I am a relative newcomer to Less Wrong. I discovered Elizer Yudkowski and Scott Alexander in 2019. I have never known Less Wrong 1.0.


Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets
Sunzi's《Methods of War》
Quantitative Finance
Quantum Gravity


Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 4

Whoops! Thank you for noticing these. I have clarified the ambiguity and fixed the mistake.

Pain is the unit of Effort

It was written earnestly, but if you're entertained that's fine too!

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 4

This chapter borrows allegories from the East Asian literary tradition.

Covid 12/3: Land of Confusion

I like it when you write about football even though I am not usually interested in professional football. I especially enjoyed today's story about Kendall Hinton. Also, encountering discussion of Jewish teaching on forums like this makes me happy.

In Addition to Ragebait and Doomscrolling

My first instinct when reading this was to open Reddit in incognito mode to attempt to reproduce the 25% measurement. I had intended to collect statistics of 100 posts. I closed it after <10 to avoid memetic contamination.

12 Rules for Life

What are your thoughts concerning my recommendation to speak in positive declarations?

12 Rules for Life

There are details to Rule #6 I didn't include in the original post.

  • It is measured in time spent. The idea is to spend at least one hour writing for every hour you spend reading. Reading your own work counts as "editing" and goes in the "writing" column.
  • Looking up answers to specific queries for a predetermined productive purpose counts as "creating".
  • Rule #6 is more important the smarter and more independent-minded you are. It applies to less than half the population.

Reading makes you smarter. But is also a passive conformist activity. Being smarter is advantageous. Being a passive conformist is disadvantageous.


Consuming media created by others is a passive activity. You are not doing anything. I value doing over thinking. See Rule #3.

Except for some books in math and the hard sciences, there's no test of how well you've read a book, and that's why merely reading books doesn't quite feel like work.

How to Do What You Love by Paul Graham


Consuming media created by others is a conformist activity. You are running someone else's thoughts through your brain.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

Albert Einstein

If you want to be Albert Einstein you can't just read his work. You have to copy. You have to steal. See Rule #11.

The utility of writing

You can have the best of both worlds by doing things and writing about your experiences. Writing isn't just the process of dumping preconceived thoughts into a keyboard. Writing creates ideas and forces them to be coherent. This creates value independent of whether anyone reads what you write.

If all you want to do is figure things out, why do you need to write anything, though? Why not just sit and think? Well, there precisely is Montaigne's great discovery. Expressing ideas helps to form them. Indeed, helps is far too weak a word. Most of what ends up in my essays I only thought of when I sat down to write them. That's why I write them.

In the things you write in school you are, in theory, merely explaining yourself to the reader. In a real essay you're writing for yourself. You're thinking out loud.

But not quite. Just as inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something that other people will read forces you to think well.

The Age of the Essay by Paul Graham

Creating art distills information. It is true that you do not get raw data from writing. But you do not get raw data from reading either. You get raw data from doing things.

My Fear Heuristic

I agree. Someone else should replicate my experiment. I give prior advance permission to self-promote the results in this comments section.

How I Write

Your article The Jordan Peterson Mask was among the first rationalist writings I read and helped introduce me to this community. Thank you for that.

My Fear Heuristic

Befriending someone who freaks me out and entering a shady scheme are both obviously stupid. If something is obviously stupid then this heuristic is overruled.

I use this heuristic only for marginal cases where my calculated expected value is equal for both options. (The net expected detriment of either choice compared to the other is zero.) Only if the previous condition is satisfied do I then check which of the two options triggers greater fear. Fear is an emotion. I imagine both futures and observe my emotional reaction.

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