All of arthurlewis's Comments + Replies

Drawing Workshop in NYC: Gauging Interest

In case this hasn't already happened, or might happen again, I'd also be interested.

With whom shall I diavlog?

He's neither celebrity nor academic, but I've always wanted to see a diavlog between Eliezer and PJ Eby.

3MrHen13yI get the feeling that would be amusing.

In a sense, I think that all creative pursuits are served well by the type of "brute force" you're talking about. You write/play/draw something, decide if you like it, and then work from there. However, narrowing down the search space, as you described, can be easier if you leave it to the unconscious. If you've been listening to the style of music you're composing in, or reading the style you're writing in, etc., it should have at least a few heuristics already loaded up. In the case of your melodies, what happens if you just "hum somet... (read more)

0HughRistik13yI think you are absolutely correct. I can hum things, but they sound rather classical and banal, like Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (which I hate with a passion). I'll try again when I'm in a different mood... it's been a while since I last tried to compose. Interesting. I guess I always assumed that others had some capability I didn't.
Positive Bias Test (C++ program)

It's an Intel binary; perhaps you're on PowerPC?

0John_Maxwell13yNo, I'm on intel. It's not that important; the html/javascript version worked.
Just for fun - let's play a game.

3 seems likely to be true, given this Google search for "cronoDAS Battletoads."

The Trouble With "Good"

Those kinds of flags are the only way I can remember what I like. My memory is poor enough that I lose most details about books and movies within a few months, but if I really liked something, that 5-Yay rating sticks around for years.

Hmm, I guess that's why part of my brain still thinks Moulin Rouge, which I saw on a very enjoyable date, and never really had the urge to actually watch again, is one of my favorite movies.

Compression seems a fine analogy to me, as long as we're talking about mp3's and flv's, rather than zip's and tar's.

0[anonymous]13ytar's are archived, not compressed. tar.gz's are compressed.
Just for fun - let's play a game.

If you had actually donated $400 to PSI, but the rest of the statement were true, would that count as the lie?

0MBlume13yyes, which means 4 contains a lot of burdonsome detail, which means you might want to suspect 4, which means Crono should put the lie elsewhere so... it probably evens out in the end
0CronoDAS13yYes.
-1Lojban13yYes.
Welcome to Less Wrong!
  • Handle: arthurlewis
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Age: 28
  • Education: BA in Music.
  • Occupation: Musician / Teacher / Mac Support Guy
  • Blog/Music: http://arthurthefourth.com

My career as a rationalist began when I started doing tech support, and realized the divide between successful troubleshooting and what most customers tried to do. I think the key to "winning" is to challenge your assumptions about how to win, and what winning is. I think that makes me an instrumental rationalist, but I'm not quite sure I understand the term. I'm here because OB and ... (read more)

1MBlume13yThis belongs in the Welcome post, thank you for reminding me!
Is masochism necessary?

I don't think Schoenberg ever had public favor. He may have had the favor of the "elite" music audience, but, as I understand it, the public at large was listening to early jazz. Maybe this is my American bias; I'm not sure.

I see your point about Bach; I always had the impression that composers knew about him, but the masses didn't. I could be wrong. What were people in their homes actually playing in the 18th and 19th centuries? Whose music were they going to see? The question of whether or not "popular music" has replaced the music of the canonical composers from a cultural standpoint hinges on these answers that I don't have.

Is masochism necessary?

Ciphergoth, I'm proposing that 5 is another option, not that it should replace the ones he's already proposed. I don't know much about BDSM, but I assume it covers a much wider spectrum than the enjoyment of pain. My main point, which I didn't express clearly enough, is that the term "masochism" is being seriously overloaded in the post. Personally, I can see a connection between spicy food and intellectual challenges (both put me into an excited and forward-moving state, although for propbably different reasons), but horror movies and rollercoasters go into a completely different category (just being scary).

Is masochism necessary?

I would love to read and comment on such a post. I would take issue with the widespread use of terms like "good," "high-quality," "real," and "art" to differentiate the Western canon of choral/orchestral music from everything else that's out there. I'm sure there are many jazz composers and theorists who wouldn't give Berg or Webern the time of day. And buskers play all kinds of music - it doesn't have to be Bach or Beethoven to be meaningful.

In terms of the Second Viennese School, what I should have said in my pr... (read more)

0NancyLebovitz11yThat's true. However, I'm using this as a hook to recommend "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady" by Charles Mingus. Jazz meets twelve tone, and it's the only music which at least made me feel more intelligent for listening to it-- probably a result of the music being more complex than I'm used to and very enjoyable.
0PhilGoetz13yBeethoven consciously rebelled against the rules, so it's true at least for him. You can find many instances of contemporary music critics panning Haydn, Beethoven, and all the greats, and make them sound like people didn't understand them. I don't know how to interpret this, because I would bet that every composer had music critics write bad things about them. BTW, it's possible that Bach was pushed into obscurity by music critics. Baroque music was unfashionable in the late 18th century, for political reasons. Simple melodies were believed to be more Republican. So perhaps we can blame the academics for suppressing Bach, as well as for trying to push Schoenberg on us. :)
Is masochism necessary?

What about 5. Linkage to another belief that causes us to associate so-called masochistic behavior with something good?

Some people like BDSM because they like the feeling of someone being else in control. Some people like being hit because they associate it with the love of their parents. Some people wallow in bad feelings because that's how they learned to get attention.

