Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Kenshō · 2018-01-22T11:11:46.339Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW
I'm not advocating trying for kenshō. You can't try for it in any useful way. That's not how it works. I honestly don't care whether I persuade anyone of its value, because it does not matter whether you try for it. Or rather, if it does matter, it does so by making you obsessed in a way that can actually block the seeing. So, there isn't really any good benefit to fighting with your analysis to try to persuade you of its value.

I understand where you are coming from. Efforting blocks realisation and kenshō doesn’t come from discursive thought - those are common traps. This is good advice for the experienced meditation practitioner. The practitioner that has already seen the benefit practice brings and has the momentum built up to carry them through difficult periods. Further effort and analysis blocks progress after a point.

The typical lesswronger is a beginner and needs the exact opposite advice. Kenshō needs to be advocated for because they need a reason to practice instead of doing something else. And they need to know that trying for it is useful so that they can establish the right discipline and mental habits.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Kenshō · 2018-01-22T11:04:57.427Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW
Is it easy for you to sketch what the map you're referring to is?

Not OP, but I can describe the map he’s referring too. Jeffery Martin interviewed 1,200 enlightened individuals and found that while their reported experience was different, their descriptions of their new phenomenological experience fell into similar clusters or ‘locations’. There’s around 20-40 locations in all (he is vague about exactly how many there are) but Jeffery only talks about the first 4 because that’s where the vast majority of people spend their time and he believes talking about the later locations is dangerous. The project is a little sketchy but there's no one else doing what he's doing. People have noticed a resemblance between the locations and the Theravadan 4 path model but locations are typically temporary ‘states’ whereas paths are irreversable shifts.

The quick summary of the distinctive characteristics of each location are,

Location 1

  • Expansion of sense of self, connection to divine
  • Much less affected by ‘self’ thoughts
  • Distance from but still have positive and negative emotions
  • Deep peace but can be suppressed by triggered conditioning
  • Effects from perceptual triggers fall off quickly
  • Deep peace and beingness feels more real than anything previous
  • Trust in ‘how things are’
  • Personal history less relevant, memories less

Location 2

  • ‘Self’ thoughts continue to fade
  • Peace increasingly harder to suppress/conditioning fades
  • Shift towards increasingly positive emotions, until only very positive emotions remain
  • Intermediate levels of perceptual triggers increasingly fade
  • More likely to feel that there is a correct decision or path to take when presented with choices
  • Higher well-being than location one

Location 3

  • Only single positive emotion remains
  • Feels like a combination of universal compassion, love, joy, …
  • Higher well-being than location 2

Location 4

  • No sense of agency
  • No emotions
  • No ‘self’ thoughts
  • Perceptual triggers at their bare minimum
  • No sense of divine or universal consciousness
  • Life was simply unfolding and they were watching the process happen
  • Memory deficits/scheduled appointments, etc.
  • Highest well-being reported
Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Kenshō · 2018-01-22T07:55:43.289Z · score: 49 (16 votes) · LW · GW

The awakened community definitely needs more rationality and the rationality community could probably benefit from some Insight, so thank you for starting this conversation. Hopefully it's just the first step. For anyone interested r/streamentry is a mostly woo-free, friendly community for discussing this sort of thing.

A particularly useful and traditional guideline is to wait a year and a day before claiming an attainment and completely making up your mind. This is slippery stuff sometimes, and many states and stages can easily fool someone into thinking that they are something they are not.

Do you have a teacher? I ask for two reasons. Firstly a reputable teacher will be able to provide confirmation of your attainment. Secondly what you’re describing doesn’t sound like stream entry, it sounds like A&P. There’s typically a difficult period after this which can be brutal if you’re not expecting it and it’s extremely useful to have the support of a teacher who knows the territory to guide you through it. Whatever it turns out to be it sounds like it's reduced suffering considerably, so congratulations.

