What's your best alternate history utopia?

Haha - you've clearly thought about the mechanism more than I have!!

Very interesting (and entertaining) - thanks.

What's your best alternate history utopia?
Answer by AviFeb 22, 20214

Somehow (don't ask me how...) humanity developed a much stronger shared identity and the dominant 'affiliation' most people have is to all of humanity.

I think it's obvious this would change just about everything else...

Hopefully we actually get there in reality one day.

A Healthy News Diet

Something that may be interesting to pair with this post: Ribbonfarm: Against Waldenponding

One Year of Pomodoros

Some ideas are just naturally high on rederivability.

Large Gains from Small Choices

It's all about the basics. If you can get the basics right, you're highly likely to win life (within the constraints of your own personal limits).

Eat simple healthy food. Move your body substantially sometimes. Sleep. Maintain a close-knit group of family and friends.

If you do these things you will already be ahead of 99% of humanity, including many people who spend far more effort (and money) optimising some particular aspect of their lives (e.g. expensive workout gear or 'superfoods').

When Money Is Abundant, Knowledge Is The Real Wealth

The best investments in knowledge are mental models that can be applied across domains (some of which were mentioned in the post) and unchanging/permanent/durable knowledge like that in the STEM fields. This provides both leverage (from the cross-disciplinary latticework of mental models) and allows compounding to work as your knowledge compounds over the years.

Taking Ideas Seriously is Hard

That means learning the broadest applicable skills you’d apply throughout your life first.

Another example: when learning a new language focus on the list of 100 or 1000 or whatever most commonly used words - this enables you to get started understanding the gist of basic conversations quickly, which then enables a positive feedback loop of compounding as you speak more in the new language, gain confidence, pick up new words in those conversations etc.

Extending this - focus learning (especially in early life) on permanent, unchanging knowledge like math, physics etc.

Also - with compounding, optimise for things you can keep doing for a long time. The earlier and longer you can do something, the more you will gain from the force of compounding.

There are some caveats to the principle of compound interest (with money and other applications):

  • Not all things will continue to compound forever, or the rate will change
  • No one ever got rich putting $100 in the bank and letting it compound for 50 years. Lesson: You do still need significant deposits (raised through means other than compounding interest) to actually get large gains from compounding.
What are some beautiful, rationalist artworks?

Apparently it's a third option - most don't actually exist!


The rationalist community's location problem

On the positive side - there is a sizeable cluster of alternative schools in and around Berlin - including forest schools, free/democratic schools, Montessori/Waldorf etc.

What are some low-information priors that you find practically useful for thinking about the world?
Answer by AviAug 16, 20201

One idea that comes to mind is that the surface-level information sources (e.g. news articles) are often *'correct' *on a basic level, but really more like 'yes, but it's complicated' on a deeper level.

The best illustration of this is if you've ever seen a surface-level description of something you know about at a deep level, and you realise how wrong it is, or at least how much nuance it's missing. The next step is to realise that it's like that with everything - i.e. all the things you're not an expert on.

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