Open Thread, Aug 29. - Sept 5. 2016

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Upvote post for those who have been hit by collateral damage in the Elo / Nier war, as it happened to me. I promise to upvote everyone who writes under this something that is not controversial.

If the problem is the sockpuppet army, while coders create a systematic solution, the community can help and show that the army of goodwilling men and women are stronger than any puppet master.

I wonder whether there are enough non-Eugine active participants for this to work. Well, I hereby undertake to upvote every sibling of this comment that isn't obviously objectionable or posted by a Eugine sockpuppet.

Make LW nice again.

We won the war against Eugene... for a brief instant.

I'm keeping score and calculating the number of downvotes/upvotes on the comment where I requested help against Eugene Nier downvotes campaign.

Well, there was a moment where 14 people upvoted and 20 puppets downvoted. Now we are at a point where 21 people upvoted and 30 puppets downvoted. This means that at least we forced Eugene to increase the count of his puppets to fight back. I count this as score for LW :)


7Viliam4yI don't think that opposing strategic voting by strategic voting is an improvement. (Noise + more noise != signal.) I also don't see how forcing Eugine to increase the number of sockpuppets is a good thing, especially if the difference is between 20 and 30. Thanks for trying! I just think this is a wrong direction.
7Elo4yStill fighting!

Here's the problem with talking x-risk with cynics who believe humanity is a net negative, and also a couple possible solutions.

Frequently, when discussing the great filter, or averting nuclear war, someone will bring up the notion that it would be a good thing. Humanity has such a bad track record with environmental responsibility or human rights abuses toward less advanced civilizations, that the planet, and by extension the universe, would be better off without us. Or so the argument goes. I've even seen some countersignaling severe enough to argue, som... (read more)

4Dagon4yYou can also point out the contradiction that they don't seem to be in a hurry to take the obvious first step by killing themselves. Proving that they see at least one human life as a net positive. Then talk about everyone else they don't want to kill or prevent being born. Be aware, though, that this isn't truth-seeking. It's debate for the fun of it.
7WhySpace_duplicate0.92616921290755274yI think there's also a near/far [] thing going on. I can't find it now, but somewhere in the rationalist diaspora someone discussed a study showing that people will donate more to help a smaller number of injured birds. That's one reason why charity adds focus on 1 person or family's story, rather than faceless statistics. Combining this with what you pointed out, maybe a fun place to take the discussion would be to suggest that we start with a specific one of our friends. "Exactly. Let's start with Bob. Alice next, then you. I'll volunteer to go last. After all, I wouldn't want you guys to have to suffer through the loss of all your friends, one by one. No need to thank me, it is it's own reward." EDIT: I was thinking of scope insensitivity [], but couldn't remember the name. It's not just a LW concept, but also an empirically studied bias with a Wikipedia page [] and everything. However, I mis-remembered it above. It's true that I could cherry pick numbers and say that donations went down with scope in one case, but I'm guessing that's probably not statistically significant. People are probably willing to donate a little more, not less, to have an impact a hundred times as large. Perhaps there are effects from misleading vividness [] at a small scale, as I imply. However, on a large scale, the slope is likely largely positive, even if just barely.
0The_Jaded_One4yThere are both good and bad aspects of the human race, and our future could easily contain a lot which is bad. However, this is a reason to support improvements, as well as a reason to support our own destruction. So it's a half full/half empty situation.

Academic Torrents site, for large scale database transfers

6WhySpace_duplicate0.92616921290755274yLWers who liked this may also like: [] About: [] Basically, if you search for something and they don't have it, there's a huge network of scientists with access to pay-walled journals, and one of them will add a PDF. They've grown larger than any of the journal subscription companies, and have the world's largest collection of scientific papers.
0hg004yThanks, I linked this comment from the piracy thread [].

Man burns down house remotely over the internet, for insurance, no accident.

Edit: was only posited, but ivestigators rigged up the supposed instrument of doom, a network printer with a piece of string.

Anyone know where I can find melatonin tablets <300 mcg? Splitting 300 mcg into 75 mcg quarters still gives me morning sleepiness, thinking smaller dose will reduce remaining melatonin upon wake time. Thanks.

2gwern4yYou could use liquid melatonin instead, and dilute it to a usably measurably small dose.
0buybuydandavis4yOr he could use whatever pills to make his own liquid melatonin, and titrate from there. I bought a bunch of stoppered bottles with calibrated eye droppers for the purpose. 6 bottles, 7 bucks at amazon, though that item shows no longer available.
0Dorikka4yThanks. I haven't used liquid products much before. Anything you've noticed that's significantly different in terms of onset time, effect duration, etc?
0gwern4yI haven't used them since I haven't tried to go that low dose yet. I assume they would be absorbed faster but otherwise similar.
0Douglas_Knight4yThe Netherlands [] . I think that they will ship anywhere in the EU, even places where it requires a prescription. I don't know about the US. But I'm skeptical that dose is your problem.

Software to measure preferences?

I have a set of questions, in which a person faces a choice, which changes the odds of two moderately-positive but mutually-exclusive outcomes. Eg, with Choice #1, there is a 10% chance of X and a 20% chance of Y, while with Choice #2, there is a 15% chance of X and a 10% chance of Y. I want to find out if there are any recognizable patterns in which options the agent will choose. Is there any software already freely available which can be used to help figure this out?

0DataPacRat4yNevermind. After some time in the shower thinking, I've worked out that I can determine the bulk of what I want to determine with no more than two questions; and that there's a confounder effect which would most likely prevent me from finding out the rest of what I wanted to know anyway.
0MrMind4yNow I'm curious to know what it was all about...
1DataPacRat4yI've been trying to hammer out something like a blog post, but can't seem to get past the 'over-wordy technical' draft to the 'explain why I should actually care' draft; and am also having a touch of trouble emphasizing the important point. That said, here's one ugly draft of explanation for your amusement: Two Questions: The point of this exercise is to learn more about what you value, when you have to face a certain choice with no escape hatches. So, for the purposes of these questions, assume that there is no significant measurable evidence of the supernatural, of the afterlife, of alien intelligence, or of parallel worlds; that if the universe is a Matrix-like simulation, it's just being left to run without any interference. We're also going to assume that you've done as much research as possible with your available resources before you have to make these choices, and that you've done all the thinking and calculating that you can to produce the best possible estimates. Question 1: You are faced with a choice between two actions, which will have a significant effect on your life and the life of everyone else. If you choose Action A, then there is a 10% chance that you will survive into the long-term future, what's sometimes called Deep Time (by which I mean far enough into the future that you can't predict even the vaguest outline of things, and which may or may not include a fundamental discovery of physics that opens one of the escape hatches; and, given the nature of the laws of statistics as we know them, may involve you making copies of yourself so that a random meteor strike to one of you won't kill all of you, among other strange and wonderous possibilities), but that everyone else will die; and there's a 20% chance that you will permanently and irrevocably die, but some number of other people will survive into Deep Time; and a 70% chance that both you and everyone else die. It may not seem optimistic, but choosing Action B has its own ups and downs -

