All of naivecortex's Comments + Replies

Open Thread: July 2010

An example of what I consider strong evidence: a person who had their brain imaged by an fMRI while performing some set of relatively simple mental tasks both before and after experiencing a PCE had radically different results.

It is indeed a strong neurological evidence. It is a pity that Richard have denied all requests to take a brain scan for reasons pertaining to personal preference (he was more interested in the experiential/practical inclinations to be happy/harmless). Recent actually free people may have different preferences (Trent - a member of... (read more)

3wedrifid12yYes they have, at least in the sense that you are referring to. And they can provoke the suppression of this self with magnetic stimulation. You on the other hand are completely incapable of suppressing the identity/self. You are tied up in it far more than the average person.
7WrongBot12yLet's see... and and and ...nope, sorry. I'm done. Pursuing this is no longer worth my time. My estimated probability that there's any worth at all to what Richard has to say is now negligibly close to zero.
7AdeleneDawner12yYou know, it's pretty obvious that you care about our opinion of your movement, otherwise you wouldn't be spending so much time and effort trying to convince us. That's substantial evidence against your claim that it produces a lack of sense of self or attachment. You're really shooting yourself in the foot.
Open Thread: July 2010

Wow... a cult formed

Ha, and where is the evidence for that? Is it too much to ask for evidence in a forum pertaining to human rationality?

[...] to actively seek neurological dysfunction.

Sorry, there seems to be a misunderstanding. I should have perhaps written clearly; psychiatry being a field dealing with dysfunctional peoples (i.e., dysfunctional identities involved with feelings) the psychiatrist who diagnosed Richard of course had to label (without choice) his sensuous / non-affective ongoing mode of experience in psychiatric terms (whose normal meaning pertaining to identities-with-feelings do not apply to a person with no identity/feelngs).

4wedrifid12yhere [http://lesswrong.com/user/naivecortex/] Sometimes, yes. It depends on how it is used. And I know you did't really want me to give an answer to your question. But that's the point. "Where is your evidence?" is just a bunch of verbal symbols that say very little to do with 'rationality'. If the meaning and intended function of the phrase is equivalent to "Your mom is a cult!" but translated to the vernacular of a different subculture then it says absolutely nothing about rational beliefs. The vast majority of demands "where is your evidence?" that I have encountered have been blatant bullshit (too much time arguing with MENSAns). Your usage is not that bad. Nevertheless, your implied argument relies on an answer ('No') for the rhetorical question, which it does not get. I do understand the distinction you are making here. Richard still sounds like a total fruitloop but I agree that the labels and diagnoses formalized in the psychiatric tradition can be misleading, particularly when they emphasize superficial symptoms and disorder rather than referring more directly to trends in the underlying neurological state that are causing the observed behaviors or thoughts.
Open Thread: July 2010

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

I located this page http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Affective_death_spiral This process creates theories that are believed for their own sake and organizations that exist solely to perpetuate themselves, especially when combined with the social dynamics of groupthink.

It is worth pointing out that an Actual Freedom is not a "theory" let alone something to bolster one's "beliefs" upon (and let alone forming an identity around it). Richard is the first actually free person; and others ... (read more)

2WrongBot12yBringing a psychiatrist in to this is good: you have offered evidence that does not rely on reports of subjective experiences. But it is still weak evidence; there are many other hypotheses that explain the evidence, and several of them are much more probable. An example of what I consider strong evidence: a person who had their brain imaged by an fMRI while performing some set of relatively simple mental tasks both before and after experiencing a PCE had radically different results. That would not entirely convince me, but it would certainly make me take your claims much more seriously. If there had been ten such experiments, all ten people who claimed PCEs had similar results, and the experiments had been verifiably performed in a sound way, I would then almost certainly devote significant resources to achieving a PCE. This not the only evidence I would accept, of course, but that should give you an idea of the type and the strength necessary. And if you can't provide such evidence, well, alas. On a related note, further links to the actualfreedom.com.au website will be ignored. I have made an effort to read the material there in hopes of better comprehending your claims, but the process is too painful for me to get very far, and this is part of the reason why I'm not taking you seriously. When someone has made an effort to present a large body of work on a topic but has not made an effort to present said work in a way that is easy for other human beings to read, they are usually not very credible. To be clear, I am referring to the website's poorly-designed navigation, plethora of spelling and grammatical errors, and the use of the HTML tag.
1wedrifid12yWow... a cult formed to actively seek neurological dysfunction.
Open Thread: July 2010

You came here to convince people to adopt Actualism (it seems). So, actually convince me.

You're way off the mark. I am not intending to convince/convert anyone to Actualism; there is no group/belief-system/cult here (outside the human imagination, anyways).

I'm posting about Actualism here in LW (which presumably was never mentioned before) simply in the spirit of sharing information and possibly engaging in mutually-interesting discussion with other fellow freethinkers.

