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sark comments on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge - Less Wrong

138 Post author: lukeprog 20 January 2011 08:44PM

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Comment author: sark 22 January 2011 04:19:10PM 1 point [-]

My point wasn't that PU was somehow unique in its 'evilness'. I would disapprove of speaking or acting classes as well if most of it was simply positional. So no, not attacking solely PU here, just anything that is positional and causes more grief than joy.

I like wedrifid's point of these social games being fun. I somehow managed to forget that. But this needs to be put into perspective of the desired end result here. Most people I'm sure would enjoy the journey of social dancing along the way to the destination of getting laid/love. But most of the utility is derived from the sex/love, not the dancing. Bored lovers might complain that their relationship was getting stale, but they are already much better of than the 40yr old virgins.

Let's not forget that anything 'fun' probably indicates that it is a status game. Which means there will be huge inequalities. If the final result of this instrumental pleasure (which is not to say it is all that matters, just the magnitude of its importance) were getting sex/love or not, then I am certainly willing to compromise some of the social fun for more people getting the sex/love they want.

Comment author: MartinB 22 January 2011 04:35:15PM 0 points [-]

I think life is generally not designed as fair. But it is possible to change a part of your position.

But most of the utility is derived from the sex/love, not the dancing.

That can be changed. If sex alone is the goal, there is a trivial way to get it. Especially if your own hourly rate is high enough. But to get love you also have to offer the other person something. You will not get loved for your brain, or your collection of comic books, or your knowledge about human history or any other topic. You get love for a set of properties that can be surprisingly trivial. One thing I am interested in is what these properties are and how to develop them. But you really have to enjoy the trip itself, otherwise there is a high chance you become a very grumpy single. It is more fun to enjoy dates, or what ever social activity you choose to find your partners, than to see it as an annoying step on the way to your terminal goal.

Bored lovers might complain that their relationship was getting stale, but they are already much better of than the 40yr old virgins.

I doubt that for many cases. You find enough married couples where the partners at least seem to be worse off than even the 40yo.

then I am certainly willing to compromise some of the social fun for more people getting the sex/love they want

I do not think I understand the meaning here. Social games are not played consciously. You maybe saw the scene from A beautiful mind, where John Nash tries to do away with the social conventions and get down to business right away. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfS-8X8PNx8

Does not work.

Comment author: sark 22 January 2011 05:02:48PM 0 points [-]

But to get love you also have to offer the other person something.

It is more fun to enjoy dates, or what ever social activity you choose to find your partners, than to see it as an annoying step on the way to your terminal goal.

You seem to simultaneously claim it is an arms race, yet imply that all the socially inept people need to do was to learn some social skills so that they can offer the other something.

I certainly agree that the horribly socially inept can learn to improve their social skills so that at the very least they get themselves across to the other person more effectively. Dating/flirting certainly does serve a practical purpose of letting us assess our compatibility, which besides being fun in itself, contributes to the relationship.

But if there was an arms race then this simply won't be enough. Past a certain point, the social maneuvering won't contribute to signaling anything relevant to compatibility anymore, and it will all be a zero-sum contest. Fun perhaps, but if so, then for its own sake only.

I doubt that for many cases. You find enough married couples where the partners at least seem to be worse off than even the 40yo.

Quick google search gave me at least this: http://spr.sagepub.com/content/22/5/607.abstract

I do not think I understand the meaning here.

I'd rather we relinquish some of the fun of the more sophisticated zero-sum dating/flirting techniques for more people actually hooking up with each other. (arms races creates inequalities)

Social games are not played consciously.

They don't have to.

You maybe saw the scene from A beautiful mind

That was a disaster. I don't recommend it.

If sex alone is the goal, there is a trivial way to get it.

I'm not sure if sex with prostitutes contribute enough to self-esteem/happiness. Anyone?

Comment author: MartinB 22 January 2011 05:51:59PM 3 points [-]

Oh boy. What did I get myself into. From time to time I run into sophisticated arguments about relationships and usually fail to bring anything useful across. But I try anyway.

You seem to simultaneously claim it is an arms race, yet imply that all the socially inept people need to do was to learn some social skills so that they can offer the other something.

That is no contradiction. If you (in a very broad sense) aim to be the most sociable guy in the room, than the difficulty of that task depends on who you hang with. You can raise your own status to some degree with a few easy things. But that does not mean you are at the top. And then the average can shift. If more people go into actively raising their status you get a visible arms race for the top positions. But if that happens slow and more intuitively than the race is slow, and maybe even non existant. I think you do have to be better than the competition. But lots of the competition does not act.

it will all be a zero-sum contest I think status games pretty much are a useless contest in a productive view.

Quick google search gave me at least this As a sociable inept person you might have a higher risk to end up in a bad relationship. (This is just an estimate. Might be very very wrong.) If you get to choose between a bad relationship and eternal singledom I choose the former. Making a good relationship, and more so a consistently good one is something I strive to learn, but yet have no data on.

I'd rather we relinquish some of the fun of the more sophisticated zero-sum dating/flirting techniques for more people actually hooking up with each other. (arms races creates inequalities)

That sounds awesome. And I have no clue how to actually do it. Not even in theory.

Comment author: sark 22 January 2011 06:30:57PM 1 point [-]

But if that happens slow and more intuitively than the race is slow, and maybe even non existant.

Speed really isn't the issue. An arms race will create waste and inequality.

That sounds awesome. And I have no clue how to actually do it. Not even in theory.

I think a typical person would be receptive to some of the PU techniques but not others. If as you say (I really need to educate myself on PU), most of it is obvious social skills then I don't think they would have any objection. Some techniques they might think 'unfair' or 'evil', in which case their deontological ethics already takes care of this not degenerating into an arms race.

So perhaps PU may be unfairly maligned. But I think when its techniques are presented in a non-PU context, most people already have the right built-in ethics to accept what is useful for themselves and reject what is on net harmful to all of us.

I guess it was kinda unfair for me to press this point about arms races. Because if I'm getting this right, it seems that PU serves more to help the socially inept achieve basic social functionality than keeping up with the sophisticated players in the field. This is an honorable effort.

Comment author: MartinB 22 January 2011 07:06:50PM 0 points [-]

I think a typical person would be receptive to some of the PU techniques but not others

I think you might have a mistaken view on what a PU technique is, and does. A discussion would make more sense if you were specific about what you think works or does not work. It is not a clearly defined field anyway. The comparison with magic also does not hold that well. In magic you have spells, and it is clear when you cast a spell, and when not. Your PU toolbox consists of wider variety of issues.

Comment author: sark 22 January 2011 08:09:08PM 0 points [-]

Whoops you might have misunderstood me there. I meant a typical person would be willing to employ some PU techniques but not others. I'm sure most of them do work.

Comment author: MartinB 23 January 2011 07:37:03AM 0 points [-]

Which do you have in mind for each?

Comment author: shokwave 22 January 2011 06:00:55PM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure if sex with prostitutes contribute enough to self-esteem/happiness. Anyone?

Huge status hit is problematic. Maybe it is enough for self-esteem, but the hit brings esteem down again.