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How To Construct a Political Ideology

Congratulations! I am glad I was wrong.

You are the average of the five people you spend most time with.

Two big points of disagreement:

—Don't focus on unattainable goals. You can't hang out with both Natalie Portman and Nick Bostrom at the same time, and empty wishing is a wasted motion. Instead of seeking role models, seek the skills they exemplify. Think about how you can meet a group of creative, engaging people within the next week. Is there an improv club or a hip cafe where you can get to know the regulars?
—I don't know that it works to have a single friend for each trait. You naturally conform to the group, not to the specific individuals.

You are the average of the five people you spend most time with.

manipulation

Yes.

black arts

I don't think so. It seems about as black as using the pomodoro technique to manipulate your basic impulses.

causation != correlation

Yes, but given the evidence, I'm pretty sure there's a causal relationship in this case.

What about, say, good leaders?

Data point: I have recently improved my leadership skills by spending time with good leaders in a group that considers those traits high status. (Good leaders still made up a (substantial) minority of the group.)

thesis likely literally false, seek metaphorical sense?

Strong agreement. The thesis is explicitly labeled as literally false in the source.

If anything, to become e.g. creative, you'd be better off by meeting people who are currently becoming creative not who are already creative.

I would be really, really, interested to see data on this. My intuition says you'd do best to spend time with a range of people: a little time with masters, a lot of time with people who are somewhat better than you but whose skills seem within reach, a lot of time with people at your level, and a little time with novices who you can teach.

You are the average of the five people you spend most time with.

—I started by giving the long, true version.
—When I gave the incorrect, pithy version, I labelled it as such.
—I gave a specific, non-hypothetical example.

How To Construct a Political Ideology

Huh. My to-read list keeps getting longer and longer.

How To Construct a Political Ideology

I would suggest a different rule of thumb, which I will call the Yvain Method: never post a series. Instead, write one post that stands on its own. Look at the responses. Use them to learn about the subject and other people's reactions to it. Only then should you think about writing post N+1.

Low-hanging fruit: improving wikipedia entries

I have already decided to improve some of the pages, beginning with the rather sloppy page that’s currently serving as the entry for existential risks

Ten bonus points for Doing The Work. You have already avoided the most common way these projects fail.

How To Construct a Political Ideology

Without commenting on the subject, I'll say that I have a policy of downvoting contentless introduction posts that promise a lengthy forcoming sequence. These projects usually peter out after 2-3 posts, leaving the bulk of the work undone.

Open thread, July 16-22, 2013

"People of color" currently means anyone other than white people, not black people exclusively.

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