to Taoist meditation is about practicing being aware, and practicing controlling awareness. Controlling awareness requires being aware of what one is aware of, and so is also a practice of that.

Once one becomes adequate at being aware of anything for a sufficient amount of time, the next step is about figuring out how to find and fix the problems.

The most advanced way to fix a problem is to simply be aware of it until it goes away. maintaining awareness of the problem makes it go away on it's own, without requiring any additional action. However, that is too advanced for most people, and so there are other methods along the way.

Step one is to be aware of tension in the body. There are a myriad of ways to activate tension to make it much easier to observe, and thus be aware of. Breath control (both the fast and slow varieties) is one such way. All tension in the body hinders the passage of fluids and mental signals. Neurons can be tense too.

Step two is to slowly try relaxing everything. This is the basic form of what is known as "dissolving" in meditation.

Step three involves a whole bunch of complicated ways of dissolving tension on deeper levels (Periostium is "deeper" than neurons are "deeper" than ligaments are "deeper" than muscles) To make it less complicated, there is a common practice of breathing slowly while being acutely aware of a block of tension. And in that state, trying to focus the breath in the area of awareness (practice breathing into your stomach, then breathing into your whole body, to make this easier and safer). In this step, emotions rise and come to light, thought patterns arise and come to light, and underlying ways of identifying concepts arise and come to light. The idea is that everything that comes up is a result of tension, and getting rid of the tension makes it not come up again.

Step four is about continuing to try to become better aware. continuing to be aware of deeper and deeper tissues, and corresponding cognitive processes (deeper and deeper emotions, thoughts, intuition, etc). To be aware of deeper cognitive processes, one must relieve the tension on the surface. As such, this is a long process of continuing to go deeper and deeper, going back and forth between steps 1, 2, 3 and 4.

It is possible to force the cognitive result of tension to change, or to push tension somewhere else. This can act as a temporary solution, and is sometimes necessary to deal with particularly strong or deep tension by forcefully removing the surface layers. Doing so usually causes tension to appear somewhere else, and on a equally deep or deeper layer. This is called the "fire method" of meditation.

The order of depth of cognition is: first physical feeling, then instinct, emotion, thought, intuition, identification (subconscious mental grouping), then last the "space" that is occupied by consciousness and cognition. Each layer contains it's own feeling of tension. Each layer also contains it's own feeling of pain, which can be used to find tension.

After about ten years of meditating regularly, I got to the deepest (seventh) layer two weeks ago. FYI: identification, subconscious mental grouping, is the source of karma. Intuition is about quickly(near instantly) solving NP-complete problems (the hardest part is figuring out whether the answer is true, just probable, or false and based on a false premise).

"preferred method" is hard to think about, since I only used others' methods as guidance to create my own. Breathing is integral to any good method, as is relaxing tension. The fastest way to improve is to never go beyond about 70% of your ability. The goal is to continue to go deeper, resolutely. In essence, meditation is extremely simple; but not at all easy. The point of meditation is to confront everything you can't handle, and learn to handle it. The method is really up to you. Taoist meditation is a path, with as many methods as there are martial arts moves (hint: there's not very many).

Once you can use your intuition (which you may already be able to do to an extent), these next things become possible.

Once you get to the level where you can feel Chi, move your body and chi at the same time. Use your moving body to move your chi. Normal ChiGung is equivalent to fast, heavy breathing. Moving your body and chi at the same time is equivalent to slow, controlled breathing.

Step five is to "open" spaces in your body that feel closed. This feels like expanding the capacity of a body tissue. Most importantly, open your joints, to allow proper fluid movement. This should simultaneously improve your posture.

Step six is to "tonify" (acupuncture word), which feels like re-invigorating atrophied tissue (not that I've ever had atrophied tissue).

The next step requires psychic awareness (direct awareness of intuition), and I'm not willing to explain it without room for sufficient detail (I am working on a way to explain it properly). The step after that happens on the deepest layer, and I'm not willing to explain that without going into extreme detail of everything before it (which I am working on). I have been told there is a step after that, but I have no idea what it is.

I hope I'm not too late to give this advice. I hope this advice is helpful or useful in some way. I hope everything is at least vaguely understandable. If you, or anyone else, chooses to follow the path of meditation, good luck. It takes the resolution to succeed at impossible tasks, with equal rewards.

Comment by epigeios on Don't Get Offended · 2013-03-22T10:51:29.088Z · LW · GW
  • Imagine that something is true.
  • Observe that it is not true.
  • Keep imagining it is true.
  • Listen to someone state that it is not true.
  • Let the conflict between those two things continue to build up and manifest as a negative emotion directed at the person who stated that it is not true.

An example of imagining that something is true is having the idea that things ought to be a certain way, such as thinking that people ought to be not racist. Observe that people are racist. Continue to think that people ought to be not racist. Hear someone be racist.

The difference between taking offense and being angry is that taking offense is when anger is directed at a concept. It's okay to be angry at a racist for doing racist things, but it's a bad idea to be angry at the concept of racism.

Comment by epigeios on Don't Get Offended · 2013-03-22T10:17:26.535Z · LW · GW

Hahahahahahaha. I'm going to get negative points for this, but it's worth it to me. I so enjoy pointing out Karma. I love the irony.

Name three?

  • you

I should point out that I obviously have that problem as well, given this response.

Comment by epigeios on Don't Get Offended · 2013-03-22T09:58:51.447Z · LW · GW

The training method is called Taoist meditation.

