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I don't think "non-straightforward or dishonest language" enters into it very much, but I don't have the clusters you have. I know cis women with "male-pattern" personalities and interests and trans women with "female-pattern" personalities and interests. (Not really any cis men with "female-pattern" personalities and interests, but society does its best to ensure that doesn't happen.) In some online spaces where I don't share demographic information, people sometimes take me for a member of the opposite sex. "Male-pattern" and "female-pattern" are culture- and class-bound anyway - there are many different types of guy. I don't get much use out of categorizing people by biological sex.

In repeated interpersonal interactions, of course, you just construct a model of the person, and then you don't need the categories so much. You still have to figure out who uses which bathroom, but the "you" here unpacks to "the state", which sees in its own way - a low-resolution way that can't be said to track truth.

Unless you're prepared to reject the entire analytic tradition, categories aren't even real - they're abstractions over entities. Maybe some are more useful than others, but if you recognize "trans woman" as a third gender (surely a more useful categorization than "trans women are men"[1]), how many genders are there? Are "nerd" and "jock" genders? "Butch" and "femme"?

[1] If this seems surprising to you, remember that LW and the social strata it recruits from contain highly atypical men! For example: what percentage of the male LW userbase knows the basic rules of a major spectator sport?


As an apostate, I see in this line of thought the issues I saw with rationalism as religion value system and metanarrative in general. As, additionally, a sometime heretic, I sympathize with this description of the experience of heresy; while the unpleasant experience of having to navigate the stifling and occasionally totally wrong norms of the overworld is (I now believe) to some extent a natural and inevitable part of the human condition, awakening to this is deeply unpleasant for those who made it to adulthood without realizing it. Even more so, perhaps, when it's a heresy for reasons orthogonal to those of right and wrong. Mencius Moldbug, who you mentioned, produced hundreds of thousands of words about the decline of San Francisco, where, last I heard, his overworld-sona still lives—but if it's that bad, why is he still there? Most people seek out quality and avoid its absence.

My experience of mania was that it was the result of an exceptionally energetic collision between this drive to seek good things and avoid bad things and a mental brick wall. Repression, you could say. (If it's that bad, why is he still there? How many words—perhaps not the most sober words, but then, he was once in cDc—did this contradiction produce?) Producing tens of thousands of words about how transition is incompatible with rationality is... also sympathetic, in this sense. It's hard to produce tens of thousands of words about anything! This may not be anyone else's experience of mania, though; I've never been clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But then, I don't believe in psychology, or in science.

Is it bad not to believe in science? Is it apostasy from rationalism? I mean, maybe, but not even science believes in science: it doesn't produce truth-claims, but theories, which in principle may be overturned at any moment, and in practice often have. Everyone's heard this in high school, and yet, people still make the basic error of assuming that science is in the business of truth-claims. An internal combustion engine is a truth claim, and if somebody says internal combustion engines can't possibly work, they're just wrong; Newtonian physics is a model, which man can disprove but only God could prove. An "underlying truth condition for that 'probably' to point to" is a type of brick wall known as a type error: observations do not need models. "Truth" in the scientific or analytic sense ("analytic" as in both philosophy—the school that Less Wrong takes after—and in chemistry, where it originated, and whose development was one of the great success stories of what we now know as "science": the separation of a complex thing into its smaller and identifiable components) isn't allowed to disagree with reality, but reality can, and often does, disagree with analysis and science. Every scientist and analyst is in some sense a historian, telling a story about events which have already taken place.

We see the same progression in music: a composer will break the rules of theory, and theorists will construct new rules post facto to explain the world that contains this break. The composer who breaks theory is operating outside theory, may not even be talking to theory: how much theory were the early jazz musicians talking to? Theory is still useful, as a way to compress the research into what works and what doesn't that the body of past musicians (including those who broke past theories) and past audiences (including those receptive to those breaks) has done, but at some point you have to give up and talk to God, or what Pirsig called Quality, or whatever, and leave future theorists to sort it out. To expect theory to be upstream of music, or science or analysis to be upstream of reality, is to lose the ability to talk to God. Which Ben Hoffman said Malcolm X said white people do all the time—"I had to stop fighting myself first"—and which nerds, those predisposed to such topics as rationalism and computer programming, totally do all the time.

