Wiki Contributions


"Beliefs shoulder the burden of having to reflect the territory, while emotions don't."

This is how I have come to think of beliefs. It's like refactoring code. You should do it when you spot regularities you can eke efficiency out of. But you should do this only if it does not make the code unwieldy or unnatural, and only if it does not make the code fragile. Beliefs should be the same thing. When your rules of thumb seem to respect some regularity in reality, I'm perfectly happy to call that "truth". So long as that does not break my tools.

"Beliefs shoulder the burden of having to reflect the territory, while emotions don't." Superb point that. And thanks for the links.

Good point about beliefs possibly only "feeling" useful. But that applies to accuracy as well. Privileging accuracy can also lead you to overstate its usefulness. In fact, I find it's often better to not even have beliefs at all. Rather than trying to contort my beliefs to be useful, a bunch of non map-based heuristics gets the job done handily. Remember, the map-territory distinction is itself but a useful meta-heuristic.

Why not both useful beliefs and useful emotions?

Why privilege beliefs?

I don't think we have got the right explanation for our epiphany addiction here. We are "addicted" to epiphanies because that is what our community rewards its members. Even if the sport is ostensibly about optimizing one's life, the actual sport is to come up with clever insights into how to optimize one's life. The incentive structure is all wrong. The problem ultimately comes down to us being rewarded more status for coming up with and understanding epiphanies than for such epiphanies having a positive impact on our lives.

No problem. I'm here for the entire summer. You may choose to contact myself closer to time and we'll organize a meetup then.

Hi. I will attend! I also wish to apologize for not having had the strength and courage to persist in organizing this meetup past the time it went fallow :P

Ok got it, thanks.

Hi. First of all thanks for the immensely helpful summary of the literature!

Since you have gone through so much of the literature, I was wondering if you have come across any theories about the functional role of happiness?

I'm currently only aware of Kaj Sotala's post some time ago about how happiness regulates risk-taking. I personally think happiness does this because risk-taking is socially advantageous for high status folks. The theory is that happiness is basically a behavioural strategy pursued by those who have high status. As in, happiness is performed, not pursued. Depression and anxiety would be the opposite of happiness. I remember some studies showing how in primates the low status ones exhibit depression-like and anxious behavior.

It may simply be my ignorance of the literature, but it seems strange that all these (otherwise wonderful) empirical investigations into happiness are motivated only by a common folk theory of its function.

Hi, thanks for linking to your post here. It seems relevant to what I tweeted. But please help me understand what you are saying here. I think I'm having trouble at "Subgroups form that may value intentional suppression of their former values". Why would they value suppression of former values?

I'm guessing you're trying to say that subgroups will find their aesthetic more interesting because they experience their aesthetic as providing greater improvement in compressibility given preexisting inculcation in that aesthetic?

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