Feedback from emotions

Bear­lamp: Pre­vi­ous, First
Greater­wrong: Pre­vi­ous, First
Less­wrong: Pre­vi­ous, First

Men­tal health can of­ten feel like the in­abil­ity to get clar­ity around if it’s, “just me” or if it’s “the world” that’s crazy. There’s an open ques­tion in any in­ter­per­sonal prob­lem “is it me or is it them”. Ba­sic game the­ory might have you look at the gen­eral strate­gies and take a pre­com­mit­ment, like Tit for tat, with for­give­ness. Some­thing like, “It’s always me” or “it’s always them”—as the opinion that is formed in re­sponse to the stim­uli be­ing pre­sented. Th­ese strate­gies tend to look like men­tal health prob­lems when ap­plied far too liber­ally. Some ex­am­ples of these are in the List of Mal­adap­tive Schemas.

If you play fixed mind­set be­lief games, you will be bested by peo­ple who can see your fixed mind­set and pre­dict it. And beat it.

Un­for­tu­nately for ba­sic game the­ory, ad­vanced game the­ory comes along and sees all the other peo­ple play­ing with Tit-for-tat, with for­give­ness strate­gies and gen­er­ates a one-up strat­egy whereby ad­vanced game the­o­retic play­ers can beat ba­sic game the­o­retic play­ers, Just by play­ing one move ahead of the ba­sic play­ers.

(movie: The Princess Bride)

Un­for­tu­nately for ad­vanced game the­ory, there ex­ists ex­pert game the­ory play­ers who have seen that strat­egy and de­vised ad­vanced strate­gies for solv­ing the “how do I beat ba­sic, and ad­vanced game play­ers”.

And un­for­tu­nately for ex­pert game the­ory play­ers there ex­ists the halt­ing prob­lem. Where there will always be an­other level of play strat­egy. And there will always be an­other strat­egy tak­ing into ac­count all pre­vi­ous strate­gies. And this is an in­finite loop.

how do I get feed­back on an in­finitely re­cur­sive sys­tem with the halt­ing prob­lem?

This ques­tion strikes at the core of the in­ter­face be­tween self and the ex­ter­nal world. We are each a chi­nese room brain. This is the prob­lem of other minds. When we de­sign an ex­per­i­men­tal ap­para­tus and at­tempt to glean feed­back in­for­ma­tion from re­al­ity as if we are not in it, we don’t re­ally an­swer the ques­tion here.

I only have one an­swer. And it’s an un­for­tu­nately frus­trat­ing one. I hint at the an­swer in the emo­tional train­ing model but that’s not ul­ti­mately ob­vi­ous enough.

Feed­back has to come from within.

How do I know what to do? How do I gauge what is right and wrong where all I have to go on is the in­ten­tion to gage right and wrong, and a col­lec­tion of in­for­ma­tional ex­pe­riences that form my sen­sate re­al­ity in­clud­ing knowl­edge I have gath­ered by read­ing books, talk­ing to peo­ple and ex­pe­rienc­ing life my­self?

There is no “truth grain” ex­ter­nal to the self; where, hav­ing found the truth grain, there is no need to be wrong ever again. There is no fun­da­men­tal rea­son why we can be­lieve and trust ex­ter­nal in­for­ma­tion more than in­ter­nal in­for­ma­tion. (ex­ter­nal in­for­ma­tion is only in­ter­nally rep­re­sented af­ter all—with an as­sump­tion that we can com­pa­rably across brains; form equiv­a­lent in­ter­nal rep­re­sen­ta­tions of ex­ter­nal in­for­ma­tion.)

I am ae en­closed brain. Feed­back has to come from within the sys­tem. When I look in a mir­ror, I see a re­flec­tion of my­self, but the re­flec­tion reg­isters in the sys­tem. The re­sults of the re­flec­tion “wow I like the way I look” is a judge­ment call that hap­pens from within the sys­tem. When I ask my friend how I look and I re­ceive the in­for­ma­tion that “I look as ugly as a bat out of hell”, that in­for­ma­tion reg­isters in­side the sys­tem. In­side the brain. Ex­ter­nal val­i­da­tion is an illu­sion.

In that sense, if I didn’t already, now would be a good time to start lik­ing my­self.


Next: The third system

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