One of the things I've been working on in the background over the past ~year is changing my relationship to money. This has allowed me to make more of it while feeling great about it.
Here are the 2 biggest shifts I made:
1. I had a deep-rooted sub-conscious belief that if I got money, it would corrupt me, amplify the worst parts of me. Then, I realized that having money will allow me to hire coaches and advisors who's sole purpose is to help me reach my deepest values. I spent lots of time consciously visualizing this, and recognizing on a deep level that I could consciously direct my money to amplify the best parts of me.
2. I used to view money as a transaction, a fair trade between giving money, and getting something back of equal or greater value. But, that caused me to miss out on the human component of money - it caused me to focus on the money and the product, rather than the people behind them.
Another parallel perspective I've adopted is that money is a gift. A gift of trust in the person being bought from, a gift of freedom in the sense of what the money means. When someone gifts me money, I've gotten in the habit of consciously "receiving" that money, with gratitude and love. This has changed how I approach my products, and how I approach my "customers".
These two shifts have allowed me to be more comfortable with money, even develop a powerful, mutually beneficial relationship with it :).
THE THREE TYPES OF RATIONALITY AND EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
The Instrumental/Epistemic split is awful. If rationality is systematized winning, all rationality is instrumental.
So then, what are three types of Instrumental Rationality?
What mental models will best help me/my organization/my culture generate ideas that will allow us to systematically win?
What mental models will best help me/my organization/my culture evaluate ideas, and predict which ones will allow us to systematically win?
What mental models will best help me/my organization/my culture implement those ideas in an effective way that will help us to systematically win?
Evaluation typically gets lumped under "Epistemics" , Effectuation typically gets lumped under "Instrumentals" and Generation is typically given the shaft - certainly creativity is undervalued as an explicit goal in the rationality community (although it's implicitly valued in that people who create good ideas are given high status).
Great leaders can switch between these 3 modes at will.
If you look at Steve Jobs' reality distortion field, it's him being able to switch between the 3 modes at will, only using evaluative reality when choosing a direction - other times he's operating on Generative and Effectuative Rationality principles. This allows him to eventually shape reality to the vision he generated using his effectuative principles. By using the proper types of rationality at the right time, he's actually able to shape reality instead of merely predicting it.
If you look at Walt Disney, he used to frequently say a phrase that indicates he knew how to switch between these 3 modes: He used to talk about he was "actually 3 different Walts: The Dreamer, The Realist, and the Spoiler". Access to these 3 modes allowed Walt to do things that other's would have looked at with their Evaluative Rationality and viewed as impossible."
You can see with Elon Musk too. Look at that the difference between how he acts with budgeting and how he acts with deadlines. When he's budgeting, he uses his evaluative rationality - when he's making deadlines, he's using his effectuative rationality - he knows large visions and hard to reach goals actually help people take better action. You shouldn't view his deadlines as predictions, but as motivation tools.
Are great leaders then liars? No, great leaders are Kegan 5 players who don't just say things, but are actually operating through these 3 frameworks (to a first approximation) at any given time. When a great leader is generating, their not worried about evaluating their ideas. When they're evaluating, theyre not worried about effectuating those ideas. When they're effectuating, they're not generating.
They're using whatever framework can make the most MEANING out of the current situation, both now in the long term. They're skillfully cycling through these frames in themselves - and outputting the truth of whatever ontology they're operating through at the given moment.
One of my worries with the talk about Simulacra Levels and how it relates to Moral Mazes is that it's not distinguishing between Kegan 2 players (who are lying and manipulating the system for their own gain), with Kegan 4.5 players (who are lying and manipulating the system because they actually have no ontology to operate through except revenge and power), with Kegan 5 players (who are viewing truth and social dynamics as objects to be manipulated because there is no truth of which tribe their a part of or what they believe about a specific thing - it's all dependent on what will generate the most meaning for them/their organization/their culture).
