Troshen

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Post ridiculous munchkin ideas!

I would also be interested in hearing more about your take on financial planning.

Rationality is Systematized Winning

I'm not sure if it's better, but here's one that works well. Similar to the phrase, "Physician, heal thyself!" another way to say rationalists should win is to say, "Rationalist, improve thyself!"

If you aren't actually improving yourself and the world around you, then you aren't using the tools of rationality correctly. And it follows that to improve the world around you, you first have to be in a position to do so by doing the same to yourself.

Need some psychology advice

If It seemed like I meant he should ditch her and move on, I apologize.

My main point was basically "what would future me say to past me when I felt that way?" And that most definitely is "Don't worry, it'll work out." Because that's the best advice of all.

It'll either work out positively in which case you'll have a good relationship, or it'll work out negatively in which case you'll have some good memories and some hard lessons learned for next time. And if you can think of those let downs as one more layer of thicker skin to help you not worry about them, you'll be better off.

I know it doesn't seem that way now, but there really is nothing to worry about.

Need some psychology advice

From personal experience the best advice is to date a lot and get hurt a lot and build up a thick enough skin to where you don't care anymore about the rejections.

Worrying about the rejection will only make rejection more likely.

Act as if you are a confident person, then other people think you are confident, and you'll become more confident. While of course actually trying to do things to actually become more capable too, since that improves your confidence as well.

The other ideas here also are good techniques too, but what I found is that when I had been burned enough to stop caring about rejection was when I suddenly became successful at dating. The main thing that had changed was not worrying about it.

A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

I think we're heading off-topic with this one, and I'd like to continue the discussion and focus it on space, not just whether to reveal or keep secrets.

So I started this thread: http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/gsv/asteroids_and_spaceships_are_kinetic_bombs_and/

A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

This is a good discussion of the trade-offs that should be considered when deciding to reveal or keep secret new, dangerous technologies.

A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

"So anyone interested making war less lethal would be well advised to focus on spreading tolerant ideologies rather than worrying about weapon technology."

This is actually one of the major purposes that Christians have had in doing missionary work - to spread tolerance and reduce violence. I assume it's happened in other religions too. For example, the rules of chivalry in the middle ages were an attempt to moderate the violence and abuses of the warriors.

A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

This is an extremely important point. Historically it might take a long time, if ever, for someone else to come to a similar discovery that you just made. For example, Leonardo's submarines. But that was when only a tiny fraction of humanity devoted time to experiments. His decision to hide his invention kicked the can of secret attacks by submarines many years down the road and may have saved many lives. (I'm not so sure - leaders who wanted wars I'm sure found other secret plots and strategems, but at least he exercised his agency to not be the father of them)

But things are different now. You can be practically guaranteed that if you are working on something, someone else in the world is working on it too, or will be soon. Being at a certain place and time in your industry puts you in a position to see the possible next steps, and you aren't alone.

If you see something dangerous that others don't, the best bet is to talk about it. More minds thinking and talking about it from multiple different perspectives have the best chance to solve it.

Communication is a great, helpful key to survival. I think we had it when the U.S. and the Soviets didn't annihilate the world when the U.S. policy was Mutual Assured Destruction. And I think we didn't have it in the U.S. Civil War and in WWI, when combat technology had raced ahead of the knowledge and training of the generals of those wars, and that led to shocking massacres unintended by either side.

An example other than unfriendly AI is asteroid mining and serious space travel in general. Right now we have the dangers from asteroids. But the ability to controllably move mass in orbit would inevitably become one of the most powerful weapons ever seen. Unless people make a conscious choice not to use it for that. Although I've wanted to write fiction stories about it and work on it, I've actually hesitated for the simple fact that I think it's inevitable that it will become a weapon.

This post makes me confident. The action most likely to lead to humanity's growth and survival is to talk about it openly. First because we're already vulnerable to asteroids and can't do anything about it. And second because talking about it raises awareness of the problem so that more people can focus on solving it.

I really think that avoiding nuclear war is an example. When I was a teenager everyone just assumed we'd all die in a nuclear war someday. Eventually through a deliberate war or an accident or a skynet-style-terminator incident civilization as a whole would be gone. And eventually that fear just evaporated. I think it's because we as a culture kept talking about it so much and not leaving it up to only a few monarchic leaders.

So I'm changing my outlook and plans based on this post and this comment. I plan to talk about and promote asteroid mining and write short stories about terrorists dropping asteroids on cities. To talk about it it is better in the long run.

Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational

V_V and Vaniver both make really good points, but the fact is that the U.S was not built to be completely rationalist, and people in general are not rationalists.

It's a communal set of rules for a people and a place that's designed to give the members the most freedom while still ensuring stability and order. And it has a really good track record of success in doing that.

I agree that it's not an optimal solution in a future, ideally rationalist world. But it's not a tool for teaching children to think for themselves. It's a tool to get them to follow the social rules. And I'll tell you, children want their own way and DO NOT want to follow rules. And if you let them have their way all the time you WILL spoil them. There's a time to teach rules-following (especially rules that protect liberties and freedoms) and a time to teach mistrust of authority and rules-breaking.

What other device would you propose for a future, ideally rationalist world? I'm not being fecetious here. I'm curious. Spawned by the Wierdtopia idea, can you think of a better solution?

I personally think of it as like teaching an apprentice. Apprentices weren't taught the why's. They were taught the how's. As a journeyman and a master you discovered the why's. Kids are apprentice citizens.

Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational

This is actually has been a problem with real-life examples. I've read that the oaths in NAZI Germany were specifically to Hitler himself, and that many members of the military felt bound by their oaths to obey orders, even when it was clear the orders shouldn't be obeyed. I think the critical danger is in giving oaths to an individual (any of which have a very real chance of being corrupted by power, unless they take action to prevent it).

I see the difference that the U.S. pledge of alliegence is to the republic and it's symbol, the flag. The saving factors to prevent abuses of power are:

The focus on alliegence to the nation as a whole, including all it's members, it's leaders, and it's ideals.

The "with liberty and justice for all" line, which is the guarantee of what the State offers in return. The U.S. has to be worthy of the alliegence.

The extreme other war example is the U.S Civil War, where many military officers left the army to join the Confederacy. They formed ranks and marched right out of West Point because they opposed the U.S. leadership. And the soldiers who stayed let them go, knowing they were going to help the seceding states fight. Even if they disagreed, it was felt the honorable thing to do was to let them go.

This idea shows up specifically in our military training and culture in the definition of lawful orders. The military culture and legal rules define your duty to obey all lawful orders from your chain of command, up to the President. So that if you feel that an order is unlawful it's actually your duty to disobey. Now, of course, that carries with it all the weight of being the first one to be the opposition, so it's no guarantee to prevent abuses of power, but it does exist.

I gues my point is that the danger is in making oaths to a person.

I agree that it's a form of indoctrination for children. But as long as the trade of alliegence and freedom it describes is a true and real one, I think it's a good thing to keep those principles in their minds.

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