Comment by mr-hire on Learning magic · 2019-07-15T21:22:04.538Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you're interested in magic theory, here are a few recommendations for resources:

The Fitzkee Trilogy:

Building Blocks by Luke Jermay:

The Theory and Practice of Magic by Al Schneider:

Overcoming Akrasia/Procrastination - Volunteers Wanted

2019-07-15T18:29:40.888Z · score: 16 (4 votes)
Comment by mr-hire on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-13T14:49:10.713Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Fair, but I think it's the best likely explanation. Do you?

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-07-12T17:30:38.164Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW


A few weeks ago I ran a workshop at the EA hotel that taught my Framework for internal debugging. It went well but there was obviously too much content, and I have doubts about the ability for it to consistently effect people in the real world.

I've started planning for the next workshop, and creating test content. The idea is to teach the material as a series of habits where specific mental sensations/smells are associated with specific mental moves. These implementation intentions can be practiced through focused meditations. There are 3 "sets" of habits that each have seven or 8 meditations attached to them.

The idea is that the first course, the way of focus, teaches people the basic skills of working with intentions and focusing that are needed to not procrastinate. That is there are basic skills to focusing, that even if you don't have any internal conflict or trauma, you still need to get things done. The first course starts with that.

THE WAY OF FOCUS (Overcoming Akrasia).

1. Noticing dropped intention -> Restabilizing intention

2. Noticing Competing Intention -> Loving Snooze (+ Setting Up Pomodoros or Consistent Break Schedule)

3. Noticing Potential Intention -> Mental Contrasting

4. Noticing Coercive Intention -> Switching to Non-coercive Possiblity

5. Noticing Ambiguious/Overwhelming Intention -> Generating Specific Next Action

6. Noticing Context Switch -> Intention Clearing (+ Habits for Removing Distractions)

7. Noticing Productivity - > Reinforcing Self-Concept as Productive Person (+ Changing Environment to That of Productive Person)

THE WAY OF LETTING GO (Overcoming Trauma)

Sometimes, you'll have competing intentions come up that are very persistent, because they're related to deep emotional issues/trauma. You can find them by looking for feelings of avoidance or the inability to avoid, and then use the following techniques to dispell.

1. Noticing Avoidance-> Fuse with the Feeling

2. Noticing Magnetism -> Dissociate from Feeling

3. Inhabiting Feeling -> Finding Emotional Core

4. Finding Emotional Core -> Re-experince Memories

5. Sticky Belief -> Question Belief Via Work of Byron Katie

6. Sticky Feeling -> Let Go of Feeling Via Sedona Method

7. Sticky Memories -> Reframe Memories Via Lefkoe Belief Process

8. Process Fails-> Find Second Layer Emotion.

THE WAY OF ALIGNMENT (Overcoming Internal Conflict)

Sometimes, you'll notice competing intentions that aren't unambigiously negative or positive, and it's hard to know what to do. In those cases, you can notice the "conflicted" feeling, and use the following habits to deal with them over a period of time.

0. Noticing Conflict -> Fuse/Dissociate With Feeling (Already Taught)

0. Easy to Fuse/Dissociate -> Find Emotional Core (Already Taught)

1. Familiar Conflict-> Alternate Fusing/Dissociating (practice switching perspectives)

2. Easy to shift perspectives -> Practice holding both at once

3. Easy to hold both at once -> Internal Double Crux

4. Memory Reconsolidated -> Stack Attitudes

5. Attitudes Stacked -> Core Transformation

6. Core Transformed -> Parental Timeline Reimprinting

7. Timeline Reimprinted -> Modality Mind Palace


I'm just finishing up the content for THE WAY OF FOCUS, and I'm looking for people to help test the material. It will involve commiting 30 minutes over the internet a day for 7 days. 10 minutes to practice previous meditations, 10 minutes to teach the new material, and 10 minutes to practice the new material via a new type of meditation.

Comment by mr-hire on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-12T14:17:29.760Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Subjective experiences are objects in an objective frame yes? Just because we can explain what caused an internal experience of meaning does it mean that experience doesn't exist.

Comment by mr-hire on Are we certain that gpt-2 and similar algorithms are not self-aware? · 2019-07-12T01:09:00.722Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that's possible, it's just also possible the reverse is true.

Comment by mr-hire on Are we certain that gpt-2 and similar algorithms are not self-aware? · 2019-07-11T22:11:04.412Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's possible. Or perhaps just a different theory of qualia (of which we don't have a clear winner right now).

In my theory of experience, there are animals that have experiences of pain without the ability to model themselves, and for instance would react to a wound but not pass the mirror test.

Comment by mr-hire on Are we certain that gpt-2 and similar algorithms are not self-aware? · 2019-07-11T20:42:24.313Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This doesn't seem to prevent the idea of current algorithms having Qualia, does it? It can be aware of an experience its' having, even if its' not aware that it is the one having the experience, or able to model the architecture that would create its' experience. To me this may fit some colloquial definition of primitive self-awareness.

Comment by mr-hire on How much background technical knowledge do LW readers have? · 2019-07-11T20:26:32.983Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think your options are not very autodidact friendly. I've studied many of these subjects on my own, and have no idea what an undergrad or grad equivalent of for instance economics understanding is.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-07-11T17:37:52.107Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is a common belief and it may in fact be true, but it's at odds with the ontology as presented. There are tradeoffs between which one you choose in this ontology.

