fr00t

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Open thread, Sep. 19 - Sep. 25, 2016

In general, the medical establishment is pretty conservative (there's little benefit to the doctor if your problem gets solved, but if they hurt you they're liable to get sued)

If they don't give me what I want after I say the correct sequence of words I won't be returning to them.

It's easy to find a doctor who will work with you.

Overcoming suffering: Emotional acceptance

Something also feels Wrong about enjoying sadness. If you happen to enjoy sadness, then you need to be really careful not to deliberately cause harmful things to happen to yourself or others, just for the sake of experiencing the sadness.

When you deeply grok that you are not the world, I don't think it's likely that relishing emotional turbulence will encourage you to deliberately cause harmful things to happen.

What it may (hopefully) do is encourage you to be more curious and less risk-averse. Personally, I have found that I tend to slip into a sort of autopilot, where I stagnate, become emotionally numb, and lose effectiveness as a person. Unfortunately this also causes me to lose the impetus for introspection. In periods of clarity, I can easily see that emotion is a tool I should be using, but I've gotten so good at ignoring it, I feel trapped.

So this article was particularly relevant and helpful to me. I'm also interested in more specific strategies/affirmations/examples for reconciling emotion as a feedback mechanism rather than a source of anxiety to be swept under the rug.

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

I would like to request a recommendation for a text that provides a comprehensive introduction to Lisp, preferably one with high readability.

How to make your intuitions cost-sensitive

Surely some people can better apply intuition to regular numbers? I actually just tried this graphing method and it didn't do anything for me at all. I actually caught myself trying to divide the ratio of area back into numbers.

I've never needed more than a text document for working these things out... and only if there is more information than I can keep track of in my head. For example, if I'm considering purchasing a $100 pair of jeans I might weigh the value against, say, 13 ribeyes, or opportunity cost of 5 hours at work.

I also keep a loose running estimate of expenditures to ensure I have a surplus over any period longer than a few weeks.

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

Pish posh. I have admittedly horrendous sanitary procedures, and though I handle and cook raw meat at least 4 times a week I've never once gotten sick.

Pork actually should have a little bit of rose inside; I only cook my chicken until this is just gone (or even faintly visible). I routinely eat steak rare as can be, and tuna essentially raw.

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

I second the recommendation to learn the art of wet shaving. If you're frugal about it you can make an initial investment of around $75 and have it amortized over a few years compared to cartridges.

The real benefit is that the shaves are much better, and more importantly, it has become an enjoyable ritual that starts my day off with a little class and luxury.

You're in Newcomb's Box

This.

The only resolution for either scenario I can think of is that there is a very high chance that regardless of what you precommit to do here or otherwise, at the moment of decision, be compelled to choose to 1-box, or be unable to pull out.

But aside from that improbable outcome, these, along with transparent Newcomb, are nonsense; they're intractable. I can simply precommit to use the strategy that contradicts what Prometheus/Omega/Azathoth predicted, a la halting problem.

And because of the three, Azathoth is the one that most nearly exists, I am actually very likely to have children. An overwhelming majority of men actually do highly value sleeping with many women; the only reason this doesn't result in massive uncontrollable pregnancy is because Azathoth, being the slow thinker he is, hasn't had time to adjust for birth control. Plus I can't think of an outcome Azathoth would prefer to us creating AGI and proliferating across the universe.

The Trolley Problem: Dodging moral questions

The answer that almost everyone gives seems to be very sensible. After all, the question: "What do I believe I would actually do" and "What do I think I should do" are different. Obviously self modifying to the point where these answers are as consistent as possible in the largest subset of scenarios as possible is probably a good thing, but that doesn't mean such self modifying is easy.

Most mothers would simply be incapable of doing such a thing. If they could press a button to kill their baby, more would probably do so, just as more people would flip a switch to kill than push in front of a train.

You obviously should kill the baby, but it is much more difficult to honestly say you would kill a baby than flip a switch: the distinction is not one of morality but courage.

As a side note, I prefer the trolley-problem modification where you can have an innocent, healthy young traveler killed in order to save 5 people in need of organs. Saying "fat man", at least for me, obfuscates the moral dilemma and makes it somewhat easier.

Existential Angst Factory

Nihilism may not be incompatible with happiness but after reading this post I still believe that I experience legitimate existential angst. It occurs at unpredictable moments, but more often exciting ones: during coitus, staring at a beautiful sunrise, listening to the climax of a beautiful piece of music; but also during mundane tasks like brushing my teeth. I experience an overwhelming sense of angst and meaninglessness. The feeling of arbitrariness, embodied as raw emotion, overwhelms all other sensation. Usually I am able to quickly recover, at least operationally.

I don't think I'm depressed and I've gotten better since the visceral discovery of nihilism back in high-school, but I suspect this will never go away.

Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization

I posit that these sequences and indeed any deliberation of abstract nature is super-stimulus. It was probably fairly stimulating for some ancestral man to connect the pain of having a rock fall on him to throwing a rock at a gazelle. But reading through hundreds of pages of information describing "the way" seem unlikely to improve my genetic fitness.

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