When I was eight years old, I was brought along to a cousin's college graduation, the dinner of which was held in the rented event space of a bar. The bar, being a bar, had a sign that said it wouldn't allow anyone under 21; despite the reassurance of everyone present that this obviously wouldn't apply to the events room, I insisted, and my poor father had to stand outside with me for two hours. This is the kind of story I see in nerd spaces, which don't have many musicians. Once, long before my apostasy, I nearly failed a guitar class: I had no idea how to improvise, and felt it somehow improper to practice. The ways of God are not the laws of man.

...And my dorm's walls were practically made of cardboard and I didn't want anyone else to hear. Social space is for displays, showing off, performance of that which one is already sure in; the process of becoming sure, and of experimentation to find that in which one could see oneself becoming sure, is naturally private. Subjecting other people to musical ineptitude would be embarrassing. (Although, to break the analogy, in the case of music you do at some point have to get over it.) So I wouldn't read too much into it if ideation begins in a markedly private space. The Blanchardian line relies on the implicit assertion that fetishism is an unmoved mover of human psychology—that the gender identity follows the sexual interest, rather than the sexual interest being a natural consequence of the gender identity—but it has to be implicit because if you state it outright it's obviously wrong. As is "A precedes B, therefore A caused B": how common is it for people to have private spaces that are about gender but entirely not about sex?

There are other flaws in your model, such as "cis women don't experience AGP", and it may be an edifying exercise to imagine alternate models. (You could, for instance, cite the thriving subculture of trans guys with forcefem kinks to argue that AGP is a natural part of the male experience: you might be able to get a shitpost out of that, but the line between shitposting and Anton-Wilsonian guerrilla ontology is pretty blurry nowadays. Hence one logic textbook's extended digression about Mencius Moldbug, the greatest of the cDc trolls.)

(This post is important enough that I'm breaking my commitment not to post until a certain time in the future.)

The model here strikes me as the correct *sort* of model, but deserving of substantial complication. Two complications in particular seem clear and relevant to me.

First, will the smart sincere idealists be simply *misled?* Given that this hypothetical imperfect rationalist space exists within Green territory, deviations from the Overton ratio will be punished by Greens *both inside and outside* the rationalist space; as such, it could (entirely unintentionally, at least at first) serve to *reinforce* Green partisan hegemony, especially if there's a large imbalance between the abilities of Greendom and Bluedom to offer *patronage*.

We already know from history that regimes may become so... self-serving and detached from reality, as one could put it... that they'll feel the need to actively select against smart, sincere idealists, or any permutation thereof. Loyalty to anything but the regime may be seen as an inefficiency and optimized away.

As a result, it could be useful for Green partisans to keep such spaces around, albeit low-prestige and generally reviled. Partisans also have an interest in identifying the sincere and the idealistic, but for precisely the opposite reasons. (Cf. the Hundred Flowers Campaign.)

Second, the neat division of truths into Green, Blue, and Gray rings unconvincing to me. Consider the Greens and Blues as having reality maps: certain things directly benefit their reality maps, certain things directly harm those maps, and certain things are neutral. (To pick on Zoroastrianism: the reality of Ahura Mazda or Angra Mainyu would be in the first category, a genealogical account of Zoroastrian doctrine in the Nietzschean sense would be in the second, and the contents of a randomly selected academic journal in the field of (say) accounting would, I assume, be almost entirely in the third.)

If we multiply the three categories of the Greens by the three categories of the Blues, we get nine options, not three. If we make certain assumptions about Green-Blue conflict, we can reduce this somewhat, and posit that anything that is beneficial to one side but seemingly neutral to the other in fact benefits the first at the expense of the second.