"Why Should I Trust You?": Explaining the Predictions of Any Classifier

"various scenarios that require trust: deciding if one should trust a prediction, choosing between models, improving an untrustworthy classifier, and identifying why a classifier should not be trusted. "

I think it would be interesting if we weigh the benefits of human desire modification in all its forms (ranging from strategies like delayed gratification to brain pleasure centre stimulation: covered very well in this fun theory sequence article ) against the costs of continuous improvement.

Some of these costs :

  • Resource exhaustion : There is always the risk of using up resources earlier for relatively unimportant things, and facing constraints for later, more important, purposes. This risk ends up materialising more often as we develop faster. Undoing m
... (read more)

Hi, I'm curious what rationalists (you) think of this video if you have time:

Why Rationality Is WRONG! - A Critique Of Rationalism 1 h 22 min 47 s

Personally, I don't know much about all of the different obstacles in figuring out the truth so I can't do this myself. I simply bought it because it made sense to me, but if you can somehow go meta on the already meta, I would appreciate it.

8gjm4yI agree with the other commenters about this. * Some of what he says is correct: the map is not the territory, having a good model of the universe does not guarantee having any kind of privileged access to The Universe As It Really Is Deep Down, etc. * But "rationalism" or "rationality" in, say, the sense commonly used on LW does not in fact mean denying any of that. * The video is really long and (at least in the first 25 minutes or so) has awfully little content. * The guy in the video comes across (to me at least) as smugly superior even while uttering a succession of trivialities, which doesn't do much to encourage me to watch more. So I thought "maybe it gets more interesting later on" and skipped to 50:00. At which point he isn't bothering to make any arguments, merely preening over how he understands the world so much more deeply than rationalists, who will come and bother him with their "arguments" and "contradictions" and he can just see that they "haven't got any awareness" and trying to engage with them would be like trying to teach calculus to a dog, and that the mechanism used to brainwash suicide bombers and fundamentalists are "the exact same mechanism that very intelligent scientists use to prove their theories of space and time and whatever else". OK, then. Since I obviously wasn't enlightened enough for minute 50 of this thing, I went back to 40:00. He says it's important to connect with your emotions and not deny they're there (OK), and then he says that "rational people just assume that, well, we don't need any of that emotional stuff". OK, then. (And rational people like scientists get emotional when they argue with highly irrational people because they're attached to their rational models of the world and don't want to hear anything contrary to those models because of cognitive dissonance; they close their eyes and ears to the arational because they demonize it as irrational.) OK, clearly still too advanced for me. Bac
0reguru4yBut that's what you're mostly doing in your post. I will bring this up below. I don't think everyone shares that view, at least it's not for me. I don't know if I am contradicting myself, though. If someone was similar but in differing in opinion then me. The contradiction would then lie under if I told you the world is your mirror. That's what he said, of course it's kind of harsh, but it's his way of going on these things I think, I don't know why or what's most effective but for myself I am unaffected or in the positive. That might be just because I agree. By becoming aware of the emotions that you are suppressing, not the "feeling emotions" rationally because the reason of emotion is rational. There is awareness of thoughts, not only thoughts, and the awareness is not a thought. That is a definition game of what is a thought, consider it being different from awareness. Yes, you don't have a thought of a thought, you have awareness of thought. Otherwise, you're trapped in thinking and don't know that there is something else. See how he never mentions the larger context of an understanding of relativity itself? But the context of which sounds and symbols make up our "reality". You missed the point, there was nothing said about affecting the understanding of relativity, you fell into the exact paradigm which the video said. The larger context of the symbols and sounds on the paper. Not the theory itself according to physicists. That's the matrix. He gave the specifics right after that, rationality itself. Asking about the premises which make rationality possible. It seems like you disagree on numerous points, but not being aware of it. Like Einstein's equation is simply symbols and sounds (and pretty much everything else which you give attribute to) Let's say the rational mind cannot understand something, why continue to use the rational mind? Is there something else? Maybe awareness? There might be something worth pursuing there. Now I know I am not r
3Viliam4yFor the record, I agree with what gjm said; he wrote it much better than I could. I feel we have a deep communicational barrier here. You probably didn't read " Rationality A-Z []" (the canonical LW text). On the other hand, I have no idea what you mean by "matrix" and "context" and "awareness" and other stuff, and you don't bother to explain. (By "no idea" I actually mean I could imagine hundred different things under each of these labels, and I don't know which one of them is close to the one you mean. That makes the communication difficult.) From my point of view, it seems like you are "in love" with some words; you associate strong [] positive [] emotions with certain nebulous [] concepts. These are all typical mistakes people make while reasoning; even very highly intelligent people! A part of the mission of this website is to help people overcome making this mistakes. Maybe I am wrong about you here, but you don't provide enough information for me to judge otherwise. You posted a video of a smug person accusing everyone else, especially "scientists" and "rationalists" of being stupid and having lesser awareness. That's all there is, as far as I see. Color me unimpressed. There are some things that... uhm, are you familiar with the "motte and bailey" concept? Essentially: there are some statements which taken literally are true but trivial, but they can be interpreted more generally, which makes them interesting but false. I suspect this is one of the traps you fell into. So, here we are... each side convinced that the other side is missing something important, relatively simple, but kinda tricky. Saying "dude, you are just confused!" is obviously not going to help, when the other side is thinking the same thing. Any other idea? From m
0reguru4yI have not read that. Virtual reality, as in the movie Matrix. This is a bit harder to explain, imagine everything said is out of context from the subjective experience. Context can only be found within the subjective experience. Awareness is the separation of thoughts from awareness. You can be aware of thoughts, that's awareness, and aware of thoughts which you think is you. It would be better if I could reason for my point without making a mistake, but unfortunately, that's very hard to do. It's also up to the rationalist to consider opening up to the possibility everything they think is true, is wrong. By this I mean, being able to reason properly will spread more truth, meanwhile it might be futile depending how close-minded rationalists can be. But that's on my current data. The only way to know you have lesser awareness is by having higher awareness. Then, it repeats itself. I don't understand, you don't have to be afraid of criticising properly. This is nothing trivial, this is the truth, and if you are serious about it can see for yourself. How many pages is it, how do you use the information and how, what, should you remember?
6gjm4yGosh, if only someone associated with LW rationalism had ever thought [] of [] that []. Seriously, what you've done here is to come to a group of people whose foundational ideas include "the map is not the territory", "human brains are fallible and you need to pay attention to how your thoughts work", and "you should never be literally 100% sure of anything" and say "Hey, losers! Rationality is overrated because you confuse the map with the territory, you aren't aware of your own thoughts and don't distinguish them from reality, and you're 100% confident you're right and therefore can't change your minds!".
-2reguru4yThere seems to be quite some denial on LW then regarding the topic. I don't understand why, if what you are saying is true. That's a straw man argument, as far as I remember, I never said that. Personally, it seems to me as "the map is not the territory" is one of the maps which some, I am not saying you or anyone else, might think is the territory. This is only speculation. So you do agree with the video, who else? If for example, you were the person who was attached to the map being the territory, or not aware of it, and the argument was not a straw man. Of course, you don't have to agree with a certain method of delivery, like the straw man.
