All of Laoch's Comments + Replies

Rationality Quotes April - June 2017

No you won't... ...because the configuration of life that refers to itself as you will be gone.

Physicalism: consciousness as the last sense

Whenever I come across a conversation concerning the mind and it's relation to physics I think of what a Cognitive science lecturer of mine had to say on the subject.

Physicalism is a form of insistence that there is some mind-independent description of the world. Any definition of the physical brings with it the concomitant necessity to define the mental. I'm sorry if my writing is unclear on this, but it attempts to point out that there is no "easy route" through an appeal to the physical, as any appeal to the physical necessarily depend

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Strategies for dealing with emotional nihilism

4.5 years later still on SSRI's, a bit suicidal. Seeing a therapist, looking for a psychiatrist. Feels like I'm going to lose my mind and believe any old thing, return to a community and a way of life I despise (because of mind loss). So I came here to see what LW's have to say on this and noticed my old post. This has been going on for a while, no resolution in sight.

Worth remembering (when comparing ‘the US’ to ‘Europe’)

I live in Ireland. Ireland is definitely not a bilingual country.

Rationality Quotes May 2012

It's all burdensome to me.

Rationality Quotes May 2012

Whether or not it's a large cultural phenomenon has nothing to do with how sensible the material is. It's actually probably brilliant fantasy I would agree, but if I'm looking for good sci-fi it's a bore fest.

Rationality Quotes May 2012

Oh I completely agree. It's just my experience of Doctor Who has been that it's a well of irrational story lines. For example why would the TARDIS have a soul?

2wedrifid8yThere does seem to be an awful lot of arbitrariness involved in the plotlines. For whatever reason it doesn't seem to contain much of the particular kind of irrationality that I personally detest so for me it is just a fun adventure with increasingly pretty girls. It is closer to an extremely advanced horse than an extremely advanced car. That doesn't bother me too much. Some of the arbitrary 'rules' of time travel are more burdensome.
Rationality Quotes May 2012

I know this is probably an ad hominem but isn't Gaiman the guy who wrote Doctor Who episodes? The worst sci-fi show ever.

3RichardKennaway8yMany, many writers have written for Doctor Who. Gaiman has done many, many things [] in his writing career besides writing for Doctor Who. And Doctor Who is a cultural phenomenon larger than any trite dismissal of it.
2wedrifid8yDoctor Who is one of my favourite shows (top five, higher if we count only shows that are still running.) I don't know to what extent knowledge of our different preferences regarding Doctor Who could be used to predict differences in our evaluations of the rationality of a given Gaiman quote.
3[anonymous]8yHe was a guest writer a couple times. He's better known for fantasy novels and comics.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

As an update, I've read the the Free Will Solution sequence. It doesn't seem like there is any punchline to the sequences, I'm found the area of timeless physics interesting but I'm not sure how it helps. I don't think I'm any better off intellectually from the sequences.

The mathematical universe: the map that is the territory

Brain emulation, how much do I need to understand and know before it makes any kind of sense?

Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

Does anyone else find the free will solution sequence totally unconvincing?

Open Thread for January 8 - 16 2014

When I get the time surely. I find cognitive science by definition quite unclear, it seems far too young a discipline with many different goals and theories attaching themselves to the moniker Cognitive Science. From a personal perspective and from the formal education I've received the cognitivism which I think lesswrong/tranhumanists endorse make me very uneasy even though I'm a LW and TH.

Open Thread for January 8 - 16 2014

Is anybody interested in enactivism? Does anybody think that there is a cognitivist bias in LessWrong?