Comment by mr-hire on How can guesstimates work? · 2019-07-10T22:34:01.800Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hypothesis: Guesstimates have always worked on transparent and opaque domains. As communication and reasoning tools have become better over time, more domains have become transparent and opaque. What used to have been encoded by culture can now be encoded in big data.


As communication and reasoning tools have gotten better, things have become more intertwined in complex, complicated, and unexpected ways. This means that the things we do can have unexpected consequences, and that distributions we're shutting up and multiplying in can be effected at unexpected times in unexpected ways. This makes more domains Knightian.

In other words, we have the illusion of more transparency, but we actually have more Knightian environments.

Hypothesis: Smoothing out knightian environments to make them more predictable in the short term makes them more suspectible to large black swans. The smoothing behavior you noted above may actually contribute to this illusion of transparency.

Comment by mr-hire on Magic is Dead, Give me Attention · 2019-07-10T21:14:11.814Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW
Long story short, I LOVE attention, and I HATE asking for it. This has been the case since middle school. The hating to ask part comes with an attitude of "Fuck you, I'm not going to beg for you to give me something". So I had a chip on my shoulder in regards to asking for people's attention, and like any good chip, it needed a rationalized narrative to justify its existence. "People who need other people to pay attention to them are weak", "Wow hazard, you're such a strong rugged individual for not needing other people's attention"

This dichotomy is very real to me. And I don't think it's just "people who need need other people to pay attention to them are weak" but "people who need other people to pay attention to them don't get attention." Neediness is repelling. So you run into this situation where in order to get attention, you convince yourself you don't want attention- and this obviously leads to all sorts of internal conflicts.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-07-10T21:04:16.164Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interior and exterior is one component of heaven and enlightenment. It's possible to break up that one axis into several axes but its' usually correlated enough to not have to do that for the vast majority of people and organizations.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-07-10T20:47:32.304Z · score: 16 (3 votes) · LW · GW


The role of the Kegan 5 in a good organization:

1. Reinvent the rules and mission of the organization as the landscape changes, and frame them in a way that makes sense to the kegan 3 and 4s.

2. Notice when sociopaths are arbitraging the difference between the rules and the terminal goals, and shut it down.


Sociopaths (in the Gervais principle sense) are powerful because they're Kegan 4.5. They know how to take the realities of Kegan 4's and 3's and deftly manipulate them, forcing them into alignment with whatever is a good reality for the Sociopath.

The most effective norm I know to combat this behavior is Radical Transparency. Radical transparency is different from radical honesty. Radical honesty says that you should ignore consideration and consequences in favor of courage. Radical transparency doesn't make any suggestions about what you should say, only that everyone in the organization should be privy to things everyone says. This makes it exceedingly hard for sociopaths to maintain multiple realities.

  • One way to implement radical honesty is to do what David Ogilvy used to do. If someone used BCC in their emails too much, he would fire them. That's an effective Sociopath repellent.
  • Another way to implement radical honesty is to record all your conversations and make them available to everyone, like Bridgewater does. That's an effective Sociopath repellent.

Once I was part of an organization that was trying to create a powerful culture. Someone had just told us about the recording all conversations thing, so me and another leader in the organization decided to try it in one of our conversations. We found we had to keep pausing the recording because the level of honesty we were having with each other would cause our carefully constructed narratives with everyone else to crumble. We were acting as sociopaths, and we had constructed an awful organization.

I left shortly after, but it would have been an exceedingly painful process to convert to a good organization at that time. Creating sociopath repellent organizations is painful because most of us act like sociopaths some of the time, and operating from a place of universal common knowledge means that we have to be prepared to bring our full selves to every situation, instead of crafting ourself to the person in front of us.


The second most effective norm I know to act as sociopath repellent is that anyone should be able to apply the norms to anyone else. Here's how I described that in a previous post:

Anyone should be able to apply the values to anyone else. If "Give critical feedback ASAP, and receive it well" is a value, then the CEO should be willing to take feedback from the new mail clerk. As soon as this stops being the case, the 3's get look for their validation elsewhere, and the 4's get disillusioned.

Besides selective realities, another way that sociopaths gain advantage is through selective application of the norms when it suits them. By creating norms that anyone can apply to anyone else (and making them clear by providing the opposites, as well as examples) you prevent this behavior from sociopaths and take away one of their main weapons.

Once, I was the leader of an organization (ok, I was actually the captain of a team in highschool, but same thing). I was elected leader because I exemplified the norms as good or better than most others, and had the skills to back it up. Once I became the leader, I eventually ran into challenges with sociopathic (again in the Gervais principle sense) behavior trying to undermine my authority. Instead of leaning back on the principles that had earned me the position, I leaned on my power to force people to do what I wanted, while ignoring the principles that got me there. This made others lose faith in the principles, and killed morale, leading to infighting and politics.

The lesson for me as a leader was to lead with influence based on moral authority, not power. But the lesson for me as an organization designer was to allow ANYBODY to enforce the norms, not just the leader, and to make this ability part of the norms themselves. This would have immediately prevented from ruining team morale when I descended into petty behavior.


The final important behavior for sociopath repellent is to notice when the instrumental values of the organization aren't serving the terminal goals, and relentlessly redefine the core values to make them closer to spirit, rather than the letter. This is important because Gervais Sociopaths ALSO have this ability to notice when the instrumental values aren't serving the terminal goals, and will arbitrage this difference for their own gain. A good Kegan 5 leader will be able to point to the values, show how they're meant to lead to the results, then lead the organization in redefining them so that sociopaths can't get away with anything.

