thank you for posting this - now I have something new to read!
I grew up in a Reconstructionist Jewish household with an Orthodox dad and an Israeli mom. I'm sure they used to think that I'd become this great Jew - I was sent to a Jewish private school, and I realise now that I was (and still am) a perfectionist, which meant I felt the need to do all the prayers and ceremonies properly. The first push towards rationality came sometime in second grade, when I asked my parents if I was adopted (long story) because I'd never heard a solid answer in either direction from them before. When they said I was and that they hadn't been intending on telling me, something in me must have started ticking towards science and rationality, because that was when I discovered that adults lie to their children.
I started noticing the lack of evidence for events from the Torah, and even from the rabbinical tales. Science, on the other hand, had rocks that dated back millions of years, or bones from animals never mentioned in the Torah. Armed with that knowledge, I realised the idea that one being (god) being lord and master over the whole universe didn't make sense. So I dedicated myself to science and became an atheist, or at the very most agnostic. I started holding truth-with-evidence as best thing to do, having noticed the general hypocrisy I was being surrounded by in school and at home.
In middle school and high school I managed to find my way into Wicca and Paganism, more interested in the idea that magic could be real (fantasy books have always been my favourites) than in the mythology and deities involved. Somehow over the years that morphed into belief-in-belief (which I only realised yesterday after encountering the self-deception posts).
College saw me reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, and changing my major three times. I tried computer science, astrophysics, theatre, linguistics, and criminology. I took classes in psychology, statistics, programming, physics, backstage rigging, and so much more besides. I kept up with science magazines like Discover and Scientific American, reading them from cover to cover to absorb as much scientific knowledge as possible. Religion of any sort fell by the wayside and was mostly forgotten aside from the bonfire holidays and Halloween.
After college I found HPMOR while on a fanfiction marathon and that's what really got me started down the road. Reading about Harry and his thoughts made me want to think and be more like that. Breadcrumbs led me here, and I'd been intending to start the Sequences for the past year or more. A few weeks ago I finally sat down and started the Sequences. And now I'm here and trying to think better.
Hello, I'm Ary. 24 going on 25 mostly agender female-presenting asexual. I've been doing a lot of self-improvement and 'soul'-searching over the past few years and finally stumbled across HPMOR while burning my way through HP fanfiction. From there, it was only a matter of looking at the author page for it to find links here to LessWrong.com. For the last three weeks I've been reading my way through the Sequences, starting with the Core Sequences.
Late last week I managed to start on the How to Actually Change Your Mind sequence, which is proving to be a interesting and challenging read. Today I reached the Belief in Self-Deception post and started to feel my mind beginning to really spin. Having continued past that, still thinking, it seems that for far too long I've been professing my beliefs without believing. It may take a bit before I manage to shuck the habits brought on by that line of thinking, but that's the point of reading these - breaking bad mental habits and learning to think better and stronger.
A lot of that desire is brought on from having read and re-read (multiple times) HPMOR and developing a need to be more like Harry. Reading the Sequences is also helping to regain my sense of curiousity, which had been terribly stunted thanks to years of formal education and a closed-minded living environment.
Education-wise I've dabbled in computer science, astrophysics, genetics, and theatre, and completed degrees in criminology/criminal justice and cybersecurity (which is my intended career field). I'm always running out of reading material, so I'm always reading and picking up new things to study.
My username is in reference to the Animorphs series of books, which I loved dearly as a child, and still hold dear despite the now-blatant tedium of some of the books.