Do this: be aware of yourself. Once you can do this to some extent, do the next step: be aware of your awareness of yourself.

Keep practicing this forever. That is meditation in a nutshell.

A checklist can help as long as it's used to further the practice of being aware. If you're having trouble being aware of yourself, practice being aware of other things first.

Oh, and another trick is that the fastest way to improve is to never go beyond 70% of your ability. One should only do so to gauge one's ability, to better know what 70% is.

Comment by epigeios on Don't Get Offended · 2013-03-22T09:30:11.164Z · LW · GW

At the low end of the mind, you're absolutely right. The options are: take the hit, dodge, hit back, or redirect the punch away, or don't even get near people in the first place. The best of those options is to redirect the punch away, which is very difficult to do.

At the high end of the mind, where extreme layers of subtlety exist, where most people don't even have the ability to be aware of at any time during their life, there is another way: realize that the punch is not directed at you. At that level of depth into the mind, the offendee actually entices people to say offensive things in order to get offended.

One layer deeper than that, the offendee's subtle body language, and overall "air around them" or "feeling they give off", is what entices people to say things that person will find offensive. At this level, the method is to realize that the punch is not only not directed at you, but is actually directed at the puncher.

As offensively blunt as it is to say: the reality is, it's always the fault of the person who gets offended. Of course, most of the time, all people involved are offended, and so it's everyone's fault. In the end, what I'm trying to say is not "don't be offended", but instead: listen to your feeling of being offended. It knows better than you. It's not telling you what's wrong with other people, it's telling you what's wrong with yourself. It's right.

Comment by epigeios on Don't Get Offended · 2013-03-22T09:17:02.032Z · LW · GW

The functional role sadness, fear, suffering, and all such emotions plays is the same role pain plays: It is an indicator, telling the mind where the problem is. There are certainly multiple ways to "fix" the problem. In the end, however, the methods that in any way dampen progress are methods that don't actually fix the problem. (The problem is never external)

Roughly 80% of the time, people are offended by things that they don't know they do themselves. That's why it is very important to listen to the emotional pain: to figure that out.

Roughly 20% of the time, people are offended by things that they do the opposite of on purpose, and take pride in. In this case, it is equally important to listen to the emotional pain: to figure out that they are doing the wrong thing. These two things can overlap.

Roughly 50% of the time, people get offended at their own imaginations; and what they are offended by has no bearing in reality. As in: they put words in people's mouths, or they alter definitions. At these times, there is no reasonable way to avoid offending these people. They alter their understanding of reality so that they can be offended. They're basically addicted to getting offended. Yes, I really mean 50%.

Comment by epigeios on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-07T04:16:12.439Z · LW · GW

"being yourself": A metaphor for a feeling which is so far removed from modern language's ability to describe, that it's a local impossibility for all but a tiny portion of the people in the world to taboo it. It's purpose is to illicit the associated feeling in the listener, and not to be used as a descriptive reference. It is a feeling that is so deeply ingrained in 50% of people, that those people don't realize the other 50% of people don't know what it is; and so had never thought to even begin to try to explain it, much less taboo it.

tabooing the word as if it describes an action is an inadequate representation of the true meaning of the word. The same is true of tabooing the word as if it describes an emotion, a thought, a belief, or an identity.

"being yourself" is a conglomeration of two concepts. The first, "being", requires the assumption that there is such a thing as a "state of being", as an all-encompassing description of something that describes it's non-physical properties as a snapshot of a single moment; and that said description is unlikely to change over time. The second, "oneself", requires the assumption that there is such a thing as a spark of consciousness at the source of any mental processes, or related, of any living creature. This concept is reminiscent of the concept of a "soul".

I personally find the concept of "being oneself" to be of the fallacious origin of the assumption that the spark of consciousness is separate from the current state of being, and that said state and spark do not flux and change continuously.

However, the context of the phrase "being yourself", in this instance, requires not that this phrase be tabooed, but instead that "changing your emotions" be tabooed, along with "useful". The question in regards to "changing your emotions" is if the author meant that truly changing one's emotions would be "not being oneself"; or if the author meant something else, such as putting on a facade of an emotion that one is not experiencing is "not being oneself".

"Useful" is a word that has different definitions for many people, and often changes based on context. The comment in question is likely a misunderstanding of what is meant by the word "useful". This implies the possibility that many people have misunderstood what is meant by the word "useful", perhaps even including the original poster of the quote.

So, the useful thing to do would not be to taboo "being yourself", but to instead taboo "useful".

In my case, I am using "useful" to mean an action which produces a generalized and averaged value for all involved and all observers. In this case, I consider the "value" in question to be an increase in communication ability for all posters, and a general increase in all readers' ability to progress their own mental abilities. I could taboo further, but I don't see any proportionally significant value in doing so.

Comment by epigeios on Right for the Wrong Reasons · 2013-02-07T03:22:39.110Z · LW · GW

You're the one skimming credit off the top.

My interpretation of this point is that the person doing the rewarding and punishing is the person doing the predicting.

This hints at the deeper problem, too: that the subconscious reinforcement of these predictions is causing them to continue. the most common reward is that a wrong prediction seems right. For most people, that is a reward in and of itself.

So the real question is: are you going to reward yourself for being wrong for the right reasons? how about being right for the wrong reasons?

Comment by epigeios on 2012 Survey Results · 2012-12-29T04:32:36.669Z · LW · GW

LW is not exactly an easy community to get into.

The lack of a willingness to pursue both different ideas and expanded ideas prevents me from commenting. There's too much of a focus on probability, with a false understanding of what constitutes a "point of evidence", and a general inability to navigate a probability cloud with the understanding that all points inside are possible answers.

When I do comment, I get voted down even if my post is a good point. There seems to be no willingness to communicate to non-insiders. There also isn't a system available which supports non-insiders, something which is necessary to make newcomers feel safe. (bold because it's both important and easy to understand). I can't get positive karma.

The comment system itself only supports a good 100-200 comments. It's too daunting of a task to read every one, and it's impossible to search for useful information. Most of the problem here is a programming problem which cannot be solved by anyone who doesn't have direct access to their subconscious mind, which is the majority of LW.

I think, if you want to expand further, and attract more people, you have to expand your mind further: out into the probability field of the unknown. In the end, after you've figured out what's right and what's wrong, and are in the state of exploring probability fields, focusing on right vs wrong is detrimental to determining what's actually right and what's actually wrong. There is no right vs wrong in a probability field; not until all possibilities have been explored. "more right" and "more wrong" are deceiving impossibilities in a chaotic fractal algorithm.

Exploring the probability field is what people with access to their subconscious mind do. Most people don't even have access to their conscious mind. If you want to uplift people, take into account that they can't even think on purpose. (seriously. It's not that it's impossible for them, they just don't know that it's possible)

Of course, I'm one to talk. I need to figure out how to give people direct access to their karma, which is one big step beyond the subconscious mind. I, many-a-time, made the mistake of assuming people here have access to their subconscious.

Comment by epigeios on The Nature of Offense · 2012-07-16T08:18:28.166Z · LW · GW

It's not status that's the issue, it's the offendee's conception of reality. Status is just the most common (by far) example of this.

Whenever a person has an "image" (subconscious subtle bias) of how things work, without consciously being aware of it, that person's perception of reality is distorted by the image/bias. Then, whenever some input does not fit with the image; either due to someone else asserting their own conflicting image of reality, or due to someone speaking bluntly about a conflicting observation of reality, the biased person subconsciously rejects the new input. This subconscious rejection produces the offended emotion, as a way to defend against the input and preserve the initial image.

Status is a great blanket term to cover most examples of this. However, if someone is lying to themselves, and they are communicating with someone who is being honest, the first person will always end up being offended. This is true no matter how much effort the second person puts into preserving the first person's status.

In terms of karma, it is not the offender's job to avoid offending people, because that is completely unavoidable. It is instead the offendee's job to realize that being offended means that one has a bias/image, and that the only way to not be offended in the same way again is to remove that bias/image from one's own psyche.

This can get extremely complicated and deep. I, for example, was offended by people being offended by me, which just made people more likely to be offended by me.

Comment by epigeios on Ask an experimental physicist · 2012-06-12T04:18:37.868Z · LW · GW

This might be out in left field, but:

Can water be pumped through carbon nanotubes? If so, has anyone tried? If they have, has anyone tried running an electric current through a water-filled nanotube? How about a magnetic current? How about light? How about sound?

Can carbon nanotubes be used as an antenna? If they can be filled with water, could they then be used more effectively as an antenna?

Comment by epigeios on Ask an experimental physicist · 2012-06-12T03:56:35.484Z · LW · GW

Wait wait wait. A muon beam exists? How does that work? How accurate is it? Does it only shoot out muons, or does it also shoot out other particles?

Comment by epigeios on Ask an experimental physicist · 2012-06-12T03:28:02.570Z · LW · GW

I've got a lot of questions I just thought of today. I am personally hoping to think of a possible alternative model of quantum physics that doesn't need anything more than the generation 1 fermions and photons, and doesn't need the strong interaction.

  • What is the reason for the existence of the theory of the charm quark (or any generation 2-3 quark)? What are some results of experiments that necessitate the existence of a charm quark?
  • Which of the known hadrons can be directly observed in any way, as opposed to theorized as a mathematical in-between or as a trigger for some directly observable decay?
  • Am I right in thinking that the tau lepton is only theorized in order to explain an in-between decay state? If you don't know, do you know of anything related to any other fermions (or hadrons) that only exist as a theoretical in-between?
  • How were the masses of the tau lepton and the top quark determined? If the methods are different for the charm quark, how was the mass of the charm quark determined?
  • Does the weak interaction cause any sort of movement, or hold anything together, or does it only act as a trigger for decay? Why is it considered a field energy?
  • When detecting gamma radiation, how much background is there to extract from? Does the process of extracting from the background require performing hundreds of iterations of the experiment?
  • Since you know quite a lot about it, and since the majority of my knowledge comes from Wikipedia, what does "fitting distributions in multiple dimensions" mean? What is the possibility of error of this process?
  • Oh, and lastly, do you know of any chart or list anywhere that details the known possible decay paths of bosons and fermions?

That's all for now. I SO hope you can answer any of these questions; because Wikipedia can't :'( (as someone who enjoys theory, I find it annoying when Wikipedia can neither confirm nor deny my conjectures, despite the fact that the information is certainly out there somewhere, and someone knows it.)

Comment by epigeios on The Importance of Self-Doubt · 2012-06-12T02:39:23.546Z · LW · GW

Lol. See, I call into question many things about Eliezer. For example, I think he is afraid to be wrong, and has lost himself to the bias of the false duality between "correct" and "incorrect". As a result of this, I think that until he fixes that problem, he will be doomed to never be able to invent true AI, or even understand how neurons work. (there's a tiny chance that I am wrong, and he doesn't think that way; and there is a moderate chance that he is in the process of or has already fixed this)

However, the only thing - about his possible idea that he is the most important person on the planet - that I call into question, is that I don't think he has the guts to go through with it. I, myself, know that I am currently the most important person on the planet. I expect nothing less of anyone who is actually capable of changing the planet. In fact, I hope he changes his mind, and instead decides to be the most important person on the planet, so that he can be of some help to me.

