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Sengachi comments on "Flinching away from truth” is often about *protecting* the epistemology - Less Wrong

73 Post author: AnnaSalamon 20 December 2016 06:39PM

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Comment author: Sengachi 03 February 2018 06:37:51AM 0 points [-]

Hmm. I don't think it's not useful to practice looking at the truth even when it hurts. For instance with the paperwork situation, it could be that not fixing the paperwork even if you recognize errors in it is something you would see as a moral failing in yourself, something you would be averse to recognizing even if you allowed yourself to not go through the arduous task of fixing those mistakes. Because sometimes the terminal result of a self-evaluation is reducing one's opinion of oneself, being able to see painful truths is a necessary tool to make this method work properly.

That said, I do think this is a much more actionable ritual than just "look at the painful thing". It also serves better as a description of reality, encompassing not just why certain truths are painful, but also how they become painful. It establishes not just a method for coping with painful truths and forcing confrontation with them, but also for establishing mental housekeeping routines which can prevent truths from becoming painful in the first place.

This has been a topic I started thinking about on my own some months ago (I even started with the same basic observation about children and why they sometimes violently reject seemingly benign statements). But I think my progress will be much improved with a written document from someone else's perspective which I can look at and evaluate. Thank you very much for writing this up. I really appreciate it.