6gjm4yI don't think so. What I see is people pointing out that the video is attacking straw men. (Extra-specially strawy, as regards LW in particular; but very strawy even if applied more broadly to people who explicitly aim to be rational.) Some of it is things the video said, and you've said you agree with it. I don't think there's anything in my (admittedly not especially generous) paraphrase that doesn't closely match things said in the video. Nope. I agree with some of what the video says. You know the old joke about the book review? "This book was both original and good. Unfortunately the parts that were original were not good, and the parts that were good were not original." In the same way, the video seems to me to combine (1) stating things that I think would be obvious to almost everyone here, (2) making less-obvious claims without any sort of justification, which in many cases I think are entirely false, and (3) gloating about how the maker is so much more advanced than those poor deluded rationalists.
-1reguru4yYou couldn't respond to my statement that "the map is not the territory"- is one of the maps which you use, regularly, thus fall into the category of which the straw man is targeted towards. In my opinion, and what I think. I do agree with it, I think everything is arational and within the arational there is irrationality and rationality. Which is probably not the target audience, do you believe there are those who know nothing of rationality yet think math and language is the territory and be Spock? Although I understand now why you can't agree with all the arguments/fallacies in the video, but a few. Which less obvious claims without justification and why are they false? That's what I am looking for to learn. Ok, how does this apply to any of the arguments made?
3gjm4yNo, I didn't, which is not the same thing. But yeah, it's hard to respond to because it's not clear what you're saying. Any given thing anyone says can be called a "map", which tells us nothing about the particular thing or the particular person who says it. So if there's a specific criticism you're making, would you care to make it clearer? Quite likely not. But it's the audience here, to which you brought the video and asked "what do you think?". I already listed some in an earlier comment []. You did reply to that comment but not in a way that gave me much reason to hope for constructive discussion. I hope you will forgive me for saying that I don't get the impression that you are here to learn at all. I'm sorry, but I don't understand the question. The things I was describing aren't arguments; my comment applies not to the arguments (of which there are actually rather few in the video) but to the maker's repeated comments about how people who consider themselves rational are so far beneath his level of "awareness".
-1reguru4y"The map is not the territory" Is a map. You are using maps for your argumentation. That's what you base rationality on. Reality is arational, rationality/irrationality is within it. It's a paradox. I make the same mistake, because it's communication. The arational reality you can experience yourself through subjective experience. I agree, but I wanted to point it out regardless, even though I understand now why you can't accept the video in its entirety. How do you have a constructive discussion? Truthfully no. I think however it's possible? The arguments made in the video, what does this have to do with that? Seems more like a subjective opinion which you projected upon the world. I think I would have done the same thing, however.
2gjm4yOf course. There is no alternative to doing that. So if you're saying that just to inform me: thanks, but I already knew. And if you're saying it as a criticism: you need to explain what the actual criticism is, rather than just saying something that's vacuously true of anyone saying anything. One of the prerequisites is that the people involved are actually willing to engage with one another's arguments. Very little, except that one of the reasons why the video contains so few arguments given its length is that its maker wastes a lot of time talking about how much better than us he is.
-1reguru4yThere is an alternative, which rationalists doesn't understand because it cannot be understood. It is arational, which is the reality, the map is not the territory, neither is "the map is not the territory" and so on. You can notice myself making the same mistake because that's what I have to do to get to you, but you still have to figure it out yourself. The criticism is that you do not understand the point of the video, the point is that you can sit down, become aware of all the maps, and notice that reality does not disappear because what you call "you" (The I thought) lose attachment to maps. That is a lack of awareness, because if you had awareness by such an exercise you would immediately notice that the map is not the territory and that there has to be no map which to point this out. If it's still hard, that's fine, but at least by becoming aware you are not aware, you have increased your awareness. Notice how everything I just said was a map, and every single letter after that, it doesn't have to be, you can view the words for what they are, absolutely nothing, nothing in the word of which the word "nothing" says it is, simply no - thing. But what if the point is that all arguments are equally untrue, it is a map when the territory is not the map? What if the argument is to come to the truth which you can only figure out for yourself? Our engagement is the problem itself. Not that from the engagement's perspective, but what's actually is tried to be communicated by me, when it cannot be. It is natural for people to one-up another I think. It is a way to give the point across or to invoke reaction as the person who were afflicted may look into it. It's not actually harsh in the sense that it is a kneejerk reaction or feeling of superiority, ego-wise. Personally, the world is your (mine, and everyone else's) mirror. Because you think in patterns of being superior, you actually believe others do it too, because how else do people think? (You think) This i
3gjm4yBut what you go on to present is not an alternative. Do you really imagine that those of us who attempt to be rational think that reality would disappear without our attachment to maps? This is real Strawy McStrawface stuff. "Maps" are how human beings think about the world. So, are you (1) suggesting that we not think about the world any more, or (2) claiming to have a way of doing it that doesn't rely on maps? If #1 then, well, good luck to you but I don't think it can be done. If #2 then I don't believe you. Like it or not, you think (and feel, and experience "awareness", and everything else) with your brain and all its interactions with the world are mediated by "maps", and if you think you've escaped that then I guarantee all you have actually done is to fool yourself into not noticing the maps you're using. That does not, I'm afraid, count as higher "awareness". But maybe you're making a more modest claim, namely that we should be aware of our map-using. Yup, we should. What makes you think we aren't? The world is rational enough that application of rational techniques enables us, e.g., to make machines that can take us from one continent to another in less than a day. So any notion of "arationality" that could possibly describe the actual world needs to be compatible with that. Then "the point" is bullshit, because some arguments lead to demonstrable real-world benefits and some don't. Take a look somewhere around 32:00 in the video (I am just going on the times I listed above; I am not going to sit through it again to check the exact time) and see whether you can tell me with a straight face that the reason I think the person making the video is thinking in patterns of being superior is because I do it.
0Lumifer4yFrom what I can (barely) understand, reguru is advocating the notion of enlightenment [] as understood in the East, if in a very confusing way. Abandoning the reliance on rationality is a major idea in Zen Buddhism, for example, and koans are one of the ways to move in that direction.
0reguru4yI think that the territory might be the experience of enlightenment. I wonder what gjm, yudkowsky, Lumifer, reguru or some other rationalist would say after becoming enlightened.
0gjm4yYeah, I think s/he's aiming for something of the sort. I don't think s/he's doing it very well, though.
-1reguru4yAn alternative to thinking. Which is "awareness". I think that's the case, you think "you" have to think, not a strawman, but what I suspect. Thinking IS everything to you? Is not? I know, that's why they are human projections, that's why it's inherently flawed in relation to the arational, not between different thinking. That's why the arational simply is, without understanding or reasoning. It's not a map. You can't think of it, but you can gain awareness of it, being aware that everything is a human projection is a start. Might be the limitations of rationality, because you can't think your way through this. No, I've said it's fine to think, to have human projections, to do math, physics, other science. Of course, you don't have to think. The world doesn't disappear, neither does anything else. That was the point of "reality won't disappear without your attachment to maps". When you silence all thoughts, or when you become aware of thoughts instead of thinking of thoughts. Might you be arational? Because there's nothing to do. Just awareness. But, here's the kicker, it's always the case. You can think however much you want and it's exactly the same. If you understand what I said in the above paragraph, maybe you can see that it might be always the case. Awareness is not thinking. Please try and understand the difference, by meditating. Otherwise, you can't ever understand what I am talking about. Just because you might think that you can only think about things, there is a difference. [] not [] But don't meditate unless you really want to, the Wikipedia article gives enough of a definition. I have never said that human projections are bad, the brain, neuroscience, neural pathways and so forth, it's all cool, but there's still a lot left. But you are really missing the point. What you're saying is
0gjm4yAn alternative for what purpose? If you mean "something that does what thinking does", only better, you haven't begun to make a case. If you mean "something entirely separate that we should do some of the time" then sure, there are plenty of things we should do other than thinking, and I can't imagine why anyone would think we need to be told that. No shit. Do you think people here imagine that the world disappears when we go to sleep or watch a movie or have sex or anything else that doesn't involve much thinking? I never said it was. I said that you do it with your brain. Those are not at all the same thing. But if you imagine that when you are in the state you call being "aware" you are somehow perceiving the world directly and map-less: Nope. You've just got yourself into a state where you are oblivious to the maps involved. That is not my my opinion, nor is it something I have said. Perhaps you might try the experiment of reading what I write with the hypothesis that I understand more rather than less than you do, and see whether it makes better sense. Not so much a strawman as word salad. But for sure it isn't what I'm saying. It may please you to believe that you know what I believe better than I do, but I see no reason to agree. I never claimed to be "not creating maps". I don't know which of multiple things you mean by "you don't exist" but if what you mean is, say, that my notion of myself is a mental construct that may diverge from how the world really is then yes, I'm aware of that. (I may well think that fact less earth-shattering than you would like me to think it, though.) You consider that e.g. whether I am on the earth or the moon is "just a layer", a matter of "our projections"? Because that is a thing the human race has discovered how to change, by careful use of well-calibrated maps. If your attempts at "awareness" have detached you so far from reality that you really do think that: well, I'm sorry, and it's too bad you didn't come h
-1reguru4yThe purpose is a map, friend, there's more than maps. Personally I think it brings us closer to the truth of us, our existance, our nature. Regarding doing other things than thinking, I agree with that, one thing doesn't have to go at the cost of something else. That's a strawman argument. I was talking about silencing all thoughts or becoming aware of thoughts instead of thinking of thoughts. You might think X activity goes under that umbrella, but I don't necessarily, so that's a strawman. I do think that a lot of you believe that the map is the territory, even though you will deny it. That's the point I am trying to make as well. But you're not arguing against those points, just where you can get in an easy strawman? I'm just speculating though. So we are talking about different things, I specifically stated my definition yet you bring up your own as if it's possible to argue when we mean different things for different words. I'm talking about thinking, awareness and similar. You are talking of maps which you are thinking about? It's another layer. For example, in your direct experience, you have all these different things you attribute maps to. Take this as your reference point in this conversation, not maps from neuroscience or anything else if possible. If you were becoming aware of things, you aren't in the moment of awareness thinking about how your brain created this that is my definition of awareness. It's less so of a map. In that direct experience, you can see the map for what it is. Would it be proper to say that the territory is oblivious to the maps involved, in that case? I'm telling you that you are god and the universe, but I have to feed it to you as a "subjective experience" because you are asleep. You are in a matrix of maps. :D But I don't know. Take it, however, you want. That was an assumption. What I mean was that you create a map, which all other maps span out from, the first map is the brain and within that map,there is thinkin
4gjm4yYou are repeatedly telling me I've said things I actually haven't, telling me I think things I actually don't, telling me I don't know things I actually do, etc., etc. You have not yet succeeded in communicating any new insights to me; we may of course disagree about why that is. Bored now. Bye.
0reguru4yBecause you won't say it straight up how you are thinking, I have to guess, so that discussion can continue. "You've just got yourself into a state where you are oblivious to the maps involved." What does this mean? So everything is a map? I've numerous times said communication is inherently flawed due to the nature of the concept. It's a subjective experience, which you can find out for yourself. I know how it's like to think that you're smarter than anyone else, that's fine, I get that feeling too.
1gjm4yI think you may have misunderstood the meaning of "Bored now. Bye." (And I see you just can't help continuing to speculate uncharitably about the contents of my mind.) I will say it more explicitly: I do not believe that continuing to discuss this stuff with you is a good use of my time. I gravely doubt it's a good use of the time of anyone else here, but of course it's not for me to say what others should do. I think your attempts at "awareness" have regrettably left you hopelessly confused and self-deluded. I do not think you have anything useful to teach me, and I do not think you are open-minded enough to learn anything from me. I am not interested in having discussion continue.
-3reguru4yHow is this relevant to the discussion? You're talking about different things now. I can make the same argument, but I don't see how it leads to anywhere. Why not try and argue for your point? Whenever I make an argument you seem to ignore it completely, use your own definition or strawman. When I try and figure out what you're thinking, you're saying I am speculating what you're thinking two times now, so what? Then tell me what you are thinking. Maybe you just realize you can't defend your point and have to rationalize the dissonance. Have a good day,:D
0Lumifer4yGet that feeling often..? X-D
0Lumifer4ySo, what are the available alternatives, then? Is it one of the those things where you sit for nine years gazing at the wall and then enlightenment comes? Are you suggesting koans? That is highly unlikely -- otherwise you wouldn't be able to operate in reality.
0reguru4yI think if you care about the truth, THE ACTUAL TRUTH you can diverge time and effort into it depending on your own situation. The illusion of rationality will help you, by observing as many variables you can similar to a General on a battlefield, for the long-term victory. Of course, the truth is already as it is, it's only an illusion to not become aware of it, it's as if you are watching a visual illusion, and suddenly you see the other perspective and it was what it was. From the perspective of arational reality, you're fine to be rational as long as you are aware. It's as if you say before every equation "I am aware this is a human projection" yet you remove this paragraph from the equation OF the equation because it's too obvious. If you didn't operate in reality people would come to you and ask, what are you doing? If it was thousands of years ago, people would say "I want what you have" and those who didn't operate in reality says "You came to me"
0Lumifer4yI don't know what that means. You don't claim direct unmediated access to the underlying reality, do you?
0reguru4yThe truth that the map is not reality, without adding another map, by direct, subjective experience. This is a map. Assumption or strawman?
1Lumifer4yMumbo-jumbo deepities. I'm out.
0reguru4ySo it was a straw man?
0Lumifer4yNo, it was a failed attempt to communicate.
0reguru4yAll types of communication are the same, it's a subjective experience which can't be communicated.
0ChristianKl4yIt's possible that would require you to want to learn. It's not up to us to make you want to learn.
0reguru4yI am telling you now then, I want to learn how to learn. I am honest about that, I think. So how do I learn how to learn? That's still a drive to learn.
1TheAncientGeek4yConsider distinguishing between "the map is the territory" and "the map is an accurate representation of the territory".
0reguru4yRegardless how accurate or inaccurate a map is, it is still a map. But some maps are more or less accurate over other maps. That's fine. That's human projections. I argue that the territory is arational, which means any representation in relation to the territory is all the same.
1TheAncientGeek4yThe second sentence contradicts the first.