6shminux8yThe wiki entry you linked is extremely unclear. Can you explain what enactivism is in simple words, using the vocabulary like [] ?
3ChristianKl8yBias is a bad word for core axioms that underly thinking. When discussing on Lesswrong I do accept certain axioms as the basis for the discourse. There are other occasions where I talk to other people where I use other modes. When I attend a NLP seminar, it can happen that there are four meaningful conversational layers active at the same time. It's highly narrated and things that are said mean thing based on the narrative and context in which they were said. On of my first 1-on-1 conversation with an NLP trainer was an elevator ride. I drove to the 5th floor to go to the toilet on it. The elevator stopped on the 4th floor and he came in. The 4th floor was the floor in which the seminar was held After assessing the situation he said: "You're intelligent." He was just at the toilet but walked down from the 5th floor to the 4th floor to then drive to the floor, and now I was on the 5th floor again because I drove the elevator there. On that level the interaction is trivial, but to him I made the appearance of low self esteem nerd, so him as a figure of authority telling telling me me that I'm intelligent was something that was very targeted to what he thought I would need on an emotional level at that moment. The style of the interaction where meaningful points usually don't get made on the most obvious level of the conversation and depend on context is very different from the kind of intellectual discussion on Lesswrong. I'm not really able to do both at the same time. Both approaches have there use but I don't it makes much sense to speak in terms of bias. Just different frameworks and mental models with other axioms. The result of such differences is that a lot of the academic literature on a subject such as hypnosis or NLP is bad because a good NLP trainer has the habit of communicating on a entirely different layer than an academic. And to be clear, I do consider the NLP paradigm to be a form of enactivism.
0Kaj_Sotala8yI'm not familiar with enactivism in particular, but embodied and situated cognition seem like reasonable paradigms. I don't think they really necessarily contradict computationalism or cognitivism, though.
Open thread, September 2-8, 2013

No open thread for Jan 2014 so I'll ask here. Is anybody interested in enactivism? Does anybody think that there is a cognitivist bias in LessWrong?

1tut8yNow there is []. The next time you miss an open thread you can make one. A lot more people will see your comment than if you post in an old thread, and you might get a point or two of karma.
BHTV: Yudkowsky / Robert Greene

Coming from the other the side what makes Robert Greene think I want to be pushed to do anything. I can imagine situations were a person is a road sweeper(no offence intended) then fully accepts their mortality and still stays a road sweeper.

What I've learned from Less Wrong

Right, I've read the solution sequence to "free will" and all I've managed to glean from it is that a) I'm physics, whose ontology I'm quite ignorant of and b) free will is conceptually incoherent and needs dissolving. I certainly don't feel like or believe I have free will or that I could influence the creation of FAI by desire for example. Is there something Louis(me) is missing that Louie isn't from the sequence? I find the sequence too long and prosaic to fit in my head to make a visceral impact. Is there a more concise alternative or even just an alternative that would make Louis.belief == Louie.belief? I'm struggling guys please help.

Outside the Laboratory

Oh you mean healthy not normal? Few men are at 10-20%.

1Lumifer8yI mean "normal" in the sense of "not broken", NOT in the sense of "average". Having said that, about 20% of US men under 40 have less than 20% body fat. Source []
Outside the Laboratory

No. Why would you think that?

I suppose I just expect from people, even intelligent people on LW.

People who torture kittens for fun.

The reverse correlation doesn't work because I torture kittens too.

Outside the Laboratory

Do you still believe that fatty equals not good for you? Plus who the hell puts ketchup anywhere near pasta?

3Kaj_Sotala8yIt doesn't?
2hyporational8yNo. Why would you think that? People who torture kittens for fun. Both are an acquired taste.
Exercise isn't necessarily good for people

Has anybody looked into sarcopenia and resistance training can slow it's progression?

1NancyLebovitz8yYes. [] Recommends resistance training for older people, recommends taking reasonable care. No mention of the possibility that some people just don't benefit from exercise. Most surprising detail: There can be loss of fast-twitch muscles in the sense that the innervation for fast twitch dies, but may be replaced with slow-twitch. My hypothesis: this may relate to the risk of falling since keeping a potential fall (a slip or going off-balance) from turning into an actual fall requires the sudden use of strength.
Rationality, competitiveness and akrasia

From my experience (anecdotal observation) is that with Crossfit what the participant brings into it largely determines what they take out of it. Now perhaps not all Crossfit boxes(gyms) share the same culture. But where I go there is a focus on form and scaling of workouts. Also those that are serious about progressing know how to hold back because rhabdo would destroy their(my) work and gains. Those who have no real goal except some loose idea of improved fitness and health never seem to push themselves hard enough to do damage. I'd say rhabdo would take... (read more)

Outside the Laboratory

Depends on what you mean by normal?

