How effective are tulpas? 2020-03-09T17:35:39.634Z · score: 39 (22 votes)


Comment by raven on What is our true life expectancy? · 2020-10-24T18:15:40.205Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The reason we didn't build a moon base is because it's not immediately useful and costs insane amounts of money.

Meanwhile, GPT3 was made with a couple million dollars and could probably replace half the clickbait sites out there. AI has a much smoother incentive gradient than space tech.

Comment by raven on Is Stupidity Expanding? Some Hypotheses. · 2020-10-17T21:00:07.832Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. I vaguely recall reading about it somewhere, in the context of probabilities adding up to way past 100%. For example, if there's an election and there's four candidates then if you ask someone to estimate the chances of each then the sum will be much more than 100%.

Unfortunately I don't remember what it's called.

Comment by raven on How long does it takes to read the sequences? · 2020-10-17T19:30:14.085Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Here you go:

Comment by raven on Yoda Timers 2 · 2020-10-16T18:11:31.982Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was not able to locate it.

Comment by raven on How long does it takes to read the sequences? · 2020-09-10T03:23:02.079Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I read the ebook version in about a month, mostly in one hour chunks while riding the bus. I also stopped frequently to think about what I had just read, although I didn't take notes or otherwise study it. At a guess, I spent 75% of my time reading, or around 22 hours.

Comment by raven on How far along are you on the Lesswrong Path? · 2020-07-10T13:54:36.358Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · LW · GW

There's also Alicorn's sequence on luminosity, which explicitly deals with emotions despite (apparently) not being tagged as such:

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-07T23:10:46.539Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Forsaken world. I don't play anymore, but back when I did I had two romantic relationships and a bunch of friendships.

I'm playing COD from time to time, mostly because it includes several building from my home city (Stadium, Airport and several more), so event in the game on some extent mirror what's happening on the streets of my hometown

That's pretty cool.

You said that you would like to have friend that would tell you to move one when you lost somebody, and explain why it might be best solution.

Oh. There's been a terrible misunderstanding. I meant that Harry was the sort of friend I'd want, someone who wouldn't "move on" just because it was the standard script provided by society.

removing some big object from the cluster of stars could also affect all the nearest stars entangled together by gravity field

That's not how gravity works. The [formula]( mathematical formula for gravitational,G is the gravitational constant.) for the force between two stars due to gravity is F = (GM1M2)/r^2.

Alpha Centauri is the closest star system with three stars.

  • G is the gravitation constant, which is 6.6E-11
  • M1 is the mass of the first star, the sun, or 2E30kg
  • M2 is the mass of the second star, Alpha Centauri, or 4E30kg.
  • r is half of the distance between the two stars, or 4E16m

Put them all together and you get F = (6.6E-11)(2E30)(4E30)/(4E16^2) = 3.3E17. This sounds like a lot, but remember that we're dealing with enormous masses. Plug that force into f=ma and you get an acceleration of 8E-14. Basically nothing, in other words.

So literally, process of death and birth is one of the main instruments of adaptation and evolution... If you're going to throw away birth-decay cycle, you will need to compensate somehow tool of nature which ensured species survival for millions of years.

This may be currently true. However, by the time we've solved immortality, hopefully we won't be using DNA anymore. Or, at least, we'll be able to edit that DNA and fix mutations (among other things). We're already unlocking this technology. Evolution is [evil]( loved ones.-,I am the Goddess of Everything Else and my powers,the end of all ages.”) and the sooner we throw off its shackles, the better.

As for the bug, yes, currently it can be helpful. So let's call it a feature:)

Let's not. Death is not a feature; it's an ugly workaround that's only necessary because evolution is too stupid to solve the problem directly.

It is hard to argue that humanity makes a quantum leap only on the verge of total annihilation, same way as when child facing a possible humiliating punishment from a parent.

Okay, I misunderstood what you meant by creativity earlier (I thought you meant general creativity, not last-ditch efforts). This is very circular. Death is good because it... prevents death? I reject the entire circle and propose an alternative: fix the actual problem. What's the problem, you ask? Humanity's inability to think long-term, which forces us to make those quantum leaps or be annihilated. No, we can't do this today; yes we will be able to eventually (and if we don't, we're probably doomed no matter how much death is around).

It's not a science at all, i just trying to find some possible scientific explanation to some unscientific stuff like "soul", and probably i will burn in theoretical hell for doing so. Sure he is, as any living human being that put a lot of effort into building of its consciousness and adding changes into the world which will require much more time show up then human life allows. Pity he can't join our conversation and share his valuable opinion on controversial questions we have risen here.

Why bother? Just consign souls to the fantasy bin and wash your hands of the whole mess. Don't you remember the part of the sequences where he explains that if you write your conclusion down first, it doesn't matter what clever arguments you come up with to justify it?

Some frogs have a natural mechanism called cryoprotection, it surrounds cells with glucose, which prevents them from gradual drying out, which is a side effect of instant freezing. Unfortunately, our cells lack this mechanism.

Yes, our cells lack this mechanism. So what? That's what technology is for.

Also, I could not even imagine how much pain I would feel if someone freezes my head and then fastens it to another body.

What? Why would you be in any pain? "Fastening" would integrate the nervous system of your head and new body. It's not like you take the head and staple it onto a neck. No we can't do this today. Yes we have precursor technology: hand transplants

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-07T19:53:44.445Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No problem, you can always try one more time, taking into account that moving around the world or even city is kinda restricted now. I live by myself in remote location, yet it doesn’t stop me from keeping in touch with friends, not due to activity but because they understand and accept me. Not sure i understand what do you mean by "strong shared activity", we do share activity by deeply discussing lots of subjects here. Anyways, it's up to you, imposing myself is not on my list of preferences.

By strong shared activity, I meant something like an MMO or a real-life activity. Being subscribed to the same website doesn't seem quite the same, although I could be wrong about that.

After thinking a bit more about why I initially said no, I think it's best for me to state the shape of my object level.

  • I'm fine with continuing to talk. This conversation is interesting.

  • I'm also fine with having more conversations, with no definite end in sight.

  • If that develops into a friendship, I'm also fine with that.

  • If it doesn't, then that's alright with me too.