It's absolutely imperative that you create systems to filter out Sociopathic Kegan 4.5 lizard people if you want your organization to avoid being captured by self-interest.
At the same time, it's absolutely imperative that you have systems that can find, develop and promote Kegan 5 leaders that can create new systems and operate through all 3 types of rationality. Otherwise your organizations/cultures values won't be able to evolve with changing situation.
I worry framing things as Simulacra levels don't distinguish between these two types of players.
I'm not sure if the perfectionism case (being perfect to please others) fits the identity pattern. Although admittedly, in some people the shadow/acknowledged value is flipped - some people will acknowledge being perfect to please others, but won't acknowledge the part of themselves that want to do it for themselves.
It sounds like you're fed up with how the world is.
One way of getting better strategies for dealing with that is to talk to a professional. It's something I'd highly recommend if you're having suicidal thoughts. If you're in the US, the national suicide prevention line can connect you immediately with a counselor: 1-800-273-8255.
If you're in a different country, there are likely free resources for that country as well.
I've been thinking a bit about the relationship between Perfectionism, Fear-of-Failure, and Fear-of-Success, as I've been teaching them this week in my course.
They all have a very similar structure, where each has a component of a "shadow value" - something that's important to us that we tend not to acknowledge, as well as a "acknowledged value" - something that we allow ourselves to acknowledge as important.
The solution for all 3 is similar - separate the shadow value from the known value, then figure out if each value (both shadow and known) actually applies to the situation, and how best to apply it.
For Perfectionism, the Shadow Value is pleasing/being loved by/being accepted by others. The acknowledged value is having high standards for ourselves and our work.
For Fear-of-Failure, the Shadow Value is protecting our identity. The acknowledged value is dealing with the negative external consequences of failure.
For Fear-of-Success, the Shadow Value is being deserving of what we receive. The acknowledged value is dealing with the negative external consequences of success.
What bugs me is... I don't know why all 3 of these happen to develop this very similar structure. It could just be a coincidence, but my gut tells me there is something unifying all 3 of these items together that I'm not seeing, and that understanding what it is would give me a more complete understanding of Procrastination.
They all seem to somehow be related to "Standards" - but I'm still not seeing the underlying system.
Since this is a symmetric weapon, do you think that it's best to spread it globally (because someone using the symmetric weapons to point at truth will outcompete those using them to point at falsehoods) to try to keep the spread to champions of the truth, something else?
Trying to figure out how people are orienting to the idea of symmetric strategies.
While I had bursts of insight and behavioral changes at first, these changes were more often than not short-lived, and I find that introspective techniques tend to have diminishing benefits, because there are no 'tangible' results I can point to mark progress.
This was my experience for the last ~10 years trying to overcome my procrastination as well. I tried lots of different techniques, they would work for a short period of time, and then I would return to baseline. I tried NLP techniques, I tried changing my biochemistry, I tried various checklist and todo systems, and everything was short lived.
It's only in the last 1.5 years or so that I've come to a place where this stuff sticks, and I'm just getting more and more focused/motivated/productive every day. Here's what I found work for actually internalizing these things:
The initial breakthrough was discovering the Experiential Array. This gave me a template for "the changes I need to string together to internalize things." I took all of the tools that had been effective for overcoming procrastination, put them into the array, and then went to interview people to find the parts of the array that I was missing:
This was great because instead of just blindly trying to use the tool during the initial burst of "this is working!" I could instead use that initial burst to instead make sure that all of the pieces of the Experiential Array were in place. I created a number of tools to ensure that I made the necessary belief, emotion, strategy, and behavior changes, such as the Virtual Habit Coach:
The next big breakthrough was using Thinking at the Edge to try to understand the deeper structure of procrastination. This was when I started doing things like incorporating resistance into my vision, figuring out the relationships between techniques, and changing the parts of techniques that were unsustainable.
For instance, NLP state change techniques and sports psychology techniques didn't take into account your current state, which is fine for a short burst of energy during a sports match, but is fundamentally unsustainable. This led me to developing the "Nearest Meaningful State" and "Nearest Playful State" techniques to make sure I could continue to use them forever.
