All of Jaffa_Cakes's Comments + Replies

Attention Lurkers: Please say hi

Hi.

I have posted a few times, but I self-identify as a lurker because I only very rarely post, and feel increasingly disinclined to.

Or should that be "decreasingly inclined to"? Or are they equivalent? (See, this is why I don't post much.)

2NancyLebovitz12yThey're different. One is a decrease of desire, and the other is an increase of distaste. This doesn't mean that the only thing between them is a zero point of no reaction to the idea of posting-- there's also the possibility of mixed feelings.
2alasarod12yyes!
0teageegeepea12ySame here. I don't always read stuff here either though.
An idea: Sticking Point Learning

I like this idea. It reminds me of this guy's site:

http://betterexplained.com/

Admittedly, he takes quite simple concepts that he expects his audience to already understand in a rote sense and attempts to give them a better intuitive grounding, but it's the same kind of "aha!" principle we all want to make more accessible.

0cousin_it12yThanks for that link, I was considering something like that before stumbling across the idea in the article :-)
Working Mantras

These remind me so much of the Oblique Strategies cards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_Strategies

If you've not seen them EY, you might want to read through and see if they give you any ideas for more mantras.

Open Thread: August 2009

Ask the person questions you know they will lie about and watch their body language very closely. Compare it with their body language when you know they are telling the truth or relaxed. Then when you see signs of the lying body language in future, probe further and see if you can uncover the lie.

My favourite way of doing this isn't even with deception. I use a bit of PUA-style material as follows:

"Hey, I've known you a while now, I reckon I can guess a few facts about you. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to come up with four facts about your... (read more)

With whom shall I diavlog?

I have read The God Delusion but I don't really understand what you're saying. Can you explain?

0nazgulnarsil13yDawkins is a secular humanist, not a materialist. to wit: "Let me sum up Einsteinian religion in one more quotation from Einstein himself: "To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious." -The God Delusion Ch 1 his beliefs are sprinkled throughout the book, but it is fair to say that he espouses some form of dualism plus unitarian christian morality.
With whom shall I diavlog?

What am I missing about this comment? I think it makes a reasonable point, but it's on -2.

Can someone clarify what the issue is, or whether Mark's trolling and I'm just too stupid to realise?

-1Z_M_Davis13yI don't think downvotes should be that big of a deal. Figure simply that a couple of users thought "I would not like to see more comments like this," for whatever reason. For example, I've downvoted your comment because I don't think it advances the discourse to explicitly comment on how a seemingly reasonable comment has sunk down to -2. But it's nothing personal, really.
Share Your Anti-Akrasia Tricks

My post didn't come out quite how I intended. It reads like an angry rhetorical question, when it's supposed to be a sincere request for context. I'm baffled by the depth that people go into probing self-help ideas, talking in abstract vaguenesses of "getting things done" without revealing and explaining the personal goals that the techniques are supposed to help them achieve.

Given your profession and obsessive interest in the field PJ, perhaps you can give some examples of the sorts of objectives people need Akrasia-fighting techniques to accomp... (read more)

5olimay13yHere's my context: I failed out of a prestigious university (rather, I threw myself out before they could) because I just couldn't get work done. (Underachieving, chronically disorganized, call me whatever.) In the process I also ran myself into a huge amount of debt (did I mention I'd been in and out of there for six years before I quit?) I run into repeated difficulty doing things most people find easy: sitting down and getting work done, waking up in the morning, estimating the amount of time it will take to get somewhere. I want to change the present course of my life. I know how a reasonable person in general conducts himself. Why can't I be like that? I understand what I am supposed to do, but on certain critical, common tasks, I fail. It's getting harder for me to achieve positive net outcomes, as the bad consequences of previous mistakes stack. Blah blah blah. I'm concerned with akrasia for much more than just procrastination. And, of course I'm concerned with plain old rationality: in the conventional sense and the Eliezer "win" sense. (I obviously don't have much of a grip on either.) I have trouble remembering when the last time I really did "win" was. In summary: my reasons for wanting to learn about and discuss ways to be more rational in thought and action? I'm very bad at both. And it matters to me a great deal to get much, much better.
2glenra13yI'll bite. "Get (back) in shape" is one of my big specific goals. If I can significantly improve (and then maintain!) my physical condition this year there is a good chance I will have the opportunity to perform in an off-Broadway show. Which would be a significant-to-me artistic achievement - and there's a looming deadline. One difficulty there is forcing myself to exercise as much as is appropriate to the situation. "Create and publish my first iPhone application" is another goal. That one really tends to gets off track since it involves using a computer, which means it's easy to get sidetracked by email or reddit or stackoverflow or lesswrong. I know once I get "in the zone" on that sort of task it's hard to stop, but I'm not there yet - I'm at the early, frustrating stage of the project. Also: keeping up and/or improving various artistic skills that might or might not culminate in future public performance... reading technical texts to keep up in my field...that's probably enough for a start.
4Z_M_Davis13yP. J. Eby nailed it: anything worth doing, is worth doing better. All the activities you mention in your first post qualify as examples, as does any other activity. If you've pledged your life towards curing AIDS, then you should strive to do ever better at that until the menace of the syndrome is utterly rid from this world. Or you mention having the curiosity to read books. But it is not enough simply that one reads books. We want to read more books, and the right books in the right order! A human life is so ridiculously short compared to the possibilities existence has to offer. I say it is a horrible tragedy that a person should die without finishing that sudoku solver, or getting all the stars in Super Mario Galaxy---if that's what she would have truly cared about on reflection. And if it isn't, then it's a horrible tragedy that she had spent time on the sudoku solver or the video game instead of working on what she would have cared most desperately about on reflection.
2Emily13yPersonally I'm not talking about anything important that I "believe I should be working on" except work for my university course. Obviously this is important to me and I do believe I should be working on it, but it doesn't seem like this is the type of thing you're looking for -- more like personal, aside-from-the-day-job tasks like the writing-a-novel example? Many people do have that sort of goal, I guess (I certainly do during breaks from uni), but there's nothing to stop the goals being more everyday ones. My guess is that most people are talking about any work that has to be mostly self-motivated -- that is, there's no one standing over you threatening to fire you if you don't get it done right now, or something similar.
Share Your Anti-Akrasia Tricks

Long time reader, first time poster.

What I want to know is just what such important tasks and projects everyone here believes they should be working on, which causes them to probe so deeply into the concept of Akrasia.

I'm assuming that most of us have steady sources of income, respectable (if humble) careers, and no shortage of curiosity to read books and enjoy sport/entertainment in our free times. So where does the Akrasia anxiety fit in? Looking at productivity-seekers from the outside it just seems like they're fantasising about a completely different ... (read more)

2pjeby13yYou've just committed the Mind Projection Fallacy with respect to the notion of "important". What is important to you and important to other people may be different, as reality does not contain any XML tags marking one goal "important", and another one "trivial".