You linked to Rinzai Zen, is that the tradition in which you’ve been trained? The impression I get from your comments is that the “sudden enlightenment” paradigm is operating as a background assumption and that’s leading into conflict and unnecessary dead ends in some comment threads. The “I want cake”, “I’m giving you cake” thread is the best example of this. I think gradualism better maps onto reality, provides a better support for a daily practice and provides a better explanation of enlightenment as a concept. Gradual versus Sudden is an old debate (I'm not sure how familiar you are with it) and I don’t want to simply rehash that but I do want to point towards a few advantages that can help avoid the pitfalls I'm seeing here.

Telling people (rationalists in particular) that everything is already perfect or it doesn’t matter if they get “it” just annoys people. Gradualism provides a better framework for learning and leads to less frustration. Small steps are easier to take than a huge inferential gap. The success of The Mind Illuminated is testament to this.

Stream entry is a good example of the blurry line between sudden and gradual attainments. It’s seems like a discrete stage, you either are or you aren’t a stream enterer. Except there are many different definitions of what stream entry is and where you should place the dividing line. It’s better described as a spectrum with several significant shifts along it.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Productivity: Working towards a summary of what we know · 2017-11-11T21:44:36.312Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Great post! Some small formatting fixes that might help people searching this list.

'Exercise' the last section under 'Rest' isn't listed in the contents.

Two of the headings have non obvious renames for anyone doing a really quick skim. 'Expect to actually make progress' becomes 'Expect work to be effective' and 'Actually care about the task you're doing' becomes 'Increase the value of your task'.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on 2017 LessWrong Survey · 2017-09-14T15:34:57.335Z · score: 21 (21 votes) · LW · GW

I have taken the survey.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Repairing Anxiety using Internal and External locus of control models · 2017-08-13T13:29:12.711Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The thinking here seems muddled.

  1. Ordinarily locus of control refers to events in the future, explanatory style refers to events in the past. Your last 3 examples refer to past events but you switch back and forth between past and future when you break down each example. Anxiety is uncertainty, you can't feel anxious about events in the past.

  2. Locus of control is about the degree of control you have over an outcome/event. Events are in themselves good or bad. How you feel about a future event is a consequence of whether or not that event is within your control and whether that event is good or bad. The way you've broken it down in your chart is it's your moods that are good or bad rather than the event itself. Your advice then seems to boil down to "choose to feel good about things all the time."

  3. The degree to which a future event is within your control is a fact about the world, not a choice that you make. Choosing to go from external to internal over whether the sun will rise tomorrow is a recipe for self delusion.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Can anyone refute these arguments that we live on the interior of a hollow Earth? · 2017-07-22T13:59:56.074Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can you talk a bit more on this? I'm curious to know how you imagine talking yourself into believing something you don't believe, like some kind of double-think. And it seems avoiding scary thoughts is not a habit a rationalist would want to encourage.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open thread, June. 19 - June. 25, 2017 · 2017-06-26T10:17:35.999Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd expect mobiles to be under-represented in these results as you can only vote if you are logged in and I'd expect more people are logged in on their desktop rather than their mobile.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Concrete Ways You Can Help Make the Community Better · 2017-06-18T03:17:09.543Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Help the lesswrong wiki.

Is any effort to improve the wiki now in danger of disappearing once LW 2.0 comes around?

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on CFAR Workshop Review: February 2017 · 2017-06-05T20:18:02.325Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Mundanification is just another one of these variants that's about being able to peek into those dark "no, I must never look in here!" corners of your mind and trying to actually state the worst-case scenario (which is often black-boxed as a Terrible Thing that is Never Opened).

How does it work specifically? I can't see the technique posted anywhere.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on CFAR Workshop Review: February 2017 · 2017-06-04T01:59:39.575Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Mundanification is about facing the truth, even when you flinch from it, via Litany of Gendlin-type things.