0Lumifer8yThe usual: 10-20% BF for men (you can have less if you're actually an athlete), 20-30% for women.
Outside the Laboratory

And why is that a problem? You seem to be implying that a low-carb diet is The Only True Way which looks doubtful.

Because of the negative effects it has on your insulin response, leading to pancreas fatigue and type 2 diabetes.

The claim was about "health-conscious" people, not body-image-conscious.

I was under the impression that a low body fat percentage was healthier. Perhaps I'm wrong. I must admit my beliefs are influenced by aesthetics. I'd bet on low abdominal fat been the optimal via a low-ish carb diet.

2[anonymous]8yIn which case you should take “healthy people” to mean those who are not trying to go on a cut because they already have a six-pack.
2Lumifer8yWe know that low-carb is effective at losing weight. The jury is still out on whether low-carb is healthy in the long term. Similarly, while it is clear that being obese is unhealthy, I don't think that there is any evidence to show that being very thin (having low body fat %) is healthier than being normal.
Outside the Laboratory

It's high carb? It gives me heartburn (probably gluten intolerance?). If you are trying to go on a cut i.e. want a six pack it's a bad idea.

2Lumifer8yAnd why is that a problem? You seem to be implying that a low-carb diet is The Only True Way which looks doubtful. The claim was about "health-conscious" people, not body-image-conscious.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

Is it meaningful to say something is only deterministic from the point of view of an observer?

Academic Cliques

I think this book maybe of some interest to you Chris. It was the text book recommend for a CogSci class I did, dealing with how cognitive systems develop in response to their environment.

Proofs, Implications, and Models

I mean people want to tear chunks out of it for status reasons... ...I think.

Proofs, Implications, and Models

Just wishing I had read GEB sooner. Reading it now and it seems to be getting ruined by politics.

3VAuroch8yPolitics? I don't understand how. Also, above comment should in no way be taken as criticism of GEB. It's great. It's just that that's pretty much all he has to his credit.
3ESRogs8ySounds like a good plan!
The Limits of Intelligence and Me: Domain Expertise

Thinking is metabolically expensive I guess(?)

0RichardKennaway8yNot necessarily [].
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

I actually use Moodscope, probably because you mentioned it before? Unfortunately my average score since I started using it is 30%, there are large gaps for the summer time and my mood was better when I started using it first but not great. See my Moodscope Graph for a pic that's worth a 1000 words. I don't think moodscope is appropriate for me tbh. I need to avail of a stronger mental health treatment I think. :(

3ESRogs8yOh, did I? I'm sorry to hear that it hasn't turned out to be helpful. It sounds like you are serious about getting the help you need though. Identifying the problem is obviously one of the most important steps to the solution. :) Good luck, friend!
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

I'm not actually sure if I'm allowed to say that?

Edit: oops

The comfortable view is indistinguishable from the uncomfortable view I agree.

1Ishaan8yer...what? I do not understand.
Trusting Expert Consensus

No doubt, but in science there is an expectation of consensus for the science to be useful.

1Lumifer8yFor science to be useful it has to adequately reflect reality. Consensus is entirely irrelevant.
Trusting Expert Consensus

Is this an example of a diseased discipline? Philosophers explore conceptual space. Mathematicians explore number space I guess? Yet the latter seems less fractured as discipline at least by my understanding which is probably pitiful.

2shminux8yAs discussed recently [], there are plenty of cliques in math, physics and other communities, as well. Scientists are fallible.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

Could you give me an example of working backwards? I'm in too much of a panicky haze to think clearly about it.

