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Rationality Quotes August 2014

My interpretation of the quote was not that language exerts a trivial influence on our consciousness but that language is an imperfect form of communication.

Memory is Everything

That might be true in reality but in the hypothetical for omega to completely erase the event from both your conscious and subconscience

Rationality Quotes August 2014

Language exists only on the surface of our consciousness. The great human struggles are played out in silence and in the ability to express oneself.

Franz Xavier Kroetz

3rule_and_line7yCould you give this some more context? My reaction was to downvote. The word "only" gives me vibes like "language exerts a trivial or insignificant influence on our consciousness". I don't know any of Kroetz's plays, but given that he is a playwright I feel like I'm getting the wrong vibe.
Rationality Quotes August 2014

Thank you for finding the source (I read it in a book and was to lazy to fact check it).

Rationality Quotes August 2014

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.

Albert Einstein

I don't suppose you have a source for the quote? (at this point, my default is to disbelieve any attribution of a quote unknown to me to Einstein)

Truth vs Utility

Yes but as stated above if there is superintelligent being capable of making perfect stimulations of reality than the Copernican Principle states that the probability of our "reality" not being a stimulation is extremely low If thats the case it would be obvious to choose Option 1, it being the stimulation that yields you the most utility

0RichardKennaway7yIf that's the case it would be obvious (to me) to choose Option 2 and ask a question with a view to determining if this is a simulation and if so how to get out of it. But I think you're just putting a hand on the scales here. In the OP you wrote that a perfect simulation is "reality for" the people living in it. There is no such thing as "reality for", only "reality". Their simulation is still a simulation. They just do not know it. If I believe the Earth is flat, is a flat Earth "my reality"? No, it is my error, whether I ever discover it or not.
Truth vs Utility

Interesting interpretation of my scenario. I don't know about other people but I personally wouldn't mind being a paperclip in paperclippium if meant realizing infinite utility potential (assuming paperclips are conscious and have sensory experience of course).

Keeping in mind that the questions such as the below would be part of the hilariously meta above question:

"Exactly, in full detail without compression and to the full extent of time, what would all of my current and potentially new senses experience like if I took the simulation in Option ... (read more)

Truth vs Utility

That's not quite the question I am trying to convey with my conundrum. What I wanted Option 1 and Option 2 to represent is a hypothetical conflict in which you must choose between maximizing your utility potential at the cost of living in simulation or maximizing your knowledge of the truth in this reality. My point with in sharing this scenario did not have anything to do with the probability of such a scenario occurring. Now, everybody is free to interpret my scenario any way they like but I just wanted to explain what I had in mind. Thank you for your criticism and ideas. By the way.

An EPub of Eliezer's blog posts

Thank you so much. Very useful.

Rationality Quotes August 2014

I interpreted it to mean not to believe information simply because you hold the source of the information in high regard. It is very possible to change your mind and keep within your own reason and common sense.

Rationality Quotes August 2014

The impression I got is more that Slytherin adepts believe that human ideals such as justice, fairness, equality, and talent distort reality because they rely on the assumption that humans hold a special place in the universe which Slytherin adepts believe not to be true.

1hairyfigment7yYes to both this and the grandparent - though in principle, a Slytherin might try to produce an environment where those ideals make sense, out of personal preference.
Rationality Quotes August 2014

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.

-Isaac Asimov

7hairyfigment7yDuplicate [].
Rationality Quotes August 2014

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and common sense.


4wedrifid7yThis is the first time I've been prompted to advocate the merit of this related quote [].
4Lumifer7yIsn't that, pretty much, a classic description of confirmation bias?
2Stabilizer7yThat one's a misquote []. The original is: Not exactly a rationality quote, is it? Here [] is another famous misquote of the same passage.
1TheMajor7yYou mean never really change your mind? Sounds kinda dumb... If the last half had said "own reason or common sense" all would be fine, I think.
Outside the Laboratory

This article reminds me of a question one of my favorite teachers asked his classes. Are you learning to enrich your life or to avoid pain? What he wanted us students to question was our motivations for sitting in his class and taking notes and memorizing curriculum. Was it because we wanted to do what society tells us we need to do (get good grades, go to college, make a lot of money) or because we genuinely wanted to learn? Obviously the answer for the vast majority of student is the former. The same could be said of the scientists who operate differentl... (read more)

How to Beat Procrastination

Great article. One statement that really caught my eye was the reccomendation to not clutter your life. That's exactly how I would describe my life at this point. Cluttered. If anybody was any advice on how to declutter and refocus your life that would be greatly appreciated.

Open thread, July 28 - August 3, 2014

"Memory is the framework of reality" This quote just popped into my head recently and I can't stop thinking about it.