Can you talk a bit more about this? I'm only familiar with the Litany of Gendlin itself.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Book recommendation requests · 2017-06-02T16:42:43.703Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Books on leadership. The psychology + social dynamics of leadership and the traits of successful leaders. There are so many books I don't know where to start.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Stupidity as a mental illness · 2017-02-11T08:45:14.835Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Let's define "stupidity" as "low IQ" where IQ is measured by some standard tests.

That already seems pretty different to what OP is talking about. See -

"Stupidity," like "depression," is a sloppy "common-sense" word that we apply to different conditions, which may be caused by genetics (for instance, mutations in the M1 or M3 pathways, or two copies of Thr92Ala), deep subconscious conditioning (e.g., religion), general health issues (like not getting enough sleep), environment (ignorance, lack of reward for intelligent behavior), or bad habits of thought.

This seems more like stupidity is anything anti-instrumental rationality rather than IQ based. I don't necessarily disagree with anything you've said, but I'm pointing out you might be talking past one another.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Projects-in-Progress Thread · 2017-01-30T15:04:23.815Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've read all of Daniel Ingram's stuff. He's a fantastic resource. If you like his stuff, MCTB v2 is scheduled to come out later this year. The draft is much improved over the original IMO.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Projects-in-Progress Thread · 2017-01-30T15:01:02.239Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, I feel silly, I should have just googled the names, I'm familiar with them. I know Gunaratana by his book and John Yates by his alternate name Culadasa. Thanks anyway, lifelonglearner, they've proven to be an excellent help.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on 2017: An Actual Plan to Actually Improve · 2017-01-28T15:41:34.221Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This is a great post helldago. I've found a lot of these useful myself and the others I'm excited to try out because I can relate a lot. A couple of other things I have found useful for resilience.

  1. A Mental Health section in my Anki deck. There's about 170 cards which includes things like cognitive reframes (a bad behaviour doesn't make you a bad person, failure is useful if you use the information gained to update your plan etc.), common depression traps I might be caught in (comparison, labelling, all or nothing), stoic quotes and the like. I've never been able to get those mindsets to stick permanently so the periodic reminders pull me out of ruts and provide a mood boost.

  2. Going outside when you've got brain fog. I think there is at least a couple of parts behind this. Sunlight seems to have an almost instant positive mood boost once the warmth hits you. Also subtle shifts in temperature and air quality can happen very gradually without my noticing and I'll become uncomfortable and restless without realising it. The shift in climate puts my mind in a new frame.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Projects-in-Progress Thread · 2017-01-22T01:18:16.354Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've chatted a little with Shinzen on one of his retreats but I haven't yet looked into the other two. Thanks lifelonglearner.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Projects-in-Progress Thread · 2017-01-21T23:52:22.747Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Mindfulness is a part of it, I'm interested in the end goal. The lasting changes in perception that are meant to come about through mindfulness or other practices.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Projects-in-Progress Thread · 2017-01-21T14:31:18.875Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm working on an overview of the science on spiritual enlightenment. I'm also looking into who has credible claims to it, whether it is something worth pursuing and a survey of the methods used to get there.

If anyone knows someone (or is someone) that thinks they might be there or part-way there and who would be willing to chat a bit, that'd be lovely. If you've just dabbled in some mystical practices and had a few strange experiences and want to bounce some ideas around, that could be fun too.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Welcome to Less Wrong! (11th thread, January 2017) (Thread B) · 2017-01-17T14:00:21.649Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

if you claim you are, I am going to show that you are not.

when I am allowed to explain what Ideal Money is then we will all see this

I'd like to bet with you on one or both of those predictions if you are open to it.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on The time you have · 2017-01-07T18:23:59.393Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm silent because I haven't read it. The reason being without an overview I'm not sure if it's something worth investing time in. The non-default font causes some aversion to, albeit minor. n=1