  • My prior against you actually being able to understand and accept me is extremely low. Please don't take this an accusation or an insult or anything.

What I don't think will work is declaring myself to be your friend and vice versa, which is essentially what I've tried to do before. Yes, I can try again, but I have no reason to expect that anything will be different if I simply repeat the same course of actions as last time.

What do you think about simply continuing as we are and seeing what happens?

imho it is only from the perspective of the one who wants more energy and thinks that he's alone and only, subjective, not objective perspective. Who knows how sun's "wasteful" radiation and gravity affects everything around.

Sure, there's no way to know with absolute certainty. But if I had to live in a world where the sun gets ripped apart to create a bunch of fusion reactors and one where we leave it burning just in case there's some alien race on Neptune or something... I'm going to have to go with the former. If a problem crops up, I'm sure the hypothetical civ capable of putting out the sun can handle it, even if only by jamming all the hydrogen back together and restarting the reaction.

Removing death may well mean removing it's opposite, birth. Also, sometimes this "bug" helps people to evaluate their actions and focus on more important stuff. Even the laws of physics, or rather their interpretation, sometimes turn out to be imperfect.

This strikes me as noncentral fallacy. When you say removing birth, that sounds bad, but if the reason nobody has any more babies is because everyone is immortal... is that really so bad?

As for the bug, yes, currently it can be helpful. That doesn't mean it's the only way to nudge people into evaluating their actions or focusing on what's important. It seems extraordinarily unlikely that our current brain design is optimal for either of those actions, given how stupid a designer evolution is.

(Honestly, I find it difficult to answer who is more dangerous: Harry or his teacher).

What? Voldemort's a bored sociopath god whose grand ambition is to play Civilization with humanity as the pieces. Harry's dangerous but at least after HPMOR, he's shackled by the Vow and his values are far nicer than Voldemort's.

Wow. This is not what i said, but you might have a point. I said that structure of brain might define properties of energy it stores and this properties could mirror memory. And that destruction of brain might lead to release of this energy to the surroundings.

Ah. I didn't understand what you were saying and took a stab at it (that I got wrong). I understand now. My gut says this pattern matches as "implausible pseudoscience", but I don't know enough science to refute or justify that claim. However, afaik Yudkowsky doesn't support any view like this (he's a big cryonics proponent) and so I think it's unlikely that this is what he had in mind when he was deciding what HPMOR souls are.

As far as i know, brain of people in coma or even frogs frozen in water not "turned off" and show slight activity.

I knew the coma one, not the frozen one. That's... kind of incredible, that there can be anything happening when it's frozen. But by turned off, I meant being warm and losing oxygen flow and cells dying, or whatever exactly happens when your heart stops beating for a couple minutes.

As for human brain freezing it will likely cause cell membranes to be torn apart by asymmetrically freezing water, as it increases its volume while turning into ice.

This is true if you simply stick it into a freezer. However, "freezing" brains for cryonics is much more involved than brain + freezer. Technically speaking, the cryonics process is vitrification, which doesn't create ice crystals.

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-07T15:02:20.083Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Obliviation, right. Does anyone ask Draco where he was and what he was doing? I mean, don't think that this spell can actually work, or, if it does, should cause unexpected side effects. Probably, appearing of fake memories which will dwell like ghosts in subconsciousness unable to integrate into a chain of causes and consequences until the moment victim would figure out what have happen or decide to overcome fear and gaze into the eyes of truth. Imagine you had zero apples, then one apple fell on your head, which led to a loss of memory. You wake up and find yourself with an apple in your arms. Will you start investigation or simply eat an apple? Or you find an apple tree, then you decide to erase your memories so no one will find an apple tree until the moment people learn how to preserve and cultivate trees. Yet you take one apple with you. I guess, in both cases it is just a matter of time when your memories will be logically reconstructed. "rien ne se perd, rien ne se cree, tout se transforme".

I don't think anyone questions Draco; Harry did the Obliviation while Draco was ostensibly sitting around waiting for something, so it's hard to see how that'd be suspicious. Regarding the second point with Oblivation... I'm not so sure it's that simple. If I took an apple and erased my memory of the tree, I'd probably be puzzled. But Voldemort would presumably make sure I didn't take any apples with me. In the book, mind magic seems to be something of an art. Voldemort's use on Hermione and Draco both involved Voldemort tweaking something that happened such that the new memory was entirely plausible. We don't know much about Skeeter, but Voldemort chose to make sure the Weasley twins thought that their dealer was responsible.

I'm not sure that i'm the right kind of a person you need, nor can't guarantee that i always be there when you need me (life is full of unexpected stuff and i live in pretty dangerous and unstable place), yet i could try to be your friend.

I've never managed to be friends with someone online in the absence of a strong shared activity. Sorry.

Troll did. Interesting that Dumbledore offered Hermione to try to be a hero herself, yet forgot to mention that Harry have several powerful "white" mages to cover his back and most powerful "black" mage to guide him, teach how to protect himself, how to surrender saving dignity, retreat when it is necessary and keep emotions under control. Also, i can't remember clearly, have Voldemort killed anyone during the book?

Yeah, okay, technically the troll killed Hermione. Asides from that quibble, Voldemort killed Skeeter, a centaur, the real Quirrel, and a nameless Death Eater. He might have killed other people, but those are the deaths I can recall off the top of my head.

By "transhumanist" you mean something like denying death as essential part of birth-to-death cycle

Ehh, kind of. Transhumanist might be the wrong word, but from an objective perspective, the sun is stupendously wasteful. Far better to stop the fusion reaction, extract all the hydrogen, and fuse it under controlled conditions to extract more value. Aka "tear apart the stars". Same idea with the earth (which would, literally, end the world). This seems to be the intended interpretation, but you could be right -- after all, Harry almost destroys the world at the very end of the book via unintended side effects.

Also, if fear of death is the moving force for creativity, the transhumanist answer isn't to keep death around. It's to remove death, and find another way to solve creativity. Same with work expanding to fill the allotted time; that's not a law like a law of physics, it's a bug in our brains.

People often call "evil" something they can't control or understand. Precisely, they call something "evil" if it takes something valuable away and call it "miracle" if it adds something valuable.

