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gwillen comments on Ugh fields - Less Wrong

152 [deleted] 12 April 2010 05:06PM

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Comment author: gwillen 14 April 2010 05:58:24AM 17 points [-]

I suffer from this severely and pervasively, and was already aware of that before reading this post. So I just wanted to comment that your post fits spot-on with my experience. I tend to develop ugh fields around projects at work when I get stuck on them for awhile, and get emails from people asking when they will be done, and start to fear getting email about them at all, and then about thinking about them, and so on.

I have also gone through periods of 'ugh'ness centered on my voicemail box and my email inbox, each time when I knew or suspected they contained items likely to make me feel shittier about myself for whatever reason (e.g. reminding me about some thing I was in the process of failing to get done.)

Comment author: Jess_Riedel 14 April 2010 02:16:52PM *  1 point [-]

I suffer from exactly the same thing, but I don't think this what Roko is worring about, is it? He seems to worry about "ugh fields" around important life decisions (or "serious personal problems"), whereas you and I experience them around normal tasks (e.g. responding to emails, tackling stuck work, etc.). The latter may be important tasks -- making this an important motivation/akrasia/efficiency issue -- but it's not a catastrophic/black-swan type risk.

For example, if one had an ugh field around their own death and this prevented them from considering cryonics, this would be a catastrophic/black-swan type risk. Personally, I rather enjoy thinking about these types of major life decisions, but I could see how others might not.

Comment deleted 14 April 2010 07:36:17PM [-]
Comment author: gwillen 19 April 2010 02:12:02PM 11 points [-]

Well, the Ugh Field around emails doesn't start as being about email; it starts as being about some specific item in the inbox. But then as I avoid checking email for days in order to avoid looking at that item (and more from the same party), I start to realize that there are probably now other important things in the inbox that I haven't seen, since I haven't been reading it; and I probably don't want to read those either, especially since I'm probably now late in replying to them.

And so on.