Comment by sonniebailey on Has "politics is the mind-killer" been a mind-killer? · 2019-03-19T00:10:02.419Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with everything you say. I'm reminded of Dan Gardner's terrific book Future Babble on how and why people respond to pundits even though their predictions/calibrations are often woeful.

The thing is, in the same way that there are people who can get away with clearly being in bad faith and not being truthful, I think there are probably some people who can get away with being relatively well-calibrated and up-front about not treating everything in black and white terms, and still be effective communicators, and effective in politics in general.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are some other factors (something to do with the conveyed social status of the person in question?) that relate to their effectiveness that are in some ways independent of the positions they actually take. Taking the "Is God real?" example, it's true that the vast majority of people couldn't get away with that. But there are probably some people who could get away with it.

I'm speculating. And to my mind this is an empirical question. The fact that no one comes to mind probably indicates I'm wrong. But I can always be hopeful!

I'm also writing this in a rush, so apologies if I haven't been very clear. Thanks for the comments!

Comment by sonniebailey on Has "politics is the mind-killer" been a mind-killer? · 2019-03-18T23:58:47.901Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure if this relates to my article or the comment. But I initially took this comment to mean that you can't talk about politics rationally unless the people you're talking to are rational. Given that no one is perfectly rational (even those of us who aspire to it), it lead me to the conclusion - what's the point?

In other words, avoid discussion of politics in all situations, because no one can be rational about it. I'll admit, I overstepped the mark, and this is largely my misreading of the initial article.

Comment by sonniebailey on Has "politics is the mind-killer" been a mind-killer? · 2019-03-18T07:53:42.052Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that the evidence currently suggests that being transparent about your beliefs isn't a winning strategy.

I'm not 100% convinced that we can conclusively say that it can't be a winning strategy. Perhaps if norms change, and someone who was sufficiently well-calibrated to this way of thinking and was effective at communicating (and probably came across as high-status enough) it could be very effective.

Could someone be completely honest and still be effective? I'd love to see someone who could pull this off, and I haven't written this off as a possibility. But maybe I'm being naive :-)

Comment by sonniebailey on Has "politics is the mind-killer" been a mind-killer? · 2019-03-18T07:49:23.801Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Great points.

I hope I don't come across as saying that this is a forum for talking about politics in the specific.

The article is more a reflection of how the "politics is the mind-killer" perspective impacted me and my broader relationship to politics and policy, probably for the worst.

Just because it's not a great topic to discuss in this particular context ,and in some other situations, this doesn't make it a valuable or important topic to discuss in other contexts. (And to be clear, I haven't taken your comments as suggesting as such!)

I'd go as far as arguing that if rationalists can better discuss politics effectively with people who are less rationally-inclined, this might go some way towards raising the sanity waterline in a really important domain.

Comment by sonniebailey on Has "politics is the mind-killer" been a mind-killer? · 2019-03-18T07:42:46.595Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure I see the contradiction.

I see it as the difference between a one-off prisoner's dilemma situation and an iterated version of the prisoner's dilemma.

War is arguably a one-off situation, where competition is king and you want to win at all costs. Politics and policy-making is more of an ongoing endeavour and in the scheme of things, requires cooperation.

Where there are good intentions involved (and that is the case much of the time - it's just not publicised nearly as much), both sides of a debate will often want to come to a solution that is something that the other side can live with - and there is at least the potential for changing perspectives and positions. So having high stakes doesn't necessarily mean that it's all-out competition and war between arguments.

Comment by sonniebailey on Has "politics is the mind-killer" been a mind-killer? · 2019-03-17T08:38:52.921Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the link!

Comment by sonniebailey on Has "politics is the mind-killer" been a mind-killer? · 2019-03-17T08:32:42.193Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hi Joshua, thanks for the comment!

This might be influenced by my experience/current situation. There are one or more domains where I have (or could/will have) some degree of influence over policy - and the debate over that policy. If I hadn't taken what I've set out in my article, I'd probably have been in this position earlier, or taken this more seriously sooner. Ie, I would have aspired towards being something more than being a spectator. I wonder whether any other capable people in this community might have been in a similar situation or have had that experience but for developing a knee-jerk reaction (like I have) that politics is a mind-killer.

Interestingly, in those domains where I have/might have influence, I find that discussions with people who don't have influence and might be characterised as spectators are quite interesting/revealing/useful. But that is mainly from the perspective of what the optics of a situation are for the majority of people, and the points that might sway public opinion. It's also useful to see what actually influences them - so I can get an empirical sense rather than guess using my own flawed mental models.

The other thing is that talking about politics with people who think through their views and don't tie their identity to a particular party/tribe can actually be quite interesting to talk to. Where they don't let it be a mind killer it can be a very good lens for getting their perspective on the world, and quite revealing about their personal ideological views. But again - that's for the rare person who doesn't let politics to be a mind-killer! (And at least in my recent experience it seems to be more people than I had initially thought. It's a great litmus test IMO.)

Has "politics is the mind-killer" been a mind-killer?

2019-03-17T03:05:06.935Z · score: 21 (16 votes)
Comment by sonniebailey on Individual profit-sharing? · 2019-02-20T01:35:03.768Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Fun fact: Steven Spielberg and George Lucas entered into an arrangement like this in 1977, swapping 2.5% of their stakes in relation to Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It seems like Spielberg received north of $40 million from the deal. (Source)

Comment by sonniebailey on [LINK] Freeman Dyson reviews "Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything" · 2012-03-23T22:13:22.600Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Funnily enough, this article from The Atlantic accuses Dyson of similar:

Comment by sonniebailey on Top 5 regrets of the dying [link] · 2012-02-05T03:22:49.146Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with Robin Hanson. I'd go further and say this smells like unsubstantiated self-help in disguise.

It's interesting that Hanson's wife, who also works with dying people, cannot recall a single patient spontaneously expressing a general life regret. This suggests that Bronnie Ware asked the patients what their greatest regrets were.

For one thing, this strikes me as a bit mean. Of all the things that you could ask a dying person in their last days or weeks of life, why ask them what their regrets were? If you care about their welfare, there are better questions you could ask.

On another note, there is a good chance that her questions were leading questions. Or that the responses Ware received have been filtered through her own worldview.

If you give some thought to these comments, they are largely meaningless. What does it mean to "live a life true to myself"? What does it mean to have "the courage to express my feelings"? Is it really true that you can simply let yourself be happier?

Comment by sonniebailey on Meetup : Melbourne social meetup · 2012-01-14T03:13:41.629Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've never been to a meet up before, but will make an appearance.

Comment by sonniebailey on [LINK] Why did Steve Jobs choose not to effectively treat his cancer? · 2011-10-14T11:08:06.661Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wouldn't say he rejected conventional medicine altogether: