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Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-22T22:09:49.013Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I, like many people, have a father. After a long time of not really caring about the whole thing he's expressed an interest in philosophy this Christmas season. Now, as we know a lot of philosophy is rather confused and I don't see any big reasons for him to start thinking truth is irrelevant or other silly things. I don't think the man is considering reading anything particularly long or in-depth.

So, I'm asking for book recommendations for short-ish introductions to philosophy that don't get it all wrong. Solid, fundamental knowledge about how we know what we know, why we can know it and so on. The whole less wrong thing really. I think i'll also send him a copy of epistomology 101 for beginners.

All ideas are welcome even if it's not 100% the right book.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2014 · 2014-12-11T15:35:58.039Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You may be right about my lack of tools, and I can't honestly say I used the try harder in the proper manner seeing as I hadn't been introduced to it at the time. I played the role of the supportive boyfriend and tried (unsuccessfully) to convince her to go to a therapist who was actually qualified at that sort of thing. I am suspicious, however that you took pains to separate yourself into a new reference class before actually knowing that one way or the other. Unless of course you have a track record of taking massive psychological issues and successfully fixing them in other people and are we really doing this? I mean come on. A person offers to help and you immediately go for the throat, picking apart mistakes made in an attempt to help a person, then using rather personal things in a subtly judgemental manner. Do you foresee that kind of approach ending well? Is that really the way you want this sort of conversation to play out? I like to think we can do better.

I have information. Do you want it or not?

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2014 · 2014-12-10T18:04:09.420Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes well I wasn't a rationalist at the time, nor did I know enough about psychology to say what the right thing to do to help a person whose father... Well I cannot say the exact thing but suffice to say that If I ever meet the man at least one of us is going to the hospital. I'm rather non-violent at all other times. There wasn't exactly a how-to guide I could read on the subject.

I am also the kind of person that would be drawn out and try to help a person who breaks down crying. You use your energy to help their problems, and have less left for yourself. It starts to wear on you when you get into the third year of it happening every second week like clockwork over such charming subjects as a thoughtless word by a professional acquaintance or having taken the wrong bins out. Bonus points for taking the wrong bins out being a personal insult that means I hate her.

Anyway, that really isn't the point.Telling me how to solve my rubics cube which I am no longer in contact with is not very helpful. The point is, I've been there and I want to help you make the right decision, whatever that may be for you.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2014 · 2014-12-10T14:34:43.139Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've had a 3 year relationship with a woman I thought I could fix. She said she'd try hard to change, I said I'd help her, I tried to help her and was extremely supportive for a long time. It was emotionally draining because behind each new climbed mountain there was another problem, and another, and another. Every week a new thing that was bad or terrible about the world. I eventually grew tired of the constant stream of disasters, most stemming from normal situations interpreted weirdly then obsessed over until she broke down in tears. It became clear that things were not likely to ever get better so I left.

There were a great number of fantastic things about this woman; we were both breakdancers and rock climbers, we both enjoyed anime and films, we shared a love for spicy food and liked cuddling, we both had good bodies. We had similar mindsets about a lot of things.

I say all this so that you understand exactly how much of a downside an unstable mental state can be. So that you know that all of these great things about her were in the end not enough. Understand what I mean when I tell you it was not worth it for me and that I recommend against it. That I lost 3 years of time I could have spent making progress in a state with no energy. If you do plan to go for it anyway, set a time limit on how long you will try to fix her before letting go, some period of time less than half a year. I'll answer any questions that might seem useful.

Comment by jackercrack on November 2014 Monthly Bragging Thread · 2014-11-24T16:01:07.058Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

On 6 of the past 7 days I've succeeded in doing 50 minutes of exercise and 2 hours of job searching a day. I'm now talking with 3 different recruitment agencies and it seems likely that I'll be having interviews shortly! I've been wanting to get into running for years so i'm spending half the exercise periods doing a couch to 5k program and the other half on bodyweight workouts. This may not seem like much but as a person who have been struggling to get anything done at all for the past 5 months it really is a big deal. Thanks to /u/peter_hurford for his guides on productivity which were brief enough that I couldn't procrastinate by reading them.

