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TimFreeman comments on Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization - Less Wrong

60 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 16 March 2007 06:10PM

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Comment author: TimFreeman 17 May 2011 04:34:57PM 1 point [-]

Can you provide a pointer to a Taoist method of self-control that does not deplete willpower?

Here's a candidate pointer: http://www.howtodotaoism.com/taoism.htm

I signed up and listened to some of his free audio, specifically including his lecture about Karma. Translating out of his jargon, he's saying that you can acquire the habit and skill of creating things ("positive karma"), the habit and skill of destroying things ("negative karma"), or the habit and skill of rearranging existing things so they interact on their own to achieve your purposes ("neutral karma"). You gain one or the other kind of karma depending on the actual consequences of your actions, not the intended consequences. If multiple people are involved, the person who makes the decision gets the karma, not the people who actually implemented it. He says these three alternatives are mutually exclusive, which makes sense if you think about cognitive dissonance and self-image.

That might be a useful distinction. I'll live with it for a while and report back if anything remarkable happens as a consequence.

I have no idea if this was the form of Taoist self-control Vassar was talking about in the GGP post. Since it's based on habit and skill, it does seem to fit the bill as a cognitive alternative to using self control, with the caveat that I don't know yet if it actually works.