Occasionally, Kegan 5 leaders will have to take a look at the landscape, notice its' changed, and make substantial changes to the values or mission of an organization to keep up with the current reality.


The next question becomes, if you want a long lasting organization, and a skilled Kegan 5 leader is necessary for a long running organization, how do you get a steady stream of Kegan 5 leaders? This is The Succession Problem. One answer is to create Deliberately Developmental organizations, that put substantial effort into helping their members become more developed humans. That will be the subject of the next post in the sequence.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-07-10T19:44:45.268Z · score: 19 (3 votes) · LW · GW


Stephen Covey says that maturity is being able to find the balance between Courage and Consideration. Courage being the desire to express yourself and say your truth, consideration being recognizing the consequences of what you say on others.

I often wish that this was common knowledge in the rationality community (or just society in general) because I see so many fights between people who are on opposite sides of the spectrum and don't recognize the need for balance.

Courage is putting your needs first, consideration is putting someone else's needs first, the balance is putting your needs equally. There are some other dichotomies that I think are pointing to a similar distinction.


From parenting literature:


From a course on confidence:


From attachment theory:


From my three types of safe spaces:

We'll make you grow---->Own Your Safety---> We'll protect you.


Certain people may be wondering how caring about your feelings and others feelings relate to truth seeking. The answer is that our feelings are based on system 1 beliefs. I suspect this isn't strictly 100% true but its' a useful model, one behind Focusing, Connection Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Internal Double Crux, and a good portion of other successful therapeutic interventions.

How this caches out is that being able to fully express yourself is a necessary prerequisite to being able to bring all your beliefs to bear on a situation. Now sometimes, when someone is getting upset, its' not a belief like (this thing is bad) but "I believe that believing what you're saying is unsafe for my identity" or some similar belief.

However, if they think its' unsafe to express THAT belief, you end up in a situation where people have to protect themselves under the veneer of motivated reasoning. You end up in a situation where everybody is still protecting themselves, but they're all pretending to do it in pursuit of the truth (or whatever the group says it values).

In this sense, tone arguments are vitally important to keeping clean epistemic norms. If I'm not allowed to express the belief that the way you're phrasing things means I'm going to die horribly and live alone forever (which may be an actual system 1 belief), then I have to come up with FAKE arguments against the thing you're saying, or leave the group where that belief of mine isn't being respected.

Which brings me back to the definition of Maturity. If you put your need to express what you think is true in the way you feel is true (which again, is based on your beliefs), over my feelings that I'm going to be alone forever if people take your arguments seriously), you not only are acting immature, but you're fostering an immature community with people who aren't in touch with their own beliefs. What was wrong with this example:

The conversation of the group shifted at the point when Susan started to cry. From that moment, the group did not discuss the actual issue of the student community. Rather, they spent the duration of the meeting consoling Susan, reassuring her that she was not at fault.

Was not that the group considered Susan's feelings, but that they put Susan's feelings above their own beliefs, instead of on equal footing.


Here are some situations I've encountered where I wish people knew about the definition of Maturity:

A rationalist friend of mine got upset about being repeatedly asked about a situation after he asked the other person to stop. The other rationalist friend told him "The mature thing to do would be able to control your feelings, like this other rationalist I know." The mature thing is to control your feelings, but also sometimes express them loudly, depending on the needs in the moment.

A lover told me that they weren't going to lie to me, they were going to tell it like it is. I said that was in general fine, but that I wanted them to consider how the way and time they told me things affected my feelings. They said no, they would express themselves when and how they wanted, and they expected me to do the same. That relationship didn't last long.

People taking care of a friend at detriment to their own health.

Soooo many more.


Lately, I've been considering adding a third factor, so it's no longer a dichotomy but a trichotomy. Courage, Consideration, and Consequences.

I know there's a strong idea around norms in the rationality community to go full courage (expressing your true beliefs) and have other people mind thmeselves and ignore the consequences (decoupling norms). As I've said elsewhere and above, I think in actuality this leads to a community that trains people to hide certain beliefs and lie about their motives, but do it in a way that can't be called out.

I think you should obviously think about the effects of what you say, on the culture, on the world, and on the person you're speaking to. I have beliefs about this, which cache out in me feeling very upset when people express the truth at all costs, because they're sacrificing their terminal values for instrumental ones, but I'm punished in the rationality community for saying this, so I'm less likely to express it. So the truth seeking norm is stifling my ability to tell the truth.

I think in general I'd love to see WAY more truth seeking norms in society, but I think that's because most of society is immature, they're way too much on the side of consideration, with barely thought to consequences and courage.

Meanwhile, some of the rationality community has gone way to much towards courage, ignoring consideration and consequences.

Comment by mr-hire on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-10T18:56:28.816Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW
I deny that the group has any moral weight, except as a sum of individual experiences. If it helps the individuals to find groups that fit better so they can coordinate better, that's good.

What about as a coordination mechanism that can make things better for individuals in the long term?

Comment by mr-hire on "Rationalizing" and "Sitting Bolt Upright in Alarm." · 2019-07-10T06:21:04.898Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Here's the study:

I think the methodology is fairly OK for this sort of high level analysis, except of course for it being all university students from UMASS.

