All of Sithlord_Bayesian's Comments + Replies

I agree that mixing politics and EA is potentially bad, especially if there's a partisan slant overall. This felt like a bad idea back when Rob Wiblin was posting to Facebook daily about how strategic efforts to stop Trump were competitive with standard EA charities. But it also feels like a bad idea to do what you've done in this post, as I know from your post history that you're reliably conservative, and notice that that's affected how I System-1-feel about what you've written here.

So: my gut feels the same about you pushing for these ideas as it feels ... (read more)

it's obvious by his tone and wording that he has other motives, and that these are obvious enough to enough people that I expect this to cause many people's guts to notice these motives and politically infect

How would you change this post to convey the same objections and points, but be less "infectious"?

I am prepared to take criticism into account and reword the article before it goes to the EA forum.

Lumifer being Lumifer at everyone

My condolences.

This is especially helpful! I think I developed the habit of washing my hands so much while working in an insufficiently safe chemistry lab, with lots of students who were less than safe.

You don't actually need clean hands until you start preparing food, so to say.

Hearing this does provide me with some needed system 1 verification that I'm allowed to be less paranoid. I treat myself as I must have clean hands for doing anything that won't get them dirty.

I've experimented with chaining various events, too, and that's a good strategy. One thing I might t... (read more)

here is some mushy emotional verification

Yes yes yes, you are the best LessWronger. Thanks for that, and hugs if you like. <3

I've noticed that I've become quite handicapped by the fact that I get weakly triggered by having to interact with things that aren't, but could plausibly be, dirty. This fear goes away once I wash my hands, but I've found that I'm wasting lots of time washing my hands, and that I've stopped e.g. gratitude journaling because I have to pick up a pen to journal, and the pen might be dirty and I'd have to wash my hands after, which hurts me because I seem to get lots out of gratitude journaling. I've also stopped drinking tea (which I enjoy) because, even tho... (read more)

You have OCD -- it's up to you to decide whether it screws up your life (="clinically significant") enough to go see a psych{ologist|iatrist} about it.

I have this but different!

It's not dirty - it's static electricity for me. Worked at a place that had carpet, and I had to work with poorly grounded cameras. Got zapped EVERY SINGLE DARN TIME.

Now I tend to pull my sleeve over my hand before touching something.

... You could try wearing gloves (there's fingerless gloves, if you get some thin ones, they can be for comfy winter use).

You could try chaining various events - e.g. "when do your hands need to be clean?" and then everything that is "eh" dirty is okay to handle for that time. So, ... (read more)

Can't you, at some points, try to avoid touching things directly, by using e.g. your sleeves? I do that on handles of public bathrooms. Unless you wouldn't consider that clean, either.
maybe you could dictate your notes? Though that would still require touching, for example, a phone screen.

It doesn't help your case that you're the main one posting in these threads. Just post in the bragging thread that's already posted monthly. Thanks.

Like pimgd, $3900 is a lot of money for me. Even if I'd get a discount to the CFAR workshop for being an EA, I might do just as well to continue studying materials from past CFAR workshops as I come across them, rather than attending a workshop in person.

I feel like I don't deserve a scholarship to CFAR, since I'm a fraud and a bad person (yes, I know, impostor syndrome). When people have bragged about getting scholarships to CFAR, though, I've felt sad, since I feel like I would have been honored, rather than proud, to accept such charity, if I were in th... (read more)

Regarding donating to CFAR, I have never donated because of potential benefits for myself, but rather because I want CFAR to exist and do what they do - create new rationality strategies and spread them to the people who attend their workshops. I think the people who attend their workshops have the potential to do a lot of good in the world, and the nonprofit part of CFAR's mission is to give discounts to people who they think will do particularly good things. Regarding studying past materials, from my personal experience attending a workshop, it just doesn't compare to the real thing. Regarding whether you deserve a scholarship, that's more up to CFAR staff to determine than you or I :-)

I have a rationalist/rationalist-adjacent friend who would love a book recommendation on how to be good at dating and relationships. Their specific scenario is that they already have a stable relationship, but they're relatively new to having relationships in general, and are looking for lots of general advice.

Since the sanity waterline here is pretty high, I though I'd ask if anyone had any recommendations or not. If not, I'll just point them to this LW post, though having a bit more material to read through might suit them well.


