[ Question ]

How Can Rationalists Join Other Communities Interested in Truth-Seeking?

by Evan_Gaensbauer 1 min read16th Jul 20199 comments


Last week, Davis Kingsley wrote about reasons one might want to diversify one's "friendship portfolio." I commented that if this, being on LessWrong, was aimed at a rationalist audience, it's my experience many rationalists are introverted or shy enough, some have difficulty joining new groups of friends outside the rationality community as well (though of course there were several comments on Davis' posts about the benefits of having just a small, consistent group of friends in a single community, worth considering). However, Ruby commented with an even greater reason why some rationalists who might want friends beyond the rationality community nonetheless primarily stick to the rationality community:

I suspect there are challenges for rationalists in joining new communities beyond introversion. I've found it jarring to be getting along with some new folk and then people start saying ridiculous things, but worse, having no real interest in determining whether the things they say are actually true. Or even when they try, being terrible at discussion. I don't need to nitpick everything or correct every "wrong" thing I hear, but it is hard to feel like beliefs aren't real to people - they're just things you say. A performance.
There are people outside the rationality community who are fine at the above, but being used to rationalists does introduce some novel challenges. It'd be nice if we ever accumulated communal knowledge on how to bridge such cultural gaps.

So, I thought I would ask.

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Hi Evan,

I'm one of the founders of a new online platform called Letter. I'm in the process of building a community around thoughtful conversation. We have a private Facebook group for our writers, and we host a meetup event (online) every few weeks. I'd like to welcome you and anyone else from the rationalist community to join.

Another fantastic community is Fair Game - a private Facebook group for respectful, "good faith" discussion.

Warm regards,


Since The Rationality Quotient mostly showed that Rationality isn't much of a thing on top of g, that means that despite not caring about the quality of arguments too much, other people aren't suffering worse life outcomes. One can take it as an opportunity to be curious about why that might be. What might others who seem to be less explicitly/verbally committed to truth be getting right in other ways? I've found that spiritual communities are good for this, and more open to reflection than most, once the right semantic flags are understood and translated.

I'm not sure there *are* other communities interested in truth-seeking, at least not in the generalized way that rationalists are. (Obviously there are lots of communities seeking the truth in some particular domain.) Do you have some in mind?

If I can reinterpret the question a bit, a similar question might be how to find common ground with people who are not part of the rationality community. In that case I think the relevant question is "to what *end* do you want to be rational?" When I think of a typical highly rational person who doesn't identify with the rationalist community, I think of someone who sees rationality in large part as an instrument to achieve goals, rather than a pastime. If one can find other people with similar goals, and then select from them the ones pursuing those goals rationally, one might find some commonality of culture/values/interests.