Wiki Contributions


Lawful Creativity

This is reminding me of a book called Plain and Simple by a woman who spent some time as a guest in Amish Families. She found that she'd mistakenly believed that having lots of options was the right way to live, but the actual effect was that she wasn't making decisions. The revelation hit when she realized she actually wanted something in particular, and  ferociously re-decorated her kitchen in as somewhat Amish style. "Ferociously" seems like weirdly strong language, but she seemed surprised that she could really want something and go for it.

It's a smallish thing, but I think it's pointing at a pervasive modern error.

Algorithmic Intent: A Hansonian Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle

""Why didn't you tell him the truth? Were you afraid?"

"I'm not afraid. I chose not to tell him, because I anticipated negative consequences if I did so."

"What do you think 'fear' is, exactly?""

The possibly amusing thing is that I read it as being someone who thought fear was shameful and was therefore lying, or possibly lying to themself about not feeling fear. I wasn't expecting a discussion of p-zombies, though perhaps I should have been.

Does being strongly inhibited against knowing one's own emotions make one more like a p-zombie?

As for social inhibitions against denying what other people say about their motives, it's quite true that it can be socially corrosive to propose alternate motives for what people are doing, but I don't think your proposal will make things much worse.

We're already there. A lot of political discourse include assuming the worst about the other side's motivations.

Give it a google

Have a theory about why people can be reluctant to google. It may be excessively bitter.

To a large extent (especially for neurotypical people, though it seems to depend on the subject) learning is an unconscious process. The result is that people don't know how they learned and don't know how to teach. 

What's more, people are apt to want to just get things done and also apt to have punishment as an easy strategy. So they shame people for not knowing what they are supposed to have picked up somehow.

This means that googling indicates that you didn't know something already, so googling means getting past an emotional barrier.

That's certainly not the only thing that's going on. I think asking questions as socializing is a thing, and so is not realizing the amazing scope of what can be searched for. And for some of us, just being old enough that the habit of googling didn't get developed. 

I'm a frequent and pretty habitual googler, and I've mostly stopped calling it "living in the future".

The Schelling Choice is "Rabbit", not "Stag"

It seems to me this is getting into Social Safety Net territory. Elliott is cautious because he really has fewer resources. Would the group benefit if he's given more so he isn't running so close to the edge?

Pain is not the unit of Effort

Just to underline the fundamental question: if pain isn't a good metric (and I agree that it isn't) what is a good metric?

I'm recommending Bruce Frantzis' tai chi, qi gong, bagua etc. classes at

One of the fundamental principles is to put out reliable 70% effort-- this is enough to create progress without much chance of injury or burnout. Considerably less effort if you're sick or injured.

This is harder than it sounds, if you're from a culture which assumes that more effort = better results and is a sign of more virtue. 

Your effort level is what you can do that day. You aren't competing with yourself. You aren't expecting that you can make yourself do today what you could do yesterday. You may not be able to do as much with one side of your body as the other. Respect that. In fact, let the stronger side match the weaker side.

I tend to think of overvaluing effort as an American issue, but it appears in other cultures, too. Frantzis teaches water method-- the 70% approach-- but there's also fire method in Chinese tradition, which involves pursuing enlightenment or whatever with as much force as you can muster.

This sort of steady effort might be best for sports and qi gong, but it's my impression that high effort followed by relaxation is better for intellectual work.

When Money Is Abundant, Knowledge Is The Real Wealth

What have you been learning? How has it been working out for you?

Notes on Brainwashing & 'Cults'

Until I read this, I didn't realize there are different possible claims about the dangers of cults. One claim-- the one gwern is debunking-- is that cults are a large-scale danger, and practically anyone can be taken over by a cult.

The other less hyperbolic claim is that cults can seriously screw up people's lives, even if it's a smallish proportion of people. I still think that's true.

A Personal (Interim) COVID-19 Postmortem

As I understand it, the purpose of a ventilator is to make up for a person's inability to move sufficient air in and out of their lungs, but it assumes that the lungs, if given air, don't have a problem with getting oxygen into the bloodstream.

A Personal (Interim) COVID-19 Postmortem

Tell me about more of the things expers weren't talking about.

Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020

" In 2017, a federal court, the U.S. Southern District Court of New York, sided with Elsevier and ruled Sci-Hub should stop operating and pay $15 million in damages. In a similar lawsuit, the American Chemistry Society won a case against Elbakyan and the right to demand another $4.8 million in damages.   

In addition, both courts effectively prohibited any U.S. company from facilitating Sci-Hub’s work. Elbakyan had to migrate the website from its early .org domain, and the U.S.-based online payment services are no longer an option for her. She can no longer use Cloudflare, a service that protects websites from denial-of-service attacks, she said. "

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