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JenniferRM comments on Ugh fields - Less Wrong

153 [deleted] 12 April 2010 05:06PM

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Comment author: JenniferRM 19 April 2010 06:20:21AM *  7 points [-]

If I remember correctly, it was my term for a problem that I was dealing with more than Anna was, but that was back in 2001-ish when we were both part of a really keen group of people in a seminar on complex systems theory. There were generally 4-6 people at each meeting from a larger circle of about 9 and the ideas would bounce around so much it was hard to really take personal credit for anything with a straight face. Steve Rayhawk was also part of the group.

For ugh fields, the term really shines in social groups where people are trying to coordinate around things that can acquire ugh fields because they help explain some of the difficulties that come up around reminders/nagging/comments. Relatively innocent comments can be heard as "nagging" if they remind people of ugh fields that they're dealing with. From experience on both sides of the equation, nagging about X usually makes the ugh field worse, whereas asking someone if they have an ugh field around X is likely to be a first step towards a real solution. It would make sense to me as a useful term in Benton House that Anna might introduce and that might get a whole new set of meanings in that context.

In the same period and group where the term "ugh field" was coined another concept "we" played with back then (when we noticed how difficult it was to attribute any particular idea to any one of us without ending up with more of a conceptual genealogy than pure authorship) was the idea that a major mechanism of creativity seems to be "generous misinterpretation" of other people in the course of good conversations...

I'm really curious how displacement activity became connected to "ugh fields" because it looks like a fascinating connection with a solid body of academic observations and theories behind it. Was that connection due to Anna or you or someone else? I'm quite sure it wasn't me :-)