Qiaochu_Yuan

Trialing for the machine learning living library position at MIRI and occasional volunteer instructor and mentor at CFAR.

Qiaochu_Yuan's Comments

Book summary: Unlocking the Emotional Brain
The only part of these processes that actually requires real-time interaction is getting people over what I call their "meta-issue" -- the schema they have that gets in the way of being able to reflect on their issues.
For example, I've had clients who had what you might call a "be a good student" schema that keeps them from accurately reporting their emotions, responses, or progress in applying a reconsolidation technique. Others who would deflect and deny ever having any negative experiences or even any problems, despite having just asked me for help with same. These kinds of meta-issues are the hardest and most time-consuming part of getting someone ready to change.

Oof, yeah, this resonates a lot with experiences I've been having with myself and others the last few months, since coming out of a workshop on the bio-emotive framework. There are towers of meta-issues, meta-issues that prevent themselves from being looked at... what a mess.

In retrospect this illuminates something for me about the CFAR workshop and its techniques - a pattern I ran into for years was that I gradually became averse to every single CFAR technique I tried, so I never used them on my own, and I don't think I'm alone in that. I think - and this is deeply ironic - that the CFAR techniques as a whole never went meta enough to catch "meta-issues," not in any really systematic way.

Building up to an Internal Family Systems model

Wow, thank you for writing this. This really clarified something for me that I'm in the process of digesting.

Subagents, trauma and rationality

I just got around to reading this; thank you for writing it!

I hadn't thought much about the role of memory in trauma and emotional stuff until pretty recently, possibly based on some kind of present-moment-experience-focused thing I inherited from circling culture. But my experiences using the bio-emotive framework were memory-based in a really important way, and reading this helped something click into place for me about integration being literally integration of memory networks, parts as memory networks, etc.

Using bio-emotive to examine the relationship between an emotional reaction I'm having now and a related memory has given the phrase "being present" a meaning it didn't have for me before; often when we aren't present it's because we're in a real sense in the past, possibly way back in the past depending on what memories are being activated.

How to find a lost phone with dead battery, using Google Location History Takeout

Google Activity History is sort of terrifying but also great. I used it when someone stole my laptop to learn that the thief had googled pawn shops in the area; I contacted one of the pawn shops they looked up and a bit later they called me telling me someone had brought in a laptop matching my description. They lied to her and told her they needed to process the laptop for a few hours and she needed to come back, and in that time the police were called, she was arrested, and I got my laptop back the same day it was stolen.

The Relationship Between the Village and the Mission

I've been getting a fair number of requests on Facebook for the doc (esp. from community organizers, which I appreciate), and response has been pretty positive. That plus a few other things have me more inclined to write a public draft, but still a little wary of making promises yet.

The Relationship Between the Village and the Mission

Here is my brain dump: I have mostly given up on the Berkeley rationality community as a possible village. I think the people who showed up here were mostly selected for being bad at villaging, and that the awful shit that's been happening around here lately is downstream of that. I think there is something toxic / dysfunctional woven deep into the community fabric (which has something to do with the ways in which the Mission interacts poorly with people's psychologies) and I don't feel very hopeful about even being able to show it clearly to half of the community, let alone doing anything about it.

In February I wrote a 20-page Google Doc describing what I think is wrong with Berkeley in more detail, which I've shared with some of you but don't plan to make public. (Message me on Facebook if you'd like to request access to a PDF of it; I might not say yes, though.) I'd like to get around to writing a second public draft but again, I've been feeling less hopeful, so... we'll see.

The Hard Work of Translation (Buddhism)

I upvoted this because it gave me some concepts to use to look at some experiences I've had. The speculations at the level of physical mechanism aren't really cruxes for me so I mostly don't care about them, and same with facts of the matter about what any particular Pali text actually says. What's interesting to me is what Romeo gets out of a combination of reading them and reflecting on his own experience, that might be relevant to me reflecting on my own experience.

Why should I believe any of this?

Gut reaction to this question is that it's the wrong question. I don't view this post as telling you anything you're supposed to believe on Romeo's word.

How do people become ambitious?

It's goodharting from the point of view of natural selection's values but it doesn't have to be goodharting from the point of view of your values. We can enjoy art even if art is in some sense goodharting on e.g. being in beautiful places or whatever.

The Hard Work of Translation (Buddhism)

This is fantastic and absolutely the conversation I want to be having. Resonates quite a lot with my experience, especially as a description of what it is exactly that I got out of circling.

In your language circling naturally stirs up sankharas because relational shit is happening (e.g. people are paying attention to you or ignoring you, liking or disliking what you say, etc) and then hopefully, if the circle is being well-facilitated, you sometimes get coached into a state where you can notice and work with your "causal links in the perceptual system between physical sensations, feelings, and mental reactions," e.g. by the facilitator remaining very calm and holding space, then gently pointing out their observations about your causal links, that kind of thing. Unfortunately with less skilled facilitation this doesn't happen and shit just gets stirred up and not resolved; worst case people get retraumatized.

Very excited to talk to you more about this.

How do people become ambitious?

Yeah, I agree that at the earlier stages it's not clear that ambition is a thing to aim for, and I would also advise people to prioritize health broadly.

I agree that encouragement and guidance is good, and more generally think that mentorship is really, really deeply important. I am not about this "individual rationality" life anymore. It's group rationality or nothing.

Load More