Posts

Non-Coercive Perfectionism 2021-01-26T16:53:36.238Z
Would most people benefit from being less coercive to themselves? 2021-01-21T14:24:17.187Z
Why Productivity Systems Don't Stick 2021-01-16T17:45:37.479Z
How to Write Like Kaj Sotala 2021-01-07T19:33:35.260Z
When Gears Go Wrong 2020-08-02T06:21:25.389Z
Reconsolidation Through Questioning 2019-11-14T23:22:43.518Z
Reconsolidation Through Experience 2019-11-13T20:04:39.345Z
The Hierarchy of Memory Reconsolidation Techniques 2019-11-13T20:02:43.449Z
Practical Guidelines for Memory Reconsolidation 2019-11-13T19:54:10.097Z
A Practical Theory of Memory Reconsolidation 2019-11-13T19:52:20.364Z
Expected Value- Millionaires Math 2019-10-09T14:50:26.732Z
On Collusion - Vitalik Buterin 2019-10-09T14:45:20.924Z
Exercises for Overcoming Akrasia and Procrastination 2019-09-16T11:53:10.362Z
Appeal to Consequence, Value Tensions, And Robust Organizations 2019-07-19T22:09:43.583Z
Overcoming Akrasia/Procrastination - Volunteers Wanted 2019-07-15T18:29:40.888Z
What are good resources for learning functional programming? 2019-07-04T01:22:05.876Z
Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed 2019-06-21T18:13:54.275Z
What makes a scientific fact 'ripe for discovery'? 2019-05-17T09:01:32.578Z
The Case for The EA Hotel 2019-03-31T12:31:30.969Z
How to Understand and Mitigate Risk 2019-03-12T10:14:19.873Z
What Vibing Feels Like 2019-03-11T20:10:30.017Z
S-Curves for Trend Forecasting 2019-01-23T18:17:56.436Z
A Framework for Internal Debugging 2019-01-16T16:04:16.478Z
The 3 Books Technique for Learning a New Skilll 2019-01-09T12:45:19.294Z
Symbiosis - An Intentional Community For Radical Self-Improvement 2018-04-22T23:15:06.832Z
How Going Meta Can Level Up Your Career 2018-04-14T02:13:02.380Z
Video: The Phenomenology of Intentions 2018-01-09T03:40:45.427Z
Video - Subject - Object Shifts and How to Have Them 2018-01-04T02:11:22.142Z

Comments

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Aligned AI Needs Slack · 2022-01-26T15:36:32.059Z · LW · GW

Most random utility functions are bad, but there are a few good ones. *

 

*Citation Needed

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2022-01-24T15:32:11.794Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I think that a leader who has more power should probably be assigned more blame (as stated above), but not sole blame, unless there's some sort of bizarre structure where they have absolute power.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2022-01-24T12:09:05.914Z · LW · GW

Responsibility is about neither it's about counterfactual causality. Accountability on the other hand is about promises and maybe that's what we're talking about here?

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2022-01-24T12:04:59.281Z · LW · GW

It's the state of being the person who caused something to happen, it's a causal definition. E.g., Merriam Webster on this: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/responsibility

I clearly stated that I see Soryu as responsible as he could have counterfacrually caused something else to happen. Of course, everyone else in that situation is also responsible.

Accountability and responsibility are two separate things of course, both useful concepts.

At this point though this conversation isn't feeling truth seeking or mutually respectful/loving to me so I'll quite likely stop responding in this thread.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2022-01-22T21:56:17.139Z · LW · GW

I haven't watched the video, but the way that responsibility works is that if you have the ability to respond to a situation to change the outcome, then you have response-ability.  So yes, Soryu does have responsibility for this situation, as does every other person involved in the situation.

If what Soryu is talking about in the video is blame, not responsibility, then sure he could set up an organizational structure where he takes all the blame. In some sense, he has done this (hence him getting blamed here despite never having met), but if so I don't have to buy into that structure. Blame is a moral and social claim and others don't get to dictate my morals or social choices.

