I am an 18 year old senior in high school interested in evolutionary psychology and cognitive science. I've actually been lurking around this site for over four months before I finally got brave enough to introduce myself. I always considered myself to be rational, but after looking through the core sequences, it slowly dawned on me how horribly wrong I was, and what a ways I have to go to "upgrade" my rationality and hopefully maintain a meaningful conversation with anyone here.
I was raised in a non-religious home where I was encouraged to seek out many different belief systems and see which one fit me the most. I ended up rejecting every mainstream religion I came across, which I suspect is what my parents were hoping for. I officially became an atheist at around age twelve, and I suffered somewhat of an existential breakdown shortly after that as I was desperately searching for a meaning or purpose to the universe and not being able to find one. I didn't like the idea of living in a meaningless universe and I suffered from extreme depression for many years, which worried my friends and family. I was sent to a therapist because my schoolwork and social life were suffering due to my sense of hopelesness.
I then came across the idea of transhumanism at age fifeen after hearing the word and typing it in on Google out of curiosity, and that day my entire life changed for the better. All of a sudden I was being introduced to concepts like indefinite life extension, recursively self-improving artificial intelligence, mind uploading, apotheosis, and the like. My mind was blown. For the first time in many years, I was feeling a sense of real hope and purpose. I decided that working for the transhumanist project and a positive singularity was what I wanted to do with my life.
This site is pretty damn awesome. I'm busy reading the core sequences and Methods of Rationality, and I'm about 70% through with both. I'm loving them. Being introduced to cognitive heuristics and biases has really helped me grow as a person and as a budding rationalist, and I am now extremely humbled since discovering that I'm not nearly as rational or logical as I thought I was. Discussions here are always very high-quality, engaging, and enlightening, which is something you don't find very often on the Internet (or, really, anywhere), and I'm a bit nervous at the prospect of engaging in serious discussions with a bunch of people who are several intellectual levels above me. I've always been bright, but not spectacularly so, so I hope I won't get downvoted into oblivion by getting into discussions that are way over my head. (I tend to do that.)
So thank you LessWrong, and I look foward to interacting with everyone here!