Comment by jackercrack on Productivity 101 For Beginners · 2014-11-21T22:52:37.293Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the write up. I used these tips, and they've been effective for 5 days in a row so far which is great because I'm finally getting callbacks about job interviews now after putting off applying for so long and all my muscles hurt from working out. It was short enough that I couldn't do what I normally do and put off taking action till I'd finished reading the book/presentation/whatever. Ended up skipping step 2 due to having plenty of free time in the schedule, which probably doesn't apply to most employed people but hey, feedback.

I found it useful to set and write down a series of specific rules for myself to follow beforehand to prevent excessive weasling out of things. It seems that although I'm not above some motivated rules-lawyering I can stop myself from breaking the rules if I make them sufficiently bulletproof beforehand. For example, one rule was that if I was going to skip a time slot to do something else, I had to make time to get the work done before-hand in order to stop myself from infinitely putting it off and to prove that it was actually a thing important enough to me to re-schedule around and not just an attempt to get out of it.

All in all, very useful. I'll be reading your other posts on the subject.

Comment by jackercrack on Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased) · 2014-11-17T13:57:27.230Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I had the happiness of stupidity once. While younger I edged into the valley and recoiled. I believe I even made a conscious choice and enforced it through various means. It was a good time over about two years, and it was unsustainable. I made the mistake of continuing to gain knowledge about human nature, I kept my curiosity and my fascination with how things worked and thus was my ignorance doomed. I dipped deep into the valley and eventually found this place, where I (hopefully) hit critical mass of bootstrap.

If I had stayed in that bubble of wilful ignorance I would probably be happier, but long term I think my current path will overtake it. It's better this way, I couldn't have stayed in that state without maiming my own curiosity and growth.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-05T18:36:46.722Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And neither of us have the evidence required to find this point (if indeed it is just one point instead of several optimal peaks). I'm tapping out. If you have any closing points I'll try to take them into account in my thinking. Regardless, it seems like we agree on more than we disagree on.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-05T11:59:39.285Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You misunderstand me. I am not saying that a large government is definitely better. I'm simply playing devils advocate. I find it worrying that you can't find any examples of good things in larger government though. Do socialised single payer healthcare, lower crime rates due to more police, better roads, better infrastructure, environmental protections and higher quality schools not count as benefit? These are all things that require taxes and can be improved with greater spending on them.

Edit: In retrospect maybe this is how a changed humanity looks already. That seems to fit the reality better.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-04T22:58:17.270Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Achieved almost entirely by fighting through normal means, guns and such so I hardly see the relevant. Suicide bombing kills a vanishing small number of people. IED's are an actual threat.

Their original goal as rebels was to remove a central government and now they're fighting a war of genocide against other rebel factions. I wonder how they would have responded if you'd told them at the start that a short while later they'd be slaughtering fellow muslims in direct opposition to their holy book.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 20 - Oct. 26, 2014 · 2014-11-03T10:44:11.928Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Really? I was not aware of that trend in the field, maybe I should look into it.

Well, at least I understand you now.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-03T01:15:46.975Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It finally makes sense, you're looking at it from a personal point of view. Consider it from the view of the average wellbeing of the entire populace. Zoom out to consider the entire country, the full system of which the government is just a small part. A larger government has more probable failure modes, but a small one simply outsources its failure modes to companies and extremely rich individuals. Power abhors a vacuum.

You and I are not large enough or typical enough for considerations about our optimality to enter into the running of a country. People are eternal and essentially unchanging, the average level of humanity rises but slowly. The only realistic way to improve their lot is to change the situation in which the decision is made. The structure of the system they flow through is too important to be left to market forces and random chance. I don't care much if it inconveniences me so long as on average the lot of humanity is improved.