  I think in terms of the actual dynamics of how to ensure that the situation doesn't happen again and that there is restorative justice, putting the blame all on him isn't the best way to get changes made.  I think he should take a significant proportion of the blame as leader of the CEDAR organization, but that there were many people more directly involved that should also take much of the blame.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2022-01-22T21:47:58.463Z · LW · GW

Copying a comment from the other deleted post on the topic as I think it helps provide context for what MAPLE is now doing to address some of these issues and how the OP's experience at our OAK branch applies to MAPLE.

Hey HS2021,

(For others reading, the context of this is that Shekinah attended an experimental new location of Monastic Academy called OAK. She was asking questions about how her experience at OAK applied to the main center, MAPLE, and other questions about the organizational response. )

I want to acknowledge that I have multiple competing goals in engaging here. I want to engage with you with compassion and understanding. I also want to do my best to answer honestly and clarify what I see is happening for both you and others, and finally I want to personally understand what did happen and clarify if I'm seeing the organization clearly and if we need to make changes (or in the extreme case do I need to distance myself from the organization).

So I likely won't make anyone completely happy with this response, including you, myself, or my friends here at MAPLE.

I also want to state that this isn't an official response from the organization, it's my own personal sensemaking and understanding having done a lot of work to critically examine the organization and understand how it works.

So all that being said, here's my best attempt to answer the questions I think I have insight on:

Does the program structure significantly differ from OAK?

Yes. The program here in Vermont is quite different from what you described. For instance, we are discouraged from fasting during retreats, and typically maintain a much tighter container for them (such as reading out the rules before beginning them).

Is there separation between staff and participant roles?

During awakening periods (silent retreats), MAPLE has people running the retreat center, and others doing the meditation, and there is a clear separation (aside from a couple roles - Head Monk, and Care, which do both). During "responsibility" periods (off retreat) of course the residents and apprentices are expected to take on non-profit responsibilities, that's a key part of the training, and there's less of a separation.

Is MAPLE practicing informed consent?

As far as I can tell MAPLE does a fairly good job of this. For instance the guest management typically is very clear with people what a retreat entails before they attend, and then a very clear speech is given the day before retreat about what it will be like, and people are once again given the opportunity to leave. Finally, every participant reads out loud a retreat agreement the moment before the retreat starts, so that everyone is crystal clear on the expectations.

I've seen MAPLE continue to get better and clearer about this over the time I've been here.

What about oversight and accountability?

My understanding is MAPLE has 3 decision making roles at the org - head teacher, executive director, and love role. One of the benefits of this arrangement is that there's checks and balances to power, and I've seen those checks and balances effectively used to make sure no one in the organization has too much power.

In addition, there's also the board, which provides external oversight. To my understanding one way they could improve is to get a bit more of an active board.

What is the onboarding process?

MAPLE has a number of different ways people can attend the center, and the onboarding process is different for each of them. They have short term guests, long term residential members, service guests, apprentices, residents, and retreat guests. Can give more specifics here based on what you'd like to know.


I would like to know what the organization is doing to "investigate" and improve based on my post and other feedback.

In the year that I've been here, I've seen clear and consistent efforts to improve along the dimensions that people have mentioned they have issues with. I've already mentioned the improvements in informed consent above, and I'll include several more below. Note of course that all of the initiatives below are new and may change or be ceased as MAPLE learns more.

Removing Leaders that Made Mistakes

On the immediate and obvious level, as far as I can tell, the leaders at OAK that made some admitted mistakes are no longer in leadership roles within the organization. That's not to say none of them will be in leadership roles in the future, but to my eye at least they weren't ready and the organization sensibly removed them from those roles.

Changing How They Approach New Centers

The organization as far as I can tell has also drastically changed the way it approaches launching new centers. I had an opportunity to experience the new OAK container for a month when they were experimenting with it, and the leader there is deliberately NOT trying to hold a "teacher" role. Instead, he is simply there to hold the container/rules, and may in time step into the teacher role if he feels ready.

Meanwhile our sister center Willow is ran an even more radical experiment, trying to mostly do away with hierarchical structure all together and run a 3 month experiment with a more collective/holocratic structure.

