Worried that I might already be a post-rationalist. I'm very interested in minimizing miscommunication, and helping people through the uncanny valley of rationality. Feel free to pm me about either of those things.
It might be useful to know that I'm not that sold on a lot of singularity stuff, and the parts of rationality that have affected me the most are some of the more general thinking principles. "Look at the truth even if it hurts" / "Understanding tiny amounts of evo and evo psyche ideas" / "Here's 18 different biases, now you can tear down most people's arguments".
It was those ideas (a mix of the naive and sophisticated form of them) + my own idiosyncrasies that caused me a lot of trouble. So that's why I say "rationalist memes". I guess that if I bought more singularity stuff I might frame it as "weird but true ideas".
I found this a very useful post. It feels like a key piece in helping me think about CFAR, but also it sharpens my own sense of what stuff in "rationality" feels important to me. Namely "Helping people not have worse lives after interacting with rationalist memes"
Bar the lone soul on a heroic dissent, I don't think most of us are able to keep meaningfully developing our worldview if there is no one to enthusiastically share our findings with.
Some version of this feels pretty important.
So a thing Galois theory does is explain:
Why is there no formula for the roots of a fifth (or higher) degree polynomial equation in terms of the coefficients of the polynomial, using only the usual algebraic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) and application of radicals (square roots, cube roots, etc)?
Which makes me wonder; would there be a formula if you used more machinery that normal stuff and radicals? What does "more than radicals" look like?
I'm noticing an even more granular version of this. Things that I might do casually (reading some blog posts) have a significant effect on what's loaded into my mind the next day. Smaller than the week level, I'm noticing a 2-3 day cycle of "the thing that was most recently in my head" and how it effects the question of "If I could work on anything rn what would it be?"
This week on Tuesday I picked Wednesday as the day I was going to write a sketch. But because of something I was thinking before going to bed, on Wednesday my head was filled with thoughts on urbex. So I switched gears, and urbex thoughts ran their course through Wednesday, and on Thursday I was ready to actually write a sketch (comedy thoughts need to be loaded for that)
I've been writing on twitter more lately. Sometimes when I'm trying to express and idea, to generate progress I'll think "What's the shortest sentence I can write that convinces me I know what I'm talking about?" This is different from "What's a simple but no simpler explanation for the reader?"
Starting a twitter thread and forcing several tweet sized chunk of ideas out are quite helpful for that. It helps get the concept clearer in my head, and then I have something out there and I can dwell on how I'd turn it into a consumable for others.
[...] and yet suppose that I were invited to write for a venue where my ideas would never be challenged, where my writing were not subjected to scrutiny, where no interested and intelligent readers would ask probing questions… shouldn’t I expect my writing (and my ideas!) to degrade?
I'm not completely swayed either way, but I want to acknowledge this as an important and interesting point.
Very useful comment, in that I have not previously imagined that this was your, or anyone else's, normative view on responding to comments.
I'm quite interested in the rest of this. Though I did find the idea of Moloch useful for responding to the most naive forms of "If we all did X everything would be perfect", I also have a vague feel that rationalist's belief in Moloch being all powerful prevents them from achieving totally achievable levels of group success.
More or less. Here are some related pieces of content:
There's a twitter thread by Qiaochu that ostensibly is about addiction, but has the idea "It's more useful to examine what you're running from, than what you're running to." In the context of our conversation, the Christianity and Rationalism would be "what you've been running to" and "what you're running from" (for me) has been social needs not being met, not having a lot of personal agency, etc.
Meaningness is an epic tome by David Chapman on different attitudes towards meaning that one can take and their repercussions.
Regarding regarding examples and generalizing, I've been finding it that it's really hard to feel like I've changed my mind in any substantive way, unless I can find the examples and memories of events that lead me to believe a general claim in the first place, and address those examples. Matt Goldenberg has a sequence on a specific version of this idea.