toonalfrink

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Sunny's Shortform

It might be hard to take a normative stance, but if culture 1 makes you feel better AND leads to better results AND helps people individuate and makes adults out of them, then maybe it's just, y'know, better. Not "better" in the naive mistake-theorist assumption that there is such a thing as a moral truth, but "better" in the correct conflict-theorist assumption that it just suits you and me and we will exert our power to make it more widely adopted, for the sake of us and our enlightened ideals.

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

Case study: A simple algorithm for fixing motivation

So here I was, trying to read through an online course to learn about cloud computing, but I wasn't really absorbing any of it. No motivation.

Motives are a chain, ending in a terminal goal. Lack of motivation meant that my System 1 did not believe what I was doing would lead to achieving any terminal goal. The chain was broken.

So I traversed the chain to see which link was broken.

  • Why was I doing the online course? Because I want to become better at my job.
    • Do I still think doing the online course will make me better at my job? Yes I do.
    • Do I want to get better at my job? Nah, doesn't spark joy.
  • Why do I want to get better at my job? Because I want to get promoted.
    • Do I still think doing better will make me get promoted? Yes I do.
    • Do I want to get promoted? Nah, doesn't spark joy.
  • Why do I want to get promoted? Because (among other things) I want more influence on my environment, for example by having more money.
    • Do I still think promotion will give me more influence? Yes I do
    • Do I want more influence? Nah
  • Why do I want more influence (via money)? Because (among other things) I want to buy a house and do meetups, and live with close friends at the center of a vibrant community that helps people
    • Do I think more money will get me this house? Yes I do
    • Do I want to live with close friends at the center of a vibrant community that helps people? Well, usually yes, but today I kind of just want to go to the beach with my gf, and decompress.
  • Well okay, but most days you do want this thing.
  • Shit you're right, I do want to do this online course

And motivation was restored. Suddenly, I feel invigorated. To do the course, and to write this post.

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

Question for the Kegan levels folks: I've noticed that I tend to regress to level 3 if I enter new environments that I don't fully understand yet, and that this tends to cause mental issues because I don't always have the affirmative social environment that level 3 needs. Do you relate? How do you deal with this?

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

As someone who never came across religion before adulthood, I've been trying to figure it out. Some of it's claims seem pretty damn nonsensical, and yet some of it's adherents seem pretty damn well-adjusted and happy. The latter means there's gotta be some value in there.

The most important takeaway so far is that religious claims make much more sense if you interpret them as phenomenological claims. Claims about the mind. When buddhists talk about the 6 worlds, they talk about 6 states of mood. When christians talk about a covenant with god, they talk about sticking to some kind of mindset no matter what.

Back when this stuff was written, people didn't seem to distinguish between objective reality and subjective experience. The former is a modern invention. Either that, or this nuance has been lost in translation over the centuries.

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

As for being on ibogaine, a high dose isn't fun for sure, but microdoses are close to neutral and their therapeutic value makes them net positive

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

Have you tried opiates? You don't need to be in pain for it to make you feel great

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

Ibogaine seems to reset opiate withdrawal. There are many stories of people with 20 year old heroin addictions that are cured within one session.

If this is true, and there are no drawbacks, then we basically have access to wireheading. A happiness silver bullet. It would be the hack of the century. Distributing ibogaine + opiates would be the best known mental health intervention by orders of magnitude.

Of course, that's only if there are no unforeseen caveats. Still, why isn't everybody talking about this?

Paul Crowley's Shortform

Did Dominic Cummings in fact try a "Less Wrong approach" to policy making? If so, how did it fail, and how can we learn from it? (if not, ignore this)

Toon Alfrink's sketchpad

I did all the epistemic virtue. I rid myself of my ingroup bias. I ventured out on my own. I generated independent answers to everything. I went and understood the outgroup. I immersed myself in lots of cultures that win at something, and I've found useful extracts everywhere.

And now I'm alone. I don't fully relate to anyone in how I see the world, and it feels like the inferential distance between me and everyone else is ever increasing. I've lost motivation for deep friendships, it just doesn't seem compatible with learning new things about the world. That sense of belonging I got from LessWrong is gone too. There are a few things that LW/EA just doesn't understand well enough, and I haven't been able to get it across.

I don't think I can bridge this gap. Even if I can put things to words, they're too provisional and complicated to be worth delving into. Most of it isn't directly actionable. I can't really prove things yet.

I've considered going back. Is lonely dissent worth it? Is there an end to this tunnel?

Is competition good?

I don't recall, this is one of those concepts that you kind of assemble out of a bunch of conversations with people that already presuppose it

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