Comment by mr-hire on "Rationalizing" and "Sitting Bolt Upright in Alarm." · 2019-07-09T19:46:42.803Z · score: 21 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This study found that 60% of students at UMASS lied at least once in a 10 minute conversation:

And that of those who lied, many were surprised about how often they lied. I would not be surprised if this is true for many people (they lie at least once every ten minutes and would be surprised at how often they lie)

When I specifically started paying attention to little white lies (in particular, I found that I often reflexively exaggerated to make myself look good or prevent myself from looking bad) I found that I did it WAY more often than I thought. Once I got to a point where I could notice in the moment, I was able to begin correcting, but the first step was just noticing how often it occurred.

Comment by mr-hire on Black hole narratives · 2019-07-09T02:43:23.779Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is basically the core idea behind zen.

Comment by mr-hire on What product are you building? · 2019-07-06T22:59:44.642Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW
Since, even at a literal company building literal products, there's value in conversations that are exploratory. But in that case the "sub-product" that you're working on might be "an exploration of the space.")

I think even in this case (as well as the conversation one) there's "levels of intentionality" that restrict your conscious and subconscious search space. For instance, at LW you probably have conversations that are "What features could be good?" and some conversations that are "What would this feature look like?" and some conversations that are "How might we solve the problem of common knowledge and peer review".

I see these sorts of things as levels of intentionality, and still fit into the frame of babble/prune, explore/exploit etc.

Similarly, you could have a conversation where you're building a product, a conversation where you're exploring different products to build, or a conversation where you're open to working on multiple products at once.

On the other hand, this is stretching the metaphor a bit.

Comment by mr-hire on What product are you building? · 2019-07-06T17:54:18.196Z · score: 16 (6 votes) · LW · GW

There's a general mental slider I use called "intentionality" which is something like "how much am I treating this situation as a product vs. an exploration. It seems related to explore/exploit and babble/prune distinctions, as well as the concept of blending with or unblending from subagents.

One of the reasons you might want to go into a conversation with low intentionality is that it provides a wider area to explore and you can discover more potential exciting products to build. Another reason is that it doesn't make you lose sight of your other products/intentions as you're going (for instance, a chance to build the relationship while you're talking about a technical problem.)

One move I think is useful is to deliberately signal when you're changing your levels of intentionality. For instance, someone says something and I reply with "Now THAT's interesting, lets talk about that." Alternatively, when a particular product feels like its' fizzling out "I notice that I'm not as interested in this topic anymore. Do we want to keep talking about it?"

Comment by mr-hire on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-05T15:23:58.526Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW
however, tone arguments aren't about epistemic norms, they're about people's feelings

One interesting idea here is that people's feelings are actually based on their beliefs (this is for instance one of the main ideas behind CBT, Focusing, and Internal Double Crux).

If I make people feel bad about being able to express certain parts of themselves, I'm creating an epistemic environment where there are certain beliefs they feel less comfortable sharing. The steelmanned tone argument is "By not being polite, you're creating an environment where it's harder to share opposing beliefs, because you're painting the people who hold those beliefs as bad people"

In other words, in an environment where people feel comfortable not being judged about their self-image, you're more able to have frank discussions about peoples' actual beliefs.

Comment by mr-hire on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-05T15:02:19.641Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I've been paying more attention to this reaction over the last few days since reading this post, and realize that its' often a bit different than "You're calling this bad, I've done it, I don't want to be a bad person, so I want to defend this as good."

Oftentimes the actual reaction is something like "You're calling this bad, and I've done it and don't believe its' bad. If I let this slide, I'm letting you set a precedent for calling my acceptable behavior bad, and I can't do that."

An example: Having lunch with my sister and her friend. They start making fun of Tom Cruise for dating a younger (but still adult) actress and getting her gifts on set. I don't believe there's anything wrong with age gaps and expressing the love language of giving gifts between consenting adults. If I don't say anything, there's a sense that I'm implicitly giving them license to call ME bad if I date someone with an age gap or give them gifts.

So I defend the practice, not because its' suddenly about a part of myself I don't want to look at, but because its' attacking things I would or have done that I totally endorse.

Comment by mr-hire on Jimrandomh's Shortform · 2019-07-05T02:52:13.197Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Do you think that the majority of direct management jobs are bullshit jobs? My direction is that especially the first level of management that is directly managing programmers is a highly important coordination position.

Comment by mr-hire on Jimrandomh's Shortform · 2019-07-04T17:59:28.850Z · score: 22 (7 votes) · LW · GW

When I tried to inner sim the "bullshit jobs as compensation" model, I expected to see a very different world than I do see. In particular, I'd expect the people in bullshit jobs to have been unusually competent, smart, or powerful before they were put in the bullshit job, and this is not in fact what I think actually happens.

The problem being that the kind of person who wants a bullshit job is not typically the kind of person you'd necessarily want a favor from. One use for bullshit jobs could be to help the friends (or more likely the family) of someone who does "play the game." This I think happens more often, but I still think the world would be very different if this was the main use case for bullshit jobs- In particular, I'd expect most bullshit jobs to be isolated from the rest of the company, such that they don't have ripple effects. This doesn't seem to be the case as many bullshit jobs exist in management.

