Reality is sufficiently high-dimensional and heterogeneous that if it doesn’t seem like there’s a meaningful “explore/investigate” option with unbounded potential upside, you’re applying a VERY lossy dimensional reduction to your perception.
There’s a common fear response, as though disapproval = death or exile, not a mild diminution in opportunities for advancement. Fear is the body’s stereotyped configuration optimized to prevent or mitigate imminent bodily damage. Most such social threats do not correspond to a danger that is either imminent or severe, but are instead more like moves in a dance that trigger the same interpretive response.
It’s true that people who ask for “collaborative truth-seeking” are lying, but false that no one does it. Some things someone might do to try to collaborate on seeking the truth instead of pushing a thesis are:
Active listening (e.g. trying to restate someone’s claims and arguments in one’s own words, especially where they seem most unclear or surprising.)
Extending interpretive labor to try to infer the cause of a disagreement.
Offering various considerations for how to think about a question instead of pushing a party line—and clarifying the underlying model in general terms even when one does have a clear thesis.
IME people are perfectly able to distinguish this from less collaborative behavior, though some are more likely to respond strongly positively, and others are more likely to complain that the first two are “judgmental,” “accusatory,” or “mind-reading,” and that the third is “unclear” because it doesn’t include a command to endorse some particular conclusion. The second group seems like it overlaps a lot with the sorts of people who ask for the sort of “epistemic charity” you’re complaining about.
People who are engaged in collaborative truth-seeking are more likely to talk about or simply demonstrate specific ways to accomplish particular component truth-seeking tasks better together, which is collaborative, and less likely to complain vaguely about how you should be more “collaborative,” which is not.
I’m complying with Sinclair’s explicit preference to be treated as someone who might possibly do crimes, by not censoring the flow of credence from “people who don’t expect me to do crimes to them are making a mistake” to “I have done crimes to such people.” You are asking me to do exactly what Sinclair complained about and assume that they’re necessarily harmless, or to pretend to do this.
Wouldn’t that imply more upside than downside in staying over?
Huh, I notice I casually used male pronouns here when I previously wasn’t especially inclined to. I guess this happened because I dropped politeness constraints to free up working memory for modeling the causal structure of the problem.
If this had been a lower-latency conversation with the implied greater capacity to make it awkward to ignore a legitimate question, my first reply would have been something like, “well, did you actually assault them? Seems like an important bit of information when assessing whether they made a mistake.” And instead of the most recent comment I’d have asked, “You identify as a woman. Do you think you are being naïve, or devaluing your sexualness or cleverness or agency? If so, why? If not, why?”
Examples of info she might have had:
She was hoping to have sex with Sinclair, so theit sexual advances would not have been unwelcome.
Harassment from acquaintances of her social class is more common than stranger assault but much less likely to be severely bad—acquaintance assault is socially constrained and thin-tailed, stranger assault is deviant and fat-tailed—which is not adequately captured by the statistics.
She’s not the sort of person who can be easily traumatized by, or would have a hard time rejecting, unwanted advances.
Sinclair is in fact discernibly unlikely to assault her because they’re obviously nonaggressive, sex-repulsed, or something else one can pick up from a vibe.
Sinclair’s very small and she could just break Sinclair if she needed to.
Yes. It seems like RobertM is trying to appeal to some idea about fair play, by saying that people shouldn’t make even disjunctive hypothetical accusations because they wouldn’t like it if someone did that to them. But it seems relevant to evaluating that fairness claim that some accusations are discernibly more justified than others, and in this case RobertM seems not to have been able to think of any plausible crimes to disjunctively accuse me of. I am perplexed as to how “true accusations are better than false ones and you can discover by thinking and investigating which statements are more likely to be true and which are more likely to be wrong” seems to have almost fallen out of the Overton window for some important subset of cases on less wrong dot com, but that seems to be where we are.
Which unspecified but grossly immoral act did the plain text of my comment seem like it implied a confession of?
