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Defeating Ugh Fields In Practice

There's a difference between the psychology of being in a lottery by taking your medication and receiving cash every time you take your medicine.

There is also evidence that bribing people reduces their inherent interest in an activity. There was a study that showed that kids paid to do homework did it enthusiastically for a while, but then quickly lost interest over time as they became habituated to the possibility of reward and began to lose inherent interest in the material.

Selfishness Signals Status

For me, the answer for each question appears to be "both".

  1. Standing up straight-- High: Politician addressing an audience, wanting to show confidence Low: Soldier, at attention

  2. Saying what's on your mind, without thinking it through-- High: Confident person, assured of their status in the group Low: Person revealing emotions which are considered taboo to discuss.

  3. Making an effort to have a pleasant conversation-- High: Skilled businessman or other "people person" trying motivated to accomplish a positive outcome with that person. Low: Service industry person who must be deferential to keep their job

  4. Wearing the most comfortable possible clothes-- High: The business owner who can wear whatever they want and still be paid attention to because of their innate value Low: The slacker who has stopped caring about their sweapants and stained shirt

  5. Apologizing to someone you've wronged-- High: The conscientious, strong, professional person with integrity who has the wisdom do recognize their mistake and seeks to keep lines of communication open and maintain an honest and fair relationship. Low: Someone who must apologize for violating a social norm.

  6. Blowing your nose in front of people-- High: A person assured in their humanity who doesn't feel the need to hide their imperfections Low: A person who lacks self-consciousness or "good breeding" or has stopped caring about their image.

  7. Asking for permission-- High: Someone with values who respects others' boundaries Low: Someone who must appeal to authority to accomplish something

  8. Showing off-- High: Someone who wants to achieve certain ends by a deliberate display of talent Low: An immature person caught up in their shallow drives, who is not be that impressive, and is not impressing anyone that matters.

Some things the examples seem to have in common is:

-High status people have innate worth and are assured of their value. They do the same things but because they want to achieve something that is not necessary. i.e. they are free to do it.

-Low Status people are of low value to others. They do the same things because they have to do it or they will be punished.

Improving The Akrasia Hypothesis

I am currently a yoga instructor in training and am sick of the new-age, self-help, ideas I see regularly (the worst are "quantum consciousness", "law of attraction", etc). Basically what "spiritual teachers" try to teach is anti-akrasia techniques, to overcome addictions, low self-esteem or whatever your problem might be that they think they can help. Their suggestions are a mix of exercise, sharing stories of their personal emotional experiences and "tools that work for them" (usually superstitious, e.g. "connect to god" or "balance your 3rd chakra", etc.)

I'm glad to see there is a non-religious, non-irrational attempt to replicate these same goals. I personally believe that the yoga business is overrun with irrationality and that it needs to be fought against. Most teachers are fairly well intentioned, but don't realize they are irrational. They think they are passing down knowledge learned from their spiritual teachers.

I think people struggling on their path (sorry, yoga-speak) would benefit from this quote. It was about the scientific method but it works here too. I read this in the "science quotes" article on LW:

"If you get it, it will be in spite of any method you use. You must have a method." -- K. Bradford Brown

I think this applies fairly well to the self-help mentality that people are in. You can't try too hard or get wrapped up in a method, even though you need one and they do help. Improvement comes with time, commitment and learning. Whatever positive lessons you learn in life, you'll probably have to continuously re-learn. But in the end, what will help you in life is the "knacks" that you have accomplished. Self-help is turning a method into an easy knack.

Obstacles are both internal and external. You will discover what they are with time. What you discover about yourself will often surprise you and if you look too hard for something, you will not open your eyes to what's really there that you need to see.

So basically the advice I have to offer is to stay true to who you are and what you feel, even if you want to reject it. Over time, if you practice cultivating more awareness in your daily life (not falling into low-awareness states of habit, self-destruction and annihilation of focus) you will become better at it, start to feel better and learn to apply in in many areas of your life.

Oh, and you should exercise at least a bit. Like walking every day or 10 minutes of yoga in the morning. Exercise helps everything but is just one part of the puzzle.

Logical Rudeness

I like your reply because to me it comically resembles the Sin of underconfidence. You are being cautious about what you say about Sacred Beliefs, so you say they eventually need to be forcefully examined and probably opposed.

Well I think we need to just call a spade a spade. Religious beliefs are obviously whacky, and they should be opposed now. There is no way all of society is going to have a civilized debate about religion, so we just need to start forcefully objecting to sacred cows and any protection that people's unfounded beliefs have in "polite conversation".

Logical Rudeness

I was in a discussion with a man at a yoga studio after he overheard me telling someone that Bikram's Yoga was "kind of cultish".

He proceeded to make one illogical argument after another, and then smiling and laughing confidently as though in triumph after each one. When I shot down what he said or explained how he misunderstood a comparison, he would not acknowledge or think about what I said, but simply move on to the next "winning comment" that he wanted to say. He thought he was superior for having made his points even though my replies reduced them to nothing.

I think this qualifies as logical rudeness, though I didn't have a word for it at the time. I really don't understand people like this. I think it's kind of a contest for him, to just try and look confident while making the barest amount of sense to make a passable argument. I think it's the jock equivalent of scoring a goal or beating someone up, as opposed to a discussion that actually is supposed to improve the total knowledge of both parties.