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SRStarin 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: SRStarin 24 January 2011 02:40:07AM *  2 points [-]

Such a fantastic piece!

But this is really wrong: "# Make use of your downtime (plane rides, bus rides, doctor's office waitings). These days, many of your tasks can be completed on your smartphone."

No, downtime is your chance to be a human being, interacting with other humans. On the plane? Watch a movie. Talk to your neighbor, if they appear to want that. It totally gets you into the frame of mind necessary to interface with whomever* you're traveling to meet with. It also relaxes you. Do not do any work on a plane if you can avoid it. You will be unexpectedly productive for it. I have tried working on a plane, and I get little done, but felt upset at myself for the failure. Now, I play games, watch movies, and think a little about what meetings are coming. I find myself so much more ready for them.

*I am an introvert, but not a strong one.

Comment author: Alicorn 24 January 2011 02:49:55AM 15 points [-]

I believe that this works for you, but it sounds idiosyncratic in the extreme. Language like "be a human being" is unnecessarily judgmental towards people who do not share your preferences/dispositions/idiosyncrasies. I'm human when I have my laptop on and six windows of tasks open, too.

Comment author: SRStarin 24 January 2011 11:27:55PM 4 points [-]

Fair enough, and I apologize for the seeming judging. I'm actually fairly non-judgmental, and yet for some reason often find myself embarrassed at others thinking I'm judging them, when I'm talking about myself. So, mea culpa - I did say that was "wrong," when what I meant was that it was very wrong for me. If advice is wrong for me, I tend to think of it as wrong in the general, logical sense. (Claim: All A should do B. Fact: This member of A should not do B. Conclusion: NOT(All A should do B) )

But, I do think that there is the potential to lose a lot of chances for personal growth if we merely immerse ourselves in our online-lives when surrounded physically by others. For example, I did jury duty today (I wasn't selected), and I was impressed by how the waiting room of 400+ strangers got along so well together, often laughing together at the ups and downs of the day. Airplanes and movie theaters can be like that, too. When people spontaneously interact with and appreciate one another, and I'm part of that, it makes me feel very good about being a live human being.

So, back to my idiosyncracies in the presence of strangers: Your use of that word appears to be a claim that the vast majority of people do not behave or think like I do, but in my experience, quite a lot of people on buses, planes, in jury duty, etc., behave quite a lot like I do. If they didn't, I would have fewer interesting conversations on planes, fewer laughs with strangers, fewer experiences where I go in dreading being in a large crowd of strangers and come out feeling really gosh darn good about being alive.

So, I guess I cop to everything you say except that I'm idiosyncratic in my behavior.

Though if you say I am idiosyncratic in my verbosity, I'd have to give you that one, too.