I’d like to see more examples, though it’s quite possible they’re sensitive or otherwise bad to discuss in public. But right now I feel that I understand the model in theory but not at all where I should be applying it.
While the late 19th and early 20th century anarchist attackers often wanted to target the well-off (and indeed carried out many assassination attempts in service of this goal), they weren’t averse to making indiscriminate attacks as long as the target was vaguely upclass—consider the Cafe Terminus attack or the Galleanist Wall Street bombing, which were indiscriminate in nature.
Similarly, the anarchist doctrine of “propaganda of the deed” held that attacks would break down the state’s monopoly on violence and show the people that revolution was possible, and as such the attacks were valuable simply as demonstrations, even if they did not kill their intended targets; the 1919 Galleanist bombings, while notionally assassination attempts against various powerful figures, killed only a night watchman and blew a servant’s hands off, but were still considered blows struck for anarchy.
My sense is that Galleani and his followers would have been quite happy to crash vehicles into crowds of people, especially in financial or government districts, but they didn’t much realize it was an option.
If I were Tom Clancy I hope that I would not have published Debt of Honor. I don’t know whether terrorists were inspired by it, but at least for me it’s pretty clearly in the “not worth the risk” category.
In some respects the 9/11 attacks can be considered similar to the Tylenol incident (though obviously much more devastating) - an incident took place using a method that had been theoretically viable for a long time, prompting immediate corrective action.
One of the reasons those attacks were so successful is that air hijacks were relatively common, but most led “only” to hostage scenarios, demands for the release of political prisoners, etc—in point of fact the standard protocol was to cooperate with hijackers, and as Wikipedia says “often, during the epidemic of skyjackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the end result was an inconvenient but otherwise harmless trip to Cuba for the passengers.” Post-9/11, hijacks began being taken much more seriously.
(There were actually many terrorist attempts against airplanes in the time shortly after 9/11, though most were not hijack attempts—the infamous “shoe bomber” who attempted to destroy an aircraft in flight a few months later, only to be beaten and captured by other passengers, was maybe the most well known.)
Yes, I worried about this myself for some time. Ultimately I decided that terrorist organizations already know about this method and it is being widely discussed in the media, so the number of potentially dangerous people who would hear about it here first is comparatively low. Further, this method is primarily suited towards indiscriminate attacks, which I am somewhat less worried about compared to alternatives.
Is Duncan/Conor OK with you linking his content here at LW? (There are of course reasons why I think this is a sensible question to ask, but I won’t be going into them here.)
Yes, he Is.
I suspect, though I am not certain, that your grandparents’ view is that gay marriage isn’t marriage, that they cannot be seen to countenance or respect it, and that the damage to the family is sad and unfortunate but ultimately not particularly relevant to their decision, which is theologically rather than socially motivated.
See for instance Matthew 10:34-37, which while not specifically about gay marriage in particular does seem to deal with matters where religious and family ties come into conflict:
″34 Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. 35 For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.″
I’m not sure what group or denomination your grandparents are from, and there are quite varied perspectives on this, but I suspect they still love their daughter and find the circumstances heartbreaking, yet nevertheless cannot take action that seems to them to endorse or condone sinful behavior, even if it leads to sorrow and conflict within their family.
Great post! I especially like your description of the different Knights and of the “stag hunt” dynamic in general. I think I’ve very likely been in the white role at times in other groups. However, there’s a dynamic near to this one that I also see a lot—that’s one where all the relevant scaffolding has been built, the systems are in place, the group can start choosing “stag” if it wants to, but this isn’t common knowledge yet.
I have often encountered (what I believe to be) this second dynamic, and it strikes me as very important—if the situation really is such that a little push can tip the balance into the “stag” equilibrium, doing that is crucial! Distinguishing between these two states seems hard and I’d quite like to be better at it.
I would like for us to stop using this term. I don’t think “demon thread” really says much that “terrible thread” doesn’t, and while I think some of the observations you’ve made about these threads are helpful, the introduction of “demon thread” as yet another jargon term is IMO becoming annoying.
I want to flag that I am pretty confident that I’ve heard circling facilitators boasting about having had people cry during circling. I don’t think it’s an explicit directive, but it does seem to be something that at least some value or interpret as a sign of deepness.
Do keep in mind that Hamming circles have some very relevant differences from the sort of circling being described here. As someone who has facilitated many Hamming circles, I consider them broadly unrelated aside from both having “circle” in the name.
(probably you know this already, but just making sure!)
I quite disagree—this is just the sort of thing that I am worried will become more common (and more enforceable) with the upcoming moderation changes.
I think my disgreement may come from fundamentally different notions of what posting to the front page of LW is - in my view, it’s starting a public conversation. That conversation might well move in a direction you don’t want, but that’s the way it is—and I don’t think the conversation starter should have any special rights, explicit or implicit, to control that conversation.
