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thescoundrel 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: thescoundrel 11 November 2011 04:51:38PM *  7 points [-]

Greetings,

I am 32 year old middle class male from the Kansas City area. I grew up on a farm in south-central Kansas, in an evangelical christian family. From an early age I was identified as having above average intelligence. I also have ADD, although it went undiagnosed though my elementary and middle-school years, as I was easily able to complete my work in a short enough time frame that I was not distracted. During this time, I was also heavily indoctrinated in the church. During my high school years, it became apparent to me that there was something wrong- I wanted to complete assignments, but would find myself unable to concentrate on them long enough to finish them- once I understood the concepts, I lost all interest in mindless repetition of the material, even though I knew there were benefits to completing it correctly. Noticing I fit all the signs of ADD, I persuaded my parents to talk to my GP about medication: the GP stated that while he agreed I fit the signs, he did not want to place on me the stigma of being labled add.This began a downward spiral, culminating in my first semester of college- I signed up for several honors classes, but not having acquired the skills needed to complete a truly challenging project, I failed them all miserably. Defeated, I returned to my small town, and began taking classes, first at a local community college, then at a local christian university. In 2000, I became a father, got married, dropped out of school, and proceeded to hide with my family in low income housing.

These were dark days for me- I knew I was failing in every possible sense. I didn't know how to solve it. I didn't know how to figure out how to solve it. I did know we needed money. I took any job I could find. I hated most of them. This continued for 6 years.

At some point, I realized that in order to improve my situation, I had to formulate a plan. I went back to college while working full time building wooden pallets, and received my AS in computer science. I found a GP that would treat my ADD, and saw immediate improvements in my ability to focus. I went on to start my BS in compsci, and was picked up by a startup company, doing both tech support and Linux IT work. During this time, I finally began to look at my beliefs critically. Many, many times I had faced ideas that indicted the existence of god, and each time I had carefully ignored them. However, part of deciding that I needed a plan in order to improve my life was a recognition of determinism: if actions did not have logical, consistent consequences, than there was no ability to plan at all. However, for that to be true, it meant there could be no such thing as a supernatural event, which I viewed as an uncaused action. The death of my faith was a war of attrition, each step painful. I wanted to believe I would see my family after death, that those I loved would be available to me after this short time on earth. I wanted to believe that my consciousness would never end. I eventually let each of them go: I had decided I wanted to know truth more than fantasy.

I moved to Kansas City in 2008, lost my job with the start-up, took another one, and then another in the tech industry, learning more at each position. In august this year, reddit.com had a link to HPatMoR, and I devoured it. This led me here, and I have read all of the main sequences, and am reading everything else I can, as quickly as I can. I feel behind: here, I have found not only the process for finding truth, but also the process for solving problems ion general, and doing it effectively.

I feel that I am in the midst of rewriting my own code: most of my life, my natural ability has been hindered by bad software, and I am starting to patch out some of the bugs. I have four children now: teaching them how to actually learn, how to accomplish their goals, and how to set goals worth having has become my top priority, especially with my older two: I missed a window where some of this could have been taught intuitively over time, and now I have to help them unlearn bad habits formed under my care. I am in process of finding cryonic options that fit my entire family on my budget- tricky, but not impossible. I am trying to improve my math skills; I made it through calc 2, and was fortunate to have college professor who not only understood what he was teaching, but was passionate about it, and willing to spend extra time helping me understand it at an intuitive level- however, I have let it sit for several years, and am having to dust it off.

I am joining the community now, because I feel I have a grasp on the concepts well enough now that in order to grow, I need to start discussing them. I know I still have a ways to go, but I believe with time and effort, I can make strong contributions to the community.

Comment author: kilobug 11 November 2011 06:36:50PM 4 points [-]

Welcome to Less Wrong, and good luck in your quest for bettering yourself !

Or hum... how do you wish "good luck" in a rational way ? ;)

Comment author: thomblake 11 November 2011 07:17:14PM 7 points [-]

Or hum... how do you wish "good luck" in a rational way ? ;)

A: Don't worry about it too much and get on with something more important.

Comment author: Oscar_Cunningham 11 November 2011 11:00:46PM 3 points [-]

Say something surportive but actually meaningful, like "I'm impressed by your achievement." or "Keep going awesome person!" or even just "I hope you do well."

Comment author: Oscar_Cunningham 11 November 2011 10:59:03PM 0 points [-]

At some point, I realized that in order to improve my situation, I had to formulate a plan. I went back to college while working full time building wooden pallets, and received my AS in computer science. I found a GP that would treat my ADD, and saw immediate improvements in my ability to focus. I went on to start my BS in compsci, and was picked up by a startup company, doing both tech support and Linux IT work. During this time, I finally began to look at my beliefs critically.

Awesome.