True enough. Voldemort was the first time I could really relate to a character but even I would consider him evil (and, more importantly, insanely dangerous).

Yep. But strictly in terms of theorizing, can we consider the body and brain as a capacitor which stores some type of energy with unique properties? Can combination of this properties store some information? What will happen when capacitor is destroyed, will this cause some effect to surrounding field?

What? Are you saying that once you turn a brain off, there's no way to turn it back on, because everything is stored in the equivalent of volatile memory?

Comment by raven on When a status symbol loses its plausible deniability, how much power does it lose? · 2020-07-07T12:57:19.422Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ah. Then I don't think it matters.

Employers will still want to hire Harvard students. Networking means employers won't even get a chance to consider other candidates, and when they do, the halo of status means other candidates won't be considered fairly.

Students already treat college as a "you are now employable" stamp machine. Yes, a few don't. They might stop going to Harvard, news which I'm sure the other [95.5% of applicants]( record-low 4.50 percent,securing places in the class.) will receive with joy. Employers won't care if Harvard is the top 4.5% or the top 9%; I bet the average person couldn't even tell you if Harvard skims off the top .1% or 10%. They just feel that Harvard is "prestigious".

Comment by raven on When a status symbol loses its plausible deniability, how much power does it lose? · 2020-07-07T01:24:03.067Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

By status symbol, are you saying that the Harvard graduate is literally no more skilled than the average person? Real status symbols are generally correlated with reality (the expensive car is, well, expensive and most people can't afford it).

If there was zero correlation I think it would stop being seen as a status symbol eventually. If going to Harvard was widely seen as a status bid like buying a sports car, but the signal retained some value (like having to do an IQ test, for simplicity's sake) then it wouldn't matter that it was about status.

Comment by raven on Meta-Honesty: Firming Up Honesty Around Its Edge-Cases · 2020-07-06T03:45:35.208Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

As someone who uses this strategy as their default, It's really hard. I avoid talking irl about rationality and being trans. The latter is pretty easy since it's not really a big part of who I am. But avoiding any hint of rationality and maintaining a mask of normality is exhausting. It's not just not answering questions, it's about not creating situations that lead to the questions. It is said in the sequences that if you tell one lie, the truth is ever after your enemy. That's an exaggeration but not by much. AI, aging, genetics, all sorts of things are dangerous topics due to their proximity to my weirdness. I have to model the reactions to everything I say one or two steps ahead and if I get it wrong I have to evade or misdirect. This has gotten a lot harder since I started studying rationality and had my head stuffed full of exciting concepts that are difficult to explain and sparkly enough to be difficult to think past.

It should be obvious from this that I don't practice honesty in general, but I usually answer a direct question with honesty to mitigate the costs somewhat.

Less visible costs are that I'll never meet a rationalist in real life (barring intentional meetups). I get to practice the virtue of argument a lot less... although being cut off from people has some serious advantages as well. There's probably others, but what's the alternative? Not everyone can be Yudkowsky and I just want to live my life in peace.

Comment by raven on Personal experience of coffee as nootropic · 2020-07-06T02:46:55.041Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My body doesn't do anything on caffeine -- I took 600mg in pill form and almost fell asleep a few hours later. I know this isn't just me either; some people just don't respond to it. Perhaps there's another end to the extreme that causes experiences like yours. My gut sense is definitely that what you described isn't the standard coffee experience.

Comment by raven on The Relationship Between the Village and the Mission · 2020-07-04T18:26:27.291Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have Facebook but as someone considering deeper participation in the rationalist community, I would greatly appreciate whatever information you have, no matter how messy or disorganized.

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-03T14:02:11.471Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh. Yeah, that seems obvious now, thanks for pointing that out.

Comment by raven on The allegory of the hospital · 2020-07-03T14:00:31.430Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That works, but in case you aren't aware, you don't have to pay for a certificate: LetsEncrypt offers them for free.

Comment by raven on What's the most easy, fast, efficient way to create and maintain a personal Blog? · 2020-07-03T03:11:44.016Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a web developer and I actually did this a few years ago. The steps were, roughly, as follows:

Decided on bespoke vs CMS. CMS is Wordpress/Wix/whatever and is so dead-simple that even a noob with zero coding experience can do it. I went for bespoke because, well, I'm a developer and I wanted the experience. I also didn't want a sub domain, and I wanted full control over the website.

Decided on a hosting solution. I went with AWS EC2, mostly because I hadn't heard of the concept of explore/exploit back then. But in retrospect I think AWS was a perfectly reasonable choice, and my heuristic of "pick the big one" worked out. The really nice thing about AWS is that there's no CMS-like stuff -- it's just a cloud server that you can do anything on. The cheapest option will cost you ~$30/year.

Buy a domain. AWS sells domains (the keyword to google is "route53") for about $12/year for a .com (unless you want a high-demand one). There are other sites, but the benefit of doing it through AWS is simplicity (assuming you decided on AWS hosting). If you buy from a different provider, you'll have to transfer it.

Decide on server vs client rendering vs static HTML. Client rendering is a Javascript framework like React, and it's meant for highly interactive apps. It's cool and awesome to code in, but it's terrible for blogs because it has a high overhead cost and the awesome features are wasted on static content. That leaves server rendering or static HTML. I picked static HTML because it's easy to start with, but in retrospect I'd probably go with server rendering instead because it's easier in the long run.

Actual coding. HTML is a programming language that describes the structure of your webpage. CSS describes the the appearance. Javascript is for interactivity and you probably won't need much, if any. For example, the "add a comment" button beneath my comment is an <a> tag in HTML, the color of the text inside it is CSS, and the appearance of a box to type your reply in is Javascript.

If you don't already have good design skills, you'll need to spend a lot of time googling the basics of light vs dark themes (no it's not as simple as color inversion), saturation, contrast, whitespace, gestalt, typography, and a whole bunch of stuff I'm probably forgetting. The most important part is not to rely entirely on your own sense of aesthetics. If it was that simple, the field of graphic design wouldn't exist -- the meme "engineers are bad at art" survives because it's often true.

I also highly recommend using Markdown for the text. I wrote my posts in Google Docs and pandoced it into html, but Markdown is way easier and you can more easily mess with the styling.

