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HughRistik 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: HughRistik 25 January 2011 06:47:17AM *  2 points [-]

Replying to your other point:

Most men looking toward PUA are looking for something effective, so I would imagine that what are considered PUA techniques can be both deceptive or untruthful and the opposite because both can be effective(often for different goals and sometimes for the same goal).

Yes, PUAs are looking for something effective, but that doesn't mean that they will use deception. There are two main barriers to deception:

  • It's not as effective as people think for becoming successful with women in general
  • PUAs have consciences and don't all believe that the ends justify the means

While we might initially think that there is benefit to males making substantive lies in dating and sexual success (e.g. lies about career, accomplishments, commitment, romantic interest), there are several significant pitfalls:

  • Even if she doesn't know, you do
  • If she finds out, there will be drama, which can be costly (both emotionally, or because it hurts your status in your social circle if others find out)
  • Lying isn't easy for everyone
  • Lying takes away from building self-esteem and self-confidence, while gaining sexual interest based on the truth about you builds confidence. Even if lying might help you with one woman, it will be an impediment to building self-confidence with women over the long-term which is an important component of sexual success.

Lying is an awesome strategy if you are a massive asshole with a high level of antisocial personality traits. But if you have species-typical levels of empathy, it's not so useful. Some people may stereotype PUAs as being highly antisocial con men, which might make lying a plausible worry. Yet the vast majority of PUAs don't fit that description (though I've met a few). PUAs with prosocial personality traits who attempt lying are probably hurting themselves far more than they are hurting women.

For people with prosocial traits, if they are in a situation where lying would be beneficial, there is a much better way to save the day: self-deception! That way, you get all the benefits of the lie, without the pangs of conscience, and you can defuse drama if the shit hits the fan. I don't think I've ever done this. But if I had, would I know? (Wow, the baby basilisks are really out tonight.)

Comment author: wedrifid 25 January 2011 07:31:54AM 8 points [-]

For people with prosocial traits, if they are in a situation where lying would be beneficial, there is a much better way to save the day: self-deception! That way, you get all the benefits of the lie, without the pangs of conscience, and you can defuse drama if the shit hits the fan. I don't think I've ever done this. But if I had, would I know? (Wow, the baby basilisks are really out tonight.)

The Hanson Basilisk.

On a related note I hold in contempt rules or systems of normative judgement under which an individual becomes penalised for becoming self aware or epistemologically rational. For example, when using an approach explicitly because you know that is how humans work is condemned as 'manipulative' while doing the same thing while lying to yourself about your intent is treated entirely differently.

Comment author: MartinB 25 January 2011 08:58:45AM 3 points [-]

There is a bias against learning some skills consciously. (While with others it is considered bad to have just inherited them.) Charisma and Money belong in one of those categories.

I see a few misconceptions coming up time and again in this discussion, and I do not see how to bridge the inferential distance towards them. The picture is all messed up with media, or mistaken samples.

I personally like being truthful. (For people who consider flirty behavior and various ways of joking lying I would need to go into a deeper explanation.) There is a lot of lying being done in monogamous relationships by both men and female. The PUA has his stack of books and exercises that allow the pursuit of a wide range of goals. Lying is not particularly necessary, and more complication than necessary. It is stressful and weak. Also one should keep in mind how many people are naturally successful in their social lives. Their numbers will out-weight the learned PUA people for many years to come. I see a greater problem in naturally charismatic people who treat their partners badly, than in a learned charismatic person who treats people well.

Comment author: wedrifid 25 January 2011 11:33:22AM 4 points [-]

Also one should keep in mind how many people are naturally successful in their social lives.

Where by 'natural' we of course mean "have developed skills, prestige and a social network through concerted effort during most of their waking hours from the day they were born". :)

Comment author: TheOtherDave 25 January 2011 04:46:55PM 1 point [-]

...and in some cases through the concerted effort of others before then.

Comment author: wedrifid 25 January 2011 11:42:30AM 0 points [-]

I see a few misconceptions coming up time and again in this discussion, and I do not see how to bridge the inferential distance towards them.

Let Hugh explain them. That seems to be the easiest way. ;)

I have to say, however, that as far as misconceptions and general nonsense this has probably been the most sane conversation that I've ever seen on lesswrong. More importantly what little insanity there has been has been cognitive more than political. Altogether promising.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 25 January 2011 12:38:42PM 1 point [-]

The most sane conversation you've seen here about PUA, or the most sane conversation you're seen here about anything?

Comment author: wedrifid 25 January 2011 12:51:07PM 0 points [-]

About PUA. I haven't really thought about the sanity of anything in general.

Comment author: wedrifid 26 January 2011 12:48:20AM 0 points [-]

I have to say, however, that as far as misconceptions and general nonsense this has probably been the most sane conversation that I've ever seen on lesswrong. More importantly what little insanity there has been has been cognitive more than political. Altogether promising.

Catching up on overnight reading makes me tempted to retract this statement. :)