Edit: I fully expect you to disagree with me, but at least that's one mystery solved.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-03T00:41:37.717Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That large government is worse than small government.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-02T09:27:30.182Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A theory of government is not an terminal value, it is an instrumental one. You believe that that particular way of government will make people happy/autonomous/free/healthy/whatever your value system is. What is lacking is evidence that this particular government actually achieves those aims. It's a reasonable a priori argument, but so are dozens of other arguments for other governments. We need to distinguish which reality we are actually living in. By what metric can your goals be measured and where would you expect them to be highest? Are there countries/states trying this and what is the effect? Are there countries doing the exact opposite and what would you expect to be the result of that? Your belief must be falsifiable or else it is permeable to flour and meaningless. Stage a full crisis of faith if you have to. No retreating into a separate magesterium, why do you believe what you believe?

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-01T22:54:05.948Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Right, well would you please continue? I believe the question that started all this off was how do you know said theory corresponds to reality.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-01T22:52:36.907Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not yours specifically, but the general average across humanity. lukeprog wrote up a good summary of the factors correlated with happiness which you've probably read as well as an attempt to discern the causes. Not that happiness is the be-all and end-all of terminal values, but it certainly shows how little the average person knows about what they would actually happy with vs what they think they'd be happy with. I believe that small sub-sequence on the science of winning at life is far more than the average person knows on the subject, or else people wouldn't give such terrible advice.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-01T21:53:11.854Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Right, it's time we got back on track. Now that we using the same definition of power and we've come to the conclusion that a reduction in tax revenues can reduce physical projection of power but is unlikely to remove the laws that determine what maximum level of power is legally allowed to be projected.

I believe you were talking about optimal levels of power when compared to growth?

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-01T21:50:01.010Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's a statement of fact, not a political agenda. Neuroscientists know more about people's brains than normal people do, as a result of spending years and decades studying the subject.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 20 - Oct. 26, 2014 · 2014-11-01T15:46:34.139Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, I think you may have gotten the wrong idea when I said truth was incidental, that a thing is incidental does not stop it from being useful and a good idea, it is just not a goal in and of itself. Fortunately, no-one here is actually suggesting active self-deception as a viable strategy. I would suggest reading Terminal values and Instrumental Values. Truth seeking is an instrumental value, in that it is useful to reach the terminal values of whatever your actual goals are. So far as I can tell, we actually agree on the subject for all relevant purposes.

You may also want to read the tragedy of group selectionism.

Comment by jackercrack on Meetup : Bath, UK: Agreement, practical meetups, and report from last meetup · 2014-11-01T11:16:04.503Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Statements can still be used for calibration even if you don't know the answer, but it's always more fun if you have at least an inkling of the answer. It's always good to add more fun to things like this, so any chance I could convince you to bring along some of the type of questions you think would be good?

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 20 - Oct. 26, 2014 · 2014-11-01T10:17:03.247Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, a general rule of truthiness is definitely a very effective approach and probably the most effective approach, especially once you've started down the path. So far as I can tell stopping halfway through is... risky in a way that never having started is not. I only recently finished the sequences myself (apart from the last half of QM). At the time of starting I thought it was essentially the age old trade off between knowledge and happy ignorance, but it appears at some point of reading the stuff I hit critical mass and now I'm starting to see how I could use knowledge to have more happiness than if I was ignorant, which I wasn't expecting at all. Which sequences are you starting with?

By the way, I just noticed I screwed up on the survey results: I read the standard deviation as the range. IQ should be mean 138.2 with SD 13.6, implying 95% are above 111 and 99% above 103.5. It changes my first argument a little, but I think the main core is still sound.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-01T01:42:39.436Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Persistence is a good word for it, plus a sense of making it work even if the world is unfair, the odds are stacked against you. No sense of having fought the good fight and lost, if you failed and there were things you possibly could done beforehand, general strategies that would have been effective even if you did not know what was coming, then that is your own responsibility. It is not, I think, a particularly healthy way of looking at most things. It can only really be useful as a mindset for things that really matter.

can you be more explicit?

