All of 2ZctE's Comments + Replies

Open Thread March 21 - March 27, 2016

t;dr how do you cope with death?

My dog has cancer in his liver and spleen, and learning this has strongly exacerbated some kind of predisposition towards being vulnerable to depression. He's an old dog so it probably wouldn't have changed his life expectancy THAT much, but it's still really sad. If you're not a pet person this might be counterintuitive, but to me it's losing a friend, and the things people say to me are mostly unhelpful. Which is why I'm posting it here specifically: the typical coping memes about doggy heaven or death as some profoundly i... (read more)

0PipFoweraker5yYou may want to spend some time thinking about how you can give your dog the best end of life experience that you can. Losing a dog is painful. However, and I'm only speaking from personal experience here, you will probably have the opportunity to control to a great extent how your dog dies, its relative level of pain / discomfort, and in what situation and setting the death takes place. Knowing that my dog - who my parents found abandoned a few weeks before I was born, who I grew up with, and who died in my early adulthood - died at home, surrounded by her family, having spent her last days lovingly attended and not in great physical pain, makes remembering her whole and relatively joyful life more pleasant for me now. It may help you too.
4RainbowSpacedancer5yIt's unlikely that someone is going to say something that will take away your pain. Death sucks. Losing someone you love sucks, and sadness is a normal reaction to that. There are emotionally healthy ways to deal with grief. [http://lesswrong.com/lw/n2x/the_art_of_grieving_well/] Give yourself more self-care [http://philome.la/jace_harr/you-feel-like-shit-an-interactive-self-care-guide/play] than you think you need throughout this process to counter the planning fallacy and better to err on the side of too much than too little. If you do find yourself depressed, seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness and I would encourage you to seek it out. Summoning motivation can be an impossible effort when you are depressed and sometimes someone outside your un-motivated brain is the best thing to stop you from falling down an emotional spiral. If money or something else prevents you from doing that, there are other things you can try here [http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/06/16/things-that-sometimes-help-if-youre-depressed/] and some more here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/jp2/methods_for_treating_depression/].
3ScottL5yI tend to view depression as an evolved adaptation and a certain state which it is natural for humans to move into in certain situations. I think that it can be helpful to recognize that dysphoria, sadness and grief are all natural reactions. It is ok to be sad. Although, like with all conditions if it becomes chronic or persists for an overly long time then you should probably get some help to deal with it. See here [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2734449/] for more information. For general advice for dealing with grief, see this article [https://www.psychology.org.au/Content.aspx?ID=4088] and apply whatever you think is applicable or would be helpful. Excerpt: * Establish a simple routine * Regular meal and bed times * Increase pleasant events * Promote self-care activities * Regular medical check-ups * Daily exercise * Limited alcohol intake * Provide information about grief and what to expect * Grief is unique and follows a wave-like pattern * Grief is not an illness with a prescribed cure * Children benefit from being included and learning that grief is a normal response to loss * Compartmentalise worries * List the things that are worrying * Create a ‘to-do’ list, prioritise and tick off items as they are completed * Use different coloured folders for the paperwork that needs to be finalised * Prepare to face new or difficult situations * Graded exposure to situations that are difficult or avoided * Plan for the ‘firsts’ such as the first anniversary of the death – How do you want it to be acknowledged? Who do you want to share it with? * Adopt a ‘trial and error’ approach; be prepared to try things more than once * Challenge unhelpful thinking * Encourage identification of thoughts leading to feelings of guilt and anger * Gently ask the following questions – What would your loved one tell you to do
6johnlawrenceaspden5yHide everything that reminds you of your dog. Keep it all, in a drawer somewhere, so that you can take it out and have a good cry sometimes, when you want to. But don't put pictures or other triggers where they'll keep making you sad. You're good at grieving. Nature did not design us to be crippled by the loss of friends. If you hide all the triggers you'll forget to be sad quickly. Your dog is unlikely to want you to be miserable after he is gone. Don't do that for him if you don't have to and he wouldn't want you to. Imagine if the position was reversed. What would you want?
6polymathwannabe5yMy roommate died from cancer 3 years ago. It never stops being a sad memory, except that the hard pang of the initial shock is gone after some time. I don't feel guilty for no longer feeling that pang, because I know I still wish it hadn't happened and it still marked my life in several ways, so I haven't stopped doing what I privately call "honoring my pain." The usual feel-good advice of forgetting it all and moving on sounds to me as dangerously close to no longer honoring my pain, by which I mean acknowledging that the sad event occurred, and giving it its deserved place in my emotional landscape, but without letting it define my life. Several of my pets died when I was a kid, and at some point I just sort of integrated the implicit assumption that every new pet would eventually die as well. If I began with that assumption, the actual event would no longer be such a strong shock. I no longer have pets, though. For some years I had problems with the concept of acceptance. It felt like agreeing to everything that happened, and I just didn't want to give my consent to a series of adverse occurrences that it's not relevant to mention here. Some time afterwards I found somewhere a different definition of acceptance: it's not about agreeing with what happened, but simply no longer pretending that the world is otherwise, which to me sounded like a much healthier attitude. With that in mind, I'm more capable of enjoying the time with my friends while knowing that all living things die. I don't know whether any of my strategies will work in your situation, but this might: doctors specialized in the treatment of pain distinguish between the physical perception of pain and the emotional experience of suffering. Your dog has no awareness of its impending death; he only knows the physical pain. As strong as the pain may be on a purely physical level, he is spared the existential anguish that worries you. Perhaps making a conscious effort to not project your own emotional
0MrMind5yWell, I actually try to emotionally distance myself every day a little bit.
6pseudobison5yI'm very sorry to hear about your dog. It's a very difficult thing to go through even without any predisposition towards depression. This is probably an idiosyncratic thing that only helps me, but I find remembering that time is a dimension just like space helps a little bit. In the little slice of time I inhabit, a pet or person who has passed on is gone. From a higher-dimensional perspective, they haven't gone anywhere. If someone were to be capable of observing from a higher dimension, they could see the deceased just as I remember them in life. So in the same way that someone whose children are living far from home can remind themselves that their children are in another place, likewise your dog is living happily in another time. English doesn't quite have a tense that conveys the sentiment I want to convey, but I think you get the idea. Don't know if that line of thought does anything for you - I find it a small but useful comfort. Re actually doing exercise/positive self-talk when you're down, setting up little conditionals that I make into automatic habits by following them robotically has sometimes worked for me. "IF notice self getting anxious - THEN take five minute walk outside". Obviously setting up those in the first place and following through on them the first n times only works when in an OK mood, but once they become habits they're easier to follow through on in more difficult states of mind. I've also found the Negative Self-Talk/Positive Thinking table at the bottom of the page here [http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950?pg=2] to be useful. But hard things are hard no matter what. Sounds like you're doing the right thing now by making the most of the time you have together. Best of luck to you.
Please recommend some audiobooks

Books (edited to include reasons)

Perfect Health Diet (dense, persuasive, hundreds of citations)

How to Fail at Almost Everything And Still Win Big (its very rational seeming for a self help book, his systems approach is interesting, the book includes some counter arguments to common memes (like questioning the direction of causality in the whole passion/success thing), he mentions other research and memes that will sound familiar to anyone who reads lukeprog self help posts, he assumes he and the readers are moist robots, it's self skeptical and cautious ab... (read more)

Tweets Thread

For the future: [pollid:778]

Tweets Thread

Aw carp, how did I forget the media thread? I think that you are right, I'll do that in October's.

Tweets Thread

Meta discussion goes here. Things like discussion of the medium, whether short sentences could have much usefulness besides sounding witty, whether this thread should actually exist or if favorites lists are good enough, etc

32ZctE7yFor the future: [pollid:778]
4gjm7yI agree with Gunnar_Zarncke; the purpose of this thread seems well enough covered by Rationality Quotes + Media Thread. Still, no major harm done. I would expect most people reading this already to be familar with @aristosophy [https://twitter.com/aristosophy] (who appears to have stopped posting some time back, but there's a lot of hilarity worth mining). I think I saw another similarly-flavoured but still active twitter feed recently, but my stupid ape brain is refusing to remind me what.
Open thread, 18-24 August 2014

Agreed, these would be more shareable than lw posts.

