All of RobinGoins's Comments + Replies

I have an exercise that might help with the phenomenological snapshot (though it's getting at a slightly different thing). Less about examining all sense data available, and more about examining what concepts/shapes are currently salient/present (which may include lower level perceptions as well, if that is the kind of thing that is most salient). I wonder if it might be a little easier.

(Hmu if you're down to try it out? I'd like to run it some more before solidifying it in writing.)

Yeah I'd be interested in trying it. (following up in DM I guess?)

To bring up a specific instance of this kind of problem: that lw post on open/active curiosity absolutely devastated my ability to think about curiosity for no less than a month. Every time I'd prompt myself to think about curiosity, my thoughts would flow toward the "open/active" concept shapes; I didn't know how to stop it (and I very much wanted to stop it. I was frustrated, found the shapes of to be misconfigured, a poor fit. I couldn't access my previous thought configurations on the topic, as they were temporarily overwritten). 

The only defense ... (read more)

Reading this, I remembered my usual reaction to what you call "setting the zero-point", which serves as a pretty good defense spell. (I don’t normally think of it as a defense; it's just my go-to lens that I apply to most conversations that help me care about them at all). 

My reaction is to identify and name the thing that the person seems to care about that’s behind the setting the zero-point.  You could call it “Name The Value” (though "value" is kind of a loaded term, imo). 

(this move is also available when anyone is complaining about any... (read more)

I like where your mind is at here, particularly that you’re gesturing at the want for vocabulary.

Further questions: 

Where does vocabulary even come from? How does it get made? What’s the process of creating new words for a field? Is observation actually dependent on having relevant vocabulary? What is a new concept made of?

What if you want to make progress in a new field that has no vocab yet? (How do you even know there's a place to explore if no vocab exists yet? How is it found?)

4Phil Scadden1y
To me vocabulary (which I think is a brain shortcut to a category/concept) is a big help in seeing. I read "Landmarks" (Robert MacFarlane) which was about specialised vocabularies and I enjoyed some of the odd words. One was "smeuse" - a hole in hedge or fence made by repeated passage of animals. The thing is, once I had read about it, I suddenly started noticing them. But to your question as where do the words come from? The vocabularies in Landmarks come from specialised needs of people in particular environments. Peat-diggers need more specialised words to describe peat bogs to survive and proper.  So observation does proceed vocabulary. Science is full of it -every field has to develop of specialized vocab to communicate observation. But once there is a vocab, then its strongly assists observation. Can this hinder seeing? Yes, that too. The brain will take whatever shortcut it can and schemata will miss plenty when the brain has more urgent things to do. Watson's excuse for the not knowing the no. of stairs would be that he never needed to - he had more important things to think about. But I think there are ways to employ both. Early in my career, I had do a fair amount of mudlogging from coal exploration wells - a boring but vital job. We had a standardized vocabulary for describing what we saw that was structured into a list. Working your way through it, metre by metre, kept you observing what was important even when bored out of your skull. And at the end of list  was - "what is different?". A key to make a novel observation that was outside the parameters of the list.
As a relatively non-verbal person, I always feel like someone is walking upside down with legs sticking out of their head when they make claims about vocabulary being necessary for things besides talking to each other. There must be quite the inferential gap here. Wh... Whyy? Why would having vocabulary for the observation be important to making a good observation? Maybe you mean something I'm not expecting by "good"? Or by "vocabulary"? I also don't understand "Making good observations seems very dependent on what we are looking for". Do you mean something like, "Whether or not we deem an observation to be 'good' depends on why we're making observations, since 'goodness' only exists in relation to goals?" Perhaps I just somehow completely don't understand this comment at all. But I guess Robin did? I wonder what Robin heard.

The link to the book in the first paragraph is broken, and it's not clear which book by Richards Heuer you're referring to - could you add the title?

Link fixed, and title added. (If you didn't have another reason to dislike the CIA, they broke the link by moving it. Jerks.)

I want to write up a more detailed post eventually, but the gist is that understanding Polyvagal Theory is an exceptional multiplier on all the charisma and social skill books you could read. It is the underlying *why* the tips and tricks work, what you should be aiming for, etc. It's the building block to make your own social skill tips and tricks from first principles. So,

First, watch this:

To really grok it, I recommend following with listening to the Polyvagal Podcast - start from the beginning.

For the ... (read more)

This is aligned with my thoughts on the importance of narratives, especially personal narratives.

The best therapists are experts at helping pull out your stories - they ask many, many questions and function as working memory, so you can better see the shapes of your stories and what levers exist to mold them differently.

(We have a word for those who tell stories - storyteller - but do we have a word for experts at pulling stories out of others?)