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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3

"As an aside" re: Mystery -- I admit to being fascinated with his contribution to a Neil Strauss seminar. (It distills Mystery's theories as found in his own book and in Strauss' bestseller.) Mystery's a skilled didactitian although I remember that when I watched the video a second time a couple of his points did lose a bit of their persuasiveness. The PU literature also shows how deeply Evolutionary Psychology has penetrated the popular consciousness, albeit with at least some degree of -- pun intended in this case -- vulgarizations. For those of you who are interested, the video I'm referring to can be found at YouTube with the following search: "Mystery Neil's Annihilation Method DVD".

Ethics and rationality of suicide

I had to smile because of Adelene's offer. This is a great idea! The ETA from above also made me aware that the lifestyle advice on Less Wrong is quite unique in its sophistication.

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

I remember the interview Josh did with Ben Casnocha as being very interesting. (Site contains links to streaming video and MP3 download + written interview summary.)

Humans are not automatically strategic

Then your mom is lucky in more than one regard! Because of medical progress it is very different to be diagnosed with MS today than it was in 1973, when my mother had her first MS episode at the age of 27.

You wrote earlier that a lot of what you don't like about your life is simply due to habits. Personally, I find the key to change is to persistently chip away at my mountain of bad habits (my main nemesis is procrastination) and to think more from day to day, to try to implement some (any!) positive difference in my life at a daily basis, and be it only to show a friendly face when you're not really feeling like it, or to do that one more household chore you try to avoid, or to confront another uncomfortable truth about yourself and verbalize it to (well-chosen!) friends and acquaintances.

I know, these strategies are so basic they almost don't qualify for Self-Help 101 but once you "really want to change" I found they work quite well.

Humans are not automatically strategic

You're right, wnoise, "village idiot" is part of an idiom but one I don't like at all and I don't think I'm particular in this regard.

I should have put my objection as "'Village idiot' is gravely anachronistic unless you want to be insensitive by subsuming a plethora of medical conditions and social determinants under a dated, derogatory term for mentally disabled people."

This may sound like nit-picking but obviously said intelligence graph is an important item in SIAI's symbolic tool kit and therefore every detail should be right. When I see the graph, I'm always thinking: Please, "for the love of cute kittens", change the "village idiot"!

Humans are not automatically strategic

With all respect to Eliezer I think nowadays the gravely anachronistic term "village idiot" shouldn't be used anymore. I wanted to say that almost every time when I see the intelligence scale graphic in his talks.

Humans are not automatically strategic

Hello CronoDAS,

You're story sounds somewhat similar to mine (but I'm considerably older than you). My mother had Multiple Sklerosis, too; I was her main caretaker until her death. It's strange that it didn't dawn on me how much my upbringing and my mother's illness has shaped my father's and my life - and furthermore I didn't really understand until recently how unusually withdrawn my life has been so far. Now, social isolation is a well-known danger when you're severely ill but I was (at least on a physical level) healthy and still I wasn't able to break out of the habits that I (to a certain degree) adopted because of my former circumstances and a general inclination towards shyness.

I have a very unoriginal proposition for you: Act as soon as possible and change your situation! Believe me, things don't get easier once you're ten years older than you are now. What about a "trial move"? The way you describe your parents I think you could always return if for one reason or another you can't cope with being "on your own".

I'm "in the process" (as vaguely as that may sound) to finally get my act together and make some serious, so-long-overdue-you-won't-believe-it life changes. I know some of the depressive symptoms you're describing: A general world-weariness, an enmity to my own body, avoidance of "boring" errands up to a point where it got seriously damaging, seeing no sense in dragging this carcass of mine through a pointless world etc pp. But somehow things begin to click for me a bit more. If it's "meant to be" that I'm going down, then at least I'm putting up a fight (i.e. trying to beat some amount of rationality into my skull which is thick with irrational believes and blocks)!

Take care!

Open Thread: March 2010

I completely forget about spoilers! I used this particular quotation because I innocently thought it would be a "hook" to motivate people to read the story.

Should I rot13 the quotation for reasons of precaution?

Open Thread: March 2010

The Final Now, a new short story by Gregory Benford about (literally) End Times.

Quotation in rot13 for the spoiler-averse's sake. It's an interesting passage and, as FAWS, I also think it's not that revealing, so it's probably safe to read it in advance.

("Bar" vf n cbfg-uhzna fgnaq-va sbe uhznavgl juvpu nqqerffrf n qrzvhetr ragvgl, qrfvtangrq nf "Ur" naq "Fur".)

"Bar synerq jvgu ntvgngrq raretvrf. “Vs lbh unq qrfvtarq gur havirefr gb er-pbyyncfr, gurer pbhyq unir orra vasvavgr fvzhyngrq nsgreyvsr. Gur nfxrj pbzcerffvba pbhyq shry gur raretl sbe fhpu pbzchgngvba—nyy fdhrrmrq jvguva gung svany ren!”

“Gung jnf n yrff vagrerfgvat pubvpr,” Fur fnvq. “Jr pubfr guvf havirefr sbe vgf tenaq inevrgl. Infgre ol sne fvapr vg unf ynfgrq fb ybat.”

“Inevrgl jnf bhe tbny—gb znxr gur zbfg fgvzhyngvat fcnpr-gvzr jr pbhyq,” Ur fnvq, “Lbh, fznyy Bar, frrz gb uneobe gjva qrfverf—checbfr naq abirygl—naq fb cebterff.”

Bar fnvq, “Bs pbhefr!” Gura, fulyl, “. . . naq ynfgvat sbe rgreavgl.”

Fur fnvq, “Gubfr pbagenqvpg.”"

Open Thread: March 2010

You're welcome, Andrew! I thought about forwarding your proposal to David Pearce, too. Maybe it's just my overactive imagination but your ideas about Superman appear to be connectable with his agenda!

Since your proposal is influenced by Grant Morrison's work, I remember that there'll be soon a book by Morrison, titled Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero. I'm sure it will contain its share of esotericisms; on the other hand, as he's shown several times -- recently with All Star Superman -- Morrison seems comfortable with transhumanist ideas. (But then, transhumanism is also a sort of esotericism, at least in the view of its detractors.)

Btw, I had to smile when I read PJ Eby's Everything I Needed To Know About Life, I Learned From Supervillains.

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