Ah, sorry, I insufficiently unpacked "effective ways to satisfy terminal values". The hidden complexity was in "effectively". By effectively I meant in an efficient and >75% optimal manner. Many people do not know their own terminal values. Most people also don't know that what makes a human happy, which is often different from what a human wants. Of those that do know their values, few have effective plans to satisfy them. Looking back on it now, this is quite a large inferential distance behind the innocuous looking work 'sane'. I shall try to improve on that in the future.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-01T00:10:40.409Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Then what was all that stuff on the news about cutting government jobs, trying desperately to ensure frontline services weren't effected and so on about?

Edit: I knew it! No wonder I felt so confused. It would seem the reduction in spending just took a while to come into effect. Take a look at the years after 2011 that your chart is missing. Unfortunately it's not adjusted for inflation but you still get the idea. If you change category to protection and the subcategory to 'police', 'prisons' or 'law courts', you can see the reduction in police funding over the course of the recession.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-31T21:14:52.721Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There does come a point when the bill must be paid though, even if it is over a long time. Even if it's over 40 years as you pay back the interest on the debt.

Before we go further, I think we need to be sure we're talking about the same thing when we say power. See, when you said a reduction in government power, what I heard was essentially less money, smaller government. I'm getting the feeling that that is not entirely what you meant, could you clarify?

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-31T21:10:17.990Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, yes, it was all over the news. This feels like a trick question. Are you about to tell me that spending went up during the recession or something?

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-31T17:52:02.851Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

They don't necessarily have to, but generally do. For instance during austerity measures spending is generally reduced in most areas. Police forces have less funding and thus lose the ability to have as great an effect on an area, that is they have less power. Unless you're talking about power as a state of laws instead of a state of what is physically done to people?

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-31T17:20:03.508Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I was going to comment on how a clever politician could spend during their own term to intentionally screw over the next party to take power, but I wanted to avoid the possible political argument that could ensue.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-31T16:32:01.477Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

All of it looks reasonable to me apart from the last paragraph. I can see times when governments do willingly contract. There are often candidates who campaign on a platform of tax cuts, the UK had one in power from 1979-1990 and the US had one in power from 2001-2009.

Tax cuts necessarily require eventual reductions in government spending and thus the power of government, agreed?

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-31T10:18:55.217Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'll put this in a separate post because it is not to do with heroic responsibility and it has been bugging me. What evidence do you have that your favoured idea of reducing political power does what you want it to do? Are there states which have switched to this method and benefited? Are there countries that have done this and what happened to them? Why do you believe what you believe?

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-31T10:14:49.327Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, my definition of sane is essentially: rational enough to take actions that generally work towards your goals and to create goals that are effective ways to satisfy your terminal values. It's a rather high bar. Suicide bombers do not achieve their goals, cultists have had their cognitive machinery hijacked to serve someone else's goals instead of their own. The reason I think this would be okay in aggregate is the psychological unity of mankind: we're mostly pretty similar and there are remarkably low numbers of evil mutants. Being pretty similar, most people's goals would be acceptable to me. I disagree with some things China does for example, but I find their overwhelming competence makes up for it in aggregate wellbeing of their populace.

gjm gives some good examples of heroic responsibility, but I understand the term slightly differently. Heroic responsibility is to have found a thing that you have decided is important, generally by reasoned cost/benefit and then take responsibility to get it done regardless of what life throws your way. It may be an easy task or a hard task, but it must be an important task. The basic idea is that you don't stop when you feel like you tried, if your first attempt doesn't work you do more research and come up with a new strategy. If your second plan doesn't work because of unfair forces you take those unfair forces into account and come up with another plan. If that still doesn't work you try harder again, then you keep going until you either achieve the goal, it becomes clear that you cannot achieve the goal or the amount of effort you would have to put into the problem becomes significantly greater than the size of the benefit you expect.