Implementing a Formal Teacher Training Program

The organization has now created and implemented a formal teacher training program, which replaces the previous less formal method of teacher training. My hope is that this training program will help to standardize the process and quality of teachers at new centers.

Creating a Standard Rubric for the Training

In addition to standardizing the teacher training, the program is also working to standardize how they measure the core things they're looking to train, and see how effective the teachers and training actually are.

Creating Systems for Better Oversight at New Centers

The organization is developing software for use at all the centers, that can track the aforementioned metrics and provide a standardized system for running centers and allowing anyone at the center to give feedback. This gives better insight into what's happening at centers for leaders of the organization, and can help prevent issues before they become very large.

Better Communicating What to Expect from the Training

The organization has continually improved how it describes what the organization is and what to expect as an apprentice, including updating the website, updating the resident/apprenticeship agreement, as well as giving very clear talks/conversations early on in apprenticeship about what to expect.

That's just a sample, and there's a lot more improvements I haven't mentioned here.


In terms of investigation, there's a number of things going on. All of this is of course subject to change as they learn more and adapt:

Research

MAPLE is taking a look at best practices that other similar organizations have and recommend, and seeing how we can model our policies, practices, and process after successful investigations/policies of others.

Interviews

We're starting to interview previous residents and apprentices (hopefully quite a few of them), and better understand their experience in and after the training. This will help us to better understand and improve where we can.

Conversations

Leadership here is having many conversations with others, getting their perspectives and insights and seeing what MAPLE can learn from others.

Warmth,

Matt

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Viliam's Shortform · 2022-01-11T00:51:14.438Z · LW · GW

I think that simple might actually be transitive I'm this case.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Samuel Shadrach's Shortform · 2022-01-06T14:39:09.020Z · LW · GW

It seems like something like "An AI that acts and reasons in a way that most people who are broadly considered moral consider moral" would be a pretty good outcome.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Samuel Shadrach's Shortform · 2022-01-05T19:35:05.771Z · LW · GW

But if your definition of alignment is "an AI that does things in a way such that all humans agree on it's ethical choices" I think you're doomed from the start, so this counterintuition proves too much.  I don't think there is an action an AI could take or a recommendation it could make that would satisfy that criteria (in fact, many people would say that the AI by it's nature shouldn't be taking actions or making recommendations)

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Samuel Shadrach's Shortform · 2022-01-05T14:13:23.241Z · LW · GW

I don't think it's that weak?

Comment by mr-hire on [deleted post] 2022-01-05T14:10:02.801Z

Hey HS2021,

I want to acknowledge that I have multiple competing goals in engaging here.  I want to engage with you with compassion and understanding.  I also want to do my best to answer honestly and clarify what I see is happening for both you and others, and finally I want to personally understand what did happen and clarify if I'm seeing the organization clearly and if we need to make changes (or in the extreme case do I need to distance myself from the organization).

So  I likely won't make anyone completely happy with this response, including you, myself, or my friends here at MAPLE. 

I also want to state that this isn't an official response from the organization, it's my own personal sensemaking and understanding having done a lot of work to critically examine the organization and understand how it works.

So all that being said, here's my best attempt to answer the questions I think I have insight on.
 

  • Does the program structure significantly differ from OAK?

Yes.  The program here in Vermont is quite different from what you described. For instance, we are discouraged from fasting during retreats, and typically maintain a much tighter container for them (such as reading out the rules before beginning them).  

  • Is there separation between staff and participant roles?

During awakening periods (silent retreats), MAPLE has people running the retreat center, and others doing the meditation, and there is a clear separation (aside from a couple roles - Head Monk, and Care, which do both). During "responsibility" periods (off retreat) of course the residents and apprentices are expected to take on non-profit responsibilities, that's a key part of the training, and there's less of a separation. 

  • Is MAPLE practicing informed consent?

As far as I can tell MAPLE does a fairly good job of this. For instance the guest management typically is very clear with people what a retreat entails before they attend, and then a very clear speech is given the day before retreat about what it will be like, and people are once again given the opportunity to leave. Finally, every participant reads out loud a retreat agreement the moment before the retreat starts, so that everyone is crystal clear on the expectations.

