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When talking about the impacts of complex systems, it is useful to pick one that people know, so as to not have to spend a whole lot of words giving background explanation.

I could not think of an example to use for this that was not at all political. I do not think it being slightly political outweighs the value of the description.

Do you prefer only examining elements on a small enough scale that you can get close to perfection in comfort and lack of error (what margin of error is acceptable to you since perfection is generally not actually achievable?), or do you prefer to consider some things that are uncomfortable if there might be a high pay off in return for examining these areas that may be useful for improving your rationality skills?

Okay, so FDA is one step removed, and is reviewing the research rather than doing it themselves.


  • Its a large time and energy investment to word a post in a way that does not get shredded in this environment
  • I don't tend to receive much in the way of positive feedback or appreciation for doing it
  • I will almost certainly receive a lot in the way of negative feedback regardless - potentially quite a lot


  • I might be able to share something with someone else that creates value for them
  • Having a reasonable reputation in the community could be good for my business
  • I might receive some positive reinforcement

I ended up deciding to do a rewrite of one of the fundamental underlying principles of this post into a new post, which is almost done. It has been something that has been many hours of work. A lot more work than I had anticipated to get the post up to snuff where I think it is less likely to get shot down than this original post.

The amount of work it took to get to a point where it might be acceptable to LWers is unlikely to be balanced by the pros, so I am leaning toward it being my last post, although I am very open to having my utility function show me otherwise.

Can you use different words to describe what you are trying to say here? I don't understand but would like to.

I am glad that I didn't realize that people could still reply to the post after I deleted it, since its nice receiving the last responses quite a bit later after I am no longer triggered by the initial general response.

I think the reason that my writing is coming off to you this way is that I have moved into a very different mental space than the Less Wrong community, and forgot the degree to which I needed to tune my thinking/writing for Less Wrongers to understand/appreciate my messages.

Less Wrongers are used to talking to people who think and speak in the way that people think and speak on this site. I don't read Less Wrong personally, only post to it. I've read some of the sequences, and I have spent years speaking in person on a regular basis with many high profile Less Wrongers, but the way in which people read and write on the blog is kind of like a foreign language to me, which I am currently rusty at.

Likewise with the cultural expectations about what I should be delivering and how.

I'm considering attempting a rewrite, but not sure if I want to or not. What would my incentive be to do so? So far I have received contempt and criticism for my attempt to communicate what I consider to be some very useful principles. Why should I keep trying?

In order to get it right, I need to wrap my head around the Less Wrong way of thinking again, and figure out how to translate everything I'm saying into something that people on this site will understand. That is quite a lot of work. I really hate this culture of tearing things apart when you don't understand rather than asking questions and being curious about what signal the author is attempting to send. I'm genuinely not sure if I want to engage it again or not.

Please let me know if what I just wrote makes sense to you. If it does, perhaps this comment might be good as a start for making a second attempt at communication - I think I articulated what I was trying to say better here than before.

Yes. I do see a huge difference between appropriate faith and blind faith.

It is my opinion that everyone functions based on faith far more than we acknowledge. That much of what we believe we have evidence for is actually based on quite flimsy chains of reasoning, that have lower and lower probability of being true with each subsequent link from the evidence we are supposedly basing the chains on.

It is also my opinion that this is pretty much unavoidable in order to function in the world, and that you pretty much have to function on a faith based system. Even a scientist who understands things at a fundamental level in one area is still probably accepting the world as she knows it based on faith in the majority of cases in her life.

So, it is my opinion that a key first step in being rational is to acknowledge that you have a faith based system, and then to optimize that system based on the acknowledged reality of what it actually is.

Hi Richard,

I just saw this, sorry about the delay in response.

Yes, I was surprised by the response, because my assumptions about other people's assumptions were wrong in this case.

I do of course understand that no one else has the same mental model I do - my mistake was in that I did not model correctly quite how different my mental models are from the majority of Less Wrong readers on this topic.

Given the hostility of the responses I received in response to my attempt to share something I find valuable, I'm really not inclined to keep going.

Yes, I did make a mistake, but I do not feel an obligation to keep paying and paying for it to ungrateful people... why would I want to teach them anything?

It is work to better articulate - to figure out what the difference is between our models and be able to name it in a way that the group can understand.

I do not feel that I have adequate reason at this point in time to make that investment of my time and energy, when the only payment is contempt and ridicule.

A certain type of self hacking. I added a summary, does it help?

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