Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Comment author: g_pepper 14 April 2017 02:07:39AM 1 point [-]

Great list of 20th century compositions! 20th century art music gets an undeservedly bad rap, IMO. I would add a few more composers:

  • 1930: Kurt Weill: Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
  • 1935: George Gershwin: Porgy and Bess
  • 1940-1941: Olivier Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du temps
  • 1944: Aaron Copeland: Appalachian Spring

Kurt Weill's work might be considered theater music rather than art music, but I would argue that it is both of those things. Messiaen is admittedly avant garde and a bit outside of the mainstream, but is approachable by a wide range of audiences, including many who would not care for the composers of the Second Viennese School. Many of Messiaen's compositions could have been added to the list, so I picked one of the best known.

Comment author: gjm 13 April 2017 10:31:38PM 3 points [-]

mid-20th century art music [...] tone poems and dissonant musics [...] were just garbage

wat?

Here are a few pieces of mid-20th century art music. I'm taking "mid-20th-century" to mean 1930 to 1970. Some of them are quite dissonant. None of them is actually a tone poem, as it happens. They are all pieces that (1) I like, (2) are well regarded by the classical music "establishment", (3) are pretty accessible even to (serious) listeners of fairly conservative taste, (4) are still being performed, recorded, etc., (5) are clearly part of the mainstream of mid-20th-century art music, and (6) seem to me to show no lack of awareness of what music is for.

  • 1930: Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms
  • 1936: Barber, Adagio for strings
  • 1941: Tippett, A child of our time
  • 1942: Prokofiev, Piano sonata #7
  • 1945: Britten, Peter Grimes
  • 1948: Strauss, Four last songs
  • 1960: Shostakovich: String quartets #7,8
  • 1965: Bernstein, Chichester Psalms

(I make no claim that these are the best or most important works by their composers. I wanted things reasonably well spread out over the period in question, and subject to that picked fairly randomly.)

Are these all garbage? Perhaps you had in mind only music "weirder" than those: Second Viennese School twelve-tone music (though I'd call that early rather than mid 20th century), Cage-style experimentalism, and so forth. I'm not at all convinced that that stuff had no value or influence, but in any case it's far from all that was happening in western art music in the middle of the 20th century.

Comment author: gjm 13 April 2017 10:02:52PM *  0 points [-]

hundreds or thousands of years ago

reinventing logical positivism

Logical positivism isn't even one hundred years old yet.

Comment author: gjm 13 April 2017 10:00:21PM *  0 points [-]

Making explicit something implicit in Lumifer's comment: children move a lot and image stabilization won't do anything about that[1], so with an image-stabilized camera (and perhaps even without) the only way to avoid motion blur is to reduce the exposure time. This in turn requires you to get more photons to the sensor per unit time, which requires a physically larger camera. Smartphone cameras are incredibly impressive these days given the constraints they work under, but a good "real" camera can take in a whole lot more light than the camera in any phone, which will mean shorter exposures and hence sharper kid pictures.

[1] Though, hmm, I wonder whether it would be possible to make a camera that identifies subjects and how they're moving -- this is already done for autofocus -- and then uses the image stabilization machinery to keep the subject as motionless as possible in the image. That would be startling but isn't obviously impossible. (If the subject moves too much, obviously it's hopeless.)

[EDITED to add: For the avoidance of doubt, I am 100% confident that Lumifer already knows all that, with the possible exception of the idea in the footnote, and 95% confident that you understood it all from what he said; this is for the sake of that last 5%.]

[EDITED again to add:] Pretty sure the idea in the footnote isn't really workable. Autofocus tracks subject movement between photos. This would require watching within a single image capture, which implies either taking lots of short-exposure shots instead of a single longer one (implying more readout noise) or else having a separate sensor used only for this (but unless a lot of the light is getting diverted to that separate sensor it's going to be seeing super-noisy images which can't be good for its ability to track subjects). Also, this seems quite expensive computationally.

Comment author: Raemon 13 April 2017 05:11:54PM 1 point [-]

I'm totes aware of the irony here, and have thought about alternate names but not really came up with anything that

a) communicates the particular combination of things I'm going for here b) is memorable and curiosity inducing

(I do plan to eventually port this whole thing over to the EA community in a fashion that's more respectable looking. If you have suggestions for a good alternate name, lemme know)

Comment author: Lumifer 13 April 2017 04:35:51PM 1 point [-]

being anti-normal in a way that frightens off anyone who already has strong mainstream social skills

Any quick examples before the long-form essay?

Comment author: Kisil 13 April 2017 03:38:15PM 1 point [-]

2a here seems like a major issue to me. I've had an essay brewing for a couple of months, about how the range of behaviors we tolerate affects who is willing to join the community. It's much easier to see the people who join than the people who are pushed away.

I argue that the way we are currently inclusive goes beyond being a safe space for weirdness, and extends into being anti-normal in a way that frightens off anyone who already has strong mainstream social skills. And that we can and should encourage social skill development while remaining a safe space.

If there's interest, I'll finish writing the longer-form argument.