I've seen MAPLE continue to get better and clearer about this over the time I've been here.

  • What about oversight and accountability?

My understanding is MAPLE has 3 decision making roles at the org - head teacher, executive director, and love role.  One of the benefits of this arrangement is that there's checks and balances to power, and I've seen those checks and balances effectively used to make sure no one in the organization has too much power.

In addition, there's also the board, which provides external oversight.  To my understanding one way they could improve is to get a bit more of an active board.

  • What is the onboarding process?

MAPLE has a number of different ways people can attend the center, and the onboarding process is different for each of them. They have short term guests, long term residential members, service guests, apprentices, residents, and retreat guests.  Can give more specifics here based on what you'd like to know.

  • I would like to know what the organization is doing to "investigate" and improve based on my post and other feedback.

In the year that I've been here, I've seen clear and consistent efforts to improve along the dimensions that people have mentioned they have issues with. I've already mentioned the improvements in informed consent above, and I'll include several more below. Note of course that all of the initiatives below are new and may change or be ceased as MAPLE learns more.

Removing Leaders that Made Mistakes

On the immediate and obvious level, as far as I can tell, the leaders at OAK that made some admitted mistakes are no longer in leadership roles within the organization.  That's not to say none of them will be in leadership roles in the future, but to my eye at least they weren't ready and the organization sensibly removed them from those roles.

Changing How They Approach New Centers

The organization as far as I can tell has also drastically changed the way it approaches launching new centers.  I had an opportunity to experience the new OAK container for a month when they were experimenting with it, and the leader there is deliberately NOT trying to hold a "teacher" role. Instead, he is simply there to hold the container/rules, and may in time step into the teacher role if he feels ready.

Meanwhile our sister center Willow is ran an even more radical experiment, trying to mostly do away with hierarchical structure all together and run a 3 month experiment with a more collective/holocratic structure.

Implementing a Formal Teacher Training Program

The organization has now created and implemented a formal teacher training program, which replaces the previous less formal method of teacher training. My hope is that this training program will help to standardize the process and quality of teachers at new centers.

Creating a Standard Rubric for the Training

In addition to standardizing the teacher training, the program is also working to standardize how they measure the core things they're looking to train, and see how effective the teachers and training actually are.

Creating Systems for Better Oversight at New Centers

The organization is developing software for use at all the centers, that can track the aforementioned metrics and provide a standardized system for running centers and allowing anyone at the center to give feedback. This gives better insight into what's happening at centers for leaders of the organization, and can help prevent issues before they become very large.

Better Communicating What to Expect from the Training

The organization has continually improved how it describes what the organization is and what to expect as an apprentice, including updating the website, updating the resident/apprenticeship agreement, as well as giving very clear talks/conversations early on in apprenticeship about what to expect.

That's just a sample, and there's a lot more improvements I haven't mentioned here.


In terms of investigation, there's a number of things going on. All of this is of course subject to change as they learn more and adapt:
 

Research

MAPLE is taking a look at best practices that other similar organizations have and recommend, and seeing how we can model our policies, practices, and process after succesful investigations/policies of others.

Interviews

We're starting to interview previous residents and apprentices (hopefully quite a few of them), and better understand their experience in and after the training. This will help us to better understand and improve where we can. 

Conversations

Leadership here is having many conversations with others, getting their perspectives and insights and seeing what MAPLE can learn from others.


I know that you're dealing with your own suffering right now, and want you to know that you don't have to respond to this if you don't think it would be good for your mental health, otherwise, I'm happy to engage.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Samuel Shadrach's Shortform · 2022-01-04T22:30:47.959Z · LW · GW

Logical uncertainty is hard.  But the intuition that I have is that humans exist, so there's at least a proof of concept for a sort of aligned AGI (although admittedly not a proof of concept for an ASI)

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on An Observation of Vavilov Day · 2022-01-04T19:27:37.212Z · LW · GW

This was my experience as well. Fasting started out pretty hard to me but eventually moved to regular 84 hour fasts for a while.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on lc's Shortform · 2021-12-30T16:15:10.961Z · LW · GW

It varies but usually not long. My uninformed guess is that your recent post was deliberately not frontpaged because it's a political topic that could attract non-rationalists to comment and flame in an unproductive manner.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on The Machine that Broke My Heart · 2021-12-30T13:26:18.859Z · LW · GW

Is the implication that this story is a rescuer -> victim arc?