It's written from a Christian perspective, but "Things I wish I'd known before getting married" by Gary Chapman is extremely good: 90% level-headed good sense and 10% Christian moralizing. I recommend it for any new couple.
I like John Gottman's books. He has written several, any would be good. My favourite is "And Baby Makes Three." He is a therapist who studies married couples in a lab, and can see what works and what doesn't.
Rowland Miller, Intimate Relationships, 7th Ed.
A good book for a general overview is Mate: Become the Man Women Want by Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller. Geoffrey Miller is an evolutionary psychology professor and Tucker Max is famous for writing books about his politically incorrect sex stories. At the same time the focus of their book is on mutual benefitial interactions. They also have a podacst over at From the position of being new to realtionships it's also worthwhile to read about sex. Two good books are the Sex God Method by Daniel Rose and Slow Sex by Nicole Daedone. Both books provide very different perspectives. Daniel Rose comes from a PUA background. Nicole Daedone has a degree in Gender Communications and a more New Age background.

Everything in this chain of comments has now been proven true in my particular case. Thank you for the advice. This bit sums it up pretty well:

Instead of simply cutting contact you can tell your parents how you want to be treated. As long as they are willing to act that way you interact with them. If they don't then you don't and you retry after half a year.

Clearly explicitly communicating your personal boundaries isn't easy but it's a very important skill. It's a challenge that provides a lot of personal growth.

Thanks to everyone for the responses! I enjoyed reading everyone's comments, and this response in particular was very helpful.

In the spirit of asking personally important questions of LessWrong, here goes. Please be gentle with me.


Discussion post by another user on being raised by narcissists


My parent always had a number of narcissistic traits, but was never a full-blown narcissist. They (singular) supported me financially and always seemed to legitimately care about how well I was doing academically and professionally. However, they had a habit of lowering my status by verbally critiquing my actions, and sometimes made odd demands of me, such as ... (read more)