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on The time you have · 2017-01-07T03:52:18.983Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Don't apologise, it's better that it exists without one than not at all. Looking forward to it.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on The time you have · 2017-01-05T04:25:19.667Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What is the theme of this series Elo? What are you trying to achieve? I don't see an introductory post anywhere.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open thread, Dec. 05 - Dec. 11, 2016 · 2016-12-08T10:54:01.399Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's called the CART (Comprehensive Assessment of Rational Thinking) and it's described in this book and (PDF Warning) this paper.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on David Allen vs. Mark Forster · 2016-12-06T11:02:47.033Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've been using a backlog though I've never seen Forster's system, and have found it useful. I'm glad to see it made explicit. I also think you are right on the money in trying to run a middle path between the rigidity of a set daily task list in and the lack of priority in GTD's massive list of next actions. There's a lot of insight here, thank you for sharing. My one criticism would be to add some order to it to enhance readability, it's a wall of text right now.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open thread, Nov. 28 - Dec. 04, 2016 · 2016-11-30T12:56:16.142Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The reason I visit LW is it satisfies a need for community. I'm glad to see the recent efforts at revitalisation, as a large part of the value for me generated by a single conversational locus is the social support it provides. This site has been inactive for a long time - and yet to my puzzlement I still found myself checking it regularly, despite not learning anything. I discovered that it's because I just wanted to keep in touch with what's going on in rationalist circles, and hang out a bit. I see myself as an aspiring rationalist, and that's a hard thing to be alone. Spending time with people that share your goals, values, concerns and language is rejuvenating, and that's what my mind was seeking when I had the impulse to visit here. I'm aware of the dangers of tribalism and identity and yet I find myself with a brain built for life in a tribe. It's lonely out there. So thanks for coming back everyone, I'll do what I can to see this community flourish.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Street Epistemology Examples: How to Talk to People So They Change Their Minds · 2016-09-29T11:45:43.475Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

When pushed on why Anthony Magnabosco is out interviewing people he responds with, "I like talking to people and finding out what they believe." True enough, but disingenuous. He presents himself as a seeker of the truth and his root goal is he is out to change minds. If the obtaining the truth was your primary motivation, street interviews is an incredibly inefficient method. The interviews come off as incredibly patronising. Questions such as, "If I gave you evidence about a biblical contradiction, and I'm not saying I do, but if I did, would you change your mind?" Of course you have a contradiction up your sleeve.

Honesty and effectiveness appear to be conflicting goals in street epistemology.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Jocko Podcast · 2016-09-07T07:35:14.594Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To balance the criticism with some praise, in addition to some of the great things you have mentioned, there are two worthwhile things about the Jocko podcast that are not explicit in your post that I want to highlight.

1) Jocko embodies growth mindset.

2) Much of Jocko's discipline comes because he has trained to become comfortable experiencing discomfort. Once you've done many painful things your fear of them falls and your sense of self-efficacy rises making it easier complete future painful goals.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Jocko Podcast · 2016-09-07T07:33:06.817Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


  1. Make the decision and strongly commit to being a mentally strong person

  2. Continuously monitor your actions to ensure they are the actions of a mentally strong person

  3. Maintain this (for weeks/months/years?) until a new self-identity is formed.

If I've misrepresented something point it out, but this looks to me like a recipe for failure. It's missing fundamental parts of the human experience. People most often fail at their goals because of conflicting short and long term desires, forgetfulness and existing habits. Jocko doesn't adequately take that into account. Making a decision is useful - you start preparing for the new challenge, (e.g. If I'm going to wake up at 5AM I better get breakfast ready the night before...) and there'll be some self consistency effect with the newly formed intention. There's two obvious problems,

a) It's massively mentally energy intensive. It's hard to choose the kale over the donut or work over reddit. Temptations don't disappear after you've decided not to pursue them. You have to decide over and over again throughout the day not to chase them. Decision fatigue is a thing.

b) Humans forget. Anyone that has done any meditation will be familiar with the experience of not being able to sustain attention on an object for more than a few moments despite the most earnest effort. Even if we didn't have all the other things we need to think about every day to occupy our minds, maintaining consistent attention is an impossible goal.