Comment by mr-hire on [deleted post] 2021-12-29T09:30:00.746Z

I don't think I can provide context for that, but can certainly provide context for people who are considering training here or have concerns about the organization.

From personal experience I can speak to

  • The training at the Vermont branch MAPLE, and how it matches your experience at OAK.

  • The things the organization is doing to investigate and improve based on your post and other feedback.

  • The new container and leadership at OAK, and how it's different and similar to what you describe.

Comment by mr-hire on [deleted post] 2021-12-28T02:08:50.238Z

I'm a current resident at the Vermont branch of Monastic Academy and also happy to talk to people about what's happening and do my best to provide context.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Risks from AI persuasion · 2021-12-26T20:24:30.647Z · LW · GW

I don't understand what you're asking apparently. Do you want se books you can read that take you through the history of direct response marketing?

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Risks from AI persuasion · 2021-12-26T16:12:21.105Z · LW · GW

ion, because it had both the biggest sample size & was the most positive result

And it was the only study (unless the other ones that you didn't explicate had it) that focused on the type of marketing (direct response marketing) that I was referring to.  You certainly could have strawmanned my position by picking a study that was referring to brand advertising, but I would hardly call it a steelman to select the one study that was relevant.

So, where's this literature on how effective and scalable advertising is at manipulating people?

As I said, it's in the robust history of effective A/B testing/campaigns with measurable effects on revenue in this space.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Risks from AI persuasion · 2021-12-26T13:38:18.569Z · LW · GW

Its significant that you had to point to the one positive result you posted about. The rest (Johnsohn and Johnson, P & G, Political Campaigns) that have negative results would all fall much more under brand advertising (of course, brand advertising to direct response marketing is a spectrum, but if you're wanting more clarity on the distinction this article is decent: https://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/importance-promotional-marketing-strategies-13197.html)

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Risks from AI persuasion · 2021-12-26T00:59:38.190Z · LW · GW

As far as I can tell the studies you mention are all brand advertising, which I agree is not super well supported. I'm referring here to direct response marketing (spam mail, online direct sales ads, etc) , in which the effects of e.g. A/B testing are immediately clear and apparent. The history of that testing is what I'm referring to.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2021-12-25T18:57:58.079Z · LW · GW

I think it's worth noting that the writer here has never been to MAPLE and never talked to Soryu Forall. I think the author is really only qualified to give First hand opinions on the training and leadership at OAK.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on An Open Letter to the Monastic Academy and community members · 2021-12-25T18:56:12.560Z · LW · GW

Note: While I'm a resident at the Vermont branch of Monastic Academy, I'm not representing them here, nor am I stating a final position as obviously there's ongoing sensemaking and investigating going on.

My understanding of this was that after they found out that a relationship had started between two participants in the training (which is explicitly against the agreement one of the participants signed, although not the OP), they wanted to make sure that the relationship was indeed ethical and consensual (which involved two people getting into a relationship that was against the organizational rules, AND a significant power differential. Obviously it's possible for such a relationship to be coercive so it's good to be incredibly clear that it is indeed consensual)

Given these unusual circumstances, they wanted to make sure the organization and everyone involved was clear up front that both people had entered into the relationship consensually.

My understanding is that from the CEDAR side (leadership based in Vermont), there wasn't intended to be any pressure to sign the document - more like double checking, crossing i's, dotting t's -  I'm unsure of how that got communicated on the OAK side.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Risks from AI persuasion · 2021-12-25T14:02:17.657Z · LW · GW

There aren’t clear examples of easy and scalable ways to influence people.

 

Direct response marketing has a quite robust evidence base that certain types of arguments can scalably persuade people to buy things.  