Of course, after reading all this, you may be feeling lost and overwhelmed and wondering if it's all worth it. If that's the case, I strongly recommend that you consider the CMS option. No, it's not as glamorous or high quality as a bespoke site but it'll get the job done.

Comment by raven on The allegory of the hospital · 2020-07-03T02:43:14.386Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The certificate for questionsanddaylight is invalid (NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID). I don't know enough about net security to diagnose the problem, but I thought you should know.

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-02T19:28:19.701Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was under the impression that the Interdict was something Yudkowsky added. It's been a long, long time since I read the originals, but this stackexchange post has a bunch of people saying the Interdict is a HPMOR-exclusive. There's also a counterexample: in canon, Harry learns sectumsempra by reading it out of Snape's old potion book.

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-02T16:42:17.498Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you! I just thought that using same word "fellows" in consequent sentences will sound ugly. It is usual for children to call a friend anyone they share experience with. And no, i don't think that Harry will be able to befriend with any pupil which parent he have killed, no matter if they know he did it or no. Moreover, i don't think that Harry can be friend for anyone among students of Hogwarts taking into account all the secrets that he keeps. Also, obliviating of friends is not cool, so i'm not sure Harry even knows what it means to be a friend to someone.

Yeah, on second thought I think you're right. He already had a hard time interacting with them before the ending; now I imagine the gulf will be too wide to overcome. But I do support him telling Draco -- the choice was either tell draco + obliviation or keep it a secret. Harry also went to extraordinary lengths to bring Hermione back, when everyone else, even Quirrel, told him he should move on. That's the kind of friend I want in my life.

This related to all quotes of Voldemort. What made you think that he's telling truth? Would he tell Harry that resurrected Hermione will cause trouble if he knew it? What plans Voldemort had for Harry and Hermione if his plan worked out? Maybe his plan was to force Harry to kill people, to taste the blood and become evil himself. And then to feel the loneliness that dark mage felt before becoming really dark.

I don't get it. Why would indestructible Hermione would serve as restraint on Harry? Would restrain him from doing what? Does Harry ever tried to destroy her?

Most of the quotes I posted were in Parseltongue, which is established later as being impossible to lie in (Harry tests it). Voldemort also explained that his plan was to turn Harry to be a second Dark Lord so Voldemort would have someone to play Civilization against. But he abandoned that plan after killing Hermione, because he heard a prophecy (narrated to us in the Defense Professor interlude):

Unseen by anyone, the Defense Professor’s lips curved up in a thin smile. Despite its little ups and downs, on the whole this had been a surprisingly good day— “He is here. The one who will tear apart the very stars in heaven. He is here. He is the end of the world.”

Later in the graveyard to Harry, in Parseltongue:

When girl-child died, wass in company of sschool'ss Sseer, heard prophecy sspoken that you would become force of vasst desstruction. You would become threat beyond imagination, beyond apocalypsse. That iss why I went to ssuch lengthss to undo my killing of girl-child, keep it undone.

He freaked out because the last prophecy saw him end up in horcruxes for ten years. He decided he had to stop Harry, because otherwise he would "end" the world. The most likely interpretation is a transhumanist one, but Voldemort doesn't realize that and thinks Harry will just kill everyone and destroy everything. Voldemort's evil, but he doesn't want that.

So he decides to rez Hermione, reasoning that Harry would be less likely to destroy the world if she's in it, because he's obsessed with getting her back. His initial plan to create a second Dark Lord is discard because saving the world is too important.

The exact wording of the Vow Voldemort forces on Harry:

"I vow...” Harry said. His voice shook, but he spoke. “That I shall not... by any act of mine... destroy the world... I shall take no chances... in not destroying the world... if my hand is forced... I may take the course... of lesser destruction over greater destruction... unless it seems to me that this Vow itself... leads to the world’s end... and the friend... in whom I have confided honestly... agrees that this is so. By my own free will...

And she was eaten by troll before she was able to become hero, due to lack of power, knowledge and experience. Yet, when she obtained enough powers to conquer the world she clearly stated that she is deffinately don't want to become a hero because she's just a human (which is obvious lies, she's not a human anymore)

Hermione doesn't have world-conquering powers; her magic is still that of a first year; and she's not invulnerable. Troll regeneration is weak to acid and fire iirc, never mind stuff like Harry's acid transfiguration or a Killing Curse. She doesn't know about the Horcrux either. Her claim that she's just a human isn't a lie; she's mentally a human with a transhuman body. I also took both the human and not a hero claims as less factual statements, and more signals that she doesn't think she's above everyone else. Which is totally reasonable, given that Harry (the hero) consistently acts like he's above everyone else.

So your reasoning are the words of Voldemort, right? Souls are not real, yet ghosts are real, magic is real, troll powers imbued into someone's resurrected body is real... there are some contradictions and puns. Maybe all these concepts have something on common? So, before we say that souls aren't real and ghosts are real, we should define what is soul and what is ghost and are there really any difference.

Ghosts definitely aren't souls. They're partial copies of a mind imprinted on the surroundings -- this is implied with this Voldemort (Parseltongue) quote:

Ssudden death ssometimes makess ghosst, if magic burssts and imprintss on nearby thing.


I thought maybe when You-Know-Who died right next to you, he happened to give off the burst of magic that makes a ghost, and some of it imprinted on your brain instead of the floor.

Implying that ghosts aren't really people (talking to Quirrel about the basilisk, this is Harry's thoughts not Quirrel's):

Powerful wizardries couldn’t be transmitted through books or ghosts

Draco says Muggles don't leave ghosts behind because they have no souls, but Draco's an obviously unreliable source of information. Plus, the ghost-as-magic-imprint hypothesis is compatible with Muggles not leaving ghosts.

Early in Dumbledore's office, Harry talks about ghosts and says that Hermione said they're afterimages. Dumbledore tries to defend his position but is unable to provide anything even resembling proof. Voldemort later says that if he thought there was an afterlife, he would have left the world. I don't think that was in Parseltongue but I believe him; Voldemort consistently displays a weary contempt and disgust for the world.

This is me theorizing, but I think that HPMOR takes the stance that there are no souls, but there's lots of misinformation. When your body dies, your mind dies with it. Hermione got around that because Harry froze her body. The original Horcrux just made a copy of your mind-state, why do that if souls are real? Voldemort's super-horcrux creates a better backup, but it's not really a "soul". Destroy the horcrux and he's gone forever.