I want to be very clear that I don’t think Unreal is being all that rude or unreasonable with their request—and that’s in fact precisely why I’m worried! If the request were obviously cruel or foolish that would be one thing, but something like this might well become accepted—and I think if requests like this are accepted there may well be a chilling effect on the overall discourse here, and it will occur in a way that is quite hard to see in the moment.
I quite dislike the idea of people being able to moderate their content in this fashion—that just isn’t what a public discussion is in my view—but thanks for being transparent about this change.
(disclaimer: I’ve done a fair bit of circling and “authentic relating,” probably dozens of hours, but am by no means an expert.)
Thanks for the post! I have had a lot of fun circling and in some cases I have seen it lead to interpersonal breakthroughs. Further, I perceive at least some applications to rationality. However, my sense is that circling falls into the same category as lucid dreaming, memory palaces, or various other interesting techniques—fun, but not really in alignment with the core spirit of rationality. Lucid dreaming can be used to train noticing confusion; circling can be used to train relevant skills as well. However, that doesn’t make either a core part of the program.
I would recommend circling to many people as a fun and interesting exercise; I would not recommend it as the forefront of rationality development. I also notice that I feel a sense of apprehension around these communities becoming too intertwined, in part because many people in the circling community are, as you say, New Age hippie self-help guru types. As a result, I’ve intentionally shied away from exploring this area more despite quite appreciating it—I’m not sure the epistemics are there and I’m very worried about these sorts of ideas having an undue influence on the rationality development project.
The classic heuristics and biases literature is about things like the planning fallacy; it has very little to say about intuitions about human value, which is more in the domain of experimental moral philosophy.
Fair point, though I do think it provides at least weak evidence in this domain as well. That said, there are other examples of cases where intuitions about human value can be very wrong in the moment that are perhaps more salient, - addictions and buyer’s remorse come to mind.
I’m willing to entertain this as a hypothesis, although I’d be extremely sad to live in this world. I appreciate your willingness to stick up for this belief; I think this is exactly the kind of getting-past-blindspots thing we need on the meta level even if I currently disagree on the object level.
So as I mentioned in another comment, I think basically all of the weird positions described in the SSC post on EAG 2017 are wrong. People who are worrying about insect suffering or particle suffering seem to me to be making philosophical mistakes and to the extent that those people are setting agendas I think they’re wasting everyone’s time and attention.
I agree that these positions are mistakes. That said, I have three replies:
I don’t think the people who are making these sorts of mistakes are setting agendas or important policies. There are a few small organizations that are concerned with these matters, but they are (as far as I can tell) not taken particularly seriously aside from a small contingent of hardcore supporters.
I worry that similar arguments can very easily be applied to all weird areas, even ones that may be valid. I personally think AI alignment considerations are quite significant, but I’ve often seen people saying things that I would parse as “being worried about AI alignment is a philosophical mistake”, for instance.
It is not clear to me that the “embodied” perspective you describe offers especially useful clarification on these issues. Perhaps it does in a way that I am too unskilled with this approach to understand? I (like you) think insect suffering and particle suffering are mistaken concepts and shouldn’t be taken seriously, but I don’t necessarily feel like I need an embodied perspective to realize that.
I find this claim very surprising—in many respects it seems in opposition to a lot of the models that are conventionally used here. (That doesn’t, of course, mean that it’s wrong.) I think the classic heuristics and biases view holds that many of our default intuitions are predictably inaccurate. In fact, I’ve often thought that this community doesn’t go far enough in skepticism of default “embodied concepts”—for instance, I believe there are many both in broader society and in this community for whom human sexuality is outright negative on net, and yet I see extremely few willing to entertain this notion, even as a hypothesis.
I do think that the sort of view you describe is clearly much better than the old transhumanist “my body is a meat prison” view, but my sense was that comparatively few significantly endorsed that and little policy was based on it in any case.
I’d be interested in hearing examples of scenarios where you believe important policies seem disaligned with embodied values; I find this claim very bold and am quite interested in figuring out whether there’s a good way to test it. If true, it could necessitate a serious realignment of many groups.
Excellent comment! I don’t agree completely but I appreciate your taking the time to engage in such detail.
I think that concentrating efforts on the meta-game can be useful, and as you say can be one of the best ways to deal with situations that are currently extremely competitive. That being said, to me this seems almost evidence for competitiveness as a relevant aspect; these sorts of approaches become necessary only when applying standard methods won’t work because the level of competition is already high.
In many fields, you can win by just showing up and “doing it right”—only in fields with serious competition, where you can reasonably expect that people have reached the limits of the current approaches, is the meta approach really necessary. That said, as you point out you often need to take a new approach in order to do something really revolutionary, even if it’s easy to beat the current competitors in the field...
Interesting suggestion! Is there a starting point you would recommend for this sort of study?