0Viliam4yAbout a thousand, depends on formatting. Yeah, that's a lot, and many people complain about it. On the other hand, it provides great insights which can also be found in other books, but reading those other books together would be even more pages. Also, people who read online debates regularly, probably read such amount of text every few weeks, they are just not aware of it, because "following 15 facebook links every day, each on average two pages of text" doesn't feel like "reading 1000 pages of random text every month", even if in reality it actually means that. I believe reading the book is a time well spent (I wish I had a time machine to send me the book back when I was a teenager; would probably be my favorite one), but that of course is a personal opinion.
3gjm4yI do not think further discussion is likely to be very fruitful.
0ChristianKl4ySuppressing emotions has nothing to do with rationality as understood by this community. We aren't straw vulcans []. Giving a speech of why straw vulcanism is bad, is no speech that provides a good critique of what we consider rationalism to be.
8Viliam4yI tried listening to the video on the 1.5× speed. Even so, the density of ideas is horribly low. It's something like: That was the first 16 minutes, then I became too bored to continue. My opinion? Well, of course if you define a "rationalist" as a strawman, you can easily prove the strawman is foolish. You don't need more than one hour to convince me about that. No one in this community is trying to derive whether the sun is shining from the first principles. I am not sure whether "universe is rational" is supposed to mean that (a) the universe has a relatively short description which could be understood by a mind, or that (b) the universe itself is a mind, specifically a rational one. Seems like the meaning was switched in the middle of an argument, using a sleight of hand. In summary, my impression is of muddled thinking, and of feeling superior to the imaginary opponents. Actually, maybe the opponents are not imaginary -- there are many fools of various kinds out there -- it just has nothing to do with the kind of "rationality" that we use here, such as described e.g. by Stanovich [].
0reguru4yRegarding the "Universe is rational"-strawman: I think the mistake which the video is trying to point out, is the mistake that a description of the universe is the universe. When it is only a description, same with anything. It is language and that is the limitation. So for those that believe the universe is for example physics, instead of our projection, that's the flaw I think. It's simple, ask a person if gravity is real, after they respond "yes" ask them, is this not a human projection (your projection) upon the universe? What is the real universe? What I wonder is what lesswrongers think of this strawman if it wasn't one, an actual argument towards someone (rationalist in this context) who made the statement gravity is real and not a projection of mind: "G R A V I T Y and everything else which is occurring to me in consciousness" I'm not sure what you mean with this, because "Universe is a mind" seems more of an argument then stating the opponent believes the "universe is rational" (the strawman) like "What you think is the universe is your mind projection of labels and symbols yet you're not aware of it" Well. I think usually what we see in others is just a projection of our own mind. "The world is your mirror" But is there someone who can refute the argument made in the video, if you had the argument which the strawman was? Otherwise it seems to me "Only fools would make the argument of which the strawman was targeted towards".
1Viliam4yI wonder if any rationalist ever heard about "map is not the territory". /s Ask a person whether a tree is real. Isn't that also just a human projection upon the nature? We could spend days trying to pinpoint what exactly do we mean by "tree" etc. I am just saying that this is not specific to science or "rationalists", so why use it as an argument against them. There are useful things that could be said about the topic, but the "drive-by shooting" done in the video helps no one. The LW-style answer would be something like: Yes, I obviously perceive the idea of gravity in my mind (because that's the only organ I have for perceiving ideas), but it is reasonable to assume that there is something "out there" that causes those perceptions in systematic ways. (I might be living in Matrix, but then "gravity" would refer to the specific law of the Matrix.) That would probably require having that argument in a shorter written form, with footnotes explaining what did the author actually mean by saying this or that. Otherwise: inferential distances [], illusion of transparency [], and all the way words can go wrong ['s_Guide_to_Words]. :(
-1reguru4yMost things are, or I can't really know what is not a human projection, but as long as we're aware of it, it's fine. Well, there are probably "rationalists" aware of this or "scientists" as explained early on in the video. The argument is for those who aren't aware of the "map is not the territory". Whether or not it helps someone or doesn't, that's hard to know, the like:dislike ratio and comments could be scraped. How this is relevant I don't understand. You don't know with a high %, neither do I. People who take offense probably dislike and click away, or don't watch the whole video, those who argue against it already failed? Now you, however, are still perceiving the idea of your, mind, organ and so forth. That's just other layers deep which you aren't aware of. Which makes it seem you don't fully understand the argument: Which is somewhere, something, subjective experience. Whatever is occurring when you're meditating for example. But the LW-style answer seems like an agreement: is this true? The context is found outside the matrix, so anything and everything is out of context. I want to clarify that writing about these things is equally untrue then the empirical investigation, so we're both wrong by being in the matrix. "I'm mapping the trajectory of this planet, yet I understand this is simply a human projection" Of course you can remove the "yet I understand this is simply a human projection" when it's ever-present.
0ChristianKl4yNo. If someone says that gravity is real they usually mean that the word points to is real. Maps reference objects on the terrritory. A person well educated in physics will tell you when you ask them for the specific of the gravitational effect that it's due to space time curvuture and not because a force is pulling on substance in the way Newtonian metaphysics assumes. If you ask them whether gravity exists they will still say "Yes". It's quite typical for lay people to misuse language and overload terms. According to [] it's a typical issue for lay people who think they made discoveries in physics. The sleight of hand from going from rational₁ to rational₂ as described by Viliam is also typical for that kind of thinking. It's interaction with language on a way that's fundamentally flawed.
0reguru4yObjects is still a map, so is territory, so is this entire sentence. That's why it's a matrix. (virtual reality) Which is one of the mistakes made by said scientists, especially if you ask them multiple times on this same point, to point out there might be a flaw. Because they won't question it otherwise.
1TheAncientGeek4y"The cat sitting on the mat" is a map. The cat sitting on the mat is territory. Insisitng that your opponents have an extra pair of quotes [] around everything, while they insist they don't have is not much of an argument.
0reguru4yThe argument is that everything is a map including anything written here, in quotes or not. It's the written language and so forth, however, many layers deep the maps go. By excluding all maps in direct experience you uncover the territory. Which is you. Which is arational. But only by direct experience.
1TheAncientGeek4yThe second sentence contradicts the first. Either there is a territory to be uncovered, or it is not the case that everything is a map.
0reguru4yI know that it contradicts, the point is that you can see for yourself is this the case. By realizing all the concepts of "you" are maps, and that there is no need for thinking (creating new maps) to reveal this truth, you can merge with arational reality. But it can only be done by direct experience. This is an empirical investigation.
0ChristianKl4yOur world works in different ways than the movie matrix. It's no mistake. It's just interpreting words to have a certain meaning and it's quite valuable to see them as having that meaning for practical purposes.
0reguru4yIt's an analogy. But that doesn't make it more likely to be true, especially if we are certain it is a human projection.
0ChristianKl4yWe usually believe that despite the fact that the content of our minds is only mental, we aren't Boltzman brains or live in a simulation but that there's a physical world out there with whom we interact. Do you disagree with the existence of such a physical world? To judge how likely it is that something is true you first have to understand what's meant with the claim. Currently you seem to deal with language in a way where you don't get what's meant. It's like tax protestors in the US making claims about what laws are supposed to mean only to get imprisoned by courts when their intepretation of the meaning of language differs from that of other people. It's the same mechanism.
0reguru4yI completely agree, however you do not exist in this world, there are the world and it is arational. Everything is a map, and saying something is a map was still a map, an infinite paradox within the arational reality. Rational or irrational is a map, so is math or other types of science or of communication. I don't understand at all because I am discussing the meaning of language, while you are thinking I am misunderstanding your meaning of your language? Is this the case? Language is a map, so is saying "Language is a map". It's not the territory. Neither is "It's not the territory". Neither is "Neither is "It's not the territory"." and so forth.
0ChristianKl4yHere we again have usage of the word "arational" without an indication of what's meant with it. Earlier in this thread there was a charge that the video mixes two distinct context together. If you want to learn you could take that suggestion to become more clear and speak about what you mean. I'm made up of neurons that exist in the physical world. Noticing that you don't understand is a good first step. It's usually required for learning. Learning is hard when one already thinks one understands. In rationalist terms that's the skill of "noticing confusion". Basically you argue that there the meaning of language as if language is made up of plantonic ideals and in the next sentence you say that everything is just a map and therefore there's no such thing as the meaning. That's internally inconsistent. As far as the substance goes, you argue against "is_a" statements and that "A is not B" when that isn't claimed. The claim is "A references B". Reference is a concept that's distinct from identity ("is_a").
0reguru4yArational is independent of reasoning and understanding. It is what it is, any map is not the arational. That's a logical conclusion, a map. You haven't seen your own neurons and even if you could in this very moment, you couldn't be the neurons which you are seeing. You are constant, you can become aware of the neurons which you observing somehow, but you know that it's not you. Even if you somehow could look into your brain, there would always be a middle-man, a mirror, a computer, screen, the software that runs the computer and so forth. If you exclude all of which you think is you, you will be left with you, no doubt. By that, I mean truly excluding all the senses, thoughts and everything which you think is you. All non-constants. You do not change. The body changes, thoughts changes, senses, feelings changes. You cannot be something which changes, you can become aware of the changes. When you have increased your awareness in this way, and after you have excluded everything you think is you (including the I thought) and in desperation, your brain will finally show you who you are. Which might be the arational. Speculation: Being arational does not require a map, even if some may call it "void" "nothingness" "nothing and everything" or the experience "enlightenment". Since you become arational, you were and already are everything. Technically, you are your environment and the environment doesn't exist or revolve around a "you" I think, from neurophilosophy or something. When talking subjective experiences of experiencing things, whatever it is might actually be objective. Now these are extraordinary claims which for me is speculation, it is a map like any other and I was just thinking out loud, even if it might not be relevant to the discussion. Sorry about that. In the same way, you wouldn't buy an expensive object if you already had said expensive object, because you think you already have something, you don't think you need something. I don't understan
0ChristianKl4yAre you advocating cartesian dualism? You confuse ontology and epistology. It might not be possible for me to prove that I'm made up of neurons but that doesn't mean that I'm not made up of neurons. You can't go from one to the other easily. You seem to have an understanding of what's true is supposed to mean that you unquestioningly accept. A concept that you learned as a child and where you now get into trouble because it doesn't matches the complex reality. The problem is the concept that you have in your head. The fact that the concepts inside your head doesn't make sense doesn't mean that other people can't reason and don't mean something useful when they speak of truth. References is a different concept than identity and "is". It's a concept that you currently don't seem to understand. In computer programming it's different to store a pointer than to store a variable that contains it's own data. Can you follow the analogy in the realm of computers?
0TheAncientGeek4ySounds to me more like the Vedantic monism of self-is-all, to me.
0ChristianKl4yVedantic monism doesn't have independence but 'everything is connected'.
0reguru4yNo, non-dualism where the territory is what you are and all maps are simply human projections. But by direct experience, not by writing of it, you, actually investigating yourself. I don't know, but still is the neurons a map within the territory? With my claim that you are the territory, by direct experience of it yourself, (not objective, subjective). True in relation to the arational. One small truth over the other is irrelvant to the larger picture, but within the picture they are. But it's only subjective experience, by the nature of this investigation. That's a clarification, but regardless it is quite irrelevant to what we're discussing I think (or what I want to discuss).
0ChristianKl4yIt's relevant to the concept of what a reference happens to be. Of course if you are not interested in learning that or discussing it, than there's no reason to talk about it.
0ChristianKl4yIn dualism the maps in my head and what I am on a physical level are independent. In the physicalist view of the world the maps in our heads are dependent on neuron wiring patterns. You seem to argue that the dualist view is true. Otherwise you don't get your independence.
0reguru4yWhat makes you think I am arguing for the dualist view? Is it the overall impression or some certain statements? I do write "subjective experience" and so forth to ease in and try and make this a bit more understandable. :D
0ChristianKl4yYou speak of an reality that's rationalist being independent from one that's arational. If they are truly independent you have at least a dualist view (and possible more categories).
0reguru4yWhat I mean is that you don't exist, but arational reality does and "you" is the entirety of reality. The body which you see is a part of arational reality. But you can only experience this yourself. Talking of it is the same thing, it is thinking (when what I am saying is that we should not think) because it's just creating maps upon maps. If you just look around, imagine this is arational reality. Then you name an object, that's a thought, which is a map. When thoughts are quiet and you are not labeling and you have given up the notion of "you" existing, you have merged. Of course it requires you to do the work, and it's probably going to take a long time to give up the map of "you", I haven't done it myself.
0ChristianKl4yYou seem to be strongly attached to whether or not something exist and the binary classification of something either existing or not. That suggests that I have a single map of "I". That doesn't happen to be the case. There might have been a time where my level of introspection was structured in a way where it's true but that's not the case today. You argument resolves around you yourself having a wrong map that you haven't given up. As a practical matter it's questionable whether you are even at the moment on a course that leads in a direction of giving it up, but that would be a debate about spiritual guidance.
0reguru4yNo, I think it's unlikely, however. You aren't enlightened are you? It's unlikely that you aren't in the trap of the ego otherwise. Of course, I am becoming more aware of it. I do think that I am on the course of giving it up, one can give it up at any moment, but it might just happen randomly. My argument also revolves around placing you and others on the path.
1Lumifer4yWhat makes you think you're qualified to place others on specific paths?
0reguru4yPeople go on paths regardless what you do, the better you are at convincing the likelihood they venture on a specific path is higher, I think. I don't see why it's a question of qualification, that would be more from the paradigm of the ego I think.
0Lumifer4yThere are two aspects here. One is responsibility: if you do "place" people on a path, you assume some. You do, don't you? The other one is knowing what you are talking about. You are a pseudonymous handle on the 'net. Is there a particular reason to believe you have a clue?
0reguru4yAs far as I see it, rationality isn't bound to the matrix (virtual reality) which we create. In this present moment, you can be aware of all thoughts and question them, even the existence of yourself. These are all concepts we have pre-determined to be the territory without realizing it in the first place. All are maps. The responsibility is of the individual to do the work and it's always the case, as that's where the maps are coming from, they are a projection. That is my assumption, and everything simply is. You are your environment, you do not exist independent and are able to filter out things which you do not like, that's assuming control and holding onto the belief of the existence of you and all other beliefs. I simply give my argument which can be refuted, argued or discussed for and against. After the discussion, you update your map regardless what you choose to do or not. I do, however, speculate that we are self-organizing and if it as if everything is already on the path, by looking back.