The final piece was using the Experiential Array to map out 5-second strategies for identity-level change, and taking the time to internalze those strategies. This way as I was taking on new strategies, I was changing my identity in tiny little increments along with my behavior, which avoided the "Identity Snapback Effect" that I'd sometimes experienced with previous changes.
I've done a bit of work on this. I'll try to map out my understanding, and you'll have to figure out which parts apply to your situation.
First, you've got to ask yourself, why do you have the oscillating motivation in the first place? What's going on there?
One answer, on a macro level, is that you're oscillating between being driven by your vision/mission/purpose, and being driven by your resistance - the thing that fears for your safety, or wants you to get rest, or whatever.
To stop these oscillations, the first thing to do is recognize what your resistance values, and incorporate that into your motivation system.
On a micro-level, it may be that you've learned to motivate yourself through shame/guilt and other negative emotions. So the longer you go without doing your task, the bigger your shame/guilt gets, until it finally causes you to act... then your shame and guilt goes away. Again, this creates oscillations:
To deal with this, you have to again deal with both sides of the equation. First, you have to learn how to process and remove all the negative emotions you have about a task. Then, you have to learn how to motivate yourself using positive rather than negative emotions
Once you've switched to a sustainable motivation system, the question becomes: How to connect with that motivation.
There are two parts to this:
How do you get motivation and resolve for your tasks?
How do you get into a creative, playful state that allows you to get into flow and work well on your tasks?
Again, we can split these into macro and micro.
On a macro level, we connect with our motivation and resolve by creating "creative tension" for our vision using a tool called Vision Contrasting. By letting ourselves see the tension between our vision and current state, it gives us resolve to achieve our vision. I recommend doing this every morning.
On a micro-level, we get into the proper state by asking ourselves "What's the nearest state to what I'm feeling right now that would allow me to feel meaning?," Then, "What value could I focus on to most quickly get into that state." This is called the "Meaning Maker."
On a Micro-Level, we can do a similar thing as vision contrasting, but instead contrast the end state of our task to the state of our task as it is now. This is called Motivational Contrasting.
Then, we need to figure out how we can get into that playful, creative flow. To do that, we have to ask ourselves "What's the nearest state to the one I'm feeling right now that would allow me to enjoy the task?", then "What single aspect of the task could I focus on or change to get me to that state?" This is called the Play Maker.
So, at this point:
You've stopped your vision and motivation from oscillating.
You've learned how to reconnect with motivation in the morning.
You've learned how to reconnect with the creative state that allows you to work best on your task.
Obviously, there's a bunch here I left out, but hopefully this helps a bit. I do teach this stuff for a living, so feel free to reach out if you want to take any of this further.
To expand on this, because I realize it wasn't clear.
When processing for instance, fear of failure, what are we actually doing from a logical point of view?
We're checking if the juice is worth the squeeze, if the problems are worth the effort. We're seeing if it's worth it to continue.
We should check in 3 ways - logically, what would happen if we fail, how likely is it?
Emotionally, what are we scared of in failing, how likely is it?
Intuitively, what do we we intuit will happen if we fail? How likely is it?
Then, we go through the process - first, what would we do if we in fact do fail? This is an important part of the process, because we can't get a full sense of how bad failure will be unless we in fact note how we'll mitigate the failure.
Only then do we compare our failure to our success, and make an informed choice.
There are actually 3 steps if you're feeling pressured/disempowered.
First you have to just have to permit yourself to consider other possibilities. Sometimes just recognizing that you have a choice is enough.
Then, if your'e still feeling disempowered, you may want to produce new possibilities. CFAR refers to this as murphyjitsu.
Finally, if you can't fully derisk, you have to actually process the possibility your left with, accept the possibility of failure. CFAR calls this the "Onion Technique". The full process to get rid of pressure/disempowerment looks like this.
