All of Jarred Filmer's Comments + Replies

Your description is beautiful in the sense that you use the word :) thank you for sharing

"pain and pain receptor spread across and through animal bodies basically is like a currency for the evolutionary perspective... so species can pay for survival with more pain(receptors)"

I found this interesting to mull on, an interesting property of pleasure and pain is acting as a universal measure of value, making trade-offs easier

I love "divine carrot" as a term! I think a lot about what it would mean to totally replace stick as motivation, like societies getting off of "burning coal indoors for warmth" maybe humans can "get off burning suffering for motivation"

Ha, maybe! Seems like while we're here though we might as well be working out way down the list of "ideas that might change everything". People report trying a lot of things and then hitting on something that works (like

Ha, thank you! It slipped my mind, I've just added it :)

Thank you for writing this, I found it really valuable!

2Adam Zerner1y
You're welcome! That's great to hear.

Noted, thank you for the feedback

From memory the first part was something Richard Bartlett tweeted, the second was my addendum 😄.

Glad you liked them 😊

I'm tipsy and on a train, so I shall help you

sit down at a computer
open a blank document

call to mind your beloved
bring into your heart the way they make you feel

and then just type a stream of conciousness
tell the bouncer of your mind to take a break
and just type words, they don't have to make any sense at all
and just keep going

if you follow that vein down, you'll strike on high-minded sentiments worth sharing at a wedding

Expertps from things I've squiriled away under "marriage and relationships" that might be relevant to others

  • "loving someone is creating a
... (read more)
my heart
2Jonathan Task2y
I loved this first one * "loving someone is creating a context for their growth, fostering a deep well of reciprocal good will" where is it from?   (thanks! all of them are awesome)

Links I've been collecting for when I get around to trying to ansewr this question for myself:

* "MDMA Solo"







* that alicorn l... (read more)

I've been thinking about this notion a great deal thanks so much for posting! I also have an intuition towards that which is good being non-arbitrary, akin to pi or gravity.

This gives me hope on how AGI might play out, but I'm aware we can't be certain this is the case until we have a proven theory of value a la the symetry theory of valence, and maybe even then we couldn't be sure any sufficiently capable mind would be exposed to the same dynamics humans are.

re the first question I assumed it was asking "what are you symathetic to" rather than "what is", more than any particular view I'm dubious of anyone who's feels 100% confident in their view on the nature of conciousness 

Thank you, I thought so too 😊

And yeah, case clinics have given me a lot of value. If something like it is emerging naturally amoung your friends, then they sound like great friends!

If you do try to expressly instantiate a case clinic with the steps I'd be curious to hear how it goes. I've been surprised at the effect setting an explicit format can have on how it feels to be in a group. Something about creating common knowledge on where we're all supposed to be directing our attention (and with what intention), can be really powerful. Thinking about it now I suppose this is how DnD works 😄

ha don't worry it basically is 😄, it's just that (for me at least) the notion I could put effort into making strong 1-1 connections with people and forming intimate small groups online wasn't really something that occurred to me to do before I started reading about microsolidarity.

May also be worth noting that the microsolidarity framework is about a bunch of other stuff beyond just crews and case clinics, notably dynamics that come into play once you try to take a bunch of crews and form a larger group of ~150 or so people out of them.

I agree with the content of your comment but the framing gives me a sense of bad faith, and makes me uncomfortable.

If I put a lot of time into a post-mortem detailing how an 8 year project I put a lot into went wrong, and then the top comment was someone summing up what I'd done in an uncharitable paragraph saying things like "making stuff up" and "no shit sherlock" I'd feel like I'd tried to do a good thing for the discourse at large and was defected against.

To echo others, thank you for putting your time and effort into this, I found it coherent and valuable. As an international rat/EA who's only context for Leverage was Zoe's post, this fleshed out my understanding of what you were trying to do in a helpful way and gave me a lot to chew on regarding my own thoughts on ideological communities.

Regarding: "Why do people seem to hate us?"

After reading Zoe's post I had a very negative view of Leverage and Geoff, after some introspection here is my best guess as to why.

Growing up religious, I'm very aware that my ... (read more)

It gave me an emotional intuition for what more progress along the "distance from violence" scale might look like. If we don't even have to pull the trigger anymore and can be assured no unintended casualties, maybe it's more pressure towards the equilibrium of the state relying on violence to govern, and then to suppress the dissent that violence generates with more violence.

I see two independent ideas in this post

Insidious Inception

  • People communicate thoughts into each others minds
  • This can be direct *"I do not want to date you"*
  • Or indirect *"Sorry I'm too busy this week" with no effort to find a different time*
  • Saying A to indirectly communicate B can:
    • Obscure an intention that would be obvious were B said directly
    • Make it harder to refute B, because the idea that A -> B needs to first be established
    • Delicately communicate B without indirectly implying something that would have been implied had you said it directly

Core thought... (read more)

Wait hold on, I thought this was a feature of QV that made it well suited to funding public goods 😄? (The more individuals each find the same thing beneficial, the more it must be a "public good" and thus underfunded)

Thanks for your reply :) as in many things, QRI lays out my position on this better than I'm able to 😅

Love it! I've been thinking a lot recently about the role of hedonics in generally intelligent systems. afaik we don't currently try to induce reward or punishment in any artifically intelligent system we try to build, we simply re-jig it until it produces the output we want. It might be that "re-jigging" does induce a hedonic state, but I see no reason assume it.

I can't imagine how a meta optimiser might "create from scratch" a state which is intrinsically rewarding or adversive. In our own case I feel evolution must have recruited some property of the un... (read more)

4Jon Garcia2y
"Pleasure" seems to be any kind of signal that causes currently engaged behaviors both to continue and to be replicated in similar situations in the future. Think of the "GO" pathway in the basal ganglia. (By "situation", I mean some abstract pattern in the agent's world model, corresponding to features extracted from its input stream, that allows it to reliably predict further inputs. Similar situations have similar statistical regularities in these patterns.) Conversely, "pain" would be any signal that causes both the cessation of currently engaged behaviors and a decrease in probability of replicating those behaviors in similar situations in the future. Think of the "NOGO" pathway in the basal ganglia. There is no fundamental law of physics underlying pain and pleasure for evolution to recruit. Nothing in the chemistry of dopamine makes it intrinsically rewarding; nothing in the chemistry of substance P makes it intrinsically painful. These molecules simply happen to mediate special meta-computations in the brain that happen to induce certain adjustments in behavioral policies that we happen to have labeled "pleasure" and "pain". They're just mechanisms that evolution stumbled upon that happened to steer organisms away from harm and toward resources, discovered by trial and error and refined through adversarial optimization over eons. If there's some fundamental feature of reality being stumbled upon here, it probably has something to do with the statistics of free energy minimization, not any kind of "axiomatically motivating" "stuff". There are No Universally Compelling Arguments, and reward and punishment signals only work for systems Created Already In Motion.

At what age did you start trusting them do things like only crossing at approved intersections?

There are studies - though possibly biased ones - that show that children under the age of 10 can't reliably (i.e.,>99%) handle the complexities of traffic: But kids learning and impulsivity vary dramatically. Know your kids. We let our kids go to school alone by age 7 - the only crossings were a very one low-traffic zebra crossing close to the school, one very safe street crossing with traffic lights, and the street directly in front of our house.
They've both been very trustworthy for a long time, as demonstrated in daily life. Very occasionally they, usually the younger one, will attempt to sneak something that is prohibited, but it's very rare. I was much more concerned that they wouldn't cross carefully enough, then that they might go farther than allowed. But this is my experience with my particular kids, and I'm sure others have different experiences.

Out of curiosity, does all of the difference between the value of a child drowning in front of you and a child drowning far away come from uncertainty?

There's also some coordination thing that's muddled in here. Like, "everyone protect their neighbor" is more efficient than "everyone seek out the maximal marginal use of their dollar to save a life". This doesn't necessarily cash out--indeed, why *not* seek out the maximal marginal life-saving? For one thing, the seeking is a cost; it can also be a long-term benefit if it "adds up", accumulating evidence and understanding, but that's a more specific kind of seeking (and you might even harm this project if e.g. you think you should lie to direct donations). For another thing, you're seriously eliding the possibility of, for example, helping to create the conditions under which malaria-ridden areas could produce their own mosquito nets, by (1) not trusting that people could take care of themselves, (2) having high time-preference for saving lives. For a third thing, it's treating, I think maybe inappropriately, everyone as being in a marketplace, and eliding that we (humans, minds) are in some sense (though not close to entirely) "the same agent". So if I pay you low wages to really inefficiently save a life, maybe that was a good marginal use of my dollar, but concretely what happened is that you did a bunch of labor for little value. We might hope that eventually this process equilibriates to people paying for what they want and therefore getting it, but still, we can at least notice that it's very far from how we would act if we were one agent with many actuators.
In a sense, since other differences might be unknown?

I enjoyed this take

Agree or disagree: "There may be a pattern wherein rationalist types form an insular group to create and apply novel theories of cognition to themselves, and it gets really weird and intense leading to a rash of psychological breaks."

Is "rationalist types" an euphemism for aspergers? In that case, "aspergers creating a new theory of cognition, applying it on themselves, and only getting feedback from other aspergers studying the same theory" sounds like something that could easily spiral out of control.

I empathise with the feeling of slipperyness in the OP, I feel comfortable attributing that to the subject matter rather than malice.

If I had an experience that matched zoe's to the degree jessicata's did (superficially or otherwise) I'd feel compelled to post it. I found it helpful in the question of whether "insular rationalist group gets weird and experiences rash of psychotic breaks" is a community problem, or just a problem with stray dude.

Scott's comment does seem to verify the "insular rationalist group gets weird and experiences rash of psychotic breaks" trend, but it seems to be a different group than the one named in the original post.

Thanks for sharing, I'm about to move into a season of more time for hobby code and this seems like good advice to keep in mind

I've never seen that feeling described quite that way, I like it!

Out of curiousity, how do you feel about the proclaimed self evidence of "the cognito", "I think therefore I am"?

2Alex Flint2y
Thank you! Well, I would just say that the significance of it for me comes from the connection between the conclusion "I am" and practical life. I like to remind myself that there is something that really matters, and that my actions really seem to affect it, and so I take "I am" to be a reminder of that.

You're quite welcome 🙂

For existence it's "I think therefore I am", just seems like an unavoidable axiom of experience. It feels like wherever I look I'm staring at it.

For conciousness I listened to an 80k hours podcast with David Chalmers on The Hard Problem and ever since then it's been self evident there's something that it's like to be me. It felt like something that had to be factored out of my experience and pointed at for me to see. But it seems as self evident as existing.

For wellbeing and suffering it took some extreme moments for me to start thin... (read more)

3Alex Flint2y
Thank you for sharing this. In my own experience, there are moments where I see something that I haven't seen before, such as what is really going on in a certain relationship in my life, or how I have been unwitting applying a single heuristic over and over, or how I have been holding tension my body, and it feels like a big gong has just rung with truth. But I think what's really going on is that I was seeing things in one particular way for a long time, and then upon seeing things in just a slightly different way, I let go of some unconscious tightness around the previous way of seeing things, and that letting go frees up my mind to actually think, and that's such a big relief that I feel this gong ringing with truth. It seems that letting go of seeing things one particular way is what the energetic release is about, rather than the particular new way of seeing things. I mention this just because it's the thing that seems closest in my own experience to the direct experience of self-evident truth. It seems that when I see that I have been holding to one particular way of seeing things, it is self-evident that it's better to make a conscious choice about how to see things rather than just being unconsciously stuck. But it does not seem to me that there is any self-evident truth in any particular replacement way of seeing things.

I greatly enjoyed this, thanks for writing it. I matched it to one of the questions in my own personal pantheon of mysteries.

What does it mean for a belief to be self-evident?

It seems self evidently true that I exist, that I am conscious, suffering is bad, wellbeing is good, and the next moment of experience will be the nesesary consequence of this moment.

I can point to the raw justification for these facts in my experience, and I just assume that other people have similar justifications embedded within their subjective perspective. But it's still an intellectual mystery to me why "it's self evident" feels like a satisfying justification. As you say maybe that too is self evident ad infinitum

2Alex Flint2y
Thank you for the kind words. If you have time and inclination, I'd be interested to hear anything at all about what the raw justification in your own experience is like.

Are the cross overs with the book "The Mind Illuminated" here coincidence? If not very excited to see a mash up of two of my favorite texts!!

3Henry Prowbell2y
Well spotted! The Psychomagic for Beginners excerpt certainly takes some inspiration from that. I read that book a few years ago and really enjoyed it too.

Thank you for taking the time to write this, I enjoyed reading it and it made me think some interesting thoughts :)

2Adam Zerner2y
You're welcome. Thanks for the compliment. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

I'm very open to the idea that I've seen something that wasn't there and or wasn't intended 😄, let me see if I can spesifically find what made me feel that way.

Okay, so I have that reaction to paragraphs like this:

White fragility is a sort of defensiveness that takes the form of a variety of strategies that white people deploy when we are confronted with how we participate in and perpetuate racismS. Whites use these strategies to deflect or avoid such a confrontation and to defend a comfortable, privileged vantage point from which race is “not an issue” (

... (read more)

(edited to tone down a little)

This was quite painful to read, and I see the dynamic of these ideas as problematic.

First, possibly the most painful idea for any human to entertain: "A large part of your core identity is inherently very bad in ways you can't see"

and then second: "The pain and fear you feel in response to this news is a sign of inherent weakness (fragility) and further proves your guilt"

and lastly: "I'm not *trying* to make you feel bad, suppress that pain and take off your silly sack cloth and ashes"

"You are inherently bad" -> "Your pain ... (read more)

4David Gross2y
I think you may be reading more (and more sinister things) into this than were originally there. I don't think DiAngelo starts with "a large part of your core identity is inherently very bad" at all. The progression she has in mind is more like this: 1. You were raised in a culture that has a lot of baggage from its explicitly white supremacist origins, and as part of learning to adopt to that culture you learned ways of getting along with it that have the effect of reinforcing its racism. In part this is because as a white person those things were designed with your benefit in mind and so you didn't have much reason to look the gift horse in the mouth. You did this even if you didn't have any bigoted intentions or desire to be awful to non-white people. 2. If you would rather work to repair the racist system rather than coast along continuing to take advantage of it, you'll have to work on that. But if you respond defensively whenever such opportunities are pointed out to you, you probably won't succeed. 3. So try to drop your defensiveness and don't take it so personally when someone points out ways in which you have picked up patterns of behavior that help to reinforce a racist system you aren't even very sympathetic with.

The problem your trying to solve is not how to change your mother's beliefs. Your problem is how to communicate that she's making you feel negatively and if the two of you are going to have a relationship she needs to change her behaviour.

Trying to have a system 2 scientific discussion with your mother in this scenario is playing water polo with a lead ball. You may go in with a clear head and a scientific argument and manage to throw the ball. But 3 sentences in and you're both going to be below water, having an emotional system 1 conversation.

What is an ... (read more)

This is a good strategy, and I agree I need to upgrade my communication skills. Thank you so much! Good call. I lose my cool very rarely, usually I'm just not responding to the triggers like "you're a coward" which makes me look better in the overall pictures (like I'm not the mean one). Upping my game a little will be for the best.

That tweet on Australia might be a little misleading. The vaccination board's official statement as far as I read is that an under 40 year old is more likley to die of an AZ vaccine than covid given the current covid prevalance and death rate in Australia, which is virtually non-existant. They released a pdf to this effect weighting the risks and their plan is to have everyone under 40 vaccinated on pfizer by the end of the year.

Betting that there won't be an outbreak before then is still likley the wrong risk to be taking, but it's less dumb than just say... (read more)

AFAIK the main effect from the PM's policy change seems to be around relaxing indemnity rules for GPs so that they could hand out AZ if they wanted to without getting sued by people who develop the blood clot disorder. Previously this was an issue due to the current ATAGI advice recommending against it. I thought the PM's statement on this wasn't too crazy - the blood clot risks are objectively still very low and the ATAGI report contemplates the then near-zero covid in Aus as you note. I assume somebody in govt realised that at current and projected vaccine rates it'll be a long time before the country opens up / stops having to lockdown extremely hard every time covid leaks into the community - and then the recent NSW outbreak brought the issue to a head. Vaccination supply has not been that reliable or consistent so far, and AZ is the only vax currently made locally so I think vaccination regimes that don't involve AZ do risk a longer 'fortress Australia' period.

This is my great hope also. 

There is a compelling narrative to be told around coordination as the super power of humanity that uses the examples of language, printed word and the internet (which are really bundles of smaller technological steps analogous to say zero knowledge proofs in crypto) as positive examples of social technology making things better.

As an enterprising EA in my 20ies I feel the pull of this narrative when thinking about how I might spend my professional efforts, but it remains to be seen if it will survive deeper thought whatever cheap tests I can think to run.

I see landmark as entering into a symbiotic relationship with a parasitic set of memes. It's a life changing experience for a lot of people, but Landmark wants to grow and it'll attempt to drain your resources (money, volunteering time, and social capital) to do so.

I had a coworker who was obsessed with landmark, and eventually wore some of us down to attend the intro night. I too was impressed at how psychoactive the environment was, and it seemed to be really helping people! But I felt concerned for many of the same reasons as OP.

There's a lot of paralle... (read more)

Thank you very much for taking the time to write this. Scott Alexander and Glen Wyel are two of my intellectual hero's, they've both done a lot for my thinking in economics, coordination, and just how to go about a dialectic intellectual life in general.

So I was also dismayed (to an extent I honestly found surprising) when they couldn't seem to find a good faith generative dialogue. If these two can't then what hope is there for the average Red vs Blue tribe member?

This post have me a lot of context though, so thanks again 😊

Is stock in a managed vanguard index fund cheating 😅? I guess that's assuming vanguard will last to manage it and that there's no socialist style economic reform that makes owning companies less valuable.

Government bonds maybe?

Vanguard isn't cheating, haha. I think it's one of the safest bets but it is so difficult to know what kind of government/economic systems will be around and negate the wealth.
Assuming it has to actually be “physical”, I’d probaby buy some berkshire hathaway stock and pay to get the actual certificates sent. I’m not sure you could do the same for an etf or a mutual fund. Berkshire because 1: it is diversified, and 2: it doesn’t pay a dividend, which would be tricky if one has to have something physical.

Huh, you are correct that was indeed my intention 😄 no idea how I managed that.

Is stock in a managed vanguard index fund cheating 😅? I guess that's assuming vanguard will last to manage it and that there's no socialist style economic reform that makes owning companies less valuable.

Government bonds maybe?

Your comment looks surprisingly fit for, which makes me think your intention may have been to submit it on the other post.

This is a nice metaphor in general for top down vs bottom up networks with some natural horizontal separation, I like it. Does this appear in the literature or is this just something you think about?

3Martin Sustrik3y
No, it's just a random thought.

I find this sentiment a little confusing, as it seems to me the subjective experience of suffering is the ultimate bedrock of any idea that understands suffering as bad? If I had no personal experience of suffering or wellbeing I can't imagine how something like utilitarianism might move me.

Or are you saying while yes ultimately an abstract understanding of suffering rests on a subjective experience of it, pumping the understanding of the subjective experience won't lead to more understanding of it in the abstract in the way EA needs to?

There is never native ultimate bedrock with human minds that has any clarity to it. Concepts for how people think are mostly about cognitive technology that someone might happen to implement in their thinking, they become more reliably descriptive only at that point. All sorts of preferences and especially personal pursuits are possible, without a clear/principled reason they develop. The abstract arguments I'm gesturing at amplify/focus a vague attitude of "suffering is bad", which is not rare and doesn't require any particular circumstances to form, into actionable recommendations.

Made me laugh out loud twice, I enjoyed this post 😊

Technology that "factors stance space" as tries to do and finds consensus excites me!

I'm very sympathetic to the idea that the ability of modern western countries to cohere / find consensus is a bottlenecked lever in progress. Finding pareto optimal sources of agreement may be a good way to help this.

She didn't have a friend all along!

"Performative effort is not effort at all"

I've seen people sacrafice a lot to gain the appearance effort. It looked legitimately painful and I think it was.

To me to shows a willingness to endure physical and emotional pain rather than the mental pain of grappling with uncertainty. All they can do is signal that they do care on some level

Love it!

To mirror what I got:

Institutions are structured groups of agent pulling in the same direction to gain redistributable value.

They work by aligning the incentives (especially the long term ones) of the agents with the institution through the technology of an institutional culture to provide guidance and help police detection.

An additional point I've been thinking about since I read Sapiens:

  • This cultural process recruits map/territory machinery to help people make sense of it. "Journalistic Ethics" is presented as an objective value like "Honour"

... (read more)
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