But this leaves five possibilities, not three! In addition to [+Green -Blue], [-Green +Blue], and [0Green 0Blue], we have [+Green +Blue] and [-Green -Blue]. Would Blues and Greens not fear displacement by something outside their union?

What's the value proposition of enlightenment?

If I have a choice between taking up organized religion and going to church or taking up spirituality and following empirical instructions to scale the mountain of enlightenment, why should I do the latter instead of the former?

What's the common theme in all these books? I don't see it. Impro contains some useful exercises, although I think most of the value in the book would come from people getting together IRL and actually doing them, and I haven't heard of anyone doing this. (I tried to get someone whose social network is much bigger than mine to make this happen, but then she moved to the Bay.) But it's about developing acting skills, not Buddhism...

The Wikipedia article on it does.

These are good questions.

0. Are "we" the sort of thing that can have goals? It looks to me like there are a lot of goals going around, and LW isn't terribly likely to agree on One True Set of Goals, whether ultimate or proximate.

I think one of the neglected possible roles for LW is as a beacon -- a (relatively) highly visible institution that draws in people like-minded enough that semirandom interactions are more likely to be productive than semirandom interactions in the 'hub world', and allows them to find people sufficiently like-minded that they can then go off and do their own thing, while maintaining a link to LW itself, if only to search it for potential new members of this own thing.

My impression of internet communities in general is that they tend to be like this, and I don't see any reason to expect LW to be different. Take Newgrounds, another site formed explicitly around productive endeavors (which has the desirable (for my purposes here) property that I spent my middle school years on it): it spawned all sorts of informal friend groups and formal satellite forums, each with its own sort of productive endeavor it was interested in. There was an entire ecosystem of satellite forums (and AIM/MSN group chats, which sometimes spawned satellite forums), from prolific NG forum posters realizing they had enough clout to start their own forum so why not, to forums for people interested in operating within the mainstream tradition of American animation, to a vast proliferation of forums for 'spammers' who were interested in playing with NG itself as a medium, to forums for people who were interested in making one specific form of movie -- wacky music videos, video game sprite cartoons, whatever. And any given user could be in multiple of these groups, depending on their interests -- I was active on at least one forum in each of the categories I've listed.

(As an aside: I say 'spammers' because that's what they were called, but later on I developed enough interest in the art world to realize that there's really no difference between what we did and what they're doing. (The 'art game' people would do well to recognize this -- they're just trolls, but trolling is a art, so what the hell.) There were also 'anti-spam' forums, but I brought some of them around.)

1. As for classical LW goals, the AI problem does seem to have benefited quite a bit by ethos arguments. I'm not sure if "our goals" is even the type of noun phrase that *can* have semantic content, but cultivating general quality seems like a fairly broad goal. A movement that wants to gain appeal in the ways I've outlined will want its members to be visibly successful at instrumental rationality, and be fine upstanding citizens and so on.

2. I don't think I'm smarter than Ben Franklin, so my advice for now would be to just do what he did. At a higher level: study successful people with well-known biographies and see if there's anything that can be abstracted out. I notice (because Athrelon pointed it out a while ago) that Ben Franklin, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Thiel, and Musk have one thing in common: the benefit of a secret society or something like it -- the Junto, the Inklings, or the Paypal Mafia.

I'm not a biologist, but I think it would be pretty difficult to tell whether fruits are intended to encourage animals to eat them or to protect the inner seed. But the energy in an avocado is primarily stored as fats, and it's generally thought that they were eaten by now-extinct Central American megafauna. (And it's common to stick avocado seeds with toothpicks to get them to sprout...)

There's also the chili pepper, but I don't know if anyone's studied digestion of pepper seeds in birds (which aren't sensitive to capsaicin) vs. mammals (which are). It may be that chili peppers evolved to deter mammalian but not avian consumption because the mammalian digestive tract is more likely to digest the seeds, rather than (as the common explanation has it) because birds disperse the seeds more widely.