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on A Cautionary Note on Unlocking the Emotional Brain · 2021-12-21T17:15:32.644Z · LW · GW

If some conscious activations the process of consolidating is itself causing "one idea to win... sometimes the wrong one", then trying consolidation on "the feelings about the management of consolidation and its results" seems like it could "meta-consolidate" into a coherently "bad" result.

 

Can you give an example of how this would happen? Do you have examples of it? I think the only way that the process of consolidating can cause one idea to win in the way described is through suppression of a higher level concern.  At some point as you keep going meta there's nowhere left to suppress it.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-12-03T19:41:01.916Z · LW · GW

I've never heard frame control used that way despite being fairly familiar with the modern NLP literature. First page of Google search also seems to mostly talk about controling other people's frames.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-12-01T14:15:53.446Z · LW · GW

Thanks for sharing :).  I'm in a difficult spot because I can't really comment on/reply to this in good faith without breaking the bounds of the mediation container set up between you and MA.  

For others reading, I'll leave it at the fact that there are many things in your frame I agree with and many things in your frame I disagree with, and of course you have one perspective of many.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-30T16:19:50.523Z · LW · GW

Maybe the main difference is that the neutral leaders you talk about try to set up frames that their subjects find positively exciting, whereas frame controllers set up frames that are disempowering and make the person smaller? 

Yeah this makes sense.

. I worry that whatever stated mission an organization has cannot be easily compressed into slogans or rituals, and if people have to do these things in order for the organization to work, then maybe it's lacking in authentically mission-driven individuals, and that spells trouble. 

I don't think the point is to compress the mission into slogans or rituals, it's to ensure a culture that screens for people authentically excited about the vision, and to continually steer the organization back towards it.

Of course, the counterpoint is "authentically mission-driven individuals are rare and it would be highly valuable if a single mission-driven leader can recruit a large number of otherwise non-contributing people toward the mission." 

And my reply to that is "yeah, it would be great if it worked, but it's not going to if the mission you're after doesn't have easily attainable (and hard-to-Goodheart) metrics that you can use to keep outputs in check."

FI think the merits of a DDO that's run like this is that it:

  1. Allows mission driven leaders to recruit people to the organization.
  2. Alllows them to recruit people who are authentically mission driven - participating in these sorts of practices is an incredibly good way to find people who are ACTUALLY on board with the values and authentically excited about the mission
  3. But more importantly, it creates a culture that can develop more Kegan 5 leaders who can drive the organization.

This is why they're called deliberately developmental organizations, they help bring recruits UP to the level of the leader (perhaps this is the big difference, whereas negative cults try to push the underlings DOWN and prevent them from becoming powerful).  So the real power of these organizations is "We can recruit people who think like us to help push the mission forward, and then teach them in the process teach them how to think for themselves and continually refine the mission)."  

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-30T15:32:20.169Z · LW · GW

In my experience very good organizations are cult-like in their very strong cultural practices. For instance, I was part of City Year in Boston, which has people wear bright red jackets everywhere, do physical training in the Middle of Copley Square every Wednesday, and has you answer "Fired Up!" when someone asks you how you're doing.  You are expected to memorize their values as you do your job.

In my experience the heads of City Year, people like Charlie Rose,  are incredibly good at the thing I'm calling frame control in this post. They make you excited about the values of the organization when they speak, they're charismatic, good at commanding a room and taking control of situations.

I've also been part of the Men's Circle in San Francisco. Again, you have to memorize the values here to join.  You have to go through an initiation process of cleaning up all the open loops or lapses of integrity in your life, THEN you can get voted in to join.  You can't speak about anything that happens (to other people) in the circles at the men's circle. Again, these are all "cult-like" things.  And the leaders are charismatic, good at frame control.

I'm now part of Monastic Academy, which has been called out in this very comment thread for "negative" frame control.

If you read Kegan's book "An Everyone Culture", you'll also find that the groups do practices that are associated with cults, like processing their feelings at work.  I would also venture to guess that e.g. Ray Dalio is good at frame control (and this seems apparent in e.g. reading Principles, he makes you think like he does and get excited about his way of seeing).

