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Micaiah_Chang comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) - Less Wrong

42 Post author: orthonormal 12 August 2010 01:08AM

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Comment author: Micaiah_Chang 23 July 2011 10:00:29PM 6 points [-]

Hello all!

I'm a twenty year old college student studying physics. My introduction to LessWrong has most likely been lost to the ravages of time (although there's this nagging feeling I was linked here by a random forum post on GameFAQs). That was about a year, year and a half ago. I've read about halfway through the sequences via the haphazard method of "Wow that's interesting I guess I'll drop the next hour or so reading it." While I realize that finishing the sequences is highly recommended, I haven't seen a significant amount of large-inferential-distance-statements-oh-geez-what-is-going-on here type posts so I think I'll be fine despite my incompleteness.

As to the more pertinent question of my road to rationality, well, I was raised in China where religion was nearly nonexistent and my first exposure to the Bible was a picture book which I treated more or less like Greek or Egyptian myths (~8 years old). This lead to a natural interest in the New Atheism movement which articulated my unspoken problems with religion and exposing me to the skeptics community as well (15-17 years old). However, a small nag at the back of my mind floated that there was something I was doing wrong if I was pursuing truth, despite the apparent correctness of the atheist position!

In comes LessWrong (~19 years old). In some cases, merely repeating things that I had thought and agreed with (but never acted upon! so basically not anything I valued) to opening up entirely new avenues of thought (Mostly newcombtype problems and decision theories). A post that Yvain made a while back about X-rationality, which downplayed the clarity of thought afforded by reading LessWrong, was in complete opposition to my own experience. I felt something close to constant... joy I suppose? as I observed previously confusing and opaque subjects become understandable and transparent. Where's Waldo with model fitting induced utilitons if you will.

The catalyst for joining the community though, was the meetup here in the San Diego area. While it would be inaccurate to say that I'm unsatisfied with my life, I feel as if a lot of my satisfaction arises out of complacency and adherence to the status quo rather than a response to accomplishing any goals (a poor man's wirehead indeed!). Going to a meetup with a lot of smart, engaged and most of all unconfused people might clear up my confusion for my life goals, but the real goal here is to meet new people.

Perhaps I'll just use this account as a karma, PM and meetup bot, I do have a busy schedule. Or perhaps I will try to contribute to the community. Either way, the plan is to have fun, take names and fall off the shoulders of giants repeatedly.

Note, Micaiah is not my real first name, it arose out of a conversation where a friend compared me to the Biblical prophet, because I frequently make unpleasant predictions which turn out to be true anyway.