I have done a decent amount of “woo” (meditation, a bit of Val-style mythic mode) in the past years, and my ability for independent thought and especially independent action seem to have gone way up.
While my primate political side really likes the alignment and agreement, I want to encourage good epistemic norms here. So, I’ll ask an impolitic question:
What gives you the impression that your ability for independent thought and action has “gone way up”? In particular, how do you know that you aren’t kidding yourself? (Not meaning to claim you are! Just trying to nudge toward sharing the causes of your belief here.)
Appreciate the impolitic question. :) I think I was doing some sort of social move that was trying to reset the burden of proof, rather than actually sharing data, but of course sharing data is better. (I do think people too often assume that their status quo bias is some sort of principled wisdom, so asking “are you sure the burden of proof is on your side?” is moderately useful. But data is better.)
I’m more confident on the independent action side than the independent thought side, so I’ll start with that: I am taking more concrete steps towards achieving my goals, in ways that (inside-view) seem directly related to meditation et. al. For instance, I’m noticing much faster when I’m unhappy with a situation, and taking action more directly to fix it. Some specific examples are quitting my job last spring, and successfully pitching my boss on a change of plan at my current job. (Possible confounder is that I’m generally gaining confidence over time, and am getting more career capital, so maybe I would get better at these things anyway. I’m not immediately sure how to prove that this isn’t true, though it inside-view doesn’t seem to be.)
In terms of independent thought, I’ve been able to do things like e.g. plan out a strategy for a startup that requires some not-yet-fully-achieved innovation, and am making steady progress at chipping away at the remaining unknowns. In the past, I anticipate I would have been overwhelmed by the sense that I wasn’t allowed to do that, or that there were too many unknowns to be able to plan, but meditation and CFAR practices help me to separate that from the work of understanding it better.
None of this directly relates to mythic mode, because I haven’t done much of specifically that. My main instance of using mythic mode was at the CFAR tier II workshop, where we used it to uncover a deeply hidden emotional trait (specifically a fear of my own anger), which has been emotionally and socially helpful to recognize and deal with. It feels like having awareness of that is pretty important for being able to think and act effectively, but I don’t have good external evidence of that.