It goes like this. In order to change something, one must take responsibility for it. Following that, in order to change the entire planet, one must take responsibility for the entire planet. Now, that in itself is not enough to be important; it is only the necessary minimum to be influential. In order to be important, one must pursue something one knows to be important. And above that, in order to be the most important person on the planet, one must pursue something one knows to be necessary for the continued development of the planet.

I, myself, am pursuing something I know to be necessary for the development of both the AI singularity and the human singularity; and I know that in the direction I am going, they are the same thing; which means that what I am pursuing is necessary for the future of the human race and the planet as a whole. I know that without the theories I have developed and will develop, true AI is an impossible goal for the rest of humanity. I know that I am not the only person in the world who could possibly come up with these theories, but I know that I am the only person I am aware of who is in pursuit of them. I also know that I am the only person I am aware of who is even capable of pursuing them. So, I might not be the most important person on the planet; but I have never heard of anyone who is more important. And yet I acknowledge that I require the stepping stones left available by other people who were in their own right the most important people on the planet. In order to accomplish what I will accomplish in my lifetime, I have to be at least that important; because I have to be responsible for at least that much.

So in summary: if Eliezer believes himself to be the most important person on the planet, then he doesn't have the guts to follow through on that, and he will fail. If, on the other hand, he knows that he is the most important person on the planet, then he will influence the planet in an extremely important way. I sure hope he's capable of this, because I feel lonely being the only person who's the most important.

Addendum: If he thinks he's the most important in human history, then he's living in the past; and that would be sad :(

Comment by epigeios on Typicality and Asymmetrical Similarity · 2012-05-11T19:19:53.877Z · LW · GW

The errors are relevant. So what if the person who mentions an error doesn't have the capacity to deduce the relevancy? It's still possible that someone on here will deduce the relevancy.

Your post, by contrast, as well as Bob3's just above, are making the assumption that the only argument to be found is the one that was stated. Caledonian2 is right, and if you weren't focused on the irrelevancy of his argument, you might have been able to find the relevancy of his point.

Granted, Caledonian2 did his best to find an argument fitting his idea, and the argument he picked isn't necessarily relevant. He probably did this because of the scientific bias of this message board, where I myself have previously succumbed to the fear that I need to have a valid argument to back up my point, lest others attack me for not having one. But none of that diminishes the potential relevancy of his idea

Comment by epigeios on Typicality and Asymmetrical Similarity · 2012-05-11T19:05:39.354Z · LW · GW

It seems to me that diseases would be more likely to spread from robins to ducks than from ducks to robins. The reason I am thinking this is the case is that robins fly around more than ducks, and ducks rest in water. This means that ducks are fairly likely to come in contact with traces of past robins, but robins are unlikely to come in contact with traces of past ducks.

The idea that the spread of disease between species is equally likely not only ignores differences in immunity, as Caledonian2 said; it also assumes direct contact between the species. Indirect contact, but contrast, can be one-way.

Even the concept of Alaska being far and Kansas being close is easily explained by calling into question the wording of the question in the experiment. Kansas is close to Alaska, compared to the average of everywhere else. Alaska however, is far from Kansas, compared to the average of the rest of the US. It's definitely a bias as a result of categorization, but it's not because of the properties of the categories. It instead seems to be a bias in how the question is interpreted: in which category the question refers to. And this, obviously, is a result of contextual inference making. Kansas is in a different context than Alaska.

Comment by epigeios on Attention control is critical for changing/increasing/altering motivation · 2012-04-23T21:32:40.788Z · LW · GW

Awesome! This is very useful. I now have a perfect way to describe why Taoist meditation is among the most useful things someone in this community can learn to do. And I have tons of experience to back it up.

Mindfulness meditation is the prerequisite for Taoist meditation. And Wikipedia doesn't explain how to practice Mindfulness meditation.

Comment by epigeios on Attention control is critical for changing/increasing/altering motivation · 2012-04-23T21:10:27.190Z · LW · GW How to learn how to meditate properly

In short: Yes, you will. This is how to accomplish that goal quickly and efficiently.

Comment by epigeios on Attention control is critical for changing/increasing/altering motivation · 2012-04-23T20:55:27.992Z · LW · GW

That's called learning how to meditate. And yes, it works wonders with cognitive ability and control of cognitive ability. The standard efficient process of learning how to meditate is:

  • Focus attention somewhere for as long as possible.
  • Move focused attention around from subject to subject, including inside your own body.
  • Spread your attention outward from the focused point, making sure to maintain attention on the focused point.
  • Scan your body. Just become aware of everything you observe when scanning; don't try to change anything.
  • Scan again and again. Keep trying to become aware of more and more, deeper and deeper, each time; until your get tired, or can't seem to find anything new.
  • Try to maintain awareness of your body and your surroundings in the present during daily life, while doing other things.
  • Continue doing the previous step for your entire life.
  • You have now completed the prerequisite to learn Taoist meditation, which is about learning how to directly change the things which you are able to pay attention to.

If you do this up to step 7, you will exponentially improve your ability to do everything and learn everything. If you choose to go on through step 8, you will continue exponentially increasing your ability to do and learn everything.