When I inquired about the world I actually do see, I got several other potential reasons for bullshit jobs that may or may not fit the data better:

  • Bullshit jobs as pre-installed scapegoats: Lots of middle management might fit into this role. This could be viewed as a favor (I'll give you a cushy job now in exchange for you throwing yourself on the sword when the time comes.) However, I think the predictive model is to view it in terms of the Gervais principle: The clueless middle managers don't realize they're being manipulated by the sociopaths.
  • Bullshit jobs as a way to make people feel important: Lets say you have a preinstalled scapegoat. You need to keep them happy enough that they'll stay in their position and not ask too many questions. One way to do that for a certain type of person is to give them underlings. But if you gave them underlings with real jobs they could screw things up for the organization, so you give them underlings with bullshit jobs.
    • Another instance of this that I imagined might happen: Someone is really great at what they do (say they're a 10x employee), but to feel important wants to be a manager. You know if you don't promote them you'll lose them, but you know they'll be an awful manager. You promote them, give them a couple underlings with a bullshit job, and now they're still only a 4x employee because they spend a lot of their time managing, but you still manage to squeeze a little bit of productivity out of the deal. This one I'm less sure about but its' interesting because it turns the peter principle on its' head.

Edit: As I continued to inner sim the above reasons, a few feedback loops began to become clear:

  • To be a proper scapegoat, your scapegoat has to seem powerful within the organization. But to prevent them from screwing things up, you can't give them real power. This means, the most effective scapegoats have lots of bullshit jobs underneath them.
  • There are various levels of screwup. I might not realize I'm a scapegoat for the very big events above me, but still not want to get blamed for the very real things that happen on the level of organization I actually do run. One move I have is to hire another scapegoat who plays the game one level below me, install them as a manager, and then use them as a scapegoat. Then there's another level at which they get blamed for things that happen on their level, and this can recurse for several levels of middle management.
  • Some of the middle managment installed as scapegoats might accidentally get hands on real power in the organization. Because they're bad managers, they're bad at figuring out what jobs are needed. This then becomes the "inefficiency" model you mentioned.
Comment by mr-hire on What are good resources for learning functional programming? · 2019-07-04T01:56:32.531Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I used to ask questions like this on the open thread, and am curious if people think it belongs there instead.

What are good resources for learning functional programming?

2019-07-04T01:22:05.876Z · score: 24 (9 votes)
Comment by mr-hire on FB/Discord Style Reacts · 2019-07-04T00:31:11.080Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe, "Not value adding"

Comment by mr-hire on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-03T19:08:36.923Z · score: 19 (6 votes) · LW · GW
Is jessicata writing as if being a good person implies being thoroughly good in all respects, incapable of evil, perhaps incapable of serious error, perhaps single-handedly capable of lifting an entire society's ethical standing? That's a very tall order. I don't think that's what "good person" means. I don't think that's a reasonable standard to hold anyone to .

I think this is in fact the belief of Calvinism though. Have you lied? Then you're a liar. Have you acted out of jealousy? Then you're a jealous person. I think for a certain class of people this is obviously the wrong move to make, they'll descend into self loathing.

For another group of people, this is powerful though. I think this is the intuition behind AA "Hi I'm Matt, and I'm an Alcoholic." Once I stop running from the fact that its' in my very nature to want alcohol, I can start consciously working to make the fact that I am an alcoholic have less impact on myself and others (by putting myself in situations that make it easier to choose not to drink, noticing I have to expend willpower when around alcohol, etc). I don't have wasted motion trying to do the impossible thing of becoming a naturally sober eprson. Similarly, if I realize I'm a sinner, I can stop wasting motion trying to be perfect, and instead work around the fact that this is who I am.

I think the second is certainly a valid motivational strategy that works for people, and for many people probably the best motivational strategy at their current level of development. I think both of these motivational strategies create technical debt in the brain, and there's a third strategy that involves fluidly be able to switch between identities as well as the recognition they're an illusion (although I've only recently begun to experiment with this strategy for myself.)

Comment by mr-hire on Self-consciousness wants to make everything about itself · 2019-07-03T16:45:33.169Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I definitely notice this pattern of "feeling like the thing someone is pointing at is them pointing at me. then having to defend it to defend myself."

I move that's similar to the Calvanism concept that I've done (but makes me feel less like shit) is something like forgiving myself for making mistakes, and realizing that my mistakes don't define me. Thus when someone points at something that feels like one of my mistakes, I can see that as them pointing at the mistake, instead of me.

This is all a framing game of course, the Calvinism frame is implicitly "My mistakes do define me, and I'm evil, so lets' just try to be a little better." This framing is "My mistakes don't define me, and I'm usually good, so I'll just try to be a little better." When I can seperate my self-concept from my mistakes, I can work to make less mistakes over time, but from a frame that feels I'm inherently good and feels much better to me personally.

In "Transforming Yourself", Steve Andreas talks about the importance of including "counter examples" in your self-concept, to make them more robust and be able to notice your mistakes instead of having motivated reasoning to maintain your self concept. I think this is the technical mental movement that underlies the intuition above.

Comment by mr-hire on Open Thread July 2019 · 2019-07-03T16:38:43.131Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't thought about doing this with open problems, but I really like the idea and feel like I've done it implicitly with a number of problems important to me (coordination issues, moloch, etc).

I do however, do this explicitily when I learn new solutions, making sure I integrate them into my world model, can instinctively frame problems using those models, and tie them to other potential solutions.

It feels like beginning to explicitly to do this with problems is a large next step that could really take effectiveness to the next level. Thanks!