3Ishaan8yWell, for example: Suppose my naive intuition felt uncomfortable that my brain is clockwork. Makes me feel like a machine.. However, my naive intuition felt comfortable with my "soul" having intangible thoughts which exist on some separate soul-plane and interact with only with one another (and not with objects) except insofar that they produce actions on the external, object filled world and receive sensory input from it. Once the "comfortable" view has been explicitly stated, it becomes clear that the "uncomfortable" view actually is the comfortable view, just phrased in different words and with minor alterations. So what is your version of the "comfortable" view?
Trusting Expert Consensus

N00b question here. Are mainstream academic philosopher's interested in consensus?

1ChrisHallquist8yNot officially, I guess, but many will try to dismiss objections to their views by saying "oh, I've got a consensus on my side" (when they don't). See here []. Edit: added a link to the same post as a postscript.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

Can't get the ones I'm interested in so I don't want them, perhaps? Bit of a catch 22.

8fubarobfusco8yBecause I have a stalker.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

Ya that's for sure. Does that mean I have to think like them to get with them? Am I even capable of that. Sorry for the off topic post.

4hyporational8yNo and probably not. Don't get me wrong, there are also important similarities between men and women. Social skills are complex, and I recommend you improve them more generally if you really care about becoming better with women. This will get you actual social power, and help with getting a better job. You could also gain allies that can help you with women both directly and by teaching you by example. Here's a resource [] on social skills that might help you get started. Improving your life in other ways will make it more interesting to other people.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

Yes it makes perfectly good sense. I find the idea that I'm physics doing something is solid. I can't and wouldn't argue with it. The whole concept of free will in it's incoherency still seems to set me up for uncomfortable feelings that I seem to be able to do nothing about. I want to feel fine but panic wins instead.

When I talk about incoherence I mean things like what it means for my desires/actions/values to be free of causality or reason. If it were free of those things that means it would be random, and how can that be any more free(?!).

It's times like this I wish I was a topclass mathematician/theoretical physicist/philosopher combined.

6Ishaan8yIt doesn't mean anything for your desires/actions/values to be free of causality and reason, because your desires/actions/values are a subset of causality and reason. A variable can't be "free" of itself. Lack of freedom implies something else is in control. It's a question of where you perceive the "I" to be. Because of the complexity of the machinery locked under the aforementioned 1.25 inch skull, humans have Ruleset 1 for "souls" (though we are unaccustomed to thinking of them as rules) and Ruleset 2 for "objects". If you identify yourself with Ruleset 1, and Physics says that Rule-set 1 is actually derived from Ruleset 2, your human intuitions will scream that Ruleset 2 is controlling Ruleset 1 and free will is dead. . All the naive intuitions of free will still apply. Currently your emotions say "I am being controlled by causality", and what they aught to say is "I am controlling things via causality". The emotional outcome you're aiming for is a sense of unity and continuity between yourself and the rest of the universe as well as a sense of partial control over it. Try working backwards: Instead of first understanding the situation and then forcing yourself comfortable with it, try first figuring out what sort of situation you would be comfortable with and then checking if it matches reality. (I'll bet it will)
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

Thanks really helpful post. I've never had a close physical partner relationship and I'm not sure the kind of damage that has done to my affective state. I suspect an awful lot. But it has become the norm for me and find it extremely difficult to even relate to someone who is not in that situation. I've also developed a strong distaste(hatred) for normative behaviour w.r.t settling down and having kids even having a partner. I'm in a situation where it comes across as a personality death sentence. Also I struggle with the having of kids idea. So there's a ... (read more)

1ESRogs8yHi, just wanted to chime in with a recommendation for dealing with times of feeling depressed: try It's a site that offers a very short survey / game that you can take / play to register your current mood. You can use it daily, or just log in whenever you're feeling especially up or down. I think I usually come off as a pretty happy person, but sometimes I get depressed too. I found it to be surprisingly helpful to acknowledge and express those feelings. Tracking these moods on moodscope helps me to see that how I feel is very much related to temporary circumstances and is subject to change. Another feature of the site that I recommend is sharing your scores with a trusted friend. My best friend and I do this, so we each get an email when the other registers a score. One of the ways that this is useful is that it lowers the barriers to reaching out for help. If I'm feeling down, I don't have to track someone down and launch into a big explanation. I can just fill out a moodscope, which I find useful on its own, and then if my friend sees it he might also ask me how I'm doing, which makes me feel better too. I hope that helps!
3Lumifer8yThink there is a causal link from your observation #1 to your observation #2?
3hyporational8yNot wanting them is ok too, you know. Most of male attractiveness today is determined by signals of intelligence, wealth and social power. It doesn't matter if you look like Brad Pitt if your social skills suck. Don't commit the typical mind fallacy when thinking about attraction. Women don't think like you do.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