Jocko's framing that discipline is a decision represents an incremental improvement over Nike's 'Just do It'.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Jocko Podcast · 2016-09-06T21:54:09.767Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW is valuable to have an example of somebody who reliably executes on his the philosophy of "Decide to do it, then do it." If you find that you didn't do it, then you didn't truly decide to do it. In any case, your own choice or lack thereof is the only factor. "Discipline is freedom." If you adopt this habit as your reality, it become true.

It's possible I'm getting to confused with the language here but I've struggled to apply this advice in my own life. I'll decide that I'm not going to snack at work anymore and then find myself snacking anyway once the time comes. It seems to reflect a naivete in regards to how willpower and habits work.

It sounds good and I've listened to 4 episodes now and Jocko doesn't seem to elaborate on how exactly this process is supposed to work. What is the difference between deciding and truly deciding? What is the habit of 'discipline is freedom' and how does one adopt it as their reality?

I come away from the podcast inspired for a few hours but with no lasting change.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Knowledge Dump: Pomodoros · 2016-05-20T05:10:19.782Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

CGP Grey follows a cycle that repeats -> (40 min work - 7 min break - 40 min work - 20 min break). I think he mentions it in here somewhere but I don't know the exact time. It seems probable that the most appropriate length and cycle for an individual should be based on their attention span and recovery.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open thread, Apr. 18 - Apr. 24, 2016 · 2016-04-20T03:07:16.482Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If you just wanted blogs (i.e. no twitter+tumblr) the following are blogs I personally like that post frequently in rough order of how useful/insightful I have found them,


There are a few that are very infrequent but very good when they do post,

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open thread, Apr. 18 - Apr. 24, 2016 · 2016-04-19T01:38:38.211Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Until LessWrong 2.0 comes out, this is how I've been staying in touch with the Rationalist Diaspora. It took about an hour to set up and I can now see almost everything in the one place.

I've been using an RSS reader (I use feedly) to collate RSS feeds from these lists,

Rationist Blogs,

Effective Altruist Blogs,

Rationalist Tumblers,

And using this twitter to RSS tool for these LessWrong Twitters,

This system is unsatisfying in a number of ways the two most obvious to me being 1) I don't know of any way to integrate the Rationalists on Facebook into this system and 2) Upvotes from places that use them like LW or r/rational aren't displayed. Nevertheless it is still much simpler for me to be notified of new material. If anyone has suggestions on improvements or wants to share how they follow the Diaspora that'd be most welcome.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Lesswrong 2016 Survey · 2016-03-29T11:45:06.909Z · score: 35 (35 votes) · LW · GW

I have taken the survey.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open Thread March 21 - March 27, 2016 · 2016-03-23T08:13:01.361Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's unlikely that someone is going to say something that will take away your pain. Death sucks. Losing someone you love sucks, and sadness is a normal reaction to that. There are emotionally healthy ways to deal with grief. Give yourself more self-care than you think you need throughout this process to counter the planning fallacy and better to err on the side of too much than too little.

If you do find yourself depressed, seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness and I would encourage you to seek it out. Summoning motivation can be an impossible effort when you are depressed and sometimes someone outside your un-motivated brain is the best thing to stop you from falling down an emotional spiral. If money or something else prevents you from doing that, there are other things you can try here and some more here.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-26T18:44:25.683Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The problem isn't simply clarity.

In this case it is. I believe I have been less than clear again.

The frame of mind of treating a conversation with your friends as PR is not useful for getting your friends to trust you and positively respond to what you are saying.