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-07-03T16:14:46.376Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW


Framing the Gervais principle in terms of Kegan:

Losers - Kegan 3

Clueless - Kegan 4

Sociopaths - Kegan 4.5

To run a great organization, the first thing you need is to be lead not by a sociopath, but someone who is Kegan 5. Then you need sociopath repellent.

The Gervais principle works on the fact that at the bottom, the losers see what the sociopaths are doing and opt-out, finding enjoyment elsewhere. The clueless, in the middle, believe the stories the sociopaths are telling them and hold the party line. The sociopaths, at the top, are infighting and trying to use the organization to get their own needs met.

In a good organization, the people at the top are Kegan 5. They have varying rules and models in their head for how the organization should act, and they use this as a best guess for the VALUES the organization should have, given the current environment - IE, they do their best to synthesize their varying models into a legible set of rules that will achieve their terminal goals (which, because they're Kegan 5, aren't pure solipsism)

The reason that they need to do this distillation process is that they need something that works for the Kegan 3's and Kegan 4's. The Kegan 4's SHARE the terminal goal of the Kegan 5 (or some more simplified version of it), and believe in the values and mission of the organization as the ONE TRUE WAY to achieve that goal.

Because the rules of the organization are set up to be legible and reward actions that actually help the terminal goal, the Kegan 3's can get their belonging and good vibes in highly legible, easy ways that are simple to understand before them. Notice now that the 3's, 4's, and 5's are all aligned, working towards the same ends instead of fighting each other.

Two important things about the values, mission, and rules of the organization.

1. The values must have sincere opposites that you could plausibly use for real decision making, otherwise they don't help the Kegan 3's and disillusion the Kegan 4s. You can't run an organization or make decisions based on "being unproductive" so "productivity" isn't a valid goal. You can make decisions that tradeoff short term productivity for long term productivity, so "move fast and break things" is a valid value, as is "Move slowly and plan carefully."

2. Anyone should be able to apply the values to anyone else. If "Give critical feedback ASAP, and receive it well" is a value, then the CEO should be willing to take feedback from the new mail clerk. As soon as this stops being the case, the 3's get look for their validation elsewhere, and the 4's get disillusioned.

Two good examples of values: Principles by Ray Dalio, The Scribe Culture Bible

The role of the Kegan 5 in this organization is twofold:

1. Reinvent the rules and mission of the organization as the landscape changes, and frame them in a way that makes sense to the kegan 3 and 4s.

2. Notice when sociopaths are arbitraging the difference between the rules and the terminal goals, and shut it down.

Short Form Feed is getting too long. Next time, I'll wrote more about Sociopath repellent.

Comment by mr-hire on Causal Reality vs Social Reality · 2019-07-03T15:36:08.596Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that this is the case, but the lumping together of them actually I think holds an important point: What we care about is the embodied sensation of happiness/togetherness/excitement/other emotions, etc.

There's something suspicious about working for a world where people have the embodied experience of togetherness while cutting yourself off from embodied experience of togetherness (this is not exactly what Ruby was talking about here but again, devil's advocate). It can lead you to errors because you're missing key first hand information about what that feeling is and exactly in what situations its' created and endures.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-07-02T01:22:53.145Z · score: 14 (3 votes) · LW · GW


The Gervais Principle says that when an organization is run by Sociopaths, it inevitably devolves into infighting and politics that the sociopaths use to make decisions, and then blame them on others. What this creates is a misaligned organization - people aren't working towards the same thing, and therefore much wasted work goes towards undoing what others have done, or assigning blame to someone that isn't yourself. Organizations with people that aren't aligned can sometimes luck into good outcomes, especially if the most skilled players (the most skilled sociopaths) want them to. They aren't necessarily dead players, but they're running on borrowed time - borrowed for the usefulness to the sociopaths.

Dead organizations are those that are run by Rao's clueless (or less commonly, by Rao's losers, in which case you have a Bureaucracy that outlived its' founder). They can't do anything new because they're run by people that can't question the rulesets they're in. As a clueless leading a dead organization, one effective strategy seems to be to accept the memes around you unquestioningly and really executing on them. The most successful people in Silicon valley make their own rules, but the next tier are the people who take the memes of Silicon Valley and follow them unquestioningly. This is how organizations enter Mythic Mode - they believe in the culture around them so much that they channel the god of that culture, and are able to attract funding, customers, results etc purely through the resulting aura.

Running Good Organizations

Framing the Gervais principle in terms of Kegan:

Losers - Kegan 3

Clueless - Kegan 4

Sociopaths - Kegan 4.5

To run a great organization, the first thing you need is to be lead not by a socipath, but someone who is Kegan 5. Then you need sociopath repellent.

Short Form Feed is getting too long. I'll write more on good organizations at some point soon.

Comment by mr-hire on The Competence Myth · 2019-07-02T01:09:42.905Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think you're right. I had a memory of the post where Eliezer was trying to say something like "We're all in good hands," but after rereading I don't see that as much.

Comment by mr-hire on Instead of "I'm anxious," try "I feel threatened" · 2019-07-02T01:01:56.930Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have also found this but I found that it created technical debt in my brain. For instance doing this with social anxiety just led me to a constant low level of social anxiety that I was always suppressing by being courageous. This led me to come up with other excuses to not socialize so that I didn't have to be courageous.

Comment by mr-hire on The Competence Myth · 2019-07-01T21:25:45.289Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That doesn't seem to be what Eliezer was implying though.

