dominicq

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Rule Thinkers In, Not Out

A good explanation of the difference between intellectual exploration and promoting people. You don't need to agree with everything someone says, and you don't even need to like them, but if they occasionally provide good insight, they are worth taking into account. If you propagate this strategy, you may even get to a "wisdom of the crowds" scenario - you'll have many voices to integrate in your own thinking, potentially getting you farther along than if you just had one thought leader you liked.

Having many smart people you don't necessarily agree with, like, or respect > having an idol you always agree with.

The prerequisite for all of this is to be a "high-decoupling" person. Rationalists (by definition?) have this personality, but this post is nevertheless very useful as it sketches out why separating the messenger, the context, and the message is good. And potentially, it teaches those with lower decoupling philosophies to stop "respecting" a Person Who Is Correct, but to start listening to many voices and judge for themselves what makes sense and what doesn't.

Great minds might not think alike

This is no surprise — as I mentioned, translators are few and far between — but this example goes to show how useful a translator can be.

In addition to that, they can be explicitly unwanted or feel unwanted. I think that this is partially because translation is often done by people who argue for moderation to give off an air of wisdom which isn't there.

But another, maybe more significant part, is the fact that even good translators (like Scott Alexander) have limited power. Not everyone wants to read Scott Alexander-like bloggers, and not everyone wants a competing perspective. That leaves you with the option to stretch your translation, but stretch it too far, and you get to a point where you just have a useless analogy to something your audience already understands. Try to be true to the original worldview and nobody listens you unless they exceed some level of openness.

Great post.

Engaging Seriously with Short Timelines

Some career ideas for non-math and non-finance people:

Pursue a more primitive lifestyle: live off the land and farm. You can make it escapist (trying to ignore what's going on in the world) or a strategic fortress (if everything crumbles, I will not starve in the city). Everyone will always need food, so for as long as there are humans, there will be need for those who grow it. Also a good option because you can dial the primitive part up or down: you can either be a secluded monk or a farmer feeding the region.

Pursue a trade or human contact job: no GPT will replace a nurse, a physical therapist, a plumber, an electrician. For as long as people need things, they will need someone to do these things for them.