Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


"Politics is the mind-killer" is the mind-killer

I'm interested to know what rational people should have done in 1930 Germany to prevent politics from killing minds there. Is there a general consensus here on that issue?

I mean, if ever there were an issue worthy of rational prioritization, I would think that the construction of deathcamps and the herding of people into them, should be prioritized. How might one rationally prioritize one's actions in that type of situation?

I honestly would like to know if there's a "non-mind-killing" approach possible in such a situation.

If the answer is not "political engagement" or "attempting to exert influence at the ballot box," and the answer is not "urge people you love to leave Germany," and the answer is not "buy black market firearms and join the resistance," and the answer is not "roll over on your back and bear your belly in submission," and the answer is not "mind-killing political discussion," then I'd like to know what a rational course of action is in that type of situation.

I ask this question for purely narrow, purely selfish reasons. I am now holding approximately equal numbers of federal reserve notes and one-ounce gold pieces and silver pieces, and I can't help but notice that every year I hold the notes, they are worth less and less, in relation to the gold and silver. Since 1970, I've lost money on the notes, and gained money on the gold and silver. Is there any rational principle at work here? Am I being stolen from, or am I simply not lucky? Is there any sort of system I should adopt?

What course of action is most rational? And how can I decide without engaging in mind-killing thought? I'm really trying to minimize the mind-killing thoughts, and other crime-think. The last thing I'd like to be is a filthy mind-killed (brain dead?) crime-thinker.

Also, for those not wanting to dirty themselves by replying to political threads (presumably because they're building strong AGI, which is a seriously better use of their time), how and why would ANY thread other than a recruitment thread for computer scientists and engineers be a good use of one's time?

Sorry for exploding this thread. Mea culpa!

"Politics is the mind-killer" is the mind-killer

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

(There's no way to break the rule on posting too fast. That's one I'd break. Because yeah, we ought not to be able to come close to thinking as fast as our hands can type. What a shame that would be. ...Or can a well-filtered internet forum --which prides itself on being well-filtered-- have "too much information")

"Politics is the mind-killer" is the mind-killer

An idea that's false but "spectacularly well-written" should be downvoted to the extent of its destructiveness. Stupidity (the tendency toward unwitting self-destruction) is what we're trying to avoid here, right? We're trying to avoid losing. Willful ignorance of the truth is an especially damaging form of stupidity.

Two highly intelligent people will not likely come to a completely different and antithetical viewpoint if both are reasonably intelligent. Thus, the very well-written but false viewpoint is far more damaging than the clearly stupid false viewpoint. If this site helps people avoid damaging their property (their brain, their bodies, their material possessions), or minimizes systemic damage to those things, then it's more highly functional, and the value is apparent even to casual observers.

Such a value is sure to be adopted and become "market standard." That seems like the best possible outcome, to me.

So, if a comment is seemingly very well-reasoned, but false, it will actually help to expand irrationality. Moreover, it's more costly to address the idea, because it "seems legit." Thus, to not sound like a jerk, you have to expend energy on politeness and form that could normally be spent on addressing substance.

HIV tricks the body into believing it's harmless by continually changing and "living to fight another day." If it was a more obvious threat, it would be identified and killed. I'd rather have a sudden flu that makes me clearly sick, but that my body successfully kills, than HIV that allows me to seem fine, but slowly kills me in 10 years. The well-worded but false argument is like a virus that slips past your body's defenses or neutralizes them. That's worse than a clearly dangerous poison because it isn't obviously dangerous.

False ideas are most dangerous when they seem to be true. Moreover, such ideas won't seem to be true to smart people. It's enough for them to seem true to 51% of voters.

If 51% of voters can't find fault with a false idea, it can be as damaging as "the state should own and control all property." Result: millions murdered (and we still dare not talk about it, lest we be accused of being "mind killed" or "rooting for team A to the detriment of team B" --as if avoiding mass murder weren't enough of a reason for rooting for a properly-identified "right team").

Now, what if there's a reasonable disagreement, from people who know differen things? Then evidence should be presented, and the final winner should become clear, or a vital area where further study is needed can be identified.

If reality is objective, but humans are highly subjective creatures due to limited brain (neocortex) size, then argument is a good way to make progress toward a Lesswrong site that exhibits emergent intelligence.

I think that's a good way to use the site. I would prefer to have my interactions with this site lead me to undiscovered truths. If absolutely everyone here believes in the "zero universes" theory, then I'll watch more "Google tech talks" and read more white papers on the subject, allocating more of my time to comprehending it. If everyone here says it's a toss-up between that and the multiverse theory, or "NOTA.," I might allocate my time to an entirely different and "more likely to yield results" subject.

In any case, there is an objective reality that all of us share "common ground" with. Thus, false arguments that appear well reasoned are always poorly-reasoned, to some extent. They are always a combination of thousands of variables. Upranking or downranking is a means for indicating which variables we think are more important, and which ones we think are true or false.

The goal should always be an optimal outcome, including an optimal prioritization.

If you have the best recipe ever for a stevia-sweetened milkshake, and your argument is true, valid, good, and I make the milkshake and I think it's the best thing ever, and it contains other healthy ingredients that I think will help me live longer, then that's a rational goal. I'm drinking something tasty, and living longer, etc. However, if I downvote a comment because I don't want Lesswrong to turn into a recipe-posting board, that might be more rational.

What's the greatest purpose to which a tool can be used? True, I can use my pistol to hammer in nails, but if I do that, and I eventually need a pistol to defend my life, I might not have it, due to years of abuse or "sub-optimal use." Also, if I survive attacks against me, I can buy a hammer.

A Lesswrong "upvote" contains an approximation of all of that. Truth, utility, optimality, prioritization, importance, relevance to community, etc. Truth is a kind of utility. If we didn't care about utility, we might discuss purely provincial interests. However: Lesswrong is interested in eliminating bad thinking, and it thus makes sense to start with the worst of thinking around which there is the least "wiggle room."

If I have facial hair (or am gay), Ayn Rand followers might not like me. Ayn Rand often defended capitalism. By choosing to distance herself from people over their facial hair, she failed to prioritize her views rationally, and to perceive how others would shape her views into a cult through their extended lack of proper prioritization. So, in some ways, Rand, (like the still worse Reagan) helped to delegitimize capitalism. Still, if you read what she wrote about capitalism, she was 100% right, and if you read what she wrote about facial hair, she was 100% superficial and doltish. So, on an Ayn Rand forum, if someone begins defending Rand's disapproval of facial hair, I might point out that in 2006 the USA experienced a systemic shock to its fiat currency system, and try to direct the conversation to more important matters.

I might also suggest leaving the discussions of facial hair to Western wear discussion boards.

It's vital to ALWAYS include an indication of how important a subject is. That's how marketplaces of ideas focus their trading.

"Politics is the mind-killer" is the mind-killer

Are some ideologies more objectively correct than others? (Abolitionists used ostracism and violence to prevail against those who would return fugitive slaves south. Up until the point of violence, many of their arguments were "soldiers." One such "soldier" was Spooner's "The Unconstitutionality of Slavery" --from the same man who later wrote "the Constitution of No Authority." He personally believed that the Constitution had no authority, but since it was revered by many conformists, he used a reference to it to show them that they should alter their position to support of abolitionism. Good for him!)

If some ideologies are more correct than others, then those arguments which are actually soldiers for those ideologies have strategic utility, but only as strategic "talking points," "soldiers," or "sticky" memes. Then, everyone who agrees with using those soldiers can identify them as such (strategy), and decide whether it's a good strategic or philosophical, argument, or both, or neither.

Load More