Comment author: Lumifer 13 April 2017 02:45:51PM 1 point [-]

paths to success have been distorted by psychopaths

At which point in time and in which societies the paths were NOT "distorted"? When and where was the Golden Pre-Psychopath Age?

Comment author: AlexD 13 April 2017 03:02:30AM 0 points [-]

In the spirit of avoiding unnecessary weirdness, do you really want to cloak this project in a name assuming familiarity with specific literature? (And I get that HPMOR is cool, but it's niche, and HP* is for kids.)

In response to Belief in Belief
Comment author: PhilGoetz 13 April 2017 01:32:49AM *  0 points [-]

The rationalist virtue of empiricism...

I'm not disagreeing with any of the content above, but a note about terminology--

LessWrong keeps using the word "rationalism" to mean something like "reason" or possibly even "scientific methodology". In philosophy, however, "rationalism" is not allied to "empiricism", but diametrically opposed to it. What we call science was a gradual development, over a few centuries, of methodologies that harnessed the powers both of rationalism and empiricism, which had previously been thought to be incompatible.

But if you talk to a modernist or post-modernist today, when they use the term "rational", they mean old-school Greek, Platonic-Aristotelian rationalism. They, like us, think so much in this old Greek way that they may use the term "reason" when they mean "Aristotelian logic". All post-modernism is based on the assumption that scientific methodology is essentially the combination of Platonic essences, Aristotelian physics, and Aristotelian logic, which is rationalism. They are completely ignorant of what science is and how it works. But this is partly our fault, because they hear us talking about science and using the term "rationality" as if science were rationalism!

(Inb4 somebody says Plato was a rationalist and Aristotle was an empiricist: Really, really not. Aristotle couldn't measure things, and very likely couldn't do arithmetic. In any case the most important Aristotelian writings to post-modernists are the Physics, which aren't empirical in the slightest. No time to go into it here, though.)

Comment author: ialdabaoth 13 April 2017 12:33:34AM 0 points [-]

Yes, although I'd say it slightly more strongly: the paths to success have been distorted by psychopaths - and by our outright worship of them - into requiring one to express psychopathic traits in order to succeed, so much so that society's various commons are - in general - being drained more quickly than they're being replenished. Moreso, most of these so-called "successful" traits aren't even seen as psychopathic anymore; they're seen as "alluringly confident" or whatever.

Comment author: FourFire 12 April 2017 10:07:56PM *  1 point [-]

My steelmanning of Ialdaboath's claim isn't that it is impossible to succeed without being a psychopath. (Though I would definitely agree that his perspective is rather dreary and pessimistic) It is that the paths to success in society have been distorted by psychopaths into requiring one to express psychopathic traits in order to succeed a lot more of the time than would be the case in absence of psychopaths within the ruling elite.

In response to comment by fblogin on Timeless Identity
Comment author: Lumifer 12 April 2017 03:10:17PM 0 points [-]

SPAMMITY SPAM SPAM

Comment author: themusicgod1 12 April 2017 01:03:10PM 0 points [-]

The parent made 3 claims(the 3rd one was snuck into the conclusion). I only addressed 2 and 3. 1 is a credible point that stands on its own merit. Without points 2 and 3 however with 1 it's no longer a sound argument.

Comment author: ChristianKl 11 April 2017 11:21:44AM 2 points [-]

Having deep long-term relationships is useful in Western society to gather power. Committing to a realistic long-term vision and working towards it is also useful for success.

Clinical sociopaths have trouble with both.

Comment author: ChristianKl 11 April 2017 11:10:17AM 0 points [-]

For example, there are people who are too shy to speak, and hate to compete for attention, so at a LW meetup they would just sit in the corner and quietly listen. These people don't harm anyone else, only perhaps themselves.

There's no big harm but a person who sits in the corner can still influence the overall atmosphere of a meetup in a way that's not pleasant.

Comment author: ChristianKl 11 April 2017 11:10:12AM 1 point [-]

The first person that came to my mind was a shy insecure guy at a meetup with very strong body odor where nobody wanted to be near him because of the body odor.

Comment author: ChristianKl 11 April 2017 11:01:01AM 0 points [-]

Okay, moocher works well.

Comment author: domesticatedzebra 11 April 2017 02:17:08AM 0 points [-]

"I don't see how it serves our evolutionary needs."

Ever heard of the concept of group selection? Evolution does not just happen at the level of individual genes, it can also take place at the societal level. If we accept the axiom that human beings have been living in ethnic and tribal units since the beginning of our species' history-- a valid assumption considering that we evolved on the African savannah and had to compete with both apex predators and powerful herbivores-- then society will select for those traits that it deems most suitable for its continued survival, and groupthink appears to be one of them.

Am I implying that social conformity is the cause of most of our problems? There's actually quite a bit more truth to that statement than most people are willing to acknowledge, but the point of this blog post is that you can still make it in spite of all the barriers society puts up. I for one do not disagree.

Comment author: Lumifer 10 April 2017 02:29:36PM 1 point [-]

I believe that clinical psychopaths will be overrepresented among: the ruling elite, prison population, and probably also victims of drug abuse.

...cops and prison guards as well.

View more: Prev | Next