Why should I pay more attention to you and your alleged non-cult than I do to some

... (read more)
Open Thread: July 2010

I make no claims about whether or not your group is actually a cult, only that I believe it to be very likely.

Ok. Again my response is similar: if a fellow being being is to discover a remarkable way of living completely rid of sorrow/malice, and promulgates his discovery for the benefit of others (much like the sharing of a technological invention, for instance) ... and if someone is to call the discoverer, his discovery and a few of those experimenting with his method as a cultic organization, then the burden of proof lies on the shoulder of this some... (read more)

3WrongBot12yNope, and cult members ask the exact same question. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You came here to convince people to adopt Actualism (it seems). So, actually convince me. Why should I pay more attention to you and your alleged non-cult than I do to someone else's alleged non-cult? Arguments based on the teachings of your alleged non-cult are worthlessly circular, because you're trying to convince me that such claims should have worth in the first place.
Open Thread: July 2010

Having woken up to reality itself, as [Richard] sees it, he starts a website or two, and after more than a decade, he has gathered a very small nucleus of people who also find meaning in the particular theory and practice which he espouses.

Two things:

  • The reality that you speak of is referred to as actuality (the sensory experience, minus the affect) in the AF lingo; where the word 'reality' is used to refer to the affective inner reality (the emotive cloud surrounding the actual sensations).

  • The 'meaning' that you speak is found only in a PCE or othe

... (read more)
0Mitchell_Porter12yI recommend that you read the weird old novel A Voyage to Arcturus and contemplate the figure of Gangnet. And I will say no more.
4WrongBot12yA very brief explanation of what I mean by prior probability: I've seen people making claims of this general sort about, say, twenty different techniques/philosophies/religions. In each of those twenty cases, the claimant and all other followers of the technique/philosophy/religion in question were together part of a cult. So, presented only with the claims you have made and based on my past experience with such claims, I perceive that is very likely that you are promoting something cult-like, given the 100% correlation I have observed in the past. This is not really an intuition: it's a statement of probability informed by the evidence available to me at this particular point in time. I make no claims about whether or not your group is actually a cult, only that I believe it to be very likely.
Open Thread: July 2010

Calling something "Non-spiritual" doesn't make it not a religion.

And calling something 'religious' makes it so? You said "the LWer concludes that this message amounts to religious spam or close to that." And I responded with a question "what is the factual basis for such a conclusion?". Don't you think it would be a much more fruitful discussion if we sticked to the facts instead of intuitions/impressions/guesses/probabilities?

Human cognitive biases and other issues make it almost impossible for humans to judge anything

... (read more)
Open Thread: July 2010

Hi - I will respond briefly to the various points you raised further below, but first:

What is the value of such a person - to the world, to the readers of this website?

It seems that my post was not written carefully, and led some to mistake it for religious spam. I've been visiting LW for a while, and practicing actualism (AF) for more than year. The value of the AF method (not person) personally to me is increased well-being / light-heartedness / carefreeness without having to believe in a God or some other metaphysical concept. I have virtually no be... (read more)

