Many people want to know how to live well. Part of living well is thinking well, because if one thinks the wrong thoughts it is hard to do the right things to get the best ends.

We think a lot about how to think well, and one of the first things we thought about was how to not think well. Bad ways of thinking repeat in ways we can see coming, because we have looked at how people think and know more now about that than we used to.

But even if we know how other people think bad thoughts, that is not enough. We need to both accept that we can have bad ways of thinking and figure out how to have good ways of thinking instead.

The first is very hard on the heart, but is why we call this place "Less Wrong." If we had called it something like more right, it could have been about how we're more right than other people instead of more right than our past selves.

The second is very hard on the head. It is not just enough to study the bad ways of thinking and turn them around. There are many ways to be wrong, but only a few ways to be right. If you turn left all the way around, it will point right, but we want it to point up.

The heart of our approach has a few parts:

 

  1. We are okay with not knowing. Only once we know we don't know can we look. 
  2. We are okay with having been wrong. If we have wrong thoughts, the only way to have right thoughts is to let the wrong ones go. 
  3. We are quick to change our minds. We look at what is when we get the chance. 
  4. We are okay with the truth. Instead of trying to force it to be what we thought it was, we let it be what it is. 
  5. We talk with each other about the truth of everything. If one of us is wrong, we want the others to help them become less wrong. 
  6. We look at the world. We look at both the time before now and the time after now, because many ideas are only true if they agree with the time after now, and we can make changes to check those ideas. 
  7. We like when ideas are as simple as possible. 
  8. We make plans around being wrong. We look into the dark and ask what the world would look like if we were wrong, instead of just what the world would look like if we were right. 
  9. We understand that as we become less wrong, we see more things wrong. We try to fix all the wrong things, because as soon as we accept that something will always be wrong we can not move past that thing. 
  10. We try to be as close to the truth as possible. 
  11. We study as many things as we can. There is only one world, and to look at a part tells you a little about all the other parts. 
  12. We have a reason to do what we do. We do these things only because they help us, not because they are their own reason.

 

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I think this writing is very good, but the way the words look is not normal. The words have letters with more lines than they need to have, stuck onto the ends of other lines, but the other writing on the Less Wrong shared computer thing uses letters with only as many lines as they need, and the words under each other are closer together.

The words have letters with more lines than they need to have, stuck onto the ends of other lines, but the other writing on the Less Wrong shared computer thing uses letters with only as many lines as they need, and the words under each other are closer together.

I have made the word lines look like normal word lines.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but did you just describe the difference between Serif (letters with more lines than they need to have) and Sans Serif (letters with only as many lines as they need) fonts?

If so, that was well done - both of you! It is no easy task to effectively communicate something you don't have the words for. Nor is it easy to understand that communication! That's a pretty big win-win, in my experience. :)

I had no idea what was going on till you explained it.

I think that I explained the about-letter-looks-words without using them, and the other person seemed to understand me, and then he changed the thing that I tried to explain, so I think I was able to explain it.

I am happy that you think this was not easy, but actually it was easier than a class where I use words that are not from this place but from across the big body of water. I could take longer to write things and I have to talk sort of quickly in that class. Also, I know these words better.

I totally agree that speaking is harder than writing, because it has to happen quicker, and also because there is body and face moving that can change what words mean each time they are said, as well as group position that can change how those words are heard. To me, even using words that come from this place in ways that make me easy to understand is very hard. So I like to see good times when it is done well, in hopes that I can learn from them.

Using only the ten hundred words people use the most often to write this story changed the way this story sounded. Because of this, I didn't realize that this story wasn't a joke of the kind made only on this day of the year until I reached the end of the story. This was a good story.

This story was written because my thoughts about this comment ran into the joke about space rocks.

Thanks to person writing this helping me think of this, and to person. I found parts of it very easy and parts of it very hard; the set of mind sights one can make with the ten hundred most used words is different from the ones I'm used to. It was also much easier to take from the second person than to write the new things, and I think the second bit remains good words to explain what we do and why we do it.

But the way the words are put in the word order can be as long or hard as I want, which is perhaps against the reason behind up goer five.

But the way the words are put in the word order can be as long or hard as I want, which is perhaps against the reason behind up goer five.

It would be, were you to write like that, but I do not think you did here. You did good, kid!

As I started reading this, I thought, "This sounds like it was written by this person."

I like her writing because she keeps things simple and clear.

I like that point seven had the most small word number. That really got my attention. Not only is point seven point seven, but point seven does point seven.

And I am glad we call this place "Less Wrong". If you were to write about another place, you might have had to write about "Power Over The Way People Do Not Think Well". To take one case.

May i ask you a question ?

Trying to be as close to the truth as possible (Whatever the subject is) requires to see from almost every points of views that exists for this subject right ? Even the wrong one...

So if we want to find the truth we need to pass through the "wrong thoughts" , can we still call that doing a mistake to consider a wrong thoughts if it's necessary to end up being close to the truth ?

This question might be weird but , i'd be glad to have your answer :)

Trying to be as close to the truth as possible (Whatever the subject is) requires to see from almost every points of views that exists for this subject right ? Even the wrong one...

I point of view in the sense of a perspective isn't right or wrong. It's possible to look at a subject from multiple perspective without giving the perspective a truth value.

(I'm going to use the full vocabulary to answer this question.)

can we still call that doing a mistake to consider a wrong thoughts if it's necessary to end up being close to the truth ?

So, there are a few things going on here.

First, the idea of sunk costs. There's nothing to be gained from regretting the past; the only thing that the past is good for is learning from for the future. So if you did make mistakes, those mistakes cannot be unmade, only not made a second time.

Second, the idea that it is necessary to pass through the wrong thoughts in order to get to the right thoughts. It's not clear to me that this is always true. Sometimes, you can start off with the right thoughts, do a consistency proof, and then do a uniqueness proof, and now everything else is either equivalent or wrong. But sometimes you do need to show how specific alternatives don't work. And most of the time, you're not dealing with mathematical concepts, but 'muscle memory' concepts--and it seems very unlikely that one would start with the optimal algorithm at the beginning. Oftentimes, one must crawl before one can walk, and walk before one can run. In such situations, what is there to regret about crawling?

[-][anonymous]6y 0

So basically, optimism?

We understand that as we become less wrong, we see more things wrong. We try to fix all the wrong things, because as soon as we accept that something will always be wrong we can not move past that thing.

I disagree. It's perfectly fine to accept some wrong things because the cost of fixing them are to high. In a world with limited resources we have to pick our battles.

We try to make our ideas as simple as possible.

How fitting that the sentence contains try while most of the other sentences use more definite language.

I don't know what many of those words mean :(

It's because of the "as possible." I might change it to "we like when ideas are simple," since that might be closer to the first meaning.

I don't think that the majority of LW succeeds at "keeping things as simple as possible".

I hate april fool's jokes across time zones. You don't expect them on April 2nd, do you?

I don't know what this means :(

If you make a joke on a day where jokes are made, but another person is not on the same day anymore, that person might not get the joke because they don't think the day matters.