I think question 2 is an important one. These behaviors can be logically grouped together as "masochistic', but the kinds of "bad" that they move towards are completel... (read more)

0PhilGoetz13yYou might be right; in which case there's no underlying motivational mechanism, and no reason not to split off any one behavior (whether SM or being Bruce) and eliminate it if we choose to, without fear of harming our enjoyment of the others. That would be disappointing, because if there is an underlying mechanism, it would have interesting psychological and ethical consequences. (I'm biased towards conclusions that have more consequences. Is that an irrational but useful bias?)
6Paul Crowley13yNone of your ideas ring in the least bit true for me as an explanation of why I like BDSM. I think the original article is much closer to the mark in linking it to the enjoyment of spicy food, horror movies, rollercoasters, computer games, or intellectual challenges.
Is masochism necessary?

Sometimes history moves slowly. During his life, Bach was best known as an organist; sure, later composers studied and loved his work, but it wasn't until the mid 19th century that he started to get the reputation that he has now.

I think komponisto is implying that there was plenty of popular music back then as well, but most of those composers/performers didn't enter the canon.

However, I think there's another factor at play here - "art music" experienced the same academization and post-modernization that we saw in the visual arts. Serialism, m... (read more)

1komponisto13yIt's true that in the 20th century, art music became advanced beyond the point of being immediately accessible to most non-specialists. No one would deny this. But so what? Something similar happened in science as well: in previous centuries, any educated person could hope to understand the greatest work of the time, and even possibly contribute to it. Now, that's no longer the case. This sort of progression is arguably inevitable. If people spend all their time refining some intellectual discipline, eventually, the results are going to require something like specialist training to properly apprehend. (That's not to say that casual listeners couldn't get a lot more out of advanced art music than they actually do, with suitable popularization efforts.) I dispute this entirely, and attribute this impression to our historical proximity. If you lived in the 18th century and were a connoisseur of music, Mozart and Haydn would have sounded a lot more different from each other than they do to us today -- because we can contrast with what came after. In a century or two, the progression of twentieth-century music won't seem very different in kind from what happened in earlier centuries. Again, that's not to say that something different didn't happen in the twentieth century -- but every period has its unique developments.
2PhilGoetz13yI thought someone would mention that. I think it's different. Schoenberg et al. were famous while they were alive. Their works were performed publicly, and adored by the cogniscenti, for decades. Bach grew into public favor. Schoenberg fell out of public favor. He had every chance the music establishment could give him, and still fell out of favor. (BTW, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven all made special studies of Bach's music in the 18th century; so I'm skeptical of the "Bach had no reputation as a composer" argument.) Also note that the time between when Bach wrote the St. Matthew Passion in 1727, and when Mendelssohn "revived" it in 1829, was only 102 years. We've already had 100 years of Schoenberg. Also note that Bach is always brought up in this context because he is such a notable exception in that way I agree completely.
Is masochism necessary?

Ah, but status-based behaviors aren't necessarily calculated based on present circumstances. e.g. I became somewhat of a grammatical pedant growing up to gain the approval of teachers, parents, etc.; although it's now an annoying behavior to those around me, the habit still exists.

-3SoullessAutomaton13yWell, if there's any status-based aspect to my musical tastes I'm not aware of them and can't even imagine what they would be--some sort of status signalling by generalized breadth of taste, perhaps? But that's pretty dodgy because there are sound reasons to expect an innate urge to try new stimuli independent of social status.
Beware of Other-Optimizing

I'm with you, Saturn. Doing it well isn't easy at first, but I've found I've gotten quite good at it by mostly asking questions and keeping my mouth shut. I tend to act as an option-provider and a debugger. I let them do most of the actual determination of actions, and use my own power to help them realize the primary goals they're optimizing for, realize unconsidered courses of action that may lead to those goals, and challenge existing assumptions. I disagree about the status motivation though - when I've actually helped someone optimize, I feel like a real badass.

6saturn13yAbsolutely. The point I was making was that dropping some unsolicited advice on someone carries an implication that the answer is obvious to you and the person you're "helping" is to whatever degree less competent, less informed, or less intelligent. When you get into for-real helping you might well find that this isn't actually the case. Moreover, if you don't see this as a real possibility, you're almost certainly Doing It Wrong.
Beware of Other-Optimizing

"There's no problem with you" can have a lot of persuasive weight as a response to a comment about what may or may not be a problem with CronoDAS. All things being equal, choosing the option that makes you look better is a fairly common bias.

Also, your status as a member of the lesswrong community and your tone, implying you've understood his particular situation, both lend you a slight boost in authority above random-person-on-the-Internet. I don't know whether this boost is trivial or not, but I think Eliezer is proposing a general rule whi... (read more)

Beware of Other-Optimizing

The cheap example works, but, as you said, it's cheap. The logical fallacies tell me very little in terms of actually modeling the mind, because they generalize too far. A useful model of the human mind that actually addresses akrasia would have to fall in between those two extremes.

I've followed pjeby's work for almost 3 years now, and I've been a client of his for 2. From what I've seen, it's a collection of techniques, some new and some modified from pre-existing work, founded on a system of theories about how beliefs are stored and cached in the bra... (read more)

Beware of Other-Optimizing

"...from other sciences I have learned what true general models of the human mind look like..."

I would love to see some examples of this.

8Eliezer Yudkowsky13y"The lateral geniculate nucleus preprocesses visual information on the way from the retina to the visual cortex" would be a cheap example. The representativeness heuristic and conjunction fallacy would be a less cheap one.
Mandatory Secret Identities

Are you saying that teachers who don't externally practice the thing they're teaching won't make good teachers? Or that they're not worthy of respect at all? If the former, I agree with Yvain and others that we have better metrics for determining teacher quality. If the latter, I'm not sure why this would be the case. The comparison to literary critics doesn't answer that question; it just accesses our assumed cached thoughts about literary critics. What's the problem with people wanting to be literary critics?

The post proposes a required formula for respect, but it never explains what quantity that formula intends to maximize. What's the goal here?