Agreed - but I've never done that. The conversations are ordinary in that I share rationality in the same way I would share a book or movie I've enjoyed. It is "I enjoy X, you should try it I bet you would enjoy it too" as opposed to, "I want to spread X and my friends are good targets for that." I literally meant I relabeled an ordinary conversation as PR, not that I was in the spread rationality mindset. My brain did a thing where,

'I'm having trouble sharing rationality with friends in a way that doesn't happen with my other interests. I bet other rationalists have similar problems. I wonder if there is any PR material on LW that might help with this.'

... and boom my brain labels it as a PR problem. I'm trying to not get caught up in the words here, do you follow my meaning?

Your recommendations on talking about the value rationality brings me look good. Thank you for them.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-24T06:54:10.516Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What exactly are you doing that you have PR problems?

Something like,

A: I've been reading a lot about rationality in the last year or two. It's pretty great.

B: What's that?

A: Explanation of instrumental + epistemic OR Biases a la Kahneman

B: Sounds dumb. I do that already.

A: I've found it great because X, Y, Z.

B: I think emotion is much more important than rationality. I don't want to be a robot.

Are you simply relabeling normal conversations with friends as PR?

Yes. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-24T06:44:26.593Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Revisiting past conversations I think this is exactly what has been happening. When I mention rationality, reason, logic it becomes a logic v. emotion discussion. I'll taboo in future, thanks!

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-22T03:43:03.109Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have large PR problems when talking about rationality with others unfamiliar with it, with the Straw Vulcan being the most common trap conversation will fall into.

Are there any guides out there in the vein of the EA Pitch Wiki that could help someone avoid these traps and portray rationality in a more positive light? If not, would it be worth creating one?

So far I've found, how rationality can make your life more awesome, rationality for curiosity sake, rationality as winning, PR problems and the contrary rationality isn't all that great.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Unofficial Canon on Applied Rationality · 2016-02-16T11:11:50.476Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Problems one and two (hard and imperfect) would suggest that people will get less value out of ScottL's post than a workshop. OK, fine. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Scale ScottL's post up through easy online access and the many, many people getting a smaller somewhat unreliable benefit turns into something very significant. But problem 3,

Having seen crappy, distorted versions of the CFAR curriculum (or having attempted to absorb it from text, and failed), a typical human would then be much, much less receptive to other, better explanations in the future.

We don't want to poison the well, we don't want to break the very thing we're trying to protect, and as a member of a group with something that at least resembles expertise (if you don't want to credit us as actual experts), I think that requires a lot more work on our end, first.

That's reason enough to not release your own material. But specifically, do you think ScottL's compilation above or sharing the guide I've written (if I was to post it here for anyone to use) has the same effect? Do you think our compilations will have a net negative effect on rationality?

Thus far, CFAR hasn't had the cycles to spend time creating the (let's say) 80-20 version of their content.

For my own part, I think this belongs in our near future.

Do you have an estimate on this? I won't hold you to it, I'd just like to know what kind of time frame 'near' is.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Unofficial Canon on Applied Rationality · 2016-02-16T01:03:04.604Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Rather than deferring to the judgment of the Smart Altruists and assuming that within their secret backroom discussions they've determined with logic, rigor, and a plethora of academic citations that it's crucial to the mission of raising the sanity waterline to not release a comprehensive exposition of their body of rationality techniques, perhaps we need only consider your second point except in less reverential light.

Given the ease with which CFAR could publish all their material online it seems worth considering why they haven't done so. If spreading rationality wide is indeed their goal, then why haven't they picked this low hanging fruit yet? I'd rather not have to make any assumptions so if someone from CFAR is reading this perhaps they can answer that.

So much for the Internet-era model of "free information to be disseminated to all". Without a deferential attitude toward the Great Rationalists of CFAR, Occam's Razor suggests that perhaps they're simply trying to keep the money flowing. Would it upset you if thousands of people without the resources or time to make it to a CFAR workshop had access to a self-study version of the CFAR curriculum?