Now, at this point you may STILL be feeling fear of failure - at this point, you should be planning for what happens if you fail, and then, once you've done that, decide if acting is worth. . I believe CFAR calls this Negative Visualization - if you want something you can find online that talks about it, look up the talk on "Fear Setting" by Tim Ferriss.
That process looks like this:
Point being, Murphyjitsu is just one tool in the process. You need to use the right tool for the situation.
- measurements support or refute your intuitions, and your intuitions guide what to measure and how precisely. I'll argue that this is true intrapersonally (you'll have conflicting intuitions, and it'll require measurement and effort to understand their limits), as well as for sub- and super-dunbar groups.
Yes, my point being, a valid approach for certain projects is to use your intuitions to guide you, and then use ad-hoc measurements at various points to ensure your intuitions are doing well.
I remembered there was a set of audios from Eben Pagan that really helped me before I turned them into the 9 breaths technique. Just emailed them to you. They go a bit more into depth and you may find them useful.
Another option is to just try to optimize for the thing directly, without specifying a measurement. Then come up with ad-hoc measurements that make sense for any given situation to make sure you're on track.
There's obviously a cost to doing this, but also benefits.
We don't really have a lot of language to talk about aesthetic nuance. I know that my use of "bad" is just trying to say "it seems like you're framing this as ugly/unpleasing/aesthetically unpleasing", but the only words that sort of point at that without a bunch of inferential distance is "bad" and "good".
group the first three levels together and contrast them with the fourth. This thinking is that there is ordinary decent interaction, humans being human, as represented by the first three levels. Then there are the schemers who prey upon us, twist everything in their sick games and play us against each other. We vote for the lizards, as Douglas Adams reminds us, because if we don’t, the wrong lizard might win.
Certainly this could be turned around with a different set of aesthetics.
There are the true humans who use their free-will free from arbitrary restrictions, have true freedom and choice to take any action they deem best, vs. the "sheep" who let themselves be hampered by arbitrary restrictions.
It might be a fun/useful exercise to do an aesthetic reversal for each of the groups you list here, seeing how "bad guy" in the dichotomy is actually beautiful, and in what ways the "good guy" is ugly.
I like the idea of comparing s-curves. I think it inherently runs into the same "low hanging-fruit" problem though - If the s-curves on computing are steeper, is it because we have faster communication so can propogate best practices quicker, or is it because there's more low hanging fruit, so the constraints we run into are easier to break through?
One other way to frame the problem would be to look at the progress along metrics humans care about - happiness, meaning, health, leisure time, etc.
If innovation is A. doing it's job, and B. increasing, we should be seeing those metrics increase faster than they used to. Of course, this runs into the same low-hanging fruit problem - Maybe industrializiation was a low hanging fruit, and it's harder to get increases in leisure time after.
It occurs to me that this is a fundamental problem - the rate of innovation depends both on how good you are at innovation, and how hard the innovation is. No matter how you measure the rate, you still need some way to tease apart those two variables.
Certainly this type of level 4 person exists. But it feels like an additional claim, beyond the simulacrum model, to argue that all (or most?) level 4 people have this mindset. (I'm not arguing whether this claim is true or false, just it feels unnatural to me to group it in with the model)
It feels much simpler to define level 4 as "willing to lie about level 3", full stop. And then any additional considerations about 4-type-people are additional claims, outside the model (though perhaps derived from it)
I think this captures one of my issues with the original simulacra levels post. It feels like there's an aesthetic bias going on in a lot of these posts where truth-oriented rationalists are ascribing all sorts of positive attributes to the truth-oriented levels, and negative attributes to the non-truth oriented levels.
So the more elegant model, to me, looks less like levels 1-4, and more like a 2x2 grid, where there is physical reality, social reality, and the propensity to lie/manipulate beliefs about either of them.
This gets at one of the other things I've been uncomfortable with the model - it's conflating being able to see any given level with being unable to see the other levels.
