Rationalism before the Sequences

Yes, yes, yes! This is it, this is exactly it!

> Rituals are programs written in the symbolic language of the unconscious mind. Religions are program libraries that share critical subroutines. And the Gods represent subsystems in the wetware being programmed. All humans have potential access to pretty much the same major gods because our wetware design is 99% shared.

I've come to the same conclusion in the past. Meme theory plus multiagent models of mind, plus the shared structure of the human unconscious (though another layer of what is shared, which is often overlooked, is mountains of cultural context), equals spirits as AIs on a distributed operating system run with human brains as the substrate. Failing to recognize their existence is a mistake. Being enslaved to the fragmented, defiled forms of them which arise when direct theophanic contact is lost (such as faith based religions are ruled by) is another mistake. The middle way is the best. I'm glad to know I'm not the only person here who strives both for rationalism and for gnosis.

Rationalism before the Sequences

I'm only 23 - probably younger than most people here - but I imagine my father must have read many of the same books, as he raised me to think in a way which I now understand to be very much like Yudkowsky's version of rationality. As with what you quoted from Nancy, it all seemed really obvious to me when I read the Sequences, except for the mathematical components (Bayesianism still confuses me, but I'll get there eventually).

The main way I differ here though is that I have had lots of "mystical experiences" due to probably schizotypal or dissociative tendencies when I was a teenager, and so my perspective on the world is not quite that of a typical atheist. I don't know of any other LessWrongers with roots in the occult and New Age worlds, who retain thought patterns from those perspectives but rationality-ized, though.

Example: I think religion has at least one extremely important function other than building community, namely promoting the experience of transcendence (at least in some people with brains shaped in such a way as to be able to experience that - note that I'm not claiming this to involve actual "supernatural" phenomena, only psychological ones), and that this experience matters a lot, because I've had it myself many times - but explaining that would require an entire essay and I can't guarantee I'd be able to clearly express it, as it is a fundamentally experiential thing, rather than an easily verbalized thing, sort of like Kensho.

Chaos Induces Abstractions

This vaguely reminds me of uncertainty principles - both involve a finite amount of information available in a system, where the more you know about one aspect, the less you know about all the others - but I don't know how to make the resemblance precise or whether it's actually relevant to chaos theory.

The Age of Imaginative Machines

This will be great for me, because I have tons of ideas but suck at art. In fact, I hope I'll be able to be one of the people who makes all this possible. I've always wanted to dedicate my life to creating virtual worlds better than the real one, after all. (And eventually, uploading as many people and other sentient beings as possible into them, and replacing the real world altogether with an engineered paradise.)

MetaPrompt: a tool for telling yourself what to do.

This STRONGLY resembles an old idea of mine that I have, naturally, never actually managed to make - it's called Pique, and it would be a collaborative art-making site, where one person can make an outline, another person can fill in some highlights and shadows, another can add details, etc.

In Pique, you randomly get assigned an unfinished picture and you can draw on it whatever you want, making a fork of it, or you can skip it - the more work has already gone into a picture, the more likely it is to show up (because people would skip it if it seemed low quality), until finally some number of people agree that this version of the artwork (there might be MANY branches, of course) is complete, and it gets added to some kind of archive.

Possibly copies of finished images would be sold, the money split between the company running the site and the users who worked on it, in proportion to how much they added to it. This could also be done with writing, though it would be more difficult and probably involve a lot more factored cognition components, but essentially it's a way to crowdsource art.

Like all my ideas (I am walking feature creep) this ended up becoming an idea for a grand unified system of crowdsourced cognition which would ultimately become a hive mind, and so I've never actually had any idea how to make it. But it resembles MetaPrompt fantastically (and the two could perhaps be merged... maybe as part of that grand unified hive mind... :P)

Lessons I've Learned from Self-Teaching

Hmm... I could try actually counting experience points. Like, each flash card reviewed grants a point, and every time I reach, say, a new Fibonacci Number of points, I gain a level and... um... stuff! The idea of leveling up really isn't very motivating by itself, but it would help.

Here's one idea: when reading a textbook or anything else I want to memorize, I might try to come up with just one question and answer pair about each page, and make a card out of that. Summarize the most important info on that page. Anything that's not too info-heavy, that should work. In things which are info-heavy, your method should work quite well.

Lessons I've Learned from Self-Teaching

I have multiple times tried to get into an Anki habit and failed to keep it up. I think the main thing that makes me stop is that I try to make nearly every sentence of something that I'm studying into a card, because I have no idea what's worth remembering and what isn't. (As a general rule, throughout life, I suck at prioritizing.) The other thing, though, is that it feels like Work and things which feel like Work are Unpleasant and I procrastinate them. Do you have any advice for getting over that hump?

CollAction history and lessons learned

I've long been interested in stuff like this. I don't really have any credentials to directly help, but I have the goal of someday creating an MMO (massively multiplayer online game) in which leveling up one's character's skills requires doing real life "quests" related to the skill. So a druid would gain power by actually physically going out and gardening, or buying organic / vegan food, or etc. A player with a necromancer character could level them up by researching their genealogy or respectfully visiting a gravesite. Etc.

This wouldn't necessarily be about large-scale collective actions, but more about encouraging healthy and beneficial behaviors in each person's life. I think large scale actions could be done as well - treat them as "bosses" to be fought - but that would be built atop the more basic element.

What is going on in the world?

Here's mine: a large portion of the things that matter most in human life, including particularly most of the ways of life we originally evolved for, are swiftly becoming rare luxuries throughout the West, primarily at the behest of liberalism (which otherwise has produced many positives). Examples:

  1. embeddedness in a small tribe where everyone knows everyone else
  2. the expectation of having a loving mate and healthy family
  3. spiritual connection with a symbolically rich world of mythology (which need not be materially "real" in order to be valuable)
  4. veneration for the ancestors and the mighty dead, with recognition of oneself as a continuation of their being and as indebted to them
  5. a sufficiently simple local reality that it can be modeled, understood, and predicted without information overload
  6. emotional connection with nonhuman organisms, ecosystems, and the land in a web of respectful, honorable give and take
  7. capacity for self-reliance and individual responsibility for survival and flourishing
  8. a clear and unambiguous system of social roles on the basis of age, gender, lineage, etc, which is seen as legitimate by all

The reason I see the loss of these things as a terrible part of the "central plot" is because they are for the most part ignored, yet deeply important aspects of what it means to be human, which we are in danger of permanently losing even if ALL those other problems are solved. If people forget where we came from, and wholesale let go of the past and traditional values in favor of "progress" for its own sake, I think it will be a net loss regardless of how happy the abhuman things that we become will be. And the evidence is in my favor that these problems are making people miserable - just look at conservatives, who still are trying to hold on to these aspects of being human and seeing them threatened from every direction.

Is Success the Enemy of Freedom? (Full)

I'm 23 and I still feel like a child who knows nothing. If I peak in two years I will be very cross with the universe.

Load More