Comment by mr-hire on The Competence Myth · 2019-07-01T15:56:24.921Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This seems to be a counterpoint to Eliezer's old post Competent Elites, which posits that as you get to higher and higher levels, people do indeed get more and more competent.

Comment by mr-hire on Writing children's picture books · 2019-06-27T22:49:54.870Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The way I read Ryan was that they are smart and informed, except on the subject you're informing them about.

Comment by mr-hire on Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions · 2019-06-27T03:21:34.286Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This seems like a really important point. Even this seemingly non-rational explanation pointed to important intuitions, that could later be implemented in the map that is "science". However, before that, its' not like the cataloging of these intuitions and attempting to label them held no information about the world.

Comment by mr-hire on What's up with self-esteem? · 2019-06-26T17:22:45.480Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There's another model of self-esteem that I've found usefully predictive, in addition to models about status and hierarchy, which doesn't seem to be mentioned here.

The model is that we have an image in our heads of our "ideal self." That is, the person we think we "should be." This model comes from a number of places, including other peoples expectations of who we should be, who we think is the person that can accomplish the things we want to accomplish, etc.

In addition, we have a model of our heads at any given moment of "who we are", our self-concept and identity. This also comes from a number of places, including what other people say about us, the way we interpret memories and evidence from our own life, etc.

The level of self-esteem is based on the overlap between our ideal self and our self-concept.


Comment by mr-hire on Causal Reality vs Social Reality · 2019-06-25T22:11:17.860Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Just to make it clear, I think your post is pointing at something real, and my post can it part be seen as a thought experiment/playing devils' advocate

My post was definitely motivated by thinking that many people are wrongly forgetting about causal reality because they're so stuck in social reality.

I agree this is a thing, although I think another thing that happens is not that they forget about causal reality, its' that they never even get to the point where they realize that causal reality is a thing that's important to their goals and they things they care about (there's nothing to forget yet).

Probably the opposite happens some too, but it doesn't strike me as obviously the cause of as much harm/lost potential.

One of the things I've been thinking about recently is the increasing atomization of society in the face of globalization, and how much harm this does. The systems we've created are very stable, very useful, and very powerful - and they've lost something of the power of what it feels like to be humans together relating - the power of belonging in a tribe.

I don't think we can go back to tribes - we don't want to because they have their own problems, and we can't because we "know too much", we're just too connected. But, at the same time, there's something powerful about treating humans as humans (or consciousnesses as consciousnesses) and not subordinating that to the systems we create. We have names for the types of problems that arise when we do this, and we call them things like "externalities" and "moral hazards" and "moloch".

And one of the ways to look at this problem and play with it is to understand how it is our relating to others effects them, and to not lose sight of the embodied/feeling of relationality because we're slotting people into a system that treats them as a customer, or a purveyor of goods, or an obstacle, or a means to an end.

So I guess what I'm getting at is I think there's quite a bit of harm/lost potential in forgetting the thing that social reality is pointing at - that our actions make other consciousnesses feel things, and that we care about the things those consciousnesses feel. And while that fact exists in causal reality, the felt sense of our actions effecting others and it mattering how others relate to us comes from something very akin to social reality.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-06-25T21:59:13.708Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You strike me as someone very heaven focused, so I am surprised you got off the train at about here.

I wonder, if you expand the concept of "how everyone feels" to include Eudomonic happiness - that is, its' not just about how they feel, but second order ideas of how they would feel about the meaningfullness/rightness of their own feelings (and how you feel about the meaningfullness/rightfullness of their actions), do you still get off the train?

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-06-25T20:16:06.959Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There's a lot of underlying models here around the "Heaven and Enlightenment" dichotomy that I've been playing with. That is, it seems like when introspecting people either same to want to get to a point where everyone feels great, or get to a point where they can feel great/ok/at peace with everyone not feeling great. (Some people are in the middle, and for instance want to create heaven with their proximate tribe or family, and enlightenment around the suffering of the broader world).

One of the things I found out recently that makes me put more weight into the heaven and enlightenment dichotomy is that research into Kegan stage 5 has found there are two types of Kegan stage 5 - people who get really interested in other people and how they feel and how to make them do better (Heaven), and people who get really interested in their own experience and their own body and what's going on internally (enlightenment). That is, when you've discarded all your instrumental values and ontologies as fluid and contextual and open to change and growth, whats' left is your terminal values - Either heaven, or enlightenment.

Comment by mr-hire on Causal Reality vs Social Reality · 2019-06-25T20:07:41.886Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I do think that the distinction between Kegan 3 and Kegan 4 is pointing at the same thing, and when you look at for instance the test-retest reliability of Kegan levels you realize that OK there does seem to be something real here that's being pointed at in the territory.

However, I think it's very easy to make a case for caring deeply about Social Reality from the perspective of Causal reality (the point I was trying to make in my response to this post), so it's not at all clear that you can cleanly seperate the people who are doing that from the people who just haven't realized from the inside that Causal reality is a thing and they can focus on it.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-06-25T20:01:36.061Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW


Ruby recently made an excellent post called Causal Reality vs. Social Reality. One way to frame what he was writing was he was trying to point at that 58% of the population is on Kegan's stage 3, and a lot of what rationality is doing is trying to move people to stage 4.

I made a reply to that (knowing it might not be that well received) essentially trying to steelman Kegan 3 from a Kegan 4 perspective - that is, is there a valid systemic reason based on long term goals to act as if all you care about is how you make yourself and others feel.