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-02T16:04:12.196Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's a sequel to HPMOR. It's not Yudkowsky-level but it's okay.

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-02T13:34:17.098Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

! I hate to be that person, but actually you did call them friends: "What will Potter's friends do when they realize that he made them orphans". In fairness, you also called them fellows a few lines later. I'm also not criticizing Draco's choice, if anything I'm surprised at how passive he was compared to the initial Draco who was willing to torture Harry. The other students think their parents were sacrificed by Voldemort in his resurrection ritual; remember that Harry kept his involvement a secret and Obliviated Draco after their talk.

! Hermione's resurrection wasn't a single act, but a series of separate spells.

! First Harry untransfigured her corpse, then healed her to a nonmagical state: "Girl'ss body iss resstored. Ssubstance iss repaired. But not magic, or life... thiss iss body of dead Muggle."

! Then Voldemort was about to shock her to wake her up when Harry had the insight about the True Patronus bestowing magical ability: "Intuition or Tom Riddle’s memory told Harry that the life and magic that had just flowed into Hermione would never return to him, either one. It hadn’t been all his life or all his magic, not by a long shot, there hadn’t been time to expend that much, but whatever he’d just expended was gone forever."

! And proof (ish) that the Patronus worked: “Fascinating in- deed,” Voldemort hissed. “She is alive, and magical, and not another Tom Riddle as I feared you might have made her.”

! So Hermione's already resurrected, and no actual transformation has been done, save for the Transfiguration to restore her body and Harry's Patronus. Voldemort clearly says that Harry didn't copy his soul into her. I suppose you could argue that Harry instead created a new soul, but it seems unlikely that Voldemore wouldn't have mentioned it.

! In fact, Voldemort says souls aren't real much earlier, when he's on his deathbed talking to Harry and Harry offers him the original Horcrux spell:

! “Would be pointlesss sspell from beginning, if ssoulss exissted. Tear piece of ssoul? That iss lie. Missdirection to hide true ssecret. Only one who doess not believe in common liess will reasson further, ssee beneath obsscuration, realisse how to casst sspell. Required murder iss not ssacrificial ritual at all. Ssudden death ssometimes makess ghosst, if magic burssts and imprintss on nearby thing. Horcrux sspell channelss death-bursst through casster, createss your own ghosst insstead of victim'ss, imprintss ghosst in sspecial device. Ssecond victim pickss up horcrux device, device imprintss your memoriess into them. But only memoriess from time horcrux device wass made. You ssee flaw?”

! So I'm pretty sure the whole idea of a soul is a red herring and irrelevant. In any case, Hermione is already fully resurrected to her pre-death state, but Voldemort wanted to make her indestructible so she would serve as a more reliable restraint on Harry. That's why he sacrificed all those creatures: “Sshall ssacrifice my fallback weapon, and girl-child sshall gain troll'ss power of regeneration. Transsfiguration ssicknesss iss nothing before that, if perchance it wass not fixed by previouss ritual. And no knife sshall sslay girl-child, nor cutting cursse, nor ssicknesss take her.”

! Being eaten by a troll isn't heroic, but Hermione pretty clearly expressed a desire to be a hero before that. All the stuff with the bullies, the SPHEW demonstration outside Dumbledore's office, the constant nagging about trusting Quirrel.

! I named her bodyguard because this is what she will do now. First of all because Harry brought her back (well, not Harry actually)

! Harry almost immediately tried to give her the "destroy Azkaban" quest:

! “Are you willing to do that?” Harry said instead. “The quest that I think might be your destiny—and no, I don’t know any specific prophecies, it’s just a guess—involves literal descent-into-Hell type stuff.” ... I’m done with trying to be a heroine,” said Hermione Granger with the eastern sky brightening around her. “I shouldn’t ever have gone along with that entire line of thinking. There are just people who do what they can, whatever they can. And there are also people who don’t even try to do what they can, and yes, those people are doing something wrong. I’m not ever going to try to be a hero again. I’m not going to think in heroic terms if I can help it. But I won’t do any less than I can—or not a lot less, I mean, I’m only human.”

! Despite her rejection of the hero label, she sounds pretty heroic to me. She explicitly names helping people as a goal, which makes it sound like she wouldn't be content being a bodyguard. Plus, Harry is probably going to become a second Voldemort in terms of power before long, further negating the need for a bodyguard.

! secondly, because in case of death or even losing of consciousness, Harry will cause release of the one who reanimated her.

! On death, yeah. That's a major flaw with the sealing plan. But not on blacking out. The time when his marshmallow rock untransfigured during the mock battle was from using all his mana:

! Harry suspected he was going to get a lecture from someone-or-other about not exhausting his magic to the point of unconsciousness over a children’s game. But he hadn’t hurt Mr. Goyle when he’d lost his temper, and that was the important thing. Then Harry’s mind clicked on another implication, and he looked down at the steel ring on his left hand’s pinky finger, and almost swore out loud when he saw that the tiny diamond was missing and there was a marshmallow lying on the ground near where he’d fallen.

! He’d sustained that Transfiguration for seventeen days, and would now need to start over. Could’ve been worse. He could’ve done this fourteen days later, after Professor McGonagall had approved him to Transfigure his father’s rock. That was one very good lesson to learn the easy way. Note to self: Always remove ring from finger before completely exhausting magic.

! You're right that the seal is far from permanent and will require stronger measures. In the meantime, at least if Voldemort gets loose he'll have a blank mind and won't immediately start murdering people.

! Oh, she could try to release him herself and ask to bring her soul back, which is obviously impossible.

! Souls aren't real, and I outlined my reasoning above. But I doubt Hermione would actually do this. There was an entire interlude where Voldemort tried to trick Hermione into bargaining with evil by mindwiping and trying again and again and again... and he failed. Hermione does not make deals with evil.

! Yeah, detection would be a vastly superior option. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone except maybe Voldemort knows how to do that, given that most people don't even know Horcruxes are a thing. He also didn't have a choice -- when Hermione was rezzed, Voldemort still had Harry as a captive, and it wasn't until later that he thought of the transfiguration stuff. It is interesting to note the parallels between their thinking, but I still think Harry did the best he could, given the constraints. A permanent solution can be another project for the Bayesian Conspiracy.

