All of donjoe's Comments + Replies

Terminal Values and Instrumental Values

I'm noticing this very late, and I'm going to be off-topic, but I still have to stop to note that there's no such thing as "IP", not in actual laws (unless they've been infected by this term very recently and I just haven't found out about it). It's a bogus name lumping together things that the law does not lump together at all, a term invented purely for use in corporate propaganda, nothing more.

How to Beat Procrastination

Well, the relationship Sapolsky described wasn't linear, it was more like a bell curve. And no, he doesn't cite any particular study in that lecture, so all I have is his word on this one. I guess you could just ask him. :)

Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3)

This sounds like it might be helpful for people who encountered the same problem as I did in trying to apply DavidM's method, namely knowing what to expect (or whether to expect anything) as a result of performing the first-phase meditative exercises:

It would seem that having a purpose or expecting a result could be the very thing that prevents you from getting that result, in certain phases or aspects of meditation.

How to Beat Procrastination

Actually, the Expectancy (probability of success) component is not that simple: you don't just maximize it to maximize motivation. As Robert Sapolsky shows in "The Uniqueness of Humans" (, motivation is proportional to the dopamin spike you get when you start to consider performing a task, and the dopamin spike is highest the closer your estimated probability of success is to (something like) 50%! The amount of dopamin produced when you consider starting a task that you have 25% or 75% chances of succee... (read more)

0Simulation_Brain7yPerhaps you're thinking of the dopamine spike when reward is actually given? I had thought the predictive spike was purely proportional to the odds of success and the amount of reward- which would indeed change with boring tasks, but not in any linear way. If you're right about that basic structure of the predictive spike I should know about it for my research; can you give a reference?
Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3)

The first time I read this article I immediately thought that if this strange notion of "vibrations of consciousness" has any overlap with reality, it must have a lot to do with what we otherwise know as "brain waves", because those happen to have the same frequencies associated with the "vibrations" in the article and the comments: 7-10-20 Hz (which seems consistent with beta and alpha waves, i.e. meditative states and normal wakefulness).

Well, it seems that lately science is struggling to prove my association right:

1donjoe5yMore developments on the vibratory mechanisms of consciousness: []
Terminal Values and Instrumental Values

"instrumental values have some strange life of their own, even in a normative sense. That, once you say B is usually good because it leads to C, you've committed yourself to always try for B even in the absence of C. People make this kind of mistake in abstract philosophy"

... not to mention economics, where some people confuse the instrumental goal of "maximizing profit" with a terminal goal - instead of using something like "maximizing the total Human Quality of Life" - and end up opening car doors obsessively, all day every ... (read more)

Feeling Rational

"our emotions arise from our models of reality. If I believe that my dead brother has been discovered alive, I will be happy"

Fallacy of the single cause. Knowledge of the physical fact of his being alive does not completely determine your response of being happy, many other things come into this, of which at least a few are non-rational. Maybe your brother is a convicted serial killer who recently escaped from detention, killed a few more people according to his old habits and is now reported to be alive only by virtue of having escaped a police ... (read more)

1khafra10yGood catch; reason cannot determine our end goals. Eliezer covers that a just a few essays down [] the road. This was actually a personal statement, not a general hypothetical; his brother died three years before he wrote that essay, and wasn't a serial killer. But Eliezer would agree that death is just plain bad; that's a terminal value that doesn't have--or need--rational justification.
How to Beat Procrastination

While I don't have subscriptions to all those journals, so I can't check exactly what those studies proved and didn't prove, all I can say is that this example: "filling gyms during in the pre-dawn hours" tells me we're still not talking about the same thing, i.e. mental energy. I think there's a big difference between feeling physically energetic on one hand and feeling mentally focussed and creative on the other.

Also, while I find it easy to accept that there are two kinds of people as mentioned above, I will still be looking for explicit proof that "most people" are "morning larks", like the original quote said.

Thanks for your patience.

Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3)

I think there's an even better description of my concept of "many-I's-consciousness" in the first part of this clip: than in Gurdjieff's rather religious writings. I was pleasantly surprised tonight to finally find my suspicions about how consciousness really works confirmed by someone who claims to have done their scientific homework.

The limits of introspection

Has this been tested on experienced meditators? Maybe you need to introspect for months or years, and by special methods, before you get at least decent at it.

Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3)

So vibrations will not necessarily be observed by everyone doing this kind of meditation? Well how are stage 1 newbies supposed to keep their hopes up during their practice if the main marker of stage 2 isn't a sure thing even if you're doing everything right?

How to Beat Procrastination

"but most people have the most energy during a period starting a few hours after they wake up and lasting 4 hours"

There's no way this is true. Mentally, you're much slower in the morning than the evening. In fact, for optimal intellectual functioning, your body temperature has to be at its highest, not at its lowest and thus you're most productive in the last 4 hours before going to bed rather than the first after rising. I've had other programmer colleagues confirm this to me: how they feel twice as productive at the end of the day than at the b... (read more)

6Procrastinus10yAnd you might want to read the book that you are critiquing. I understand that this is inevitable to proceed impulsively in this day and age, but you will find that everything (yes, everything) is backed up by what most find as an annoyingly long series of endnotes. Here is the part that you should have read: You want to tackle it when you tend to have the most zip, and that when that is depends upon your circadian rhythm. Some of us are morning larks, relentlessly chipper and active early in the morning, filling gyms during in the pre-dawn hours. Others are night owls, slow starters whose energy levels peak later in the day. Night owls are more likely to be procrastinators, with a chronobiology best suited for after- hours; forcing themselves into an unnatural schedule, they gulp down caffeine in the morning in order to wake up, and alcohol in the evening to wind down. And here are the cites: Díaz-Morales, J., Ferrari, J., & Cohen, J. (2008). Indecision and avoidant procrastination: The role of morningness-eveningness and time perspective in chronic delay lifestyles. Journal of General Psycholology, 135(3), 228–240. Digdon, N., & Howell, A. (2008). College students who have an eveningness preference report lower self-control and greater procrastination. Chronobiology international, 25(6), 1029. Ferrari, J. R., Harriott, J. S., Evans, L., Lecik-Michna, D. M., & Wenger, J. M. (1997). Exploring the time preferences of procrastinators: Night or day, which is the one? European Journal of Personality, 11(3), 187–196. Hess, B., Sherman, M. F., & Goodman, M. (2000). Eveningness predicts academic procrastination: The mediating role of neuroticism. Journal of Social Behavior and& Personality, 15(5), 61–74. Klein, S. (2009). The secret pulse of time: Making sense of life’s scarcest commodity. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong Books.
3Dreaded_Anomaly11yThere is some degree of physiological variation among humans in this area. Researchers refer to this subject as chronotypes [].
Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3)

Am I missing something? Why don't the practical instructions lead up to the final stage of "enlightenment" and instead stop at "partial enlightenment"? Is there a further stage after #4 that might be even more dangerous than #3 and that you don't think is safe to describe to anyone who isn't already at #4?

Unrelated question: Does this "enlightenment" include any experience/realization of the sort described in Gurdjieff's "Fourth Way" as the "many 'I's"? That hypothesis seems very plausible to me given the s... (read more)

0DavidM11yThe practical instructions don't go further because the issue of going further is complicated, and trying to describe it in a reasonable and useful way would have made this post much too long. If you can handle stage three, I would have no worries about your ability to handle anything afterwards. I've never read Gurdjieff, so I don't really know. Terminology is tricky and I wouldn't venture to guess unless I was more familiar with what "many I's" means.
Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 1 of 3)

Agreed, that's one of the main things this article leaves me hoping to see fully explained in future installments or comments: the term "attachment". Until I understand what you mean by it, I can't have a snowflake's hope in hell of determining whether it's something that afflicts me or that I might want to get rid of (by your method or by any other).

Configurations and Amplitude

"we send some photons toward the half-silvered mirror, one at a time, and count up how many photons arrive at Detector 1 versus Detector 2 over a few thousand trials. The ratio of these values is the ratio of the squared moduli of the amplitudes. But the reason for this is not something we are going to consider yet."

OK, but I'd still like to see a little link or something here that takes me straight to the next article where this is properly dealt with, since this seems to be the biggest gap in understanding that the current article leaves open... (read more)

Frequentist Statistics are Frequently Subjective

And while on the subject of confidence values and misuse of statistics in science, this should prove an interesting read: