All of Kobayashi's Comments + Replies

"Freeing yourself" happens when you understand why people have religion, when you ask the questions that bring to light the inconsistencies between belief and behavior, etc. It's not about finding The Truth.

Similarly, "saving the world" operates from the arrogant presumption that what you have is inherently better than what they have. It implies an active belief that they should change, not you. Of course, since you are on the right side, they should look up to you, take wisdom from you, etc. It puts you in a position of power relative... (read more)

But reversed stupidity is not intelligence. Some people do have beliefs or methods of thought that are better than others, that give them a more accurate understanding of the world and if used properly, can make them more successful and powerful. The mistake of religion is not deciding that some people's knowledge or beliefs are better than others, and that other people should learn from them. Entirely rejecting that premise can lead to some very unfortunate results. Whether having superior beliefs makes one superior oneself... I think that's a question that needs to be dissolved. What kind of superiority are you talking about, and what does it entail? I consider the me of today to be superior to the me of the past because of the things I've learned and the ways I've changed my mind. If I met the me of the past, it would be only appropriate for him to regard me as a teacher, and hopefully the me of the future would be able to perform the same role for the me of today. But of course, I shouldn't be condescending to my past self simply for having been more wrong than I am.
Indeed you do make it sound quite hard...

Raw_Power: " While freeing people from religion is a cause I endorse..."

I don't care enough to downvote either your post or your comment, but I will point out that the only people who are ever truly free from religion are the ones who care enough and/or are strong enough to free themselves. Anyone else has merely transferred their allegiance to a different authority. Quit worrying about saving the world; it smacks of a poor understanding of basic human psychology - both with respect to your own motivations and those of others.

I don't get your meaning. Freeing yourself, how do you do that? Why reinvent the wheel? While I was on the straight path to rejecting religion, I could have kept inventing excuses and making stuff up forever, I might even have become a religious expert. I seriously considered becoming a theologian at some point and work to bring out the True Original Islam As Intended By The Prophet (TM) which both the reactionary bigots and the westernized "moderns" were not following. If it hadn't been for people like Yudkowsky who were able to speak to me in a language I shared and point out the massive failings of my system, I would have continued to invent one patch after another, the same way smart, strong people have been doing for centuries. And I don't see what's wrong with wanting to Save The World, that was the frame that has directed all of my actions ever since I had a concept of what that meant. Of course, Akrasia is a bitch, and Behaving In A Way Such As If All Behaved Like You You Would Like This World Better can be freaking hard, but I've never given up. How is that bad self-psychology?

"You can always reach me through my blog!" he panted. "Overpowering Falsehood dot com, the number one site for rational thinking about the future--"

  • Zendegi, by Greg Egan (2010)

Go ahead, down-vote me. It's still paradoxically-awesome to be burned in a Greg Egan novel...

What is the context of the quote? Is the guy a total dolt, an arrogant twat, a cloud cuckoolander, or what?
Oh, I see - the ref is to 'Overcoming'. For a moment I was confused because doesn't work and I didn't see any URL in your profile and I thought you were talking about you being burned and not all of us.

Email sent some days ago. Comment left for easy karma points. ;)

Perhaps the two fearless leaders could be persuaded to roadtrip up to the Mad City on another day? :) (I'd like to meet them, and I'm not LW-enough to know what a LW meetup should be...) What say?

Would definitely consider. Although if there are 3 of us in/around Madison, perhaps the center of gravity for this event might consider shifting a bit N/NW? ;)

+1 for MADISON! We should DEFINITELY do a meet-up here. 6hours+ round-trip is not a perfect substitute.

Up-voted, with the following caveat...

Feelings are a communication of information. Ex: Feeling happy about losing your job may reflect 1) your knowledge about the stress the job actually held for you, 2) your desire for change (growth, creativity, etc.)...

Feelings can be probed with thoughts in order to ascertain their origin/meaning. To the extent that this is true, I prefer to think of feelings as a condensed form of communication with the 'rational' mind. 'Here's some information you really shouldn't ignore - SLAM! [Insert feeling.]'

Yes, perhaps this wasn't clear when I said "feelings can be used for all sorts of things besides epistemic suggestions"... I'm editing now to say "in addition to" instead of "besides". Thank-you!
Yes, perhaps this wasn't clear when I said "feelings can be used for all sorts of things besides epistemic suggestions"... I'm editing now to say "in addition to" instead of "besides". Thank-you!

(So... html tags don't appear to work in the less wrong comment section. Too tired to find out what DOES work.)

After all, if someone you know is planning to quit her job and move to Alaska because her horoscope told her that Tauruses need more spontaneity, you shouldn't tell her to stay because she's actually an Aries. You tell her to stay because astrology is provably bogus.

(snort) If you didn't care about the truth value of what you were telling her as much as you cared about getting her to change her behavior, you might very well choose to exert infl... (read more)

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I like the last bit about status, and would add the following...

Kobayashi's Paradox #1: The more you know about one thing, the more you will be expected to know about everything. However, the more you know about one thing, the less you probably actually know about everything else.

Kobayashi's Paradox #2: Status (or your perception of your own status) is inversely proportional to the amount of productive, creative work you will actually get done. (This suggests that perceptions of status do not update as quickly as they should, or are not based upon a current assessment of the person's worth/productivity.) If you need/want to get work done, shun the distractions of 'status'.

It is paradoxical indeed to offer a suggestion to shun the distractions of status... and name it after yourself.
Only if you control for intelligence and application, or learning-ability.
  1. High status individuals face more demands on their time/attention, and have less time to update themselves regarding important issues. If they attempt to comment on issues on which they have insufficient information, they may very well appear to be stupid.

(I try very hard to avoid commenting on things about which I know that I know too little.)

4Eliezer Yudkowsky13y
My perceptions of high-status stupidity arose from responses that were erroneous, not refusals to comment.

What is actually said, word choice, etc. should never be assumed to be 100 % indicative of the speaker's actual motivations in asking a question or making a statement. I play dumb all the time, for a variety of reasons. The majority of those reasons have to do with making the other person comfortable and/or seeking information that would otherwise not come my way.

This is a discussion of tactics and strategy, yes? And your complaint is that you don't have access to the same 'weapons' as your opponent?

Perhaps your assumptions about what is necessary to win are wrong. I moved progressively away from religion as I became aware of how limited religion was. (Not God, religion.) Ironically, I had to study religion and philosophy to be able to see this. If you are going to attempt horizontal propagation, then knowledge about religion and its history might be one of your best weapons. Certainly it opens doors to conversat... (read more)