Comment by raven on I am Bad at Flirting; Realizing that by Noticing Confusion · 2020-07-02T02:33:21.868Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But hard to be mathematical about the timing. Hmmm.

Couldn't you try a handful of different delays and see what works best? Or, even better, look up what the common suggestions are, and then test them all.

I want to reject people's rationalizations of their behavior. But doing so makes me a dick. Have not figured that one out yet.

Why can't you avoid telling them? I find that avoiding any discussion of anything remotely rationality related makes interacting with normal people so much easier.

Comment by raven on Non offensive word for people who are not single-magisterium-Bayes thinkers · 2020-07-02T02:13:45.432Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I too find your friend's statement uncompelling. There's no reason to limit yourself like that; even assuming that the multiple-intelligence premise is true, the correct solution is to apply 100% of your logical-mathematical and interpersonal abilities. You might want to practice the logical-mathematical part first, to achieve a better ROI, but that's not the same thing as saying you should apply 60% of your ability just because logical-mathematical contributes to 60% of the result.

Unfortunately people usually find it distasteful to apply S2 to things that they're used to using S1 for. I've found that S2 is associated with negative feelings of coldness, calculation, and inauthenticity, so I avoid talking about rationality (when memes like "love isn't rational" dominate, good luck bridging the inferential distance). Instead, I solve their problem myself, and frame the result in their language. Your friend would probably accept advice of the form "do X, don't do Y, here's why [touchy-feely explanation]".

Some examples, just off the top of my head:

  • Don't use words like S2, inferential distance, math, utility, pattern, strategy, intelligence, signalling, or efficiency. This is not an exhaustive list
  • Don't bring up probabilities, odds, or frequencies.
  • In fact, don't mention any numbers. Numbers are an automatic fail unless your friend brings them up first, and even then, be careful not to take that as permission to go full-bore mathematician
  • Equations count as numbers. So do theorems, proofs, or anything that even vaguely pattern-matches to mathematics.
  • Pretend the words Bayes and rationality are unspeakable curse words
  • Any time you feel the urge to say "optimal", say "good" instead
  • Don't accuse your friend of being stupid or toolboxing, no matter how dumb or crazy they get
  • Replace S1 with gut or heart, and S2 with head.
  • Don't talk about near/far... in fact, if you read about it in the Sequences or on LessWrong, you'll probably lose points for talking about it (but you can still use the techniques and skills behind the scenes, just not openly).

Yes, this is hard. It'll get easier as you practice and becomes an S1 process.

Comment by raven on Harry Potter and methods of rationality alternative ending. · 2020-07-02T01:24:08.573Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, HPMOR, my favorite subject. Unfortunately I feel like that there may be some misunderstandings in your post...

> What will Potter's friends do when they realize that he made them orphans and did not even give the opportunity to say goodbye to parents? Why didn't he even try to persuade his fellows to confront their parents and do their best to force them to change their minds and traditions?

Was Harry really friends with any Slytherins except Draco? Draco definitely rejected Harry afterwards, once Harry explained what had happened (and then Harry brought him to his mom anyways).

> What will Hermione do when she will realize that Harry could stop her, yet instead left her defenceless and then turned her into golem and personal bodyguard with help of their enemy?

Hermione didn't seem to really mind the transformation, and she always wanted to be a hero. Now she's got a chance at that. Plus she clearly has her own pre-death mind, more or less, so I wouldn't call her a golem or bodyguard. As for the other unintended side effects... yeah. Maybe the Bayesian Conspiracy can figure something out.

> What will other mages do, when they get to know that Harry was so afraid to loose his inner dark counselor which is part of Voldie’s soul that he spared You-Know-Who and hid him under his own and Hermione’s protection?

Harry told Mad-Eye and a couple others (the adult Bones and Minerva I think were among them but I'm not sure). Also, it wasn't that he was afraid to lose his dark side -- the dark side is part of him, it's not something he can "lose". It's that Voldemort had a million phylacteries, most of which were very well hidden. Being unable to kill the evil, Harry took the standard option: seal it away. Presumably the mages he told are smart enough to know better than to advertise that Harry sealed Voldemort instead of killing him.

Comment by raven on Sick of struggling · 2020-07-01T01:17:37.954Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I did about eight years ago. The me of that time is mostly gone now, so I guess in a way she ended up dying. But the me of now is glad to be alive and very much wants immortality, regardless of how shitty the world is. Apparently this is a really common experience, although I doubt most people take it to the immortality extreme.

The inefficiencies are staggering and mind-boggling, yes, but I think my reaction is very different from yours. To me, they're just obstacles to be worked around, not something worth getting angry over. It's just how the world is. Railing against it would be like yelling at gravity because life would be way easier if only you could fly.

Comment by raven on [META] Building a rationalist communication system to avoid censorship · 2020-06-26T01:26:10.721Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I might register if it required a real name, but I definitely wouldn't comment or post. The first defense against doxxing is to avoid using your real name on anything you don't want linked to you.

It's also an unenforceable rule. If Facebook can't do it, I doubt LW is going to be up to the technical challenge.

Comment by raven on [META] Building a rationalist communication system to avoid censorship · 2020-06-26T01:20:50.508Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

For #1, don't forget the power of reputation in transforming one-off interactions into iterated ones. I suspect that going with that would end up being a pyrrhic victory.

Comment by raven on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2020-06-22T01:49:29.814Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't agree with your dichotomy between rationality techniques and common sense. Common sense is just layman-speak for S1, and S1 can be trained to think rationally. A lot of rationality for me is ingrained into S1 and isn't something I think about anymore. For example, S1's response to a math problem is to invoke S2, rather than try to solve it. Why? Because S1 has learned that it cannot solve math problems, even seemingly simple ones. Lightness, precision, and perfectionism are mostly S1 jobs for me as well.

And I'm also not claiming rationality is a prerequisite for victory. Rather, I see it as a power amplifier. If you don't have any rationality whatsoever, you're flailing around blind. With a little rationality (maybe just stuff you've learned by osmosis) you can chart a rough course, and if you're already powerful enough that might be all it takes.