I thought you were being a little too fancy with the kinetic style text. The added difficulty in reading it compared to something more linear and clean/minimal was small but enough to make it harder to read it and still watch the illustrations at the same time. That might just be my taste, I am the one asking about attention disorders downthread after all, and I don't want to take away from the fact that it's cool you're actually taking time to do something when it's far more common to just fling ideas out there (which is fine too).

2Joshua_Blaine7yI'm a little surprised I haven't gotten more complaints like that, actually. Anything to refine the look, feel, and overall usability of what I make is great to hear, so keep up the complaining! The final product will, however, be a video with a voice saying everything the kinetic text does, so hopefully the difficulty of reading is mitigated by the ability to listen instead/as well. Should that not be the case, it's very easy for me to do less elaborate text in future videos.
Open thread, 18-24 August 2014

Thanks, clarifies things some, but I don't get why "messed up for [reason]" would be any worse for one's identity than "messed up".

1ChristianKl7yHumans behave in a way to validate their self image. If your self image is that you are an introvert, that reduces the likelihood that you will do things that you consider extroverted behavior. There are studies where teachers were told randomly that some of their students are smart and other aren't. That's enough to make those students who teachers believe to be smart perform better as people live up to expectations.
Open thread, 18-24 August 2014

Yeah the question of how we decide what we call legitimate is of interest to me as well. Apparently (according to a wikipedia page that says at the top it needs cleanup) there's some debate over whether SCT is a real disorder, and I'm not sure what the criteria would be among its critics.

I could try phrasing it in a couple of ways: "How justified are we in treating this group of symptoms as a cluster?". Do well accepted symptom clusters like depression point to larger causes, or at least narrow it down to a few possibilities?

Are diagnoses "... (read more)

2ChristianKl7yIn that debate a disorder is something that reduces effectiveness in daily life for people who are diagnosed with it. Fixing a disorder should improve people's daily lives. "Real" also means that it's not just an edge case of an existing disorder that's already in the book. You also want the concept to pass some sanity checks. People diagnosed with the recently made up disorder of "internet addiction" for example didn't use the internet more than people without "internet addiction". For that idea of "legitimate" our current way of diagnosing mental illnesses isn't legitimate. We made the categories we use today at a time before we knew much about the brain. Different people have different views about causes and the current system of labeling purposefully avoids focusing of causation. The DSM doesn't cite any studies that investigated real world causation to justify it's disease categories. In practice that means that a psychologist gets payed by an insurance company to treat the disorder. Psychologist don't get payed for fixes something that's not in the DSM. Drug are also tested on whether or not they treat a disease or disorder. Drugs only get FDA approval when the improve disorders. If you take a drug to be happy and improve something that isn't a disorder that's illegal. If you take a drug to fix something that's recognized as a disorder, you are within the bounds of the law. At least that's the general idea. Yes. But it's not clear that an explanation centered approach is helpful anyway. You don't get any benefit from having an explanation for being messed up. It might even be harmful because of self identity [http://lesswrong.com/lw/idj/use_your_identity_carefully/] issues.
Open thread, 18-24 August 2014

I learned the phrase "sluggish cognitive tempo" recently and thought that the wikipedia seemed to described me. So I'm turning to the lw crowd wisdom to ask how legitimate of a diagnosis sct really is, and what I should be doing to try and meliorate these types of symptoms.

What do you mean with "legitimate"?

A diagnosis of a mental illness is just a clustering of symptoms. There nothing with makes one clustering inherently more "legitimate" than another.

You could call clusters of symptoms published in the DSM-V legitimate if you believe that the authority of the APA can give something legitimacy.

You could also say that tests for diagnosis that have high sensitivity and specificity where different doctors are going to give the same diagnosis, give that diagnosis legitimacy. Non expert diagnosis by someone who reads a Wikipedia page likely doesn't score well for that metric.

Open thread, 11-17 August 2014

Huh, I'm not sure actually, I had been thinking of consequentialism as being the general class of ethical theories based on caring about the state of the world, and that it's utilitarianism when you try to maximize some definition of utility (which could be human value-fulfillment if you tried to reason about it quantitatively). If my usages are unusual I more or less inherited them from the consequentialism faq I think

0Ef_Re7yIf you mean Yvain's [http://raikoth.net/consequentialism.html], while his stuff is in general excellent, I recommend learning about philosophical nomenclature from actual philosophers [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism/#WhaCon], not medics.
Open thread, 11-17 August 2014

To the extent that lesswrong has an official ethical system, that system is utilitiarianism with "the fulfillment of complex human values" as a suggested maximand rather than hedons

0Ef_Re7yThat would normally be referred to as consequentialism, not utilitarianism.
What is the difference between rationality and intelligence?

I don't know if this analogy has been used before but how about: "Intelligence is firepower, rationality is aim." (And the information you have to draw from is ammunition maybe?)

You can draw parallels in terms of precision and consistency, systematically over/undershooting, and it works well with the expression "blowing your foot off"

Open thread, 11-17 August 2014

In middle school I heard a fan theory that Neo had powers over the real world because it was a second layer of the matrix-- the idea of simulations inside simulations was enough for me to come to Bostrom's simulation argument.

Also during the same years I ended up doing an over the top version of comfort zone expansion by being really silly publicly.

In high school I think I basically argued a crude version of compatibilism before learning the term, although my memory of the conversation is a bit vague

Open thread, 7-14 July 2014

"Am I a book" is different from "am I in a book". My reading was that Harry Potter Newsome hasn't heard of the book series called "Harry Potter", to him that's just his name. He is confused about what "read way too much Harry Potter" is supposed to mean.

0Will_Newsome7yRight, this was the intended meaning. Being a character in a book is one thing, but talking to another character who suggests that you're the titular protagonist of a supposedly well-known book is another. I was also trying to suggest that the owl is in some sense from a different world. But I guess that was all unclear and I need to rewrite it.
[LINK] Utilitarian self-driving cars?

This reminds me of the response to the surgeon's dilemma about trust in hospitals. I want to say occupants, because if fear of being sacrificed in trolley problems causes fewer people adopt safer non distractable non fatiguable robot cars then it seems like a net utilitarian loss. If that were not the case, like for example if the safety advantage became overwhelming enough that people bought them anyway, then probably it should just minimize deaths. (I only thought about this for a couple of minutes though)

Optimal Exercise

Why did you cut out the trap bar deadlifts that you had included in Minimum Viable Workout? Was it just because the darned trap bars are at so few gyms?

0RomeoStevens7yThe routines I mentioned are just examples. If you're interested in getting results out of the least effort for weightlifting I still advocate the minimum viable workout.
How do you approach the problem of social discovery?

I think InquilineKea is using this turn of phrase to draw a parallel to music discovery, or at least that's the association that my mind had

Open thread, 21-27 April 2014

I get confused when people use language that talks about things like "fairness", or whether people are "deserving" of one thing or another. What does that even mean? And who or what is to say? Is it some kind of carryover from religious memetic influence? An intuition that a cosmic judge decides what people are "supposed" to get? A confused concept people invoke to try to get what they want? My inclination is to just eliminate the whole concept from my vocabulary. Is there a sensible interpretation that makes these words meaningful to atheist/agnostic consequentialists, one that eludes me right now?