5NancyLebovitz7yOr... Memory is the framework of "reality". Damn, now I want quote-marks with percentages attached.
Open thread, July 21-27, 2014

While Bridge still relies somewhat on luck it is my opinion mainly skill-based.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Thank you I'm just trying to learn all I can.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Thank you for the clear and informative reply.

You Are Likely To Be Eaten By A Grue

I think luminosity is very important as making conscious and self aware decisions instead of simply responding to external stimuli mindlessly is what seperates humans from being a very complex robot. The more conscious we are the better decisions we can make as we can analyze our thought processes and eliminate biases and emotional flaws in our thinking. In my opinion, consciousness and rationality are directly proportional in humans. In short, any human who wants to become a more rational thinker would be well advised to take steps to increase their consciousness or luminosity if you want to call it that. That is certainly what I am trying to do. Great series by the way.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Thank you for the recommendations I will be sure to check them out.

0iarwain18yOh yes, and check out
Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Wow thank you for the awesome reply. If all the people in the Less Wrong community are as friendly and as knowledgeable as you are then I have obviously joined the right site. You were right I was talking about Roko's Basilisk and since it is okay to mention it, here is the article that introduced me to this site if anyone is interested. I will definitely check out the Sequences in addition to the articles you suggested. There is so much interesting information on this site that it is hard to know where to start. One question I do have is what exactly is ... (read more)

-1[anonymous]8yTDT just augments CDT by saying that running two copies of the same algorithm with the same input will always yield the same result.
3ESRogs8yJust wanted to say you're off to a great start posting to LW -- asking very good questions! (Also, please break posts like this into more than one paragraph.)
5Tyrrell_McAllister8yIf you want to get a handle on the "Less Wrong" approach to decision theory, I'd recommend starting with Wei Dai's Updateless Decision Theory (UDT) rather than with Timeless Decision Theory (TDT). The basic mathematical outline of UDT is more straightforward, so you will be up and running quicker. Wei's posts introducing UDT are here [] and here [] . I wrote a brief write-up [] that just gives a precise description of UDT without any motivation, justification, or examples.
3polymathwannabe8yOne of the main functions of a good decision theory is to bridge the territory-map divide: by solving problems in your head, it shows you how to solve problems in the real world. You can identify a good decision theory when it works in theory and in practice. If a decision theory seems to work in practice, but is not describable in a precise language (e.g. "do what feels good"), it actually hasn't been well thought out and puts you at risk of being paralyzed when a very serious and very complex situation arises. On the other hand, if it only works in theory but is impracticable (e.g. "pray to Minerva for an omen"), it will be a waste of storage space in your head. In short, a decision theory should serve as a tool for you to manage your life.

What is the importance of finding a perfect decision theory?

Three motivations are common around here:

  1. Building a Friendly AI that is based on decision theory.
  2. Understanding what ideal rationality looks like, so we have a better idea of what to aim for as far as improving our own rationality.
  3. Curiosity. If we knew what the perfect decision theory was, many philosophical questions may be answered or would be closer to being answered.

For some relevant posts, see 1 and 2.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Thank you for the reply. I will be sure to read these articles.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Hello, I am Jay, a 16 year old incoming High School Senior (I skipped a grade if anyone cares). The way I came across this site was through reading an article about a certain thought experiment I don't want to mention because I don't want to piss anyone off in my first post (If anyone knows what I'm talking about is mentioning that thought experiment on Less Wrong still banned because I do find it very interesting). Anyway, what drew me to this site was the quest for answers. I have been seeking and contemplating what the answers to life, the universe, an... (read more)


Hello, and welcome to LessWrong! If improving is important to you, as it sounds, then I'm sure you will find this site quite useful.

First off, I'm pretty sure you're speaking of Roko's Basilisk. As far as I am aware, the ban on the basilisk has diminished/dissolved in light of a.) the Streisand effect that made further attempts to ban it just more fuel for the fire and b.) the fact that the issue is quite thoroughly solved and no longer very dangerous except in terms of misconceptions (see Streisand effect above). It is still a sore issue. Partly because ... (read more)

2iarwain18yWelcome! I don't know so much about reading materials for finding purpose, but as an intro to rationality: * I happen to like Benito's version [] of how to read the Sequences [], but other people like other formats, and some don't like the Sequences too much at all (the writing style doesn't work for some). * CFAR's reading list [], and maybe their videos []; you can also maybe see if you can get into SPARC []
5James_Miller8yAlthough neither of these articles is on LessWrong, they reflect the core moral values of many LW members. Astronomical Waste [] Consequentalism FAQ []