For example, the benefit for FAI is humanities continued existence, there is essentially no amount of effort one person could put in that could be too much. To use the example of Eliezer in this thread, the benefit of a person being happier and more effective for months each year is also large, much larger than the time it takes to research SAD and come up with some creative solutions.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-31T01:18:40.060Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

See, you're ignoring the qualifier 'sane' again. I do not consider suicide bombers sane. Suicide bombers are extreme outliers, and they kill negligible numbers of people. Last time I checked they kill less people per year on average than diseases I had never heard of. Quite frankly, they are a non-issue when you actually look at the numbers.

It is not obvious to me that heroic responsibility implies that a thing should be done without cost/benefit analysis or at any cost.

Of course it depends on the values systems involved, I just happen to be fine with most values systems. I'll rephrase normal values systems to be more clear: People will on average end up with an average range of value systems. The majority will probably be somewhat acceptable to me, so in aggregate I'm fine with it.

Is there a specific mechanism by which reducing government power would do good? What countries have been improved when that path has been taken? It seems like it would just shift power to even less accountable companies.

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-30T23:49:18.748Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think we're using a different meaning of the word sane. See, I hold sanity to a rather high standard which excludes a huge breadth of people, probably myself as well until I've progressed somewhat.

I am imagining enough sane people taking heroic responsibility, the world looks rather different than this and it seems to be better run. We already have people in charge with value systems unacceptable to me, making them at least competent and getting them to use evidence-based strategies seems like a step forwards. People will have a normal range of value systems, if a particularly aberrant person comes with a particularly strange value system, then they'll still have to outsmart all the other people to actually get their unacceptable value system in place

Honestly lumifer, I'm beginning to thing you never want to change anything about any power structure in case it goes horribly wrong. How are things to progress if no changes are allowed?

Comment by jackercrack on Meetup : Bath, UK: Agreement, practical meetups, and report from last meetup · 2014-10-30T11:24:04.333Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

See you on sunday! I've had a look at some cool exercises to do and Fermi Calculations, 5 minute debiasing and Zendo all look fun and useful. We'll talk it over it at the rock climbing place in a few hours

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-30T08:34:18.925Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You say he's not-mad, but isn't he the spitting image of the revolutionary that power corrupts? Wasn't Communism the archetype of the affective death spiral?It would appear he was likely suffering from syphilis, a disease that can cause confusion, dementia and memory problems. Anyway, isn't that an ad hominem argument?

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-29T23:51:31.932Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Any idea how long that will be (months, years, decades)?

Comment by jackercrack on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-10-29T23:37:10.117Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think heroic responsibility is essentially a response to being in a situation where not enough people are both competent at and willing to make changes to improve things. The authority figures are mad or untrustworthy, so a person has to figure out their own way to make the right things happen and put effective methods in place. It is particularly true of HPMOR where Harry plays the role of Only Sane Man. So far as I can tell, we're in a similar situation in real life at the minute: we have insufficient highly sane people taking heroic responsibility. If we had enough sane people taking heroic responsibility, things would look rather different and likely a lot better run. It would be easy to be a happy gear, if you knew the machine was properly designed, the goal was a good one and the plan was likely to succeed.

There is clearly some ratio of heroically responsible:useful gears that works the best for each situation, some optimal equilibrium. Too many people trying to unilaterally change things in different directions and you get chaos and infighting. Too many useful gears and you have a wonderfully maintained, smooth running machine working at 40% maximum efficiency towards a goal that doesn't make much sense. I propose heroic responsibility be fit into a larger framework, that of filling the role that is required. I can't think up a snappy name for it, but you essentially mould your actions into the shape that best maximises your group's outcome given your abilities. If there is already someone doing the job of heroic responsibility and doing it well, you aim for the next empty or poorly-done role down where you do most good. If all the important positions are filled by competent people or by people more competent than you, then be a gear.