Of course that would not upset me. If the CFAR curriculum remained forever available only to the few who attended their workshops that would be sad indeed. But CFAR Labs is currently working on new rationality sequences, and I don't think the curriculum will be as inaccessible for much longer.

I want the world to be a more rational place. I want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to become more rational in the most effective way available. More than any other individual or group it seems to me that CFAR is best positioned to achieve that goal. Even if the reason is money - if that money goes towards increasing the speed at which effective rationality techniques are developed and spread worldwide then all the better.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Unofficial Canon on Applied Rationality · 2016-02-15T17:30:34.327Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I had a very similar thought to this post. So similar in fact that I went ahead and wrote a kind of user guide for each CFAR's techniques (though it has changed a great deal even in the last 4 months since I finished writing). I also have never been to a CFAR workshop and drew on many of the same online sources that you have. It took about a month to compile of working in my spare time. My motivation for doing so was the cost of attending a workshop (financially and time costs) were simply too high for someone in my position overseas.

I've printed it and only use it personally. I've never shared it other than with one close friend. I'm concerned about you posting this now, for the same reasons that stopped me from sharing my compilation even though I could see a great deal of benefit in it.

My thoughts for not sharing it are,

  1. CFAR has all of this material readily available likely in a much more comprehensive and accurate format. CFAR are altruists. Smart altruists. The lack of anything like this canon suggests that they don't think having this publicly available is a good idea. Not yet anyway. Even the workbook handed out at the workshops isn't available.

  2. I highly value CFAR as an organisation. I want them to be highly funded and want as many people to attend their workshops as possible. It would upset me to learn that someone had read my compilation and not attended a workshop thinking they had gotten most of the value they could.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Religious and Rational? · 2016-02-12T05:42:15.110Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.

So Bayes update on intellectual arguments, but not on your emotions when you consider them likely to change in the immediate future? That seems like a good virtue if one desires accurate beliefs.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-09T05:52:23.448Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I recently attended a 10 day intensive Vipassana meditation retreat. Would a write-up of the experience be something LWers are interested in as an article for discussion?

I had minimal to moderate experience in meditation before this but now feel much more comfortable with it. I can see potential rationality relevance through,

* Discipline
* Concentration
* Emotion and habit regulation
* Seeing reality as it is

If there is interest then I would appreciate it if someone is willing to look over a draft of the article for me as I haven't written for LW before.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Less Wrong Podcast Queries · 2015-05-18T04:24:44.671Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Are they good quality for listening to?

I listen to audio books regularly and they are at the upper end in terms of quality.

Moreover, is the material they cover comprehensible?

Yes. Articles that don't translate well into audio are not produced e.g. Intuitive Bayes Theorem is unavailable.

have you found the Less Wrong casts to be understandable sufficiently well for a first-time listener?


I'd like to know in which order I should provide those articles that are available on Castify.

I don't know what you mean here but you can contact Castify directly with your questions -

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on The Effective Altruism Handbook · 2015-04-24T18:00:26.022Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sumatra PDF 3.0 on Windows 8.1 x64. I believe the problem is the same one this user had with the AI to Zombies ebook.

I'll be reading the epub personally (which works fine in Sumatra) on my Ipad so it doesn't bother me, but I thought I would mention it as Sumatra is a relatively popular reader and if this ebook is produced by the same team as the rationality ebook then it seems to be a recurring problem.

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on The Effective Altruism Handbook · 2015-04-24T02:44:34.882Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The epub and mobi links both lead to "page not found".

Also having problems with the links within the PDF. They are blacked out though they still function as links. Same problem with the AI to Zombies ebook I think.

Otherwise very excited to read this!

Comment by rainbowspacedancer on Kickstarting the audio version of the upcoming book "The Sequences" · 2014-12-11T06:29:12.810Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For those of us that have already purchased some podcast sequences from Castify,

  1. How much of this audiobook will double up (in terms of both content and new voice acting)?
  2. Will currently unavailable individual sequences be available for purchase separately at some stage?