For instance, I know people who basically aren't tracking reality at all, they're just tracking tribal affiliations. when they talk. Meanwhile, I know people who are intimately aware of reality in their minds, INCLUDING the tribal affiliations they're signaling, and take both into account when talking.
This implies then that rather than a 2x2, where you're either a liar or a truthteller along two separate axes, there's actually four separate skills.
The ability to track the truth of object-level reality, and communicate it.
The ability to lie about object-level reality
The ability to track the truth of social reality, and signal it.
The ability to create dishonest signals about social reality.
I can think of a few people who are barely able to keep track of the truth, but are great at lying about the truth to get object-level benefit. However, I think this is relatively rare, and your 2x2 may be more elegant.
The final things that's going on here is the conflation of: Being able to see the level, with Being able to play at the level, with Choosing to play at the level.
There are people who can see the social reality being manipulated, but couldn't manipulate it themselves. There are people who can are able to see other's tracking the truth, and who can play at the level of finding and communicating the truth, but choose not to. There are people who can see social reality being manipulated, and can play at that level if they need to, but choose to stay at the level of communicating the truth if they can.
Something I've been thinking about lately is the concept of Aesthetic Pathology. The idea that our trauma's and beliefs can shape what we allow ourselves to see as beautiful or ugly.
Take for instance the broad aesthetic of order, or chaos. Depending on what we've been punished or admired for, we may find one or the other aesthetic beautiful.
This can then bleed into influencing our actual beliefs, we may think that someone who keeps order is "good" if we have the order aesthetic, or have the belief that "in order to get things done we must maintain order".
The counter to this is to begin to develop what you could call Aesthetic Nuance - Recognizing that different things can be beautiful or ugly for different situations.
Chaos can in fact have it's own beauty, once we realize that, that can bleed through in our beliefs, and we can realize that in this situation, in order to act fast enough to get things done, we must embrace the beauty of chaos.
I've seen this show up in the Postrationality community - many were traumatized by the rationality aesthetic. They develop an Aesthetic Pathology for the unexplainable.
The aesthetic nuance here is - The innefable is beautiful, as is the explained from different perspectives in different situations.
Similarly, for a long time I've had an Aesthetic Pathology related to growth. I find stagnation abhorrent. However, as I begin to develop Aesthetic Nuance for stagnation, I can see the beauty in the eternal and unchanging.
Having trouble being decisive? Turns out there's only two simple mindset shifts that separate decisive people from indecisive people.
Indecisive people view decisions as a fork in the road. They can stand there forever, trying to decide which way to go.
Decisive people view decisions more like a train switch, that will change the direction of the train they're already inside. If they don't pull the lever in time, the decision to stay on their current path is made for them.
When indecisive people try out this metaphor, sometimes they discover something... thinking of decisions like this is really stressful!
This brings us to the second big mindset shift. Indecisive people view all decisions as the same! Decisive people don't do that.
Instead, they bucket their decisions. They have in mind a clear picture of the things they value, and their vision for the future. If a decision doesn't effect those things, they make it quickly and intuitively. Only if does do they put more time into the decision.
This allows them to not sweat most decisions, and makes decision making much less stressful. It also allows them to put more time and effort into the truly important decisions, because they're not wasting time on the decisions that don't matter.
Are you a conflict-mistake theorist, who believes that the world is being deliberately pushed towards hard to shift equilibria by elites who want to keep power? Or a mistake-conflict theorist, who believes factions are inevitable due to impersonal game theory?
As you can see, there are more stances than just the ones above. You can believe that being pushed into conflicts is deliberate, or it is unescapable. Notice that this is a mistake theory, but it fits into neither your evangelical nor object level categories, it's a different meta-level version of mistake theory.
Personally, I think having a sweeping theory of change like any of these stances is almost always pathological. Different problems have different effects, and the same problem can have aspects of both conflict and mistake, sometimes mutually reinforcing.
