Cached Thoughts

TagLast edit: 21 Sep 2020 1:13 UTC by Ruby

Cached Thoughts are ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that a person has formed on some past occasion, and hasn’t re-evaluated since then. The name references the concept of a cache in computing: a component storing data that has been calculated or retrieved once, so that it is quickly available without needing to be recalculated or re-retrieved.

See also: Groupthink, Information Cascades, Status quo bias, Semantic Stopsign, Separate Magisteria, Rationalist Taboo

Cached thoughts can be useful in saving computational resources at the cost of some memory load, and also at the risk of maintaining a belief long past the point when evidence should force an update. In particular, cached thoughts can result in a lack of creative approaches to problem-solving, as cached solutions may interfere with the formation of novel ones. What is generally called common sense is more or less a collection of cached thoughts.

In modern civilization particularly, no one can think fast enough to think their own thoughts. If I’d been abandoned in the woods as an infant, raised by wolves or silent robots, I would scarcely be recognizable as human. No one can think fast enough to recapitulate the wisdom of a hunter-gatherer tribe in one lifetime, starting from scratch. As for the wisdom of a literate civilization, forget it.

But the flip side of this is that I continually see people who aspire to critical thinking, repeating back cached thoughts which were not invented by critical thinkers. – Eliezer Yudkowsky, Cached Thoughts

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Notable Posts

Cached Selves

AnnaSalamon22 Mar 2009 19:34 UTC
197 points
81 comments7 min readLW link

Cached Thoughts

Eliezer Yudkowsky11 Oct 2007 23:46 UTC
106 points
94 comments3 min readLW link

Origi­nal Seeing

Eliezer Yudkowsky14 Oct 2007 4:38 UTC
96 points
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How to Seem (and Be) Deep

Eliezer Yudkowsky14 Oct 2007 18:13 UTC
79 points
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Cached Procrastination

jimrandomh25 Apr 2009 16:22 UTC
39 points
49 comments3 min readLW link

The “Out­side the Box” Box

Eliezer Yudkowsky12 Oct 2007 22:50 UTC
69 points
32 comments2 min readLW link

Book sum­mary: Un­lock­ing the Emo­tional Brain

Kaj_Sotala8 Oct 2019 19:11 UTC
225 points
32 comments21 min readLW link2 nominations3 reviews

Learned Blankness

AnnaSalamon18 Apr 2011 18:55 UTC
202 points
188 comments5 min readLW link

Subagents, akra­sia, and co­her­ence in humans

Kaj_Sotala25 Mar 2019 14:24 UTC
99 points
31 comments16 min readLW link

Use cu­ri­os­ity

AnnaSalamon25 Feb 2011 22:23 UTC
79 points
62 comments1 min readLW link

Cas­sette Tape Thoughts

Elizabeth22 Jan 2020 22:50 UTC
48 points
0 comments2 min readLW link

Philo­soph­i­cal Landmines

[deleted]8 Feb 2013 21:22 UTC
148 points
146 comments3 min readLW link

Fire­place Delu­sions [LINK]

mas3 Feb 2012 4:13 UTC
48 points
67 comments1 min readLW link

Maps vs But­tons; Nerds vs Normies

Bound_up28 Dec 2017 21:11 UTC
23 points
23 comments6 min readLW link

My story /​ own­ing one’s reasons

jwhendy7 Jan 2011 0:17 UTC
69 points
26 comments4 min readLW link

Ex­am­ine your assumptions

Douglas_Reay30 Mar 2012 11:28 UTC
47 points
14 comments2 min readLW link

What data gen­er­ated that thought?

Kaj_Sotala26 Apr 2011 12:54 UTC
42 points
32 comments2 min readLW link
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