They imply irrationality via failure to investigate a confusion, so I thought it was within scope on a rationality improvement forum to point that out. Since there exists an alternative coherent construal I thought it was good practice to acknowledge that as well.
The comment reported a trend of accurate appraisals characterized as mistakes, with an illustrative anecdote, not an isolated event. Other parts of the comment, like the bit about how not treating them as a likely assailant is “devaluing my sexualness or cleverness or agency” implies an identification of agency with unprovoked assault. This is not ambiguous at all. It seems like on balance people think that politeness calls for pretending not to understand when someone says very overtly that they mean people ill, want to be perceived as violent and aggressive, etc, up until it’s time to scapegoat them.
If someone keeps asking “why aren’t these women scared of me as a potential rapist?”, but isn’t actually raping any of them, well, there’s an obvious answer there—they’re using some information you’re not tracking - & it makes no sense not to propagate the confusion upstream to the ideology that causes you to make wrong statistical predictions about yourself that the people around you aren’t fooled by.
Not saying the obvious answer is sufficient on its own, but “what are they tracking that I’m not?” would be a reasonable epistemic response, and “people keep being wrong by accurately predicting my behavior when that goes against my ideology” is not.
Not very, but it’s the only coherent construal.
This seems like you are either confessing on the public internet to committing assault, or treating a correct prediction as discrediting because of the strength of your prior against the idea that a woman might accurately evaluate a man as unlikely to assault her.
I agree that streetlamp effects are a problem. I think you are imagining a different usage than I am. I was imagining deferring to LockPickingLawyer about locks so that I could only spend about 5 minutes on that part of the problem, and spend whatever time I saved on other problems, including other aspects of securing an enclosure. If I had $100M and didn’t have friends I already trusted to do this sort of thing, offering them $20k to red-team a building might be worth it if I were worried about perimeter security; the same mindset that notices you can defeat some locks by banging them hard seems like it would have a good chance at noticing other simple ways to defeat barriers e.g. “this window can be opened trivially from the outside without triggering any alarms”.
Holding math duels to the standard of finding high-value problems to work on just seems nuts; I meant them as an existence proof of ways to measure possession of highly abstract theoretical secrets. If someone wanted to learn deep math, and barely knew what math was, they could do a lot worse than hiring someone who won a lot of math duels (or ideally whoever taught that person) as their first tutor, and then using that knowledge to find someone better. If you wanted to subsidize work on deep math, you might do well to ask a tournament-winner (or Fields medalist) whose non-tournament work they respect.
I went through a similar process in learning how to use my own body better: qigong seemed in principle worth learning, but I didn’t have a good way to distinguish real knowledge (if any) from bullshit. When I read Joshua Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning, I discovered that the closely related “Martial” Art of Tai Chi had a tournament that revealed relative levels of skill—and that William C. C. Chen, the man who’d taught tournament-winner Waitzkin, was still teaching in NYC. So I started learning from him, and very slowly improved my posture and balance. Eventually one of the other students invited me to a group that practiced on Sunday mornings in Chinatown’s Columbus Park, and when I went, I had just enough skill to immediately recognize the man teaching there as someone who had deep knowledge and was very good at teaching it, and I started learning much faster, in ways that generalized much better to other domains of life. This isn’t the only search method I used—recommendations from high-discernment friends also led to people who were able to help me—but it’s one that’s relatively easy to reproduce.
One more thing: the protagonists of The Matrix and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985) are relatively similar to EAs and Rationalists so you might want to start there, especially if you’ve seen either movie.
Hmm… firstly, I hope they do not think and act like that.
Maybe this was unclear, but I meant to distinguish two questions so you that you could try to answer one somewhat independently of the other:
1 What determines various authorities’ actions?
2 How should a certain sort of person, with less or different information than you, model the authorities’ actions?
Specifically I was asking you to consider a specific hypothesis as the answer to question 2 - that for a lot of people who aren’t skilled social scientists, the behavior of various authorities can look capricious or malicious even if other people have privileged information that allows them to predict those authorities’ behavior better and navigate interactions with them relatively freely and safely.
