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Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

Hello all, My name is Benjamin Martens, a 19-year-old student from Newcastle, Australia. Michael Anissimov, director of Humanity+, added me to the Less Wrong Facebook group. I don’t know his reasons for adding me, but regardless I am glad that he did.

My interest in rational thinking, and in conscious thinking in general, stems, first, from the consequences of my apostasy from Christianity, which is my family’s faith; second, from my combative approach to my major depression, which I have (mostly) successfully beaten into submission through an analysis of some of the possible states of the mind and of the world— Less Wrong and the study of cognitive biases will, I hope, further aid me in revealing my depressive worldview as groundless; or, if not as groundless, then at least as something which is not by nature aberrant and which is, to some degree, justified; third, and in connection to my vegan lifestyle, I aim to understand the psychology which might lead a person to cause another being to suffer; and last, and in connection to all aforementioned, it is my hope that an understanding of cognitive biases will allow not merely myself to edge nearer to the true state of things, but also, through me, for others to do so; I want Less Wrong to school me in some underhand, PR techniques of psychological manipulation or modification which will help me teach others about scepticism, about the errors of learned helplessness and about ways out of the self-reinforcing and self-justifying loops of the pessimistic worldview, and allow me to ably coax others towards cruelty-free ways of living. So, that's me. Hello, Less Wrong.