I can't lend you any specific advice here, but I'm pretty confident that this is an insane thing to even consider considering in the situation you describe.
I actually see this in my parent; when relating to their parent. My parent still talks to their parent regularly, a lifetime ~45+ years of critical treatment later. There are two concerns: 1. The world is a darker place with no parent at all. The day they are gone; is the day you wished you asked them for their advice on something more. (or that seems to be the sentiment from many) 2. you need to prioritise your happiness. The parent (while being their own person) wants the best for you. Unfortunately that might mean what is not best for that parent. I'd like to congratulate you for noticing the problem and identifying it. This step was not easy; but by doing so you make things entirely better from here on in. I believe there are several good solutions to this problem and several more mediocre or bad solutions. With puzzles that I personally encounter that involve the different perspectives of different people (which I find this problem to be - your perspective VS your parent's perspective); I find that they can sometimes be solved by folding the puzzle in on themselves. i.e. ask the person of problem (parent) to solve the puzzle for you by clearly sharing the perspective (sometimes via Socratic questioning). You are inside the problem but you can step outside and attack the problem from outside. (its not easy; but I offer my suggestion for you to try). A technique I would suggest for approaching the problem head on (if you choose to). Develop a spreadsheet, of interactions with the person. consider adding; * Date, time * Subject of the interaction * Either a rating of the interaction (1-10) or a simple scale (positive, negative, neutral) To do this is to generate evidence. With evidence you can pre-commit to an action given certain evidential findings. i.e. move far away if you find a 10 negative to 1 positive or worse ratio. The second benefit of evidence is it can assist in (as above) folding the problem on itself. By showing an en
Hello Sithlord_Bayesian. I’ve also been raised by a parent who was similar to what you described, and have navigated the issue to my liking. I hope what I have found to be a good way to analyze the situation proves useful for yours. First I might suggest not only considering two options. Might be a better third, in the “middle” somewhere. Now to address your first question; familial obligation. A lot of people start to treat the concept like it is selectively separate from where you in particular are feeling lacking, and end up with a floating belief that says you should stick with family no matter what. But, like your intuitions are pointing out to you, the concept does have real weight, through your interactions. You only need heed familial obligation as much as it is heeded by the other party. If you can take that and run with it, good for you. If you want a more thorough suggestion, the following is how I came to judge my own relationships. Second question is following, if tl;dr What is the net balance of interactions?; Here you can consider if you are better off, or not, as a whole. From your entry I suspect your parents feel like a net loss (You have my sympathies, I really hated this being a fact with me). You can also consider trying to isolate portions of the relationship you favor and avoiding situations that hurt. Shabby example being to not tell your parents when appointments are, if you could manage it, but watching movies as a family, if you can manage that. Which world-state concerning-your-family do you really ultimately wish for?; This can be hard, depending on how far away it is. What do you wish your relationship was like? At what point would you be satisfied? Sorta-satisfied? This is important (obviously), as you’ll see shortly. How do they fit in with this manipulation of yours?; I know you said they may not be capable of being directly involved in repair efforts (mine wasn’t), but it doesn’t have to be on the core of your issues. If they
If it is not a case of malice but incapability of realising what they are doing you might want to be on the lookout for chances to support their social development whereever possible. That is if you are in a interaction that is clearly hurtful to you but they don't seem to see it as hurtful it would be important to make seeing the hurtfulness as easy as possible. However this should be done in a manner that doesn't step on any triggers (ie being attacking/accusing about it won't likely get results). If it is only a "technical" matter that they simply don't understand some key social fact pointing it out should not be a big drama event. Think of pointing out to someone that they missed a minus sign. It's also easier to offer people alternative, potentially more effective, ways to get what they care about than to demand that they cease activities that get them what they want currently. It might feel silly to even having to talk about some basic things but if there is a need to talk about it then talking about it is likely to do good. The alternative on relying that people should get some social basics right on their own can leave you uncomfortably adapting to malfunction.
qsz's suggestion of doing it by stealth isn't bad. If you want to make it explicit, though: If (1) you are considering cutting off contact (near-)completely and (2) they have no idea that this might happen, it seems like an obvious first step would be to tell them that it might. "I don't know how aware you are of this, but it seems to me like you're for ever criticizing me, and you keep making these unreasonable demands. I am finding this unpleasant and difficult to cope with, and if it goes on then I think I'll have to stop communicating with you altogether. That would be an extreme step, and it would be better if we can avoid it, but I'll do it if the alternative is a constant stream of criticism and inappropriate demands. Please think about this, and let me know whether you think you can stop doing those things." Or something along those lines; I (mercifully) have no experience of negotiating with (semi-)abusive parents and have made no attempt to optimize the wording because I don't know what I should be optimizing for. If you think they really have no idea, perhaps the first step could be even smaller. "Look, I don't know if you're even aware of this, but it seems to me like you're constantly putting me down and making inappropriate demands. I'm 25 years old, and I really don't need you to accompany me to the doctor or keep me safe online any more. I'm finding it unpleasant, and I'm sure you don't want that. Could you please treat me as the adult I am, and stop doing those things?" Again, I make no claim that that's a good way to word it. But this lets you make sure they know (at least in theory) without anything they need perceive as a threat. Then, if they don't improve, your next escalation can begin with "You may remember that a few months ago I told you ..." which will give them less excuse to see it as unreasonable.

I was in a similar situation with my parents in my early 20s (although their motivations and characteristics were probably very different). Looking back I think they were not ready to deal with my independence (I was the oldest) and tried to deal with things in the same way they did when I was a child. Your mention of medical appointments really rang a bell with me - my parents did the same and this made me perhaps the most uncomfortable of all.

In my case, severely limiting contact was a highly successful approach. I didn't do this explicitly; we had no ... (read more)