Here's my slightly edited attempt:

The thing we actually care about... Is it how everyone feels? People being happy and content and getting along, love and meaning - it seems to be based in large part on the fundamental question of how people feel about other people, how we get along - the questions that are asked in Kegan 3.

It might be understandable if you're a person that cares about a world where people love and cherish each other, and are able to pursue meaning - you might think that the near term effects of how people think and feel relate to what happens effect the long term of how people think and feel and relate as well. If you don't have a lot of power, you might even subconsciously think that the flowthrough effects from your ability to effect how people around you feel is your best chance at affecting the "ultimate goal" of everyone getting along.

And when you run into someone who (in your mind) doesn't care about that reality of how their actions effect the harmony of the group, and instead is focused on weird rules that discard those obvious effects, you might think them cold and calculating and importantly in opposition to that ultimate goal.

Then you might write up a post about how sure, rules and Kegan 4 and principles of action are important sometimes, but the important thing is just being good and kind to other people, and things will work themselves out - That Kegan 3 actions are actually the best way to achieve Kegan 4 goals.

Comment by mr-hire on Causal Reality vs Social Reality · 2019-06-25T01:34:58.913Z · score: 1 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The thing we actually care about... Is that social reality? People being happy and content and getting along, love and meaning - it seems to be based in large part on the fundamental question of how people feel about other people, how we get along, etc.

It might be uderstandable if you're a person that cares about those things you might think that the near term effects of how people think and feel relate to what happens effect the long term of how people think and feel and relate. If you don't have a lot of power, you might even subconsciosly think this is your best ability to effect the "ultimate goal" of everyone getting along.

And when you run into someone who (in your mind) doesn't care about that reality of how their actions effect the harmony of the group, you might think them cold and calculating and importantly in opposition to that ultimate goal.

Then you might write up a post about how sure, you can think of causal reality sometimes, but the important thing is the reality of understanding what will make us all get along.

And you might have just as important point as the excellent points made in the above post.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-06-22T23:34:24.384Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Will do.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-06-22T19:56:32.906Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW


John is a Greenblot, a member of the species that KNOWS that the ultimate goal, the way to win, is to minimize the amount of blue in the world, and maximize the amount of green.

The Greenblots have developed theories of cooperation, that allow them to work together to make more green. And complicated theories of light to explain the true nature of green, and several competing systems of ethics that describe the greenness or blueness of various actions, in a very complicated sense that actually clearly leads to the color.

One day, John meets Ted. Ted is a member of the Lovelots. John is aghast when he finds out that Lovelots can't perceive the difference between Blue and Green. Ted is aghast that John can't perceive the difference between love and hate. They both go on their merry way.

The next day, John is doing his daily meditation, imagining the cessation of endless blue and the ascendance of endless green, but thoughts of Ted and his inability to perceive this situation keep intruding. Suddenly, John experiences a subject-object shift. He is able to perceive his meditation as Ted perceives it, with both colors being the same. In the next moment, he has a flash of the Greenblots celebrating when they've achieved their goal, and John now knows what its' like to experience the thing Ted called love.

John is confused, he thought the Greenblots had built a a fullproof theory of winning, of how to maximize the green and minimize the blue. But then he experienced endless green, and knew how it was for that to not be winning at all. And he experienced the thing Ted was describing, and the sensation of winning felt the same. John thought he knew everything about winning, but in fact he knew nothing.

John vows to understand the true nature of winning, and develop the discipline of being able to work with the sensation just like he previously was able to work with beliefs about making things greener. John will become the Greenblots' first post-rationalist.

Comment by mr-hire on Is the "business cycle" an actual economic principle? · 2019-06-22T18:08:52.401Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Unless you come up with a barbell like strategy that lets you survive till the downturn and then make a large profit when it happens. This I think is what both Ray Dalio and Nassim Taleb claim to have done.

Comment by mr-hire on Is your uncertainty resolvable? · 2019-06-22T17:02:06.335Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Another way to put this: I expect a large chance of a small update upwards, and a small chance of a large update downwards. This still conserves expected evidence.

On net, I expect to end up back where I started, EVEN though there's a higher chance I'll get evidence confirming my view.

Comment by mr-hire on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2019-06-22T05:17:52.583Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think vibing is that an unsual a method of communication, most people have seen it and participated in it... rationalists in Berkeley just happen to be really bad at it.

Unfortunately I can't find a video example (don't know what to search for) but I did write up a post that was trying to explain it from the inside.

Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed

2019-06-21T18:13:54.275Z · score: 32 (6 votes)

What makes a scientific fact 'ripe for discovery'?

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The Case for The EA Hotel

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How to Understand and Mitigate Risk

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What Vibing Feels Like

2019-03-11T20:10:30.017Z · score: 12 (22 votes)

S-Curves for Trend Forecasting

2019-01-23T18:17:56.436Z · score: 100 (37 votes)

A Framework for Internal Debugging

2019-01-16T16:04:16.478Z · score: 32 (16 votes)

The 3 Books Technique for Learning a New Skilll

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Symbiosis - An Intentional Community For Radical Self-Improvement

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How Going Meta Can Level Up Your Career

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Video: The Phenomenology of Intentions

2018-01-09T03:40:45.427Z · score: 37 (11 votes)

Video - Subject - Object Shifts and How to Have Them

2018-01-04T02:11:22.142Z · score: 14 (4 votes)