But those are relatively minor nitpicks. Let's talk about how, specifically, rationality has changed my life.

The major one for me is discovering I'm trans. Rationality got me to seriously think about the problem (by telling me that emotions weren't evil and crazy), and then told me how to decide whether I was actually trans or not (bayesian fermi estimate). It takes many people years or months to figure this out, often with the help of therapists. I did it in a week, alone, and I came out without the doubts and worries that plague normal trans people.

My pre-sequence grasp of rationality was extremely limited, but still enough to let me self-modify out of the pit of borderline-suicidal depression. I also did it alone, without any therapists or friends (in fact, zero people even knew I was depressed). At the time I figured anyone could do it and it was just a matter of willpower... or something. I didn't pursue the question because back then I hadn't heard of the phrase "notice your confusion". Later, I met someone else who was depressed. I dug a little deeper and it turns out all the people who say you need a therapist and social support are right after all. Most people really, really struggle to escape depression. I'm not sure exactly why this is, but I suspect that not having luminosity would be an insurmountable barrier. It was hard enough when I could understand that my thoughts were corrupted and work to minimize them.

Less flashy but just as important, the overpowering desire to win at all costs has let me change from impulsive social cripple to someone who has no trouble fitting into most social circles. Admittedly, that wasn't something I got from rationality. I started out with the desire to win and gradually tried techniques, discarding what didn't work and keeping what did. But that seems like a fundamental rationality mindset to me. Cold reading, social web, signalling, inadequate equilibria, and schelling points are likely to greatly enhance my skills in the future.

I don't think the average common sense is up to any of those tasks. Plenty of people don't discover they're trans until a decade or more later than me, and I think it's highly significant that I figured it out almost as soon as I started rationality. Most people can't solve depression on their own. And I've met exactly one person who makes the leap from "some people are really charismatic" to "maybe I can learn how to be charismatic" to "I should learn how to be charismatic because the power scale goes up to literally taking over an entire country". Normal people simply don't think like that.

The only way you could convince me to abandon rationality is to either give me something that would achieve my goals better or convince me that I don't need to worry about achieving my goals. For example, if we lived in the glorious transhumanist future where FAI takes care of everything complicated, I wouldn't feel the need to personally become stronger. But as it is, if I close my eyes and sleep, I won't wake up until I've sleepwalked right off a cliff.

Furthermore, I know it's possible to improve. Why? Because of EY. Reading his writing is like talking to a thousand-year-old vampire. He's simply better than me, at everything (minus boring nitpicky stuff like [insert obscure skill]). Child EY feels pretty similar to adult me in a lot of ways which makes me think that what's different between us isn't so much raw IQ or talent as it is all the self-modification he layered on top.

But I have to admit that I'm puzzled by the lack of rationalist stars. It is written that it takes a lot of rationality to get anywhere, but surely out of the thousands(?) of us, at least a few would have mastered enough. Yes, there's EY and Scott and... actually that's all I'm aware of, and I wouldn't know of either of them if I wasn't already a rationalist. That feels like one a notice-your-confusion moment, and yet I'm not sure how to reconcile that observation with the way rationality seems intertwined with my own progression. If I only ever had an average helping of rationality... I'd be a depressed, self-hating, incel. Or maybe I'd just be dead. I thought about suicide a lot, and if I hadn't had a strong belief that I could improve due to past improvements, I might have given up entirely.

I'd say I'm just an unusually talented rationalist but my rationality-fueled common sense says that's extremely unlikely and suspiciously egocentric. So I'll just say that I'm not sure what to think anymore.

Comment by raven on Yoda Timers 2 · 2020-06-21T15:55:14.000Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The episodic (Diachronic Done Right) link points to a 404. I tried searching via google and couldn't find anything -- any chance it was moved or otherwise still exists? It sounds pretty interesting and I'd like to read it if possible.

Comment by raven on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2020-06-20T16:55:19.687Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I keep seeing responses like this, and I don't understand them at all. Rationality is inseparably intertwined with everything I do. Long before I found LessWrong I strove to be rational because I'm an agent with goals and rationality is a toolset for achieving those goals. Yes, I got a lot of it wrong, but I also got a lot of it right -- reading the Sequences felt less like discovering some revelatory holy book and more like refactoring my beliefs.

Afterwards, rationality took less than a year to completely change my life. I don't study rationality because it's a hobby; I study it because the level I was at before was insufficient and I can't afford to make another massive mistake. Sometimes you can't solve a problem on intuition alone and then you need the big guns -- those "rationality techniques".

Comment by raven on What past highly-upvoted posts are overrated today? · 2020-06-18T00:20:48.976Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW
posts from LW 1.0 often have a higher score than they deserve because [reason]

Asides from the obvious karma accumulation, I think LW1 used to have a big community that fell apart after... stuff happened. I'm not really clear on the details since I discovered rationality well after LW2 was built, but that's the impression I've gotten from a few halfhearted investigations.

Comment by raven on What gripes do you have with Mustachianism? · 2020-06-18T00:12:42.883Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A high cost of living area is worth it if it comes with a proportionally higher salary. For example, if you spend 25k/year in a LCOL area and make 50k/year, then move to a HCOL area and spend 50k/year but make 100k, you're able to save 2x as much as before despite have the same equivalent salary. This will get you to retirement much faster, at which point you can switch back to the LCOL area.

Of course, the numbers are far more complicated than that because of things like taxes, but you get the idea.

Comment by raven on Hammertime Day 6: Mantras · 2020-06-15T13:50:33.519Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

El mayarah (stronger together) and Live by the sword, die by the sword.

It's a reminder that having friends is a valid strategy. Surrounding yourself with people doesn't necessarily make you weaker, and it's possible to form a group that's more than the sum of its parts. Cooperation can assimilate chaos if the conditions are right; it's not an immutable axiom that chaos triumphs over order. A group is not necessarily dead weight, and relationships are not necessarily weak points, if you pick the right people to connect to.

The first one is from Supergirl and the second from SlateStarCodex.

Comment by raven on 12 Virtues of Rationality posters/icons · 2020-06-14T16:46:59.174Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is awesome. Thank you for the files too, you just solved my blank walls problem.

