Social life is a thorny subject. Writings on that topic can be noxious, for a variety of reasons. Yet we live in a social world, and instrumental rationality ought to make us better at navigating it. Furthermore, if status competition is a war of all against all, and "all warfare is based on deception," as Sun Tzu says, then we should expect that this is one of the areas where rationality might be especially helpful. On this website, people post self-help advice through a rationalist lens all the time. Yet I rarely see rationalist self-help advice on topics such as how to have a thriving social life, get along with your parents, strike up a conversation with a stranger, build a blog audience, or field a disagreement without lying, submitting, or looking like a jerk.
I'd consider the following to be virtues of posts about social life:
- Striving for generality as much as (but no more than) is possible.
- Avoiding moral judgments and political resentments.
- Balancing a basically positive and constructive attitude with a healthy skepticism towards platitudes.
Do you agree that this forum might benefit from more posts on social life? What would you be most interested in writing or reading about? What do you tend to find most frustrating when reading people's takes on social life, here or elsewhere?