You may have noticed that I never mentioned "Quiet the mind/stop thinking". That's because the only reason most people should try to do that is to be able to focus their attention better. There's not really any other reason to quiet the mind. At the beginning level of Taoist meditation, uncontrolled thoughts are just another layer to pay attention to and observe. At the medium level of Taoist meditation, uncontrolled thoughts point to deep habits and tendencies which cause all of the social problems and drama everyone has, which the individual will then fix/remove.

Comment by epigeios on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-10T15:17:01.398Z · LW · GW

The left side still has to employ massively parallel process to generate the chirps to the specific purpose.

What makes you say that? In your example, the left brain has 2 inputs, and only needs to find a plausible connection between the two.

Although, in hindsight, You're right. The brain uses many neurons in parallel no matter what or where it is processing.

I will now proceed to twist my words to attempt to better communicate what I mean. In reality, i spoke too hastily, generalized too greatly, and still obviously don't know the correct words to use to communicate my partial, incomplete theory to a left-brain dominant culture.

If we take what I stated for the two "jobs" of the two brains:

The left brain's job is to process individual points of data in series as a pattern. The right brain's job is to process all points of data in parallel as a chaotic fractal flow.

Then, take "individual points of data in series as a pattern" and "all points of data in parallel as a chaotic fractal flow", and call each of those 2 quotes a complete concept or set, labeled A and B respectively. Then, as if putting grammar in the correct/different location, say that the left brain processes set A, and the right brain processes set B; where "processes" specifies neither parallel nor sequential, but implies "however the brain does it". If what I stated is grammatically edited to mean this, then it fits more closely with what I intended and satisfies your examples (as far as I can tell).

To describe in a different, probably better way, I consider the right brain as being used to build interacting, interweaving probability clouds of all data even remotely related to the subject (more neuron connections = more remote). The result of this is sections and points of higher or lower concentration. I then consider the left brain to take this information, and determine the direct connections between the important pieces, especially how they directly relate to an initial goal (more neuron connections = more and farther-reaching direct connections). The combination of the two thus gives the person the decision on the "best" course of action. And of course, this process can be iterated, as well as be initiated by the left brain's direct connections instead of the right brain's probability clouds.


I just noticed an interesting difference between my concepts and your concepts.

decision making (which decides not to do something) and speech synthesis (which talks of wanting something). And I just further (after quoting) figured out a way it relates to left-right brain difference.

I had thought of decision making as being positive (deciding "to do" instead of "not to do"). I think, however, that this is once again the difference between right brain and left brain (respectively). What I mean by this can be summarized and generalized (or analogized) as the difference between the concept of "syntropy" (a receiving antenna) and entropy (a projecting antenna).

Likewise, I thought of speech synthesis as, instead of "wanting something", "choosing something", as in "cutting out everything else". Negative instead of positive. This obviously relates to what I think of right vs left, but I'm not sure exactly how; especially since you input that the left brain has the speech center (I didn't know that).

Comment by epigeios on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-05T11:09:54.019Z · LW · GW

Simple left-brain vs right-brain. The problem you refer to isn't that hard to fix, it's just that very few people know about it. Reading through the sequences will, in most cases, make people want to exercise their minds in daily life. Eventually, the right brain will activate despite the left-brain dominance of english-speaking culture.

to put it simply. The left brain's job is to process individual points of data in series as a pattern. The right brain's job is to process all points of data in parallel as a chaotic fractal flow.

Granted, most of the sequences on here are about how to use the left brain more efficiently. And in scientific society as a whole, right-brain concepts are generally shunned except by the few people who already know about them.

However, at the very least, Eliezer himself is capable of using his right brain, even if he thinks that the general problem of society is solvable by increasing efficiency of left-brain usage. The result of this is that right-brain concepts are hidden in the sequences. Anyone who reads through deeply enough will start to be influenced by this.

But yes, I also partially agree. The fact that Eliezer tried to explain wisdom as modified pattern recognition from left-brain intelligence in HPMOR shows that either Dumbledore is hiding his wisdom, or Eliezer doesn't know what the right brain is capable of.


I'm looking at the long term here. This website is a good stepping stone into right-brain usage by left-brained people (it is MUCH more right-brained than standard education), and hopefully also has the ability to help right-brained people learn how to use their left brain. If nothing else, Eliezer is seriously trying to improve the functionality of the world. That means that some time in the future, he will have to learn about how the right brain works. And until then, I'm gonna keep trying to plant the seeds for this.

When I have a full, concrete understanding with the ability to really explain it in-depth to a left-brain dominant person, I will post my solutions on this website. Until then, the game you seem to be trying to play is impossible to win.

Comment by epigeios on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-05T10:29:56.535Z · LW · GW

So, first of all

The easiest way to help people learn this skill, I think, would be to teach people:

  • Good posture

  • How to relax and open their muscles and joints

  • How to breath properly

And, the easiest way to teach people this skill, I think, is to instead teach them about this skill. This means that exercises should be somewhat indirect. Exercises should definitely get people to experience the problem instead of getting people to learn the solution, and only make available this solution as an option. Partly because the proposed solution is not the only solution - it is not an absolute solution - it does not work in all instances.

Lastly, teach people how to make the connection between their awareness of themselves (real situations) and the method of Checking Consequentialism. Get them to realize that it is applicable and usable almost all of the time, in good or bad situations, not just when something seems wrong or off, not just to improve their situations or make something better. If this isn't done, they won't use it when it's important.


Now on to reasons why most attempts at teaching this will fail, and most exercises will not reach their audience in the desired way.

