previously, in this series

Noticing the taste of Lotus

This has really lovely prose.

Friend said he resented the premise that life is more than just a series of lotuses to eat. the writing made it sound so easy not to fall into them, and did not acknowledge let alone offer any concrete solutions to help with its very real difficulty. I think my friend has a point.


  • Just look. notice when something grabs your wanting.
  • Notice especially when someone else built the want-grabber.
  • Be at ease and let yourself get grabbed if you want to, just pay attention to what happens as a result.

The Tails Coming Apart As Metaphor For Life

The intuitive geometric explanation works for a level of math knowledge that groks point graphs and what a normal distribution looks like. Reasonable for lesswrong. I still want to see a version with a lower barrier to entry than that. Admittedly, that's well outside the scope of this post.

Not in this essay explained: Mediocristan, Quine, Blegg/Rube network illustration, ethical naturalist

Lots of references made in this essay feel at risk of nulling out

The most merciful thing in the world is how so far we have managed to stay in the area where the human mind can correlate its contents

Ended on a note of horror. Scott has ensured I will never forget this essay, sure hope that's what he was going for.

Meta-Honesty: Firming up Honesty Around its Edge-Cases

The Basics

To always be honest requires:

  • quick clever thinking with words
  • surrounding self with people who can handle you saying things off-script
  • courage or stubbornness to risk rejection based on what you believe

Why did E feel the need to drop in the term Glomarization. He could have actually explained the concept.

Truth-telling rules - good candidate for #jestercourt clarification

I'd like to try a conversation in which everyone must speak only things that are literally false, but the lies have to stay on topic and consistent. there'd be a timeout signal for when you catch someone's story not adding up and need to talk out of character. It'll be great.

We purport "Do not kill" to be absolute and exceptionless because that's what it takes to get people to even hesitate… and I think this relates to Ziz's thing about being ready to perform extreme violence at any moment. She's gone the opposite direction and tried having actual models of when to use violence.

I am left aimless.

The Details

ow my head hurts

perhaps my only-false-statements conversation can allow meta-honesty, just to make things extra confusing. (extra hilarious)

Explaining Enlightenment in Non-Mysterious Terms

'helpful to earlier steps in mental process vs. just the final output' has the same energy as a Ben Pace's post on communication.

I want to bottle this explanation and gift it to people.

Buddhism is CoZE

Interlude on Doing the Impossible

Too dense with references or something, can barely read it

I don't want to have to artificially cheerlead people every time I want to cooperate in a serious, real, extended shot at accomplishing something

Nor do I. Leftist hat says, "Have you tried living under not capitalism?"

some & many & maybe - I want qualifiers with specificity. Adding words like these implies vagueness, but I don't know a better way to talk about qualitative numeric differences. Can I replace the vague qualifiers with a single. #language_project

Being a Robust Agent

Y'know, it's funny. I think Lesswrongers on average take for granted that there common wisdom exists. I'm not sure it does. I believe common wisdom has degraded in transmission and applicability as the world has accelerated.

When should I follow my instincts and folk wisdom?

  • Goals are simple and well understood
  • In a social domain with clear rules OR ->
  • <- OR in a domain the ancestral environment would reasonably prepare you for

This could do with a cute stick figure comic.

When do I need something else?

  • Environment will change, and current default-strategies stop working
  • Trying complicated plans for which there is no common wisdom, or many edge cases
  • Coordinate with other agents in ways where no reliable coordination mechanisms exist yet
  • Instinct or common wisdom is wrong in a particular way
  • Competition or a maximizing goal requires that you outperform common wisdom.

Consider, are we living in the same world our parents did, our grandparents? When would there have been time for common wisdom to calibrate to the changed circumstances? Coordinating with people on a flat global scale, or automatically by digital proxies doesn't have its mechanisms hammered out yet.

This is not an exhaustive, but an illustrative overview

If there isn't enough incentive for others to cooperate with you, you may need to build a new coordination mechanism so that there *is* enough incentive

I'm trying, okay :(

A golden post. It has appropriate warnings for rationality, detailed cruxes on why you should or should not "become a rationalist". This beautifully captures how I envisioned a responsible community invitation would work.. Consider it sort of like meta-honesty: are you capable of inhabiting the possibility that you&yours are the ones in the wrong, and take actions which are robustly good in both worlds?

Write a ELI5 version. Use the Mr. Rogers steps to improve message.


Our world is big and strange, my dear

But I'm right here

I'm close and near


I hear you when you cry, my dear

So don't you fear

I'm close and near


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