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Maybe we don't want specific things in a consistent way. Generalizing from that to we don't want things seems premature. Maybe we just want the taste of tea and are willing to adapt that desire to whatever sort of tea cup we see moment by moment. I would say those recent posts have explored the degree to which we have goals, not effectively opened the question of whether or not we have them.

At the very least goals which we write down and tell others about have some impetus in our lives, through social reinforcement, commitment effects, and the capability to enlist others and build structures which cause those goals to be expressed more powerfully.

Though it seems our brains might not be very good at having explicit goals in useful ways.


I don't understand what you mean by 'how the writing exercises help me ask "what's in it for [what i care about]?" in deciding what to pay attention to.'


Yes. You definitely run the risk of being considered calculating and manipulative. Also there is a further risk of overestimating your ability to spot risks and then being susceptible to street smart tricks. Also if you're not good at acting then you'll be immediately offputting if you do this in daily life and wear it on the surface.


I like Anna's perspective that being wrong is like admitting that you're smarter now than you were in the past. It helps me be willing to see my beliefs as things I used to believe and haven't rethought about from my new, improved perspective, and remember to try and update when appropriate.


Interesting idea, paper. Your assertion is that because I have tried this and it works for me, I unreasonably weight its properties as helpful instead of objectively looking at it as another self-helpy useless trick? I suppose I am confused at the idea that because this idea may have helped me to establish the habit of writing in my journal, and the reflex of looking for opportunities to be rational, which seems positive.

I suppose I never stopped to think that i might be committing a typical mind fallacy when guessing that a useful habit which i used to train myself to be rationally opportunistic might be useful for lesswrong as a whole.

It is true that my post is attempting to optimize others. I am realistic enough to assume that everyone won't try this, particularly those who are already optimized in this fashion, but I also don't think that we should avoid posting potentially helpful techniques because we fear the mind projection fallacy and its other-optimizing subset.


My name is Peter Scheyer. I am a professional entrepreneur. I have attended the 2011 Minicamp and Boot Camp as a sometime instructor and all-time participant in business theory and practice. I will be writing on many topics, including defense against/ how to use the Dark Arts, Granularization, Rational Task Completion, and topics related to my new startup based around building software which uses rationality concepts to make being addictive productive.


You could consider the creation of the modern economy as a series of effortless immediate actions, an implementation of the greedy algorithm which is codified after the fact into law.


Or we want the tribal leader to be conveniently martyred at their moment of greatest impact. You know, for the good of the cause.


I would like to see a thorough analysis of how someone raising funds can use the tricks from Cialdini's Influence to effectively contribute to charity. Even those without funds could use that sort of lesson to contribute meaningfully.