0ChristianKl4yWhether you want to use the binary enlightened/unenlightened distinction is up to you. I'm not a fan of binary classifications. I'm just saying that you are making assumptions about me that are not true. You likely don't have preexisting categories for the state in which I happen to be when it comes to my relationship with the self. Basically you are inspired by an idea and try to preach it to people who think differently and categorize other people on a path where they are less evolved than you are. In a Buddhist view, that would likely be seen as strong attachment to ego. From the way you are writting it appears like you don't have self awareness of that fact. The people I know who had samadi experiences are not like that but are generally more self aware of drives like that. They also generally aren't attached to binary classfication as much. It also seems that you don't have awareness of how that issue affects you. It gives the impression that you think you have read a book and the task is simply about implementing the concepts through work. And maybe through spreeding the gospel. That's however not how it works. It's a typical approach for New Agey people and those often don't get very deep because they treat some knowledge as dogma with prevents letting go of concepts. That said, I'm not seeking the end that the Buddhist seek. I'm also not saying that anybody should.
0reguru4yI like to use enlightened/unenlightened, because if you are enlightened you know. But you also might be tricking yourself that you are enlightened, thus cannot become something which you think you are. I think I have had a glimpse and some of it transitioned over. But then there is the ego, the monkey mind. Very close but still far away. That's true, it's only assumptions. I assume you have ego because I have it, because I think a lot have it and here as well. It seems to be such a norm. But I don't know how to spot it outside of my own assumptions from experience. Maybe some MRI scans have seen this 'self'-hallucination. In a discussion, isn't it possible when someone is making an assumption about you, that you reply it is not true? Is it the case you do not have an ego? I might be dogmatic in thinking I am more aware of certain things, but that's just the order of whatever. It's a paradigm of the ego definitely, transcending it would be interesting. It can also be the case it doesn't seem like many can even phantom to understand what I am communicating, or even are able to see everything from their perspective. You have to see it from the perspective of ego, an ego lies. By spotting which text is from the ego and thus removing it, I have tricked myself in the process and strengthened my ego. There isn't a bad part of "I" "you" or anyone else, which is the ego, the whole thing is it. But I do become more aware of my unawareness, and tricking myself in the process. This is hard. We go to those that are enlightened, they do not come to us. Nothing matters, everything is nothing. Binary classifications is such a non-issue. :) I know. That seems like a strawman. Everything I have said is secular, but I think that you see the world through your own eyes. Maybe it was because of the word "enlightened/unenlightened/enlightenment"?
0ChristianKl4yThe problem was that the issue we were talking wasn't whether I have ego but whether I have a single concept of "I" or self identity. I actually don't have an attachment to a single concept of self identity but I consciously use different one's at different times. That seems like a familar sentiment, but if that's what you believe in what brought you here? Why do you think you took a journey to this place? Are you aware of the reasons that brought you here? If so, what do you think they are? Is there anybody who you consider enlighened and whom you meet in person to learn from them and spent actual time learning from them? It's a general pattern to which some people fall victim. To what extend you fall victim to it might be more questionable. It's because of seeing the state of total detachment as the goal. I don't see it as a desireable state to sit in a monastery in a state of compassion doing nothing. I see it as a more desirable state to be connected to the world. I like having a mind. It's useful for dealing with the world. I also consider the word enlightenment to be no secular word. It also mixes a few different notions. It mixes the state that a person has who can lead a good meditation. Then there's the notion of ego-detachement. There's letting go of karma and reaching a samadi experience. While we are with the samadi experience, in hypnosis circles there a state that get's described this way called Esdaile state. Esdaile was a doctor who did amputations without anesthetica. I'm not sure to what extend he succeeded putting patients in that state but it's funny to think of the state of eternal bliss being used for the practical prupose of being able to to amputation surgeries.
4Elo4yTried listening. doubt the rest is worth it.
6Elo4yOh god. This is really bad. Someone should tell him about the straw vulcan. The more we (lw'ers) are tied to the word "Rationality". That should happen less. If you feel personally affected by the idea that someone says this part of your identity is wrong, then maybe it's time to be more fox and less hedgehog. []
0MrMind4yThis is a personal mantra of mine. []
-2reguru4yI think he's aware of the stereotype, but obviously, from my perspective, people are getting triggered left and right that rationality might somehow be wrong. Of course not wrong in the sense that rationality in the matrix might still be considered "superior" over all other Ways in the matrix. But it is still the matrix and we're happy to play that game because it's fun :)
0hairyfigment4ySo, you keep using that word, "rationality," even though we've mentioned that LW uses it to mean something else. I don't know what you or the creator of the video mean by it, but I'm confident it's not the same. Perhaps instead of claiming that "people are getting triggered," you should ask yourself if you've succeeded in getting your most basic point across [], or if we might be confused about which subject matter you want to address. Consider throwing out the video's words and finding new ones. In addition, a good way to establish that your subject matter is real and not imaginary is to show people. When talking about stupidity this can be rude, but sometimes it seems unavoidable. I suppose in principle you could describe a time when you made the mistake in question.
-1reguru4yRationality the word might as well be tree, it doesn't mean anything. It's simply a limitation of the mind to not see the obvious truth right there, or let's say nowhere. I did not succeed in getting my most basic point across, neither do I know how to right now. With the limitations of language, our current technology? You can only figure out the truth for yourself, it is empirical, it can't be otherwise. Which mistake? In what larger context?
0reguru4yI think it is worth it. You don't have to process the information and adapt it as your own. Simply give an argument against it if you're willing to teach others. Of course I don't know if it's worth it for you, it certainly is worth it for me to ask.
0ChristianKl4yIt's much easier to do that if the author is willing to actually provide an argument in written form instead of only being able to make his case in a YouTube video. Avoidance of the written word in favor of video to make deep arguments is generally a good signal of unclear thinking.
2MrMind4yCould you offer a synthesis of the argument? You know, many of the arguments against rationality around today aren't even worth listening to, and waisting 82 minutes of my life listening to the nth post-rationality-which-has-completely-misunderstood-rationality rant will exceed my generosity output.
0reguru4yBasically, everything in the universe is simply as it is, and that we humans have put a virtual reality layer over it without being aware of it. That subjective experience makes you aware of this. Meditation, enlightenment etc. It's fine to calculate things, send people to mars and so forth, but that we shouldn't attach ourselves to it like if the universe is that way. Scientists should be aware of this, even though they can still do it and enjoy it. Going meta. Like if you throw a ball, the ball moves in the air in a certain way. You decide to calculate everything out about the ball and figure out different laws "of the universe". In that moment you created a human projection of the ball and the universe, not what the universe really is. Your projection. That gravity does not exist, it is only a concept we project upon the universe. Of course, it is useful for technology, science and so on.. It is language, symbols. That was about 18 minutes into the video with my own twist to it.
0MrMind4yThis is all fine and dandy as long as the virtual reality that we create has no causal power over the underlying reality. We all know that reductionism is a way to simplify reality so that it may be fungible to our brains, after all "there's no plane, there are only quarks". Does it say if this virtual reality has any precedence over the underlying causal reality?
0ChristianKl4yWatching a long bad quality video isn't a good use of time. Can you summarize which arguments you think he made that you think made sense? Even better which argument made sense and that aren't stawmans?