It started as the leftist alternative to Conservapedia.

How do we (second) convince others, and (first) establish for ourselves, that we’re different? What can we offer to prospective joiners that cannot be offered by other movements (i.e., what can we offer that constitutes an unfalsifiable signal that we are the “true path” to the “good ending”, so to speak)?

I came to this article having just read one about Donald Trump's response to the 9/11 attacks, which mentioned that Trump saw them from the window of his apartment. The WTC attacks happened at around 9 AM, the start of the standard workday; but he had decided to stay in his apartment later than usual to catch a TV interview with Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric.

I thought that was interesting. Welch is well-known in the business world, and at least was once well-regarded. I have one of his books, although I haven't read it yet.

Now, the problem of how to convince people to pay attention to a memeplex is a problem Less Wrong has. Jack Welch, not so much. I saw his book at a thrift store, had some idea of who he was, and figured it'd be worthwhile to buy it. Donald Trump heard that he'd be on TV, knew well (I assume) who he was, and figured it'd be worthwhile to watch the interview. We aren't on TV.

Why not?

Maybe it's because we aren't Jack Welch.

We've all read our Aristotle, right? Our marketers come up with plenty of logos and pathos. Ethos, not so much. But it worked for Jack Welch...

There's an important difference between the alien's initial sales pitch and the problem of recruiting people to Less Wrong. The alien is a representative of an advanced civilization, offering a manual for uplifting the human race -- so there's a solution to widely advertising it that will only work if the manual does: simply distribute the manual to a few hundred people around the world who are highly motivated to do well in life. Once they've learned it, applied its contents, and become wildly successful CEOs of General Electric or whatever, some of them will (almost certainly) make it known that their success is due to their mastery of the contents of a book...

But the book doesn't actually exist, we aren't hot-shit enough to recruit through ethos (why not? could it be that we're failing? could it be that we're failing so badly that our startups try to write their own payroll software?), and our sales pitches are pretty bad. I noticed so many of our quality people leaving, and so much lack of interest in *actually winning*, that I stopped paying attention myself -- I only saw this post because it was linked on Twitter.

Before asking what LW can offer to prospective joiners that can't be offered by other movements, ask if it *has* anything like that. I don't think it does, and I don't think it's in a position to get there.

I don't think the orthogonality thesis can be defined as ~[moral internalism & moral realism] -- that is, I think there can be and are philosophers who reject moral internalism, moral realism, *and* the orthogonality thesis, making 66% a high estimate.

Nick Land doesn't strike me as a moral internalist-and-realist (although he has a Twitter and I bet your post will make its way to him somehow), but he doesn't accept the orthogonality thesis:

Even the orthogonalists admit that there are values immanent to advanced intelligence, most importantly, those described by Steve Omohundro as ‘basic AI drives’ — now terminologically fixed as ‘Omohundro drives’. These are sub-goals, instrumentally required by (almost) any terminal goals. They include such general presuppositions for practical achievement as self-preservation, efficiency, resource acquisition, and creativity. At the most simple, and in the grain of the existing debate, the anti-orthogonalist position is therefore that Omohundro drives exhaust the domain of real purposes. Nature has never generated a terminal value except through hypertrophy of an instrumental value.

This is a form of internalism-and-realism, but it's not about morality -- so it wouldn't be inconsistent to reject orthogonality and 'heterogonality'.

I recall someone in the Xenosystems orbit raising the point that humans, continuously since long before our emergence as a distinct species, existed under the maximal possible amount of selection pressure to reproduce, but 1) get weird and 2) frequently don't reproduce. There are counterarguments that can be made here, of course (AIs can be designed with much more rigor than evolution allows, say), but it's another possible line of objection to orthogonality that doesn't involve moral realism.

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