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Next time, would anyone like to carpool from Flagstaff?


I've only posted a few times. I'm still learning, and I still feel quite overawed here, mostly because of my respect for this community and because I don't want my image tarnished before I start regularly posting.

Introduction to the CTMU

Yeah, I know what it looks like: meta-physical rubbish. But my dilemma is that Chris Langan is the smartest known living man, which makes it really hard for me to shrug the CTMU off as nonsense. Also, from what I skimmed, it looks like a much deeper examination of reductionism and strange loops, which are ideas that I hold to dearly.

I've read and understand the sequences, though I'm not familiar enough with them to use them without a rationalist context.

Thank you, I'll be seeing you around :) .

Anyway, I have been thinking of starting my year off by reading Chris Langan's CTMU, but I haven't seen anything written about it here or on OB. And I am very wary of what I put into my brain (including LSD :P).

Any opinions on the CTMU?


Call me Thomas. I am 22. The strongest force directing my life can be called an extreme phobia of disorder. I came across overcoming bias and Eliezer Yudkowsky's writings, around the same time, in high school, shortly after reading GEB and The Singularity Is Near.

The experience was not a revelation but a relief. I am completely sane! Being here is solace. The information here is mostly systematized, which has greatly helped to organize my thoughts on rationality and has saved me a great amount of time.

I am good at tricking people into thinking I am smart, which you guys can easily catch. And I care about how you guys will perceive me, which means that I have to work hard if I want to be a valuable contributor. Something I am not used to (working hard), since I do good enough work with minimal effort.

My greatest vices are romantic literature, smooth language, and flowery writing. From Roman de la Rose, to The Knight's Tale, to Paradise Lost, to One Hundred Years of Solitude. That crap is like candy to me.

Bad music repulses me. I get anxious and irritable and will probably throw a fit if I don't get away from the music. Anything meticulous, or tedious, will make me antsy and shaky. Bad writing also has the same effect on me. Though, I am punctilious. There's a difference.

My favorite band it Circulatory System, which speaks directly to my joys and fears and hopes. If you haven't listened to them, I highly recommend you do so. The band name means "Human." It is about what is means to be us, about the circular nature of our sentience, and about the circles drawn in history with every new generation.

I have opted out of college. I do not learn well in lectures. They are too slow, tedious, and meticulous. Books hold my attention better.

My biggest mistake? In school, never practicing retaining information. I do not have my months memorized and my vocabulary is terrible. It was much funner to use my intelligence to "get the grade" than it was to memorize information. Now, this is biting me on the butt. I need to start practicing memorizing stuff.

I am currently in a good situation. My mom got a job far from her house, and she has farm animals. I made a deal with her, where I watch her house and the animals for free if she lets me stay there. I will be in this position for at least another year.

I have enough web design skills to be useful to web design firms, which brings me my income. I am also a hobbyist programmer, though not good enough yet to turn that skill into money.

I want to teach people to be more rational; that's what I want to do with my life. I am far from being the writer I want to be, and I have not yet made my ideas congruent and clear.

Anybody with good recommendations on how to best spend this year?


I concede that the quote was inappropriate.

Marriage is not merely, primarily or even credibly understood to be a protection for society with the object of reproducing of that same society.

This pertains to the part of the quote that I don't care too much about and don't have much of an opinion on.

The thing that I found most valuable in the phrase was this: "reproducing itself through generations," in the discussion of a nation. It's something that I've tried to say before, but it came out very clumsy. So, seeing something similar to what I've been trying to say, written, was great. I'm sure you've had the experience before.

Anyway, now I feel really silly putting that quote up. Please understand that I'm likely much younger than you and am just now getting my feet wet with rationality. Thank you for the discourse and I'll see you around.

Or maybe it's what a genius would say after emerging from the "existential labyrinth," the main theme of The Labyrinth of Solitude.

Here is Jostein Gaarder's response to your response:

Only philosophers embark on this perilous expedition to the outermost reaches of language and existence. Some of them fall off, but others cling on desperately and yell at the people nestling deep in the snug softness, stuffing themselves with delicious food and drink. 'Ladies and Gentlemen,' they yell, 'we are floating in space!' But none of the people down there care.

The condition of solitude is not imaginary; though, Octavio Paz, being a poet, sensationalizes it well. It's a condition that has, at the very least, lightly touched every human. And it is a condition that has spun many great people into the deepest kind of angst.

Communication is a major human bottleneck, and Octavio Paz laments this. Our input/output capabilities are severely restricting, considering everything that goes on in our minds. Our methods of communication aren't very effective.

I find Octavio Paz's quote interesting in light of transhumanism.

I can't give an opinion on the surrounding context of that phrase. However, I really liked the phrase because it is eloquent.

I am having a hard time seeing how the premise of that phrase is bogus; the phrase, on its own, is a description of the process of society reproducing itself through generations. The phrase, on its own, has nothing to say about the device, or "protection," that does this.

It's fascinating that nations can stay around with the same name and substance even though the original founders have long died. Now, isn't "a mere protection for society with no other object but the reproducing of that same society" a good phrase for boxing up that fascination and making it wonderfully palpable?

Of course, the phrase would have to be modified to exist on its own. But for now, I am happy that I have it under my belt.

*E: Reading the phrase again, I can see that there may be cause for objection saying that the "protection" has only a single use. Is this what you find bogus?

The stability of the family depends on marriage, which becomes a mere protection for society with no other object but the reproducing of that same society. Hence marriage is by nature profoundly conservative. To attack it is to attack the very bases of society.

-- Octavio Paz, The labyrinth of Solitude

Italicized emphases mine. I really liked that phrase.

All men, at some moment in their lives, feel themselves to be alone. And they are. To live is to be separated from what we were in order to approach what we are going to be in the mysterious future. Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature -- if that word can be used in reference to man, who has "invented" himself by saying "No" to nature -- consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.

-- Octavio Paz, The labyrinth of Solitude

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