The problem lies in knowing whether you actually could do better in someone's situation with the resources available to them. The ethical injunctions seem to say that humans are rather bad at figuring out when they could do better than those in power. There is only an injunction against cheating to gain power though, not against legitimate means. Still, it's difficult to say whether one is actually more competent and a large amount of research into the potential role should be done first before action is taken. If you can see a decision for the role coming and make a strong prediction of what a good choice would look like, then seen what the actual decision the person made was and predict the effects and finally get it right, with a better batting average than the person in the role, if you can do that, then it's time to go for the position.

Disclaimer: There is a possibility that this theory is an extension of my belief that I should eventually be in charge.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 20 - Oct. 26, 2014 · 2014-10-29T17:46:24.309Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure they're wrong to be honest (assuming an average cross section of people). Rationality is an extremely long term approach and payoff, I am not sure it would even work for the majority of people and if it does I'm not sure if it reaches diminishing returns compared to other strategies. The introductory text (sequences) is 9,000 pages long and the supplementary texts (kahneman, ariely ect) take it up to 11,000. I'm considered a very fast reader and it took me 3 unemployed months of constant reading to get through. For a good period of that time I was getting a negative return, I became a worse person. It took a month after that to end up net positive. I don't want to harp on about unfair inherent advantages, but I just took a look at the survey results from last year and the lowest IQ was 124.6. This stuff could be totally ineffective for average people and we would have no way of knowing. Simply being told the best path for self improvement or effective action by someone who was a rationalist or just someone who knows what they're doing, a normal expert in whatever field may well be more optimal for a great many people. Essentially data-driven life coaching. I can't test this hypothesis one way or the other without attempting to teach an average person rationalism and I don't know if anyone has done that, nor how I would find out if they had.

So far as instrumental rationality not being in core about truth, to be honest I broadly agree with them. There may be a term in my utility function for truth but it is not a large term, not nearly so important as the term for helping humanity or the one for interesting diversions. I seek truth not as an end in itself, but because it is so damn useful for achieving other things I care about. If I were in a world where my ignorance would save a life with no downside while my knowledge had no longterm benefit then I would stay ignorant. If my ignorance was a large enough net benefit to me and others, I would keep it. In the arena of CEO compensation for example increased transparency leads to runaway competition between CEOs to have the highest salary, shafting everyone else. Sure, the truth is known but it has only made things worse. I'm fairly consequentialist like that.

Note that in this situation I'd still call for transparency on war crimes, torture and so on. The earlier the better. If a person knows that their actions will become known within 5 years and that it will effect them personally that somewhat constrains their actions against committing an atrocity. The people making the decisions obviously need accurate data to make said decisions with in all cases but the good or damage caused by the public availability of that data is another thing entirely. Living in a world where everyone was rationalists and the truth never caused problems would be nice, but that's the should-world not the is-world.

It so happens that in this world we live using these brains we have, seeking the truth and not being satisfied with a lie or a distortion is an extremely effective way to gain power over the world. With our current hardware truth seeking may be the best way to understand enough to get things done without self-deception, but seeking the truth itself is incidental to the real goal.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-29T06:11:52.320Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I rather think there may be demand for a cheaper, less time dependent method of attending. It may be several seasons before they end up back in my country for example. Streaming/recording the whole thing and selling the video package seems like it could still get a lot of the benefits across. Their current strategy only really makes sense to me if they're still in the testing and refining stage.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-29T06:05:28.909Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well that's a bit dispiriting, though I suppose looking back my view of CFAR was a bit unrealistic. Downregulating chance that CFAR is some kind of panacea.

Comment by jackercrack on How to Run a Successful Less Wrong Meetup · 2014-10-29T05:45:42.157Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Fantastic guide, a small note: the various status cues on page 28 is a dead link

Edit: Note to future readers: dead links can generally be traversed using the internet archive to find the cached site from when it was up.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-29T04:44:07.245Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Do you think it was unhelpful because you already had a high level of knowledge on the topics they were teaching and thus didn't have much to learn or because the actual techniques were not effective? Do you think your experience was typical? How useful do you think it would be to an average person? An average rationalist?