2Torello7yThe sense of fairness evolved to make our mental accounting of debts (that we owe and are owed) more salient by virtue of being a strong emotion, similar to how a strong emotion of lust makes the reproductive instinct so tangible. This comes in handy because humans are highly social and intelligent and engage in positive-sum economic transactions, so long as both sides play fair... according to your adapted sense of what's fair. If you don't have a sharp sense of fairness other people might walk all over you, which is not evolutionarily adaptive. See "The Moral Animal" or "Nonzero" by Robert Wright, or the chapter "Family Vaules" in Steven Pinker's "How the Mind Works." This sense of fairness may have been co-opted at other levels, like a religious or political one, but it's quite instinctual. Very young children have a strong sense of fairness before they could reason to it, just as they can acquire language before they could explicitly/consciously reason from grammar rules to produce grammatical sentences. It's very engrained in our mental structure, so I think it would take quite an effort to "wipe the concept."
1iconreforged7ySo, as I've heard Mike Munger explain it, fairness is evolution's solution to the equilibrium outcome selection problem. "Solution to the what?" you ask. This would be easy to explain if you're familiar with the Edgeworth box [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgeworth_box]. In a simplified economy consisting of two people and two goods, where the two people have some combination of different tastes and different initial baskets of things. Suppose that you have 20 oranges and 5 apples, and that I have 3 oranges and 30 apples, and that we each prefer more even numbers of fruits than either extreme. We can trade apples and oranges to make each of us strictly better off, but there's a whole continuum of possible trades that make us better off. And with your highly advanced social brain, you can tell that some of these trades are shit deals, like when I offer you 1 apple for 12 of your oranges. Even though we'd both mutually benefit, you'd be inclined to immediately counteroffer with something a closer to the middle of the continuum of mutually beneficial exchanges, or a point that benefits you more as a reprimand for my being a jerk. Dealing fairly with each other skips costly repeated bargaining, and standing up to jerks who deviate from approximate fairness preserves the norm. This is the sort of intuition that we're trying to test for in the Ultimatum game [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimatum_game].
8IlyaShpitser7yI am with Stanislaw Lem -- it's hard to communicate in general, not just about fairness. I find so many communication scenarios in life resemble first contact situations..

Here are some things people might describe as "unfair":

  • Someone shortchanges you. You buy what's advertised as a pound of cheese, only to find out at home that it's only four-fifths of a pound; the storekeeper had their thumb on the scale to deliberately mis-weigh it.
  • Someone passes off a poor-quality item as a good one. You buy a sealed box of cookies, only to find out that half of them are broken and crumbled due to mishandling at the store.
  • Someone entrusted with a decision abuses that trust to their advantage. The facilities manager of a com
... (read more)
1Lumifer7y"Fairness" generally means one out of two things. Either it's, basically, a signal of attitude -- to call something "fair" is to mean "I approve of it" -- or it is a rhetorical device in the sense of a weapon in an argument. I think that people generally have gut ideas about what fairness entails, but they are fuzzy, bendable, and subject to manipulation, both by cultural norms and by specific propaganda/arguments.
4ChristianKl7yIt's a cultural norm. If someone constantly defects in prisoner dilemma he's violating the norm of fairness and deverses to be punished for doing so.
1michaelkeenan7yAccording to Moral Foundations Theory [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_Foundations_Theory], fairness is one of the innate moral instincts. According to Scott Adams, fairness was invented so children and idiots can participate in arguments [http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/fairnessagain/]. I think we have a fairness instinct mostly so we can tell clever stories about why our desire for more stuff is more noble than greed.
-1Eugine_Nier7yThe word "fairness" has been subject to a lot of semantic drift during the past century. Here [http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2013/10/reclaiming_fair.html] is a blog post by Bart Wilson, describing the older definition, which frankly I think makes a lot more sense.
0Squark7yIt might be that "fairness" is part of our ingrained terminal values. Of course it doesn't mean you shouldn't violate "fairness" when the violation is justified by positive utility elsewhere. However, beware of over-trusting your reasoning [http://lesswrong.com/lw/uv/ends_dont_justify_means_among_humans/].
0Username7yTracing the memetic roots back, you could say that 'fairness' derives from the assumption that all humans have equal inherent worth, which I suppose you could link back to religious ideals. Natural rights follow from this same chain, but it's not obvious to me what concepts came first and caused the others (never mind what time they were formalized). If you want to strike it from your thinking, keep in mind that fairness is a core assumption of our social landscape, for better or worse. It can be worth keeping solely because people might hate you if you don't.

It's not a theistic concept - if anything, it predates theology(some animals have a sense of fairness, for example). We build social structures to enforce it, because those structures make people better off. The details of fairness algorithms vary, but the idea that people shouldn't be cheated is quite common.