In my experience, none of those people are trying to craft motivations that fit the group as a whole necessarily (although there's a little of that). Rather, they're crafting a narrative that fits the situation and then working to attract people who fit into those values/narrative. Again, this looks a lot like what "negative cult leaders" do, the difference being the intent.

There are a few differences of course.  None of these recommend cutting off family or friends, or other ways of seeing.  They have oversight on the leaders, and ethical rules in place to prevent issues (e.g. No dating between leadership and members). 

In general, I think that e.g. Aella and the people she's interviewed have been abused. They have an understandable trauma response to strong charismatic leaders, and so totalize around the negative aspects. Meanwhile, I've had largely positive experiences, managed to avoid "negative cults", and seen how these sorts of behaviors can create powerful cultures that help people grow and do good in the world.  So I don't see it as "Frame Control is bad" but "Frame control is powerful, and sometimes people are bad."

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-29T23:37:20.604Z · LW · GW

But it does not follow from this that you would therefore be right to take this view.

Unless you've solved the Is/Ought distinction, it doesn't follow from any fact that it's right to take a certain view (at best, you can state that given a certain set of goals, virtues, etc, different behaviors are more coherent or useful), that's why it's important to state your ethical assumptions/goals up front.

Like what, do you think?

I don't know, from previous comments I think you value truth a lot but it'd really be better for you to state your values than me.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-29T23:08:27.807Z · LW · GW

Normal and sane contain a bunch of hidden normative claims about your goals. Fwiw I agree that the suggestions on Aella's post go overboard, but if I had endured the abuse she had maybe I wouldn't.

My point is that without saying something like "I think it's better to have a bit higher chance of being abused and a smaller chance of ignoring good advice" you can't make normative claims -> they imply some criteria that others may not agree with. It's worth trying to tease out what you're optimizing for with your normative suggestions.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-29T21:26:54.594Z · LW · GW

Good point.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-29T12:08:02.610Z · LW · GW

I think both of those are probably good guidelines if your primary goal is to avoid abuse at all costs. They're effective trauma responses. However, they're not actually the best if you have more nuanced goals.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-29T06:59:08.614Z · LW · GW

I think both of those are underselling competent frame control. Good frame controllers are actually competent, can switch between styles of communication depending on the person, and offer genuine value along with the frame theyre offering.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-29T06:19:14.846Z · LW · GW

Giving a highly mimetic name to something, a really compelling object-level mental framework, and putting a personal narrative behind it is a really big deal and actually significantly alters people's thought processes in a way they don't easily detect. I don't think any of you realize how powerful this is and I'm not actually sure that anyone should do this in any situation.

This is frame control. It's interesting that several commentors have expressed unease about this post because in some sense it's doing the thing it's trying to point out.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-29T00:54:26.594Z · LW · GW

Fwiw I think it's entirely possible to just get frame controlled by them using all the "right conversational moves" to push their frames. I don't think there's a set of communication norms that are fully protective against frame control.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Frame Control · 2021-11-29T00:32:15.500Z · LW · GW

Here's a few things I believe:

 

  1. Frame control is definitely real. I think if I were to try to operationalize it, it's something like the ability influence the ontologies people use and the valence they assign to objects with in those ontologies.  This caches out as influencing how important and virtuous people find certain ideas and actions.
  2. Frame control is probably necessary for good leadership.  A good leader is a Kegan 5 individual who can find the ontology that they can use to educate and motivate Kegan 4 and Kegan 3 underlings in an organization that will allow them to correctly respond to current conditions, and then help them to change that ontology as the conditions change.
  3. But frame control is also the thing that Kegan 4.5 sociopaths use to control the narrative in cults and moral mazes.  It allows them to get all of the credit, take none of the blame, and keep less powerful or sophiscated people in the dark about their games, and even happy to give them more control and power.
  4. A well aligned Kegan 5 leader aware of the possiblity of capture by sociopaths, and skilled in frame control, is one of the best defenses against sociopaths, moreso than any specific communication rules, although rules like e.g. transparency of communication are helpful in this regard, as is Malcolm's norm around honoring distrust.
  5. So I disagree that intent doesn't matter - it matters supremely, as you actually want a leader who's skilled in frame control to prevent you from getting taken advantage of.  BUT, the caveat is that a Kegan 3 or 4 person trying to understand the intent of a Kegan 4.5 or 5 person skilled in frame control will most times not be able to - that's the nature of hierarchical complexity.  So in practice trying to "determine the intent" of your leader to figure out if they're aligned with your interests or not isn't useful, even if the intent itself is one of the most important things.
  6. This is basically an unsolved problem and one of the causes of civilizational inadequacy. The inability to select between competent Kegan 5 leaders who apply aligned frame control, and competent Kegan 4.5 sociopaths who apply misaligned frame control, is the cause not only of unhealthy religious style cults, but also the cause of most of the Moral Mazes that cause harm to people in normal corporate contexts.
Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2021-11-28T23:36:40.644Z · LW · GW