To add a bit of precision here, someone who avoids getting hurt by anxiously trying to pass the test (a common strategy in the Rationalist and EA scene) is implicitly projecting quite a bit more power onto the perceived authorities than they actually have, in ways that may correspond to dangerously wrong guesses about what kinds of change in their behavior will provoke what kinds of confrontation. For example, if you’re wrong about how much violence will be applied and by whom if you stop conforming, you might mistakenly physically attack someone who was never going to hurt you, under the impression that it is a justified act of preemption.
On this model, the way in which the behavior of people who’ve decided to stop conforming seems bizarre and erratic to you implies that you have a lot of implicit knowledge of how the world works that they do not. Another piece of fiction worth looking at in this context is Burroughs’s Naked Lunch. I’ve only seen the movie version, but I would guess the book covers the same basic content—the disordered and paranoid perspective of someone who has a vague sense that they’re “under cover” vs society, but no clear mechanistic model of the relevant systems of surveillance or deception.
Ascorbic acid seems to be involved in carbohydrate metabolism, or at least in glucose metabolism, which may be why the small amounts of vitamin C in an all meat diet seem to be sufficient to avoid scurvy—negligible carbohydrate intake means reduced levels of vitamin C. Both raw unfiltered honey and fruits seem like they don’t cause the kind of metabolic derangement attributed to foods high in refined carbohydrates like refined grains and sugar. Empirically high-carbohydrate foods in the ancestral diet are usually high in vitamin C. Honey seems like an exception, but there might be other poorly understood micronutrients in it that help as well. So it seems probable but not certain that taking in a lot of carbohydrates without a corresponding increase in vitamin C (and/or possibly other micronutrients they tend to come with in fresh fruit) could lead to problems.
Seeds (including grains) also tend to have high concentrations of antinutrients, plant defense chemicals, and hard to digest or allergenic proteins (these are not mutually exclusive categories), so it might be problematic in the long run to get a large percentage of your calories from cake for that reason. Additionally, some B vitamins like thiamine are important for carbohydrate metabolism, so if your sponge cake is not made from a fortified flour, you may want to take a B vitamin supplement.
Finally, sponge cake can be made with or without a variety of adulterants and preservatives, and with higher-quality or lower-quality fats. There is some reason to believe that seed and vegetable oils are particularly prone to oxidation and may activate torporific pathways causing lower energy and favoring accumulation of body fat over other uses for your caloric intake, but I haven’t investigated enough to be confident that this is true.
I wouldn’t recommend worrying about glycemic index, as it’s not clear high glycemic index causes problems. If your metabolism isn’t disordered, your pancreas should be able to release an appropriate amount of insulin, causing the excess blood sugar to be stored in fat or muscle cells. If it is disordered, I’d prioritize fixing that over whatever you’re trying to do with a “bulk.” Seems worth reflecting on the theory behind a “bulk,” though, as if you’re trying to increase muscle mass, I think the current research suggests that you want to:
Take in enough protein
Take in enough leucine at one time to trigger muscle protein synthesis
Take in enough calories to sustain your activity level
I think part of what happens in these events is that they reveal how much disorganized or paranoid thought went into someone’s normal persona. You need to have a lot of trust in the people around you to end up with a plan like seasteading or prediction markets—and I notice that those ideas have been around for a long time without visibly generating a much saner & lower-conflict society, so it does not seem like that level of trust is justified.
A lot of people seem to navigate life as though constantly under acute threat and surveillance (without a clear causal theory of how the threat and surveillance are paid for), expecting to be acutely punished the moment they fail to pass as normal—so things they report believing are experienced as part of the act, not the base reality informing their true sense of threat and opportunity. So it’s no wonder that if such people get suddenly jailbroken without adequate guidance or space for reflection, they might behave like a cornered animal and suddenly turn on their captors seemingly at random.