Comment by raven on What are your greatest one-shot life improvements? · 2020-06-02T18:06:23.437Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm also interested.

Comment by raven on What are your greatest one-shot life improvements? · 2020-06-02T18:02:55.591Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Transition medication. The actual act is incredibly simple (just take pills a couple times a day) but has a disproportionately huge impact on the rest of my life.

I suspect this probably generalizes pretty well to things like antidepressants.

Comment by raven on What are objects that have made your life better? · 2020-06-02T16:46:15.118Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Get one that's a few years old so it can't run heavyweight stuff. I use mine almost exclusively for reading/communication and utility stuff (math/searching/navigation). Games and most apps that aren't super simple lag too much for easy usage.

Comment by raven on What are objects that have made your life better? · 2020-06-02T16:39:06.970Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

On the subject of headphones, I love my AKG K72 headphones because the ear cups are extra-large and sit around my ear without pressing on the edges. This greatly reduces the strain of wearing them and I've worn them for an entire day without it hurting, which has been a problem with every other pair of headphones I've used.

Comment by raven on What is your internet search methodology ? · 2020-06-02T16:26:58.331Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
*is there a term which precisely conveys this idea?

A factual question. I had to google to remember the phrase. First was term that means specific question and then when that didn't work I tried term that means question with a definite answer and the answer was the top expanded result.

Comment by raven on What is your internet search methodology ? · 2020-06-02T16:21:47.882Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Mine is different depending on the question.

  • If it's an error message, I search the relevant piece of the error in quotes.
  • If it's a question I know the keywords for, then I search those keywords, and if I get lots of stuff/wrong stuff I add extra keywords to narrow. Ex: "flesh autoignition temperature" or "rdna 2"
  • If it's a general question that I don't have keywords for, then I phrase my query as a pseudo human-readable question. For example, "how far can you fall before dying" or "was leather armor used in the middle ages".
  • Sometimes I use the site: command. Most sites' built-in search is pretty crappy and it's easier to do it through google. The time range command also gets used a lot but I don't know the text command off hand so I do it through the GUI.
Comment by raven on Why do you (not) use a pseudonym on LessWrong? · 2020-05-13T15:55:27.840Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I use my real first name on here. I'm trans, and developing as a rationalist was instrumental in realizing that, so the two things are kind of tied together and the name partly symbolizes the rational part of me. Also, I had a hard time thinking of a good username and didn't really like the idea of hiding behind one on here due to a variety of factors.

And I don't use my last name because I don't want this account tied to real life me. Real life me has to deal with normal people, whose idea of rationality is AI and emotionless robots. It's much easier to just quietly use rationalist techniques and frame things in normal terms than try to explain all that inferential distance.

For other sites, I use my full real name if I want the account to be discoverable (github/gitlab, linkedin). For games I use my first name where possible because it's one of the few areas where people use it a lot to refer to me and I really like being called Raven. My writing has a realistic pseudonym. And for everything else I use usernames.

Comment by raven on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-10T18:42:48.189Z · score: 13 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I will point out that making a habit of distrusting authorities is what led me to rationality.

Perhaps I have applied that lesson too broadly though, especially on here where people are more reliable. When I read OP's comment, I automatically assumed that they were having a knee-jerk reaction to something cloaked in mystical language. I was wrong about that.

I think that your heuristic is a good one. It resolves a problem that I've noticed lately, where I tend to make mistakes because I think I have a way to improve a situation but I'm missing some piece of information.

And I've decided against pursuing tulpamancy. The damaging side effects concern me, even if they're infrequent, and your best argument pretty much sums up the rest of how I feel. I see now that I was excited about the possibilities of tulpas and failed to apply the same demands for rigor that I would normally apply to such an unusual concept.

Comment by raven on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-10T17:38:19.921Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That's definitely concerning. On the other hand, there's lots of people who don't have that sort of side effect (and several in this thread), so I think it's kind of rare... but perhaps this sort of result gets swept under the rug? Though, I wouldn't predict that in advance -- I'd expect it to blow up everywhere.

I'm not really sure what to think. Part of me wants to brush this off as a fluke and say that I would never break down like that but this is a failure mode that I hadn't even considered and that makes me nervous.

Do you know if there were any factors that would have contributed to that incident? Like them already being a little schizophrenic or something along those lines?

Comment by raven on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-10T16:57:28.867Z · score: 19 (10 votes) · LW · GW

If LW's stance on tulpas was a hard ban, I would have proceeded with my own experimentation. I'm here because I need to become stronger. Bowing down to authority every time someone tells me not to do something isn't going to accomplish that.

That said, I'm interested in warnings that consist of more than a vague "this is bad". After all, that's part of why I posted here.

Comment by raven on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-10T16:43:58.517Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I used to spend 6+ hours a day (every minute I wasn't eating/sleeping/in class) in an MMO. My avatar never had any agency; it was just an extension of my body like my hand. Occasionally I would act "in character" but it was always a conscious decision prompted by me wanting to make other people laugh or simply play along with something someone else did. I've never heard of avatars acquiring their own sense of agency, but it's not like I went around asking people if that happened to them.

Comment by raven on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-10T16:40:48.523Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Your tulpas never acquired their own skillsets?

Comment by raven on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-10T16:39:29.229Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you think that would have happened without the pre-existing condition?

Comment by raven on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-10T16:38:17.657Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I love that book and there's a lot I like about Sy but I definitely hope I don't end up following his trajectory. It's more of a cautionary tale, although you know what they say about generalizing from fictional evidence...

Careful experimentation sounds like a good idea, although I think it might be easy to go too far by accident. I'm not mentally unstable but I do have a habit of talking to myself as if there's two people in my head, and I was low key dissociative during most of my childhood.

Comment by raven on Rationalist Scriptures? · 2020-01-12T01:03:39.238Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There's the Twelve Virtues (

I like the religious/mystical language and imagery, but I think it's important to remember that the Sequences/Virtues/Codex/whatever are not scriptures in the traditional sense. Scriptures are unquestioned; they're something you're supposed to take on faith without disagreeing. Somewhere in the Sequences, Yudkowsky explicitly says that you're not supposed to blindly listen to him, and at least implies that he's probably made mistakes in the book.