This one is REALLY HARD to teach


The reason this is really hard is because of the concept of habits and defense mechanisms and internal realities (such as the should reality).

As you already stated, when trying to check consequentialism, most people will come up with excuses or other defense mechanisms to maintain their reality, instead of actually checking. You mentioned many ways to overcome that, but they all require recognizing that the person is trying to maintain his/her reality.

When people have a habit, they will often go to extreme lengths to maintain that habit. This is especially true for addictions.

when people have a habit of retreating to a reality (such as the should reality), the teacher has to be very careful not to give them an opportunity to retreat further (don't say "this method should work," or "you should try this". Just plain don't say "should" unless you know what you're doing).

So, we have a problem of habits and defense mechanisms and realities. This is on the level of karma. This means that there are infinite reasons why people will continue doing this, and zero reasons why they will stop. This means that logic will not work. Trying to logic people into learning this skill will not work. There are infinite barriers in the way of teaching someone this skill directly, especially of when to use it.


Now, with that said, it should still be possible to teach this as a skill. It's obvious that people won't use it all the time, but if they learn how to use it, they might just use it little by little.

The thing that I do instead of checking consequentialism is that whenever I notice that I am in a cycle, I exit the cycle; I stop participating in the cycle. This requires willpower that most people don't have, and an awareness of the present that most people don't have (and sometimes requires a safety net that many people don't have); however it does not require analytical skills.

The two concepts could be combined, though. It is much easier to discern a cycle than it is to determine whether an idea has gone unchecked or ducked under the radar. If someone finds themselves thinking the same thing multiple times, that person is in a cycle. If someone finds themselves compelled to do something that person has a habit of, that person is in a cycle (a minor addiction). If someone finds themselves emotionally reacting to a trigger word, that person is in a deep cycle related to that word. The thing about unchecked consequentialism is that it's really hard to catch the first time it happens (for each subject), but easy to catch the second time (and if it happens once without being fixed, it WILL happen again in a similar way).

If you want people to learn how to catch it the first time it happens (for each subject before it impacts their lives), you have to teach them how to meditate (the Taoist way, which essentially just means teach people to become aware of themselves and their surroundings). Otherwise, instead teach them how to recognize when it has happened in the past, and how to recognize when it happens again. If you do not teach them meditation, then forget about trying to get them to recognize it the first time it happens.

Man, even after writing all that, I still don't have any good ideas for exercises.

Comment by epigeios on SotW: Be Specific · 2012-04-05T08:53:50.938Z · LW · GW

8) Get people to recognize when other people want them to be more (or less) specific.

9) Get people to recognize when they are being specific about the wrong subject.

Comment by epigeios on SotW: Be Specific · 2012-04-05T08:24:55.678Z · LW · GW

Okay, so split into sets of 2 people (or, split into 2 teams, or even dynamic teams could work). Person A asks a simple personal question about person B (such as "do you have a girlfriend?" or "do you have a college degree?" or "do you prefer dogs or cats?"). Person B then tries to answer like the people in the video did, by telling an abstract related story, or by answering a different question contained within or related to the question (like "well, dolphins are really my favorite animal" or "college degrees aren't really an indication that someone is able to perform well in their field of expertise"). Person B tries to talk as much as possible in response to person A's question without actually answering person A's question. Person A then tries to redirect person B toward A's intended subject by asking different or more specific questions ("what about as a pet?"). In summary: Person B tries to avoid answering person A's question, and person A tries to force person B to be specific by asking the right questions.

And of course, things like the ladder of abstraction can (and should) be explained before starting the exercise so that the people have references to draw from to reach their goal (person A trying to get an answer, and person B trying to not give an answer while still answering)

The primary reason why skills can be transmissible from master to apprentice, but not replicable by exercises is because the skill in question has multiple difficulties associated with it which are disconnected at the level of the exercise. Most people are naturally (through karma/disposition or experience) capable of easily getting past a few of the difficulties, and have problems with a few of the others. These people have no idea that they were able to get past a few of the difficulties, because they weren't difficult.

The problem with exercises is that they tend to concentrate on certain difficulties. So, the people who lack the related experience, or have the karma where they find exceedingly difficult the difficulties not expressed in the exercise, are not going to be able to get anything immediately useful out of the exercise. And in addition, these people won't know why they weren't able to get anything out of the exercise, or even what could be done to help them.

You (Eliezer) addressed this subject in this post by providing examples of related concepts. The problem is that those related concepts are all true, and so are a few others you didn't mention, as well as a few others you aren't even aware of; and certain ones are true for certain people, and untrue for others.

Here are some difficulties you didn't mention:

  • Common people are emotionally driven. Sensationalist methods attract their attention, and fool them into thinking positive thoughts about the subject. These people who were presenting start-ups were not simply being non-specific, they were trying to pander to an audience (which they were taught to do in school). They weren't even trying to express their ideas when they first started talking.

  • Going deeper into concreteness, many of their ideas were still ideas: partially concrete in their minds, but not concrete for people who come from a different perspective. One skill here that is useful that isn't learning how to be concrete is instead learning how to interpret others' questions, to translate from one perspective to another.

  • When emotionally charged (as in a presentation), many people have the tendency to both respond to emotional triggers and try to trigger emotions in the audience. Through this, these people tend to go up the ladder of abstraction. Sometimes these people can benefit by just being aware that the audience (Paul Graham) is not trying to trigger them.

  • Many people are taught how to pander to an audience. Often, these people don't even know that they are pandering to an audience. Instead of teaching these people how to do the opposite, instead teach them both how to pander, and how to know when they are pandering to an audience, and follow up by teaching them how to know when to, and when not to, pander to an audience. For many people, after they learn this, the opposite side of learning how to be specific is easy.

  • All of the people in that Paul Graham office hours YouTube video seemed to me to be trying too hard to answer the specific questions asked. They interpreted the question to refer to one concept, and tried to convey that concept. These people would benefit from learning how to interpret questions from multiple angles. rather than trying to find the concept the questions is truly asking, they should be trying to find all of the concepts the questions is addressing. From there, they can pick the concept that they DO have a specific answer for, or determine that they don't have an answer, or don't understand the question.

Many exercises designed to help people get through difficulties like this would work better if they addressed the opposite. Get people to experience the problem; so that they can recognize it and try to find a solution, and become aware that it is indeed a problem. Don't get people to try to find a solution; because they usually aren't even aware of the problem, much less have a concrete understanding of it. For example,... oh, I just thought of a good exercise: [Idea moved to top so that it is the first thing people see. Not going to edit post to make it coherent in that order because I'm too lazy.]

Comment by epigeios on Dying Outside · 2012-01-31T22:31:57.124Z · LW · GW

I'm happy you're going to live.

Aside from that, I support alternative treatments (another, with better credentials). I have no experience with ALS, so I can't say if they work. You might even be able to find someone who will do an acupuncture treatment on you for free in the name of science. I know I would, and I know how to apply acupuncture treatments; but I'm not a licensed practitioner. I'm barely even a student.

Comment by epigeios on Is That Your True Rejection? · 2012-01-31T21:28:59.956Z · LW · GW

Most people don't even go as far as to make a hypothesis there. It's arguable that every time someone forms a question, it is the same as forming a hypothesis; purely because questions can be reworded as hypotheses. However, in the case of someone who is just exploring, they would not go so far as to hypothesize.

It's normal for the person to say something like "I wonder if it happens with all sodium compounds" or, "I wonder if there are any sodium compounds that explode as well". But in these cases, there is no basis and no reason to form a hypothesis. one could argue that the person is making a hypothesis like "all sodium compounds explode in water"; but the person doesn't care. The person could just as easily make the hypothesis "no sodium compounds explode in water". And there's no reason to make either of these, or any hypothesis at all, because no theory has been formed that can be tested.

And further, making a hypothesis like this limits the amount of new information that can come in from these experiments. The information is now limited to "whether or not the substance explodes", when there are plenty of other reactions that can happen. The person who makes this hypothesis is liable to miss small bubbles appearing. That is anti-desired when exploring, when trying to observe as much as possible so as to build a theory.

The point is that the person in your example is not doing a hypothesis experiment, the person is doing an exploration experiment. Unless a theory exists, there's no basis for choosing any hypothesis at all.

Yet, let's say then that the person discovered some cool stuff and started to build a theory. He wants to tell you about his in-progress theory. Obviously he hasn't done any hypothesis experiments, because hypotheses haven't mattered yet. He tells you about his observations, and his conjectures. Many people, in response to this, say "can you prove it? Why should I believe you?". To which he has no answer, because he has nothing to prove yet. All of his observations are just observations, and he has no solid theories. Because he has no theories, any temporary hypotheses he makes continuously jump around, and to an outside observer have no coherence or meaning. Any attempt at proving something will prove futile, and will be a waste of time, purely because there is nothing to prove.

The higher-level or higher-class version of this response is: "what are your credentials? Why should I believe you?".

In this way my comment does relate to the entire post. Often times, there is no true objection. Often times, the objection is merely that someone is mentally lazy and doesn't want to think or explore. Often times, the objection is that I haven't formed a complete theory yet, only a list of observations and conjectures, so there's nothing the person can believe in. The difference in opinion there is that I want to work with them and believe in nothing, and they want to work on their own and believe in something. It's not that they object to the theory or observations or conjectures, they just object to thinking about it.

Comment by epigeios on Is That Your True Rejection? · 2012-01-31T07:37:04.528Z · LW · GW

Here's something I'd love to put into an entire article, but can't because my karma's bad (see my other comment on this thread):

Many people make the false assumption that the scientific method starts with the hypothesis. They think: first hypothesize, then observe, then make a theory from the collection of hypotheses.

The reality is quite the opposite. The first point on the scientific method is the observation. Any hypotheses before observation will only diminish the pool of possible observations. Second is building a theory. Along the process, many things are observed without using a hypothesis to observe them; only needing a question and a desire to explore for the answer. Last is using the theory to create hypotheses; which are then used to confirm, alter, or reject the theory.

The exploration phase is where interesting new observations come up for the first time, and everyone who nears the end of this phase wants to talk to people about it; because it's really cool! Lots of amazing stuff is observed before any real theory can be made. Lots of plausible, valid, and important ideas come up which should indeed be discussed, as they are relevant to many subjects.

However, the people who take the wrong path, make the false assumption that the scientific method starts with the hypothesis, are afraid to take a step out of their reality. Taking in new information as an observation with no hypothesis or theory attached, which is what is available to them from the exploration stage, would be taking a step out of their reality.

the response you get of "why should I believe x? He doesn't have a PhD" is fundamentally the same as the response "prove it. Until you prove it, why should I listen to you?". These people don't want to observe or theorize. They don't want to explore. They don't want to work toward the goal I want to work toward. They want to stay in their world until they have a reason to involve something new in their world. The result of that isn't an improvement, either, because they still have the same problem of living in their own world.