Would it be appropriate to thumbs up everyone who contributed?

8lmm8yUpvote what you want to encourage. I've upvoted most of the replies here; this post seems to have got an unusually good ratio of valuable replies (admittedly those replies are somewhat repetitive)
2gjm8yI think the range of appropriate policies is roughly from "upvote everything you regard as, on balance, a net positive contribution to LW" to "upvote things you regard as exceptionally high quality". Indiscriminate upvoting (or downvoting) of everything in a particular discussion would be frowned on a bit, at least by me and anyone else whose brain happens to be identical to mine, but it's not forbidden or anything.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

I'm not alone then, what a relief. I can't seem to suck any long lasting joy out of the universe presently. The best I can do is keep myself away from depressive thoughts. How do you combat those tendencies? They always seem to get the better of me.

If you're generally tired, you should see a doctor so that common physical causes can be ruled out.

No matter what, I try to get quality sleep. If I'm sleep deprived, I'm absolutely useless. This is easily the number one thing far above others.

The other lowest hanging fruit for me roughly in order are: avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs, work and other kinds of mental exercise, social interaction, SSRIs, basic breath meditation, physical exercise, eating healthy, some caffeine and low dose nicotine. Improving your life situation in various mundane ways... (read more)

9gjm8yI think this question is basically equivalent to "How do you combat depression?". I have heard good things about cognitive therapy, and ambiguous things about SSRIs. There's a book called "Feeling Good" that's alleged (by at least one person on LW) to capture enough of the techniques of cognitive therapy that using it is a pretty good approximation to doing actual cognitive therapy. (And of course much cheaper. But also easier to stop doing without anyone noticing.) I guess the other thing I'd advise is to look mundanely for areas of your life that could be improved, and see if there's low-hanging fruit to pick. I believe some people report large improvements in affective state after improving their sleeping or getting a lot more exercise, for instance. Or if you're in a boring ill-paid low-status job or a relationship where you don't really get on with one another, maybe there are things you can do to improve (or replace) those. Someone else linked to the "Existential Angst Factory" article, which I think is correct in suggesting that many cases of general the-universe-is-useless wretchedness are really the product of "ordinary" unhappiness that might be fixable. Of course all this is easier said than done, especially if you're already depressed.
How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

I'm trying to find out if fatalism is wrong and why or why not. So I'm committed to that. I'm not saying I'm behaving fatalistically, I'm asking what choice do I have.

Ah, I see.

For my own part, I would agree that we are powerless to do anything other than what we are actually going to do.

So there are at least some versions of fatalism I think are true, and embrace.

But we are also ignorant of what that is going to be, and the process of considering alternatives and deciding what to do is part of the mechanism whereby we end up doing what we do.

As for what choices you have... we all experience lots of choices. Those experiences exist in our minds, just as the experiences of pleasure and pain and fear and love and e... (read more)

How to not be a fatalist? Need help from people who care about true beliefs.

You mean like I'm ignoring real issues in my current situation that make me feel as though I'm out of control?

2Dorikka8yMight be relevant. []
1hairyfigment8yWell, it seems theoretically possible that someone with no such issues could share these concerns. But I was not even remotely surprised to check your comment history (after writing the grandparent) and see you looking for a better job.
Open Thread, December 2-8, 2013

Hmm I haven't seen anything either, my bad. Tis a shame, I'm not aware of any other optimal diet science. Is there any?

2Lumifer8yWell, there are lot of claims for that :-/
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