When, I'm babbling/creating ideas for how to approach a problem, I'll view it through the lens of both conflict and mistake theory. When I'm then pruning, I'll try to figure out the actually causality, and which parts are conflict-based and which parts are mistake based.
Then, when actually acting and communicating, I'll try to frame the parts of the problem around either conflict or mistake, based on the audience and other context.
That would definitely improve it. Perhaps start concatenated, removing filler words, and emphasizing words that are unique in the graph, then expand to full title on mouseover.. I find myself not using the graph at all because I can't see what the papers are about.
Personally, I think the highest level of a disagreement is to transform it into a dialogue, and I'd like a guide to productive disagreements to include that (even if there was a seperate hierarchy for productive dialogues). It seems like there's a crux here but I don't know what it is.
What would change your mind about including that as a level on the chart?
Do you think that:
Actually, turning it into a dialogue is a separate move that's not more effective than steelmanning.
People who saw the chart aren't ready to hear about turning a disagreement into a dialogue.
It's dishonest to talk about dialogue on a chart that's about disagreement.
I think that some of the best online disagreements I've seen are when someone breaks out of the disagreement and just synthesizes the positions to be like "here's the complicated reality". I definitely don't think the hierarchy of disagreement as it stands now is about putting forth that best reasonable case, it's about refuting points.
I agree that it the name of the hierarchy may have to be changed to get to the most important levels, but if you're trying to raise the standard of discourse you may want that?
Or if you want to raise the standard of discourse it may in fact make sense to call it the hierarchy of disagreement, but actually have the highest levels he about true truthseeking, as a useful headfake.
Surely there should be a level for "changing your mind" or "putting forth the most reasonable case given all available evidence." As it as the top level goal is still about winning and not about truth-seeking.
I hosted an online-party using zoom breakout rooms a few weeks ago and ran into similar problems.
Half-way through the party I noticed people were clustering in suboptimal size conversations and bringing high-context conversations to a stop, so I actually brought everybody backed to the lobby then randomly assigned them to groups of 2 or 3 - and when I checked 10 minutes later everyone was in the same two rooms again with groups of 8 - 10 people.
AFAICT this was status/feelings driven - there were a few people at the party who were either existing high-status to the participants, or who were very charismatic, and everyone wanted to be in the same conversation as them.
I think norm-setting around this is very hard, because it's natural to want to be around high-status and charismatic people, and it's also natural to want to participate in a conversation you're listening to.
I'm going to try to add your suggestions to the top of the shared google doc next time I host one of these and see how it goes.
A battery-case for my phone. Even though I have one for the pixel 3A, and it makes my phone noticeably more bulky due to the placement of the fingerprint reader, NEVER having to worry about recharging my phone except at night makes my day noticeably less stressful. Also noticeably less stressful than having to plug into an external battery pack which requires me being stationary.
A mobi-handle to attach to my phone. Can help me hold the phone, and I prop it up next to my work area when using it as a Pomodoro Timer, both more durable and aesthetic than a pop-socket.
Its' implicit in the previous two but... a smartphone. These get a bad rap for ruining people and their attention span but if you use them correctly and mindfully they are like the most amazing thing in the world.
A Kindle Paperwhite. Being able to save highlights, carry hundreds of books, and read in the dark is amazing. Probably one of my favorite possessions.
Noise cancelling headphones are great and really enhance flow.
If you cook a lot - A voice activated assistant in the kitchen to change music and set timers. I use an Echo Dot, which is relatively cheap.
Also if you cook a lot: A nice, labeled spice rack with a full array of spices makes things SOO much more fun than a jam-packed spice cabinet.
Keeping a BakBlade in my shower has ensured that my back doesn't become an unruly forest.
I have a plethora of objects on hand to deal with tightness and knots. Having a bag of them closeby when I work probably gives me an extra 30 minutes of productive work daily.
If one is looking for a great phone timer that also does the "tell how much time is left at a glance", I recommend Clockwork Tomato for android. It has tasker support to, so I set it to block network access to most apps, as well as most of the apps themselves, while on a work period.