This objection is a fallacy coming from false assumptions. The thing I have observed to be a/the source of this fallacy is the false start of the scientific method cycle.

FYI, "pseudo-scientists" have a related problem where they are either unable or unwilling to leave the exploration phase (often because the theory they are exploring is wrong, but sometimes because they're just looking in the wrong direction). Religions have another related problem where they are unable or unwilling to enter the exploration phase; which is not entirely unlike the problem I described about normal science, which is why many people call science a religion.

Comment by epigeios on Is That Your True Rejection? · 2012-01-31T07:11:44.597Z · LW · GW

I object, and am going to reply in a way that I'm pretty sure will get me lots of negative points, but I'm going to do so because I see that you've gotten lots of positive points:

Why are you trying to convince people? What makes you think anyone can be convinced of anything? Do you really want people to be able to convince you? Do you really think you can be convinced of anything? Trying to convince people is counter to trying to encourage unbiased thought.

The experts that make that false objection are not really capable of building on his work; especially not at the time of that objection, because they are obviously holding a belief that hinders their ability to think rationally. They certainly can endorse his work, but is that really desired if they are hindered by their beliefs? (it might be desired, I don't actually know) What makes you think average Joe's can't/won't build on or endorse his work? Why would that not be desired?

I understand you're coming from a statistical perspective, but it seems to me to be based on a false premise.

Comment by epigeios on How I Ended Up Non-Ambitious · 2012-01-31T06:47:34.639Z · LW · GW

If you're having trouble changing, one easy thing I have found to work for me is: Take it upon myself to do the things I would normally do out of habit, and do them on purpose. Take it upon myself to do the things I would normally do as a reaction, and do them independently.

This, for me, sets my mind on the path of being conscious of and in control of what I was previously unable to change. So, I think you should do the opposite of the lesson you've learned from this. I think you should, for a short period of time, purposefully act the way you are currently acting.

and while doing so, keep in mind: It's none of my business what other people think of me. It's none of my business what other people want from me. It's none of my business how other people react to me. The only thing that's my business is my business.

Comment by epigeios on A Much Better Life? · 2011-12-01T10:55:27.840Z · LW · GW

I, personally, tell the difference by paying attention to and observing reality without making any judgments. Then, I compare that with my expectations based on my judgments. If there is a difference, then I am thinking I am interacting instead of interacting.

Over time, I stop making judgments. And in essence, I stop thinking about interacting with the world, and just interact, and see what happens.

The less judgments I make, the more difficult the Turing Test becomes; as it is no longer about meeting my expectations, but instead satisfying my desired level of complexity. This, by the nature of real-world interaction, is a complicated set of interacting chaotic equations; And each time I remove a judgment from my repertoire, the equation gains a level of complexity, gains another strange attractor to interact with.

At a certain point of complexity, the equation becomes impossible except by a "god".

Now, if an AI passes THAT Turing Test, I will consider it a real person.

Comment by epigeios on Poll results: LW probably doesn't cause akrasia · 2011-12-01T10:37:24.929Z · LW · GW

When I was a kid, I didn't have a problem with procrastination. I procrastinated on purpose. Now, I have a problem with procrastination. I did it so much as a kid that I ingrained it into the depths of my mind.

Fortunately, I just now realized this. And now that I know it exists, it's really easy to fix.

Comment by epigeios on Morality is not about willpower · 2011-10-12T21:01:00.956Z · LW · GW

My interpretation of the post in this case is: it's not that you're not employing willpower, instead you're not employing personal morality. So, while TORRENT vs BUY fits into the societal ethics view, it does not fit into your personal morality.

From the personal morality perspective, the bad feeling you get is the thing you need willpower to fight against/suppress. You probably also need willpower to fight against/suppress the bad feeling you might be getting from buying the album. These need not be mutually exclusive. Personal morality can be both against torrenting and against spending money unduly.

Comment by epigeios on The Bias You Didn't Expect · 2011-10-12T09:56:20.486Z · LW · GW

We know there was bias, but we still don't know when bias occurred.

There's a possibility that there is no time when bias did not occur. It's possible that the bias merely changed form throughout time, and never altered its level of influence.

Comment by epigeios on Connectionism: Modeling the mind with neural networks · 2011-08-04T02:56:16.423Z · LW · GW

Name an object that isn't a jar of peanut butter. What did you immediately think of?

An elephant. Due to the fact that the question that's usually asked is about elephants. So I thought of elephants before I finished the sentence

Second, I thought of a jar of peanut butter.

I still haven't consciously thought of another object yet, except just now as I was thinking about what object I might think of, and thought of the spoon I was using to eat my food.

Comment by epigeios on Consistently Inconsistent · 2011-08-04T02:20:53.654Z · LW · GW

The assumption that what's right (as in true) is what's right (as in best). It's an assumption that comes from the experience of a rational mind, as a result of braving the valley of bad rationality. It is an assumption not often shared by irrational minds (religion, etc.).

That is, if there is a brain module that is actually better off being wrong, and not just because it makes the truth easier to find, then it shows that there is a probable undiscovered alternative.

Moreover, even if that's what it boils down to, that wrong makes right easier, this will at least challenge the assumptions common among brain scientists. Those assumptions that are born from an inability to grasp beyond the dimensions of the space of their current understanding. It is an extremely common trap for practicing scientists to fall into: to forget that there is always another possibility; and if one limits oneself to knowledge related to what one is researching, then that other possibility is probably right.