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Your criticisms are mostly correct. I wrote the post to justify my actions rather than tell robust truth. Posting it as-is on LessWrong was my mistake.

"Entangled closer with physical reality" was a poor choice of words. I meant something closer to "experience my surroundings in more detail".

Reducing what you need implies broadening what you tolerate, in the same sense that a system with fewer axioms has more models. Interpreting it as twisted greed-avoidance is novel and odd to me. If you get used to walking barefoot, then you can better handle situations where you lack shoes. On further reflection, that broadening is small compared to other methods (as learning a language).


What exactly does "predictable" mean here?

You can infer the toki pona word (phrase) to match a meaning by joining words (standard base concepts) according to meaning-clusters of the base words and rules for adjective order. That is, making a toki pona word-phrase, you only need to understand the intended meaning of the whole phrase and the small set of base words.

Likewise, understanding a word-phrase to a good approximation depends only on the words in it and their arrangement. Understanding it exactly depends on context and conventions that build up around common terms.

If the phrase for "phone" means "speech tool", how do I tell between phone and loudspeaker or cough drop?

You can add more adjectives ("phone" could be "tool of distant speech" and "loudspeaker", "tool of strong speech"), or cope via context.

If I want to say "apricot" do I need to say "small soft orange when ripe nonfuzzy stone deciduous tree fruit"? Or do I just say something shorter like 'orange fruit' and hope the other guy guesses which kind of orange fruit I mean?

The latter is exactly what you do. If context leaves ambiguity, you add as many adjectives as needed, changing "fruit" to "orange fruit" to "small soft orange stone tree fruit".

How would I say "feldspar"? "Rock type #309"? How would I say "acetaminophen"?

Toki pona is less opportune when you need great precision like that. I see three solutions

  • mash together lots of adjectives (feldspar = silicon-oxygen crystal + other details = square rock of bodily air and of moderate power movement ...)
  • use numbers and symbols according to reductionism and the topic in question (acetaminophen = one-circly two-armed "C8H9NO2")
  • bring in a loanword/proper adjective ("misikeke Asitaminopen")

If you call a multi-word phrase a word, we can more appositely claim that the formation of words and their associations to meanings, in toki pona, is very systematic and predictable. However many words it truly has, toki pona remains very easy to learn. The definition of "word" is flexible/arbitrary, but that final observation is most obviously consistent with the few-words view.

  • You would wash your hands properly at all the appropriate times.
  • You would study with spaced repetition.
  • You would stop looking at (mainstream, megacorporate) social media.

The ability to quickly recall what I studied for its application.

I thought that was obvious. Why do you ask? What am I missing?


You almost always have some information to concentrate your priors. Between mutually-helpful speakers, implicit with an answer to a question is that the answer gives all the information you have on the question that could benefit the questioner. E.g.

What will the closing price of Apple be at the end of the year?

"Almost certainly somewhere between $150 and $250."


positive statements like "Stay away from the wires" are more effective than negative statements, like "Don't touch the wires," because your brain basically ignores the negative part of it. "*mumble mumble* touch the wires? Don't mind if I do!"

That's what I was going for with

When reading or hearing a negation used in language, you must first process the positive form it contains to understand the entire statement. For example, to understand "the sky is not green", you must first understand "the sky is green", then negate it. Usually, this happens quickly and subconsciously, but it can harmfully slow down or weaken understanding by making you first consider a false idea.


I predict that it mostly gets worked around, by using only a few extra words.

"The sky is something other than blue" and "I will be somewhere else tomorrow" are both semantically-equivalent to the forbidden forms.  Even "I deny that the sky is blue" is a positive-form negation of the object-level statement.

I suspect all such workarounds depend on one of a relatively small set of negation-enabling words, such as "other", "else", and "deny", as you demonstrate. Prohibiting more words should eventually block all workarounds, while making writing more annoying.


An excellent alternative. I was going for something usable without any tools.

Answer by dkl910
  1. beat up the lock by ordinary methods
  2. contact someone outside to let you out
  3. beat up the door by ordinary methods
  4. beat up the wall by ordinary methods
  5. teleport
  6. contact someone outside to destroy part of the wall
  7. reshape phone and/or clothes into paperclips and wait for the paperclip maximiser to take them in a way that will probably let you out
  8. break off a sharp piece of metal from your phone and cut your way out
  9. break off a thin piece of metal from your phone and pick the lock
  10. wish/pray
  11. order a delivery, which will require the door to be opened (during which you can walk out), which may be easier from the outside
  12. look up solutions and implement them (or contact person or AI to come up with them)
  13. ignite a fire (friction or something, perhaps aided by starting on clothes you take off), and burn away the wall
  14. distract yourself with entertainment on your phone so you mentally escape
  15. wear steel-toed shoes as part of your clothes and kick holes in the wall
  16. mentally swap inside and outside of room (the wall separates the two, but it doesn't care which direction) -- now you're outside
  17. wait for someone to check on you and let you out
  18. scream for help (or play suitably loud sound on your phone) to accelerate 17
  19. vaporise yourself (never mind how) and let your molecules diffuse to the outside world
  20. order a very thin, flat sheet of powerful explosives, which can be delivered thru a gap in the door without outsiders having to unlock, and detonate it to break the wall
  21. don't go in the room in the first place
  22. order a time machine and go back to prevent the door from being locked
  23. collapse to a true vacuum (... which would also kill you)
  24. look for mechanical weaknesses in the architecture of the room and exploit them
  25. write out enough of your thoughts to your phone to effectively transfer your mind/personality, then send it to be simulated outside the room
  26. hack the room's lights to be way brighter and gradually apply light pressure to push away part of the floor (you have 10 years, right?)
  27. use the other door which isn't locked
  28. order a saw and cut the wall easily
  29. scream at the wall (or play suitably loud sound on your phone) to break it
  30. open (or break, if necessary) the window and climb out
  31. publish a prize/bounty offer online for letting you out and wait for someone to take it
  32. wear a cape as part of your clothes and write (lay out thread pulled from other clothes?) in Spanish on it, making it an es-cape (... sorry)
  33. corrode the lock (or otherwise cause escape-enabling damage) with urine
  34. fall asleep and forget about your problem, another form of mental escape
  35. run really fast to slam the door open despite the lock when you hit it
  36. wait, one of the walls was missing this whole time?
  37. the lock's electronic, hack it
  38. break the light fixture to get glass shards from the bulb, which would be very effective for cutting your way out
  39. become the type of person who would take brutal revenge on those who lock you in rooms, thereby acausally preventing this situation
  40. take off some clothes, thread it around the door, get it stuck with part sticking out on your side, and pull really hard (and hope that overrides the lock)
  41. cry me a river (literally), which might break something by water pressure
  42. suggest a study of this room's lock to LockPickingLawyer
  43. disable phone's cooling mechanisms, heat the processor, melt a hole in the wall
  44. wait, the door didn't properly block the way out this whole time?
  45. talk to the gatekeeper over the text channel, be really smart and manipulative, and convince them to let you out
  46. set some clothes on fire, push it thru the gaps around the door, thereby making everyone else in the building panic and let you out as part of the emergency response
  47. skew the reviews of the company that owns the room to alter the number of people who come near the room, making someone let you out sooner (this would intuitively benefit from more people, but maybe less, sith bystander effect)
  48. you didn't say what kind of phone; maybe this is a special phone with an extra feature specifically designed to let me out
  49. wait, the lock was trivially insecure the whole time?
  50. go to the moon, which is outside the room (we have hundreds of ways of doing that)
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