Instead of simply cutting contact you can tell your parents how you want to be treated. As long as they are willing to act that way you interact with them. If they don't then you don't and you retry after half a year. Clearly explicitly communicating your personal boundaries isn't easy but it's a very important skill. It's a challenge that provides a lot of personal growth.
My first question is the social equivalent of asking whether you've turned your computer off and on again: Have you spoken with your parent about this? No matter how unpleasant it may be (turning my computer off and on again is a chore :P), it is a good first thought when it comes to interpersonal issues, and one I would highly suggest, especially as by your words they do not seem to be aware of how they're hurting you with their lack of trust. The answer to your questions depends mainly upon your values. How much do you value your family? How much do you value (close) non-members of your family? If the amount that you value each of those is similar, ask yourself instead if your obligation toward a friend would prevent you from breaking contact with them if they were (seemingly) toxic to you as your parent is. The obligation you have to maintain in touch with your parent depends mainly upon: how much you value them; how much you value those that would judge you poorly based upon your disownment of them; and how much of your identity is tied up in the situation. I find myself personally incapable of ending a somewhat toxic friendship with two people I care deeply about because it would be difficult for me to fathom not having their company at times, and I don't want to see myself as the kind of person that would be willing to abandon them for their issues. Regarding the complicating factor, there's a lot that would go into a cost-benefit analysis. How much do you value your happiness compared to what the small amount of money you contribute might do? How do you factor in how poorly the stress affects your health? You might get sick because of a compromised immune system because of how stressed you are. Or you might die five years younger, and your charity of choice would lose those years of income. Regardless, I don't think that it should factor too much into your decision, though that's more a personal belief than anything. Feel free to answer any of these quest
Some random thoughts: Narcissism is one of the "Cluster B" personality disorders. Other disorders have some similarities and some differences. (I don't even know if they are clearly separated in the territory. The psychological definitions keep changing.) So if there seems to be a serious issue, but it only partially fits the definition of narcissism, and partially it doesn't, maybe it is something else. My quick uneducated guess would be borderline personality disorder. If you are not sure what to do, maybe it would be better to not burn the bridges, only build clear fences. (You can still burn the bridges later if you decide to, but maybe with good fences it will not be necessary.) For example, move to your own place, and visit your parent once in a month, for an hour or two. Also decide which parts of your life you don't want to share with them, and simply don't talk about it. Maybe find a topic that is not painful for you, and always switch to that one (e.g. talk about work, or news, or latest science; don't talk about your health and relationships). Maybe this will work. Uhm, I think your decision should not be influenced by this. Solve your personal problems first, optimize the world later. (Having your personal problems unsolved will also harm your world-optimizing abilities.)

Taken. Thanks for putting in the effort to do the surveys. I noticed that the question on IQ calibration asked about "the probability that the IQ you gave earlier in the survey is greater than the IQ of over 50% of survey respondents", and I wondered if you meant to ask instead about (the probability that the IQ given earlier is greater than the reported IQ of over 50% of survey respondents). I recall that people tended to report absurdly high IQs in earlier surveys.

After reading this, I stuck a note saying "Be a vampire" to the front of my computer (which is my main source of procrastination).

Also, this post reminds me of the fact that being a hard sciences student is one of the things which helps me keep 'leveling up' on a regular basis, which is strong motivation to get me to do my coursework.

Sweet. Glad to hear it inspired you.

I suspect that the act of having children causes most people to care less about their own wellbeing, and more about the wellbeing of their children.

As thus, I intuitively find it a good idea for anyone reading this to sign up for cryonics before they have children (conditional on them already being interested in signing up), in case their desire to be cryopreserved dwindles after they have children of their own.

The values of physical constants are regularly outside of the expected interval by 3+ standard deviations. This goes on for decades.

Moral of the story: Visualize the ways you could be way off. Use outside views. Increase your error bars.

Does this refer to literature values of physical constants, or the values of physical constants as guessed at by participants of psych studies?

The former. I've edited to make it more clear. Thanks.

On the topic of how much it takes to save a QALY in the US:

"Most, but not all, decision makers in the United States will conclude that interventions that cost less than $50,000 to $60,000 per QALY gained are reasonably efficient. An example is screening for hypertension, which costs $27,519 per life-year gained in 40-year-old men.3, 8 For interventions that cost $60,000 to approximately $175,000 per QALY, certain decision makers may find the interventions sufficiently efficient; most others will not agree."

-from (read more)

So, you (Swimmer963) think of agenty people as being those who:

  1. Are reliable
  2. Are skilled (in areas you are less familiar with)
  3. Act deliberately, especially for their own interest

It is interesting that all three of these behaviors seem to be high status behaviors. So, my question is this: does high status make someone seem more agenty to you? Could sufficiently high status be a sufficient condition for someone being "agenty"?

Reliable/predictable isn't high status.

But as soon as I acknowledge an obligation to help people I have never met, there is nowhere I can stop and still feel decent.

For people who enjoy giving, there are ways to avoid or minimize these sorts of guilty feelings. For example, some religious folk (perhaps unwittingly) use tithing as a sort of a schelling fence to prevent themselves from feeling bad about not giving more.