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My view of the relationship between honesty and rationality is similar to taw's theory 'enhanced reality' in his comment on this page, but I would think of it as a 'augmented reality theory', I don't think we are designed to lie just that the truth is normally very complex, and we are designed to simplify.

I think there are two basic factors that limit honesty Language, and the way the human mind works.


Even a person who is trying to tell the truth and be honest is always going to have language problems, it's important to remember that new words are still being created all the time and it is impossible for one person to know them all, and we have to learn them, and even when two people are speaking the same language there is still going to be miss interpretations. before I found this site I had a lot of ideas in my head but wouldn't have been able to describe them or write them down clearly because I didn't know what words to use or the way to use the words, to express what I meant.

So for example I am doing a IT degree and I have been asked by my wife before what are you doing when I have been sitting at the computer writing, Some times I give her an accurate and honest answer like "I'm trying to fix a problem in the back propagation learning function in the code for my neural net assignment." and she just looks at me funny, because she doesn't know what half those words mean, and other times I just tell I'm programming or doing an assignment, even through a lot of the time I'm not exactly programming or doing an assignment I might be installing software I need so I can program or reading information so I can learn how to do an assignment. But giving a long more accurate answer would actually tell her less than giving a short slightly inaccurate one.

The Way The Mind Works

The other problem with honesty and the truth I think is the human mind, because peoples minds work by building associative links and over time the more these links in the mind are used the stronger they become it becomes impossible to change them instantly, and so to change them will take time. For example I have christian friends that if I was to sit down and argue with them that God doesn't exist would be pointless I would most likely just get a circular argument and even if I did provide them with the evidence they wouldn't accept it. The best thing can do is understand where they are at and slowly introduce new concepts. this isn't just something that happens with people who are religious if you look at a lot of the scientific break through s they where not instantly accepted because they where logical and gave the correct answers the ideas where slowly accepted over time.

So I think it is sometimes important to lie when the lie is a part of a bigger process of getting to the truth.

my advice for mate selection for any person is that while it is good to have things in common like both being rationalists it is more important to have values that complement each other. So if you focus a lot on theory then someone who is more practical, might be better for, if your indecisive then someone who is a bit impulsive could be good for you.

If you are good at math and bad at English then a good match for you might be someone who is bad at math and good at English. So maybe the best match for a rationalist isn't another rationalist.

I'd like to suggest an idea from "The Hitch hikers Guide to the Galaxy" and look at our earth as a big computer and people and all its problems as just being parts of the program. I think if you look at it this way and think of all the failures just being the program checking all possible solutions then instead of thinking the earth is failing heaps you can think we've checked out a lot of the different possibility's. If you think of it as in your political systems you have a group of parties, you pick the best two, take there ideas and combine them to produce your government. 3 years later they all come back with new ideas and do it again. That seems a lot like genetic programming to me.

I also think it's interesting to consider the possibility of passing as a Utopian world without the current technology of this world, If there are other worlds in this universe and if there was a Star Trek type of society of aliens that existed I think they would be waiting for the other earths to figure out all their ethical and social problems and perfect those problems before they introduced them self's, not waiting for them to invent technology that they had already invented.

Hi, I'm James, 24, male, and a Information Technology student in my last year of my degree, and live in Australia, Central Queensland. I have been trying to answer big questions like "What is the meaning of life?", "What is Intelligence?", and trying to come up with a Grand Theory Of Everything, for as long as I can remember. I have written a lot on my theory's and hypotheses but everything I have ever written is saved on my computer and I have never shared any of my ideas with anyone, it has just been a private hobby of mine. I'm hoping I'll be able to learn so more by reading the posts on Less Wrong and maybe eventually post some of my own ideas.

I have read on here that a few people are signed up for cryonics, I think cryonics sounds interesting and I might sign up for it as well one day, but I think more of my self living on through knowledge. By that I mean If you say a person is made up by there knowledge and experience and not by there body, then if I can write my knowledge and experiences down, and then once I die people read and learn that knowledge and about my experiences, then I see it as a ship of theseus paradox, my knowledge and experience still exists just in a different body.

I would like to propose the idea that the fans don't necessarily have to have anything to do with what the original work that started the group going. The original work could just bring together a group of people, that group of people then creates there own reasons for being together and reinterprets the original work to suit there needs. Maybe the strongest fan bases are formed around works that have a "badness" about them, because they are easier to reinterpret to suit the needs of the fans.

I am completely new to the lesswrong site but have read a few of the blogs and think that I could learn a lot from this site. I think it is a good thing to have a basic knowledge of many fields, but I also think that it is important to have a in depth knowledge in the basic principles of science first. For example a person who has a broad knowledge in witch craft and taro cards could be very smart with what they know, but all they really know is fiction and without first having an in depth knowledge of scientific principle to test what they learn against, other wise people can be lead to believe anything.