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-27T22:57:55.473Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Fair point, done. On a related note, I wonder how I can practice convincing my brain that failure does not mean death like it did in the old ancestral environment.

Comment by jackercrack on Group Rationality Diary, October 16-31 · 2014-10-27T22:55:53.875Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Any chance you could relate the details for how the scholarship works and how much it is for? I am considering applying for something similar and thought I'd ask

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-27T21:56:20.047Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Somehow I doubt the financial aid will stretch to the full amount, and my student debt is already somewhat fearsome.

I'm on the LW meetups already as it happens. I'm currently attempting to have my local one include more instrumental rationality but I lack a decent guide of what methods work, what techniques to try or what games are fun and useful. For that matter I don't know what games there are at all beyond a post or two I stumbled upon.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-27T19:14:21.188Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I'd like to ask LessWrong's advice. I want to benefit from CFAR's knowledge on improving ones instrumental rationality, but being a poor graduate I do not have several thousand in disposable income nor a quick way to acquire it. I've read >90% of the sequences but despite having read lukeprog's and Alicorn's sequences I am aware that I do not know what I do not know about motivation and akrasia. How can I best improve my instrumental rationality on the cheap?

Edit: I should clarify, I am asking for information sources: blogs, book recommendations, particularly practice exercises and other areas of high quality content. I also have a good deal of interest in the science behind motivation, cognitive rewiring and reinforcement. I've searched myself and I have a number of things on my reading list, but I wanted to ask the advice of people who have already done, read or vetted said techniques so I can find and focus on the good stuff and ignore the pseudoscience.

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 20 - Oct. 26, 2014 · 2014-10-27T18:59:01.793Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Let's see how basic I can go with an argument for rationality without using anything that needs rationality to explain. First the basic form:

Rationality is an effective way of figuring out what is and isn't true. Therefore rational people end up knowing the truth more often. Knowing the truth more often helps you make plans that work. Plans that work allow you to acquire money/status/power/men/women/happiness.

Now to dress it up in some rhetoric:

My friend, have you ever wished you could be the best you? The one who knows the best way to do everything, cuts to the truth of the matter, saves the world and then gets the girl/wins the man? That's what Rationalism looks like, but first one must study the nature of truth in order to cleave reality along its weaknesses and then bend it to your whims. You can learn the art a step stronger than science, the way that achieves the seemingly impossible. You can build yourself into that best you, a step at a time, idea upon idea until you look down the mountain you have climbed and know you have won.

There, I feel vaguely oily. Points out of 10?

Comment by jackercrack on Open thread, Oct. 20 - Oct. 26, 2014 · 2014-10-27T17:54:22.441Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

optimize diet for low cost with an at-least-superior-to-the-average-American level of nutrition

Well there's the Soylent idea, thought I don't think it was from LW. Soylent being 100% of all required daily nutrients stored in powder format then used to make shakes. In theory after a number of iterations it should be the healthiest food possible for humans to consume as well as being fairly cheap.

Comment by jackercrack on Simulate and Defer To More Rational Selves · 2014-10-27T08:12:01.350Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Depends on what specific information are you waiting for before you can decide. If it's something that won't happen soon or indeed ever it's more likely to be delusion. If it's something you can figure out in a week or just ask then it's more likely to be legitimate. Best of luck

Comment by jackercrack on Simulate and Defer To More Rational Selves · 2014-10-26T19:23:49.041Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How did it go? Were your family okay with it? Was the technique effective?

Comment by jackercrack on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-25T12:03:56.560Z · score: 38 (38 votes) · LW · GW

Completed. I'll be fascinated to see how digit length correlates to gender default. It would imply some very interesting things about sexuality.