"Researchers discover machines can learn by simply observing, without being told what to look for"

Giving "rewards" for discovering rules, Turing Learning.

And China and Russia have the best coders for algorithms

can anyone get this page to open? It's a stanford report on AI, all 2,800 pages...

[-][anonymous]4y -1

My girlfriend and I disagreed about focussing on poor vs richer countries in terms of doing good. She made an argument along the lines of:

'In poorer countries the consumer goods are targeted to that class of poor people so making difference in inequality in places like Australia is more important than in poor countries because they are deprived of a supply of goods because the consumer culture is targeted towards the wealthier middle class.'

What do you make of it?

1tut4yIf that's your real reason, perhaps the best way to help poor Australians is to import stuff from Africa so that they get that supply of suitable goods. Or better yet invite some Kenyans to teach them how to make things themselves.
0buybuydandavis4yNope. Won't work. The cheap goods can't be available to the poor, because then they'd be available to the not poor, and the government enabled rent seeking would no longer work.
0buybuydandavis4yI think the regulatory targeting of government enabled shake downs toward the wealthier middle class is much more of an issue. The wealthy middle class can afford to put up with more than the poor. Though they try, it's hard to market segment your shakedowns, so the poor are often just priced out of the market. Market segmentation by price/quality/status works just fine where there is a free market. If you've got the money to buy it, goods will come.