Yes, but people also constantly exchange increased reproductive capacity for love, truth, and beauty (the world would look very different if reproductive capacity was the only terminal value people were optimizing for).  It's not that reproductive capacity isn't a terminal value of humans, it's that it's not the only one, and people make tradeoffs for other terminal values all the time.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed · 2021-11-27T16:14:05.978Z · LW · GW

I just realized that humans are misaligned mesaoptimizers. Evolution "wanted" us to be pure reproduction maximizers but because of our training distribution we ended up valuing things like love, truth and beauty as terminal values. We're simply misaligned AIs run amok.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Secure homes for digital people · 2021-10-31T18:56:44.771Z · LW · GW

Woah 😳. Didn't even think of this use case for a Blockchain.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Secure homes for digital people · 2021-10-31T18:53:49.385Z · LW · GW

Likewise.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Tell the Truth · 2021-10-30T12:19:32.486Z · LW · GW

US government has never taken down an illicit drug rung by breaking Tor itself.

The policy of the US government is to reconstruct a plausible narrative of how they caught the offender if they use exploits like this so that they can continue to use them in future.

If you look at the number of dark markets that have used Tor and been shutdown by the feds, I don't think it's implausible that Tor is already compromised.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on True Stories of Algorithmic Improvement · 2021-10-30T01:05:09.526Z · LW · GW

Moore's law simply means that the 44x less compute is 11x cheaper, right? Moore's law doesn't make algorithms need less compute, just lowers the cost of that compute.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Successful Mentoring on Parenting, Arranged Through LessWrong · 2021-10-22T14:50:12.112Z · LW · GW

Possibly they're trying to beat the odds?

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage) · 2021-10-21T01:32:30.417Z · LW · GW

I guess it depends whether you care about evolution's goals or your own.  If the way that evolution did it was to massively change what you care about/what's meaningful after you have children, then it seems it did it in a way that's mind warping.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage) · 2021-10-21T00:22:53.525Z · LW · GW

It seems like both of these are the same hypothesis.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on Prioritization Research for Advancing Wisdom and Intelligence · 2021-10-20T15:30:16.963Z · LW · GW

But I'd be up for more research to decide if things like that are the best way forward :)

 

And I'd be up for more experiments to see if this is a better way forward.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage) · 2021-10-20T13:51:39.368Z · LW · GW

I suppose one hypothesis here is that having a kid is dangerously mind warping on the same level as psychedelics.

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage) · 2021-10-20T13:49:32.779Z · LW · GW

a willingness to violate drug laws is likely a negative signal about someone.

 

I'm curious where you're getting this from. What's your evidence?

Comment by Matt Goldenberg (mr-hire) on My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage) · 2021-10-20T13:03:53.043Z · LW · GW

He straightforwardly agreed, and said he provides the environment for long term dedication to meditation because there is a market demand for that product. 🤷

 

FWIW as a resident of MAPLE, my sense is Soryu believes something like:

"Smaller periods of meditation will help you relax/focus and probably have only a very small risk of harm. Larger/longer periods of meditation come with deeper risks of harm,  but are also probably necessary to achieve awakening, which is important for the good of the world." 

 

But I am a newer resident and could easily misunderstanding here.