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Open & Welcome Thread - July 2020

Hello everyone. I joined the site a few months ago with a view to be part of a community that engages in thoughtful discussions about everything under the sun ( and beyond ).

I’ve enjoyed various posts so far and I'm trying to get through the Core Reading.

My username ( Skrot_Nisse) essentially means “ Junk/scrap dealer" referring to a stop-motion puppetry type animation series ( 1973-1983) I watched as a child growing up in Sweden.

I hope the "scrap dealer " username on this site doesn't lead to unintended offence. I've found mostly gems on this site.

How did I come to know about Lesswrong? I’m afraid it was something low brow as a story about how Elon Musk met his current girlfriend and their bonding over the pun: Rococo’s Basilisk. I will say no more.

Whilst I find the topic of AI alignment interesting I don’t think I have the intellectual capacity compared to a ? majority of this site’s members ( ?average IQ 140) to contribute anything meaningful to that discussion. I will certainly restrict any further links to puppet -stop-motion animation from the 70’s -80’s to other forums instead.

(However I am currently embarking on N-back brain training ( , many thanks to Gwern ( for introducing me to this concept , which might make me a tad brainier =) )

I have a yearning to be able to see the world as it is. I think reading through the Sequences and following discussions on this site will help me in that endeavour.

I was hoping to post on a topic related to what constitutes "The self". Is it a given in the rationalist community that the idea of the self is an illusion? Are we essentially a brain in a vat ( or a brain in a skull ) ? A mind-body organism that evolved consciousness and an ego that has a need to go about in the world and "achieve things " ? Is there a deeper truth in "Self-Realisation"/ "Enlightenment" traditions that point to attaining insights regarding attachment to /illusion of the self.

I hope to re-read the posts on Kensho and non mystical explanations of insight meditation and engage in further discussion to gain a better understanding of this topic.

I hope you are all keeping well during the current pandemic. I'm interested to know what you might be reading this weekend? I'll be tackling Rationality A-Z and One hundred Years of Solitude