For a compelling depiction of how this might feel from the inside, I strongly recommend John Carpenter’s movie They Live (1988), which tells the story of a vagrant construction worker who finds an enchanted pair of sunglasses that translate advertisements into inaccurate summaries of the commands embedded in them, and make some people look like creepy aliens. So without any apparent explanation, provocation, or warning, he starts shooting “aliens” on the street and in places of business like grocery stores and banks, and eventually blows up a TV transmission station to stop the evil aliens from broadcasting their mind-control waves. The movie is from his perspective and unambiguously casts him as the hero. More recently, the climax of The Matrix (1999), a movie about a hacker waking up to systems of malevolent authoritarian control under which he lives, strikingly resembles the Columbine massacre (1999), which actually happened. See also Fight Club (1999). Office Space (1999) provides a more optimistic take: A wizard casts a magic spell on the protagonist to relax his body, which causes him to become unresponsive to the social threats he was previously controlled by. This causes his employer to perceive him as too powerful for his assigned level in the pecking order, and he is promoted to rectify the situation. He learns his friends are going to be laid off, is indignant at the unfairness of this, and gets his friends together to try to steal a lot of money from their employer. This doesn’t go very well, and he eventually decides to trade down to a lower social class instead and join a friend’s construction crew, while his friends remain controlled by social threat.
I’ve noticed that on phone calls with people serving as members of a big bureaucratic organization like a bank or hospital, I can’t get them to do anything by appealing to policies they’re officially required to follow, but talking like I expect them to be afraid of displeasing me sometimes makes things happen. On the positive side, they also seem more compliant if they hear my baby babbling in the background, possibly because it switches them into a state of “here is another human who might have real constraints and want good things, and therefore I sympathize with them”—which implies that their normal on-call state is something quite different.
I’m not sure whether you were intentionally alluding to cops and psychiatrists here, but lots of people effectively experience them as having something like this attitude:
It seems aggressively dumb to then decide that personally murdering people you think are evil is straightforwardly fine and a good strategy, or that you have psychic powers and should lock people in rooms.
How should someone behave if they’re within one or two standard deviations of average smarts, and think that the authorities think and act like that? I think that’s a legit question and one I’ve done a lot of thinking about, since as someone who’s better-oriented in some ways, I want to be able to advise such people well. You might want to go through the thought experiment of trying to persuade the protagonist of one of the movies I mentioned above to try seasteading, prediction markets, or an online community, instead of the course of action they take in the movie. If it goes well, you have written a fan fic of significant social value. If it goes poorly, you understand why people don’t do that.
I agree that stealing billions while endorsing high-trust behavior might superficially seem like a more reasonable thing to do if you don’t have a good moral theory for why you shouldn’t, and you think effective charities can do an exceptional amount of good with a lot more money. But if you think you live in a society where you can get away with that, then you should expect that wherever you aren’t doing more due diligence than the people you stole from, you’re the victim of a scam.. So I don’t think it really adds up, any more than the other sorts of behaviors you described.
Two years ago, I took a high dose of psychedelic mushrooms and was able to notice the sort of immanent-threat model I described above in myself. It felt as though there was an implied threat to cast me out alone in the cold if I didn’t channel all my interactions with others through an “adult” persona. Since I was in a relatively safe quiet environment with friends in the next room, I was able to notice that this didn’t seem mechanistically plausible, and call the bluff of the internalized threat: I walked into the next room, asked my friends for cuddles, and talked through some of my confusion about the extent to which my social interface with others justified the expense of maintaining an episodic memory. But this took a significant amount of courage and temporarily compromised my balance—my ability to stand up or even feel good sitting on a couch elevated above the ground. Likely most people don’t have the kinds of friends, courage, patience, rational skepticism, theoretical grounding in computer science, evolution, and decision theory, or living situation for that sort of refactoring to go well.