4Mitchell_Porter12yI had a closer look at the AF website. The guy's biography was interesting. He starts out juxtaposing himself as a young conscript in the Vietnam war, facing a Buddhist priest burning himself alive, and feeling that both these sides are wrong. He struggles with the meaning of life, for some years falls into spiritual-savior consciousness, seeking to be or feeling that he is an enlightened teacher. Then he eventually he abandons that too, in favor of "the actual world". Thus, the ordinary ego-self he used to have was false, but so was the metaphysical no-self of his enlightened stage. Having woken up to reality itself, as he sees it, he starts a website or two, and after more than a decade, he has gathered a very small nucleus of people who also find meaning in the particular theory and practice which he espouses. I was, however, disturbed by what happened to Daniel Ingram. I found on the web an old email discussion between yourself, Ingram, and Harmanjit Singh. In that discussion, Ingram wrote with a clarity and confidence suggesting that he really knew what he was talking about. But when I see his posts now on Dharma Overground, he sounds very confused. It's also intriguing that Harmanjit himself has rejected AF since that discussion. Well, I would say that is completely (100%) bullshit - as are your references to "24x7 sensuous delight". You do not achieve that just by getting rid of "malice and sorrow" - unless we are using the word "delight" in some innovative sense that would include, say, having your face torn off by a chimpanzee, to name just one disgusting example that I ran across recently of what can happen to a person in this world. Before and above the suffering that human beings create for each other, and the suffering that human beings create psychologically for themselves, the very condition of embodiment already exposes you to horrendous hazards, which reveal something like AF to be nothing more than a sort of post-anti-metaphysical rational-emot
1wedrifid12yThat Straw Man must feel seriously misunderstood and abused sometimes!
5WrongBot12yYou say that you are not promoting a cult, but for claims such as the ones you are making, I have a very high prior probability that you are. To overcome the strong weighting of my prior probability function and convince me that you are doing anything other than promoting a cult you need to supply strong evidence. If you were able to identify specific ways in which your organization avoids falling into an affective death spiral [http://lesswrong.com/lw/lm/affective_death_spirals/], for example, I would be more inclined to take you seriously. The same would hold if you explained why your group is not a cult in a way more compelling than "but we're actually right!"
4Mitchell_Porter12yHi there yourself. I don't believe I've run across your website or mini-movement before. As some of your skeptical correspondents note, there is a very long prior history of people claiming enlightenment, liberation, transcendence of the self, and so forth. So even if one is sympathetic to such possibilities, one may reasonably question the judgment of "Richard" when he says that he thinks he is the first in history to achieve his particular flavor of liberation. This really is a mark against his wisdom. He would be far more plausible if he was saying, what I have was probably achieved by some of the many figures who came before me, and I am simply expressing a potentiality of the human spirit which exists in all times and places, but which may assume a different character according to the state of civilization and other factors. I will start by comparing him to U.G. Krishnamurti [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U._G._Krishnamurti]. For those who have heard of Jiddu Krishnamurti, the Indian man who at an early age was picked by the Theosophists as their world-teacher, only to reject the role - this is a different guy. J.K., despite his abandonment of a readymade guru role, did go on to become an "anti-guru guru", lecturing about the stopping of time, the need to think rather than rely on dead thought, et cetera, ad infinitum. U.G. is by comparison a curious minor figure. He lived quietly and out of the way, though he picked up a few fans by the end, apparently including a few Bollywood professionals. His schtick, first of all, is about negating the value of most forms of so-called spirituality. They seek a fictitious perpetual happiness and this activity, whether it is about anticipating a happy afterlife or striving in the here and now after a perfectly still mind, is what fills the lives of such people. He did not set up the ordinary, materialistically absorbed, emotionally driven life as a counter-ideal - he might agree with the gurus in their analysis of that
5JoshuaZ12yCalling something "Non-spiritual" doesn't make it not a religion. To use one obvious example, there are some evangelical Christians who say that they don't have a religion and aren't religious, but have a relationship with Jesus. Simply saying something isn't religious doesn't help matters. See that's not ok. Any LWer would explain to you that the human mind is terrible at introspection. Human cognitive biases and other issues make it almost impossible for humans to judge anything about our own cognitive structures. And to claim that t there are no experiments needed is to essentially adopt an anti-scientific viewpoint. You aren't going to convince anyone here of much while acting that way. Of course it is, because what you are describing sounds nearly identical to classical Eastern claims about enlightenment. As to the difference between "enlightenment" and "actual freedom" I don't see one. Of course, this might be the sort of thing where defining terms in detail would help, but you've explicitly refused to do so. Please go and read some of the major sequences, and maybe after you've done so, if you still feel a need to talk about this, you'll at least have the background necessary to understand why we consider this to be a waste of our time.
9WrongBot12yI'm sorry, but from the perspective of someone with no prior knowledge of Actual Freedom, you sound as though you're saying that there is a magical mental state that fixes every problem that evolution baked into the brain over hundreds of millions of years and that the only people who have ever successfully achieved this mental state in all of human history are the devoted followers of a particular charismatic leader who doesn't believe in last names. If you wish to distinguish yourself from people who are promoting cults, you need to not sound like someone promoting a cult.
7JoshuaZ12yOk. Wrongbot has already given you the standard reading list, but I'd like to address this specifically. The zeroth reason you've been voted down is that this comes across as spamming. No one likes to see a comment of apparently marginal relevance with lots of links to another website with minimal explanation. Moving on from that, how will the general LW reader respond when reading the above? Let me more or less summarize the thought processes. How do you define these three things? How do you know that they are everything? What is your experimental evidence? Ok. So now you've made some claim that sounds like the common dualist intuition is somehow due to genetics. That's plausibly true, but would need evidence. The claim that this form of dualism leads to "suffering" seems to be generic Buddhism. So now a testimonial of personal claims about enlightenment. That's going to go over real well with the empircists here. And now we get more testimonials, an explicit connection to Buddhism, and some undefined terms thrown in for good measure (what does it mean for someone to be "self-proclaimed Arahat"? If one doesn't know what an Arahat is then this means very little. If one is familiar with the term in Buddhist and Jainist beliefs then one isn't likely to see much of value in this claim). At this point, the LWer concludes that this message amounts to religious spam or close to that. Then the LWer gets annoyed that scanning this message took up time from their finite lifespan that could be spent in a way that creates more positive utility (whether reading an interesting scientific paper, thinking about the problem of Friendly AI, napping, or even just watching silly cats on Youtube). And then they express their annoyance by downvoting you.
5WrongBot12yWelcome to Less Wrong [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b9/introductory_thread/]. You may want to take a look at the articles listed on the LessWrong wiki page on religion [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Religion]; they may provide an understanding of why you are being downvoted.