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Meetup : Stuck in a loop - Melbourne November Rationality Dojo

0 Post author: Chriswaterguy 15 November 2017 02:25AM

Discussion article for the meetup : Stuck in a loop - Melbourne November Rationality Dojo

WHEN: 19 November 2017 03:30:00PM (+1100)

WHERE: parliament gardens, Melbourne

* Note the different venue: Parliament Gardens. *

THIS MONTH: "Stuck in a loop"

What you do when you find your thoughts, or an argument, going in circles or not getting anywhere?

As a launching point we'll use the CFAR Rationality Checklist section 4, which specifically mentions concrete predictions, experimental tests and tabooing problem words. This section is copied at the bottom, and the full checklist can be found at http://www.rationality.org/resources/rationality-checklist.

Format: * A (lightly facilitated) group discussion which may draw on content in the Less Wrong Sequences and top books in relevant fields. We draw on psychology research and rationality techniques, with practical application inspired by (for example) the CFAR workshops. * We end with an exercise to practise the application of the principles we have discussed, to help us be wiser in future.

Reading and thinking ahead of the meetup is encouraged but not required.

BRING: * An inquiring mind, and observations you may have on the topic. * Perhaps a snack or drink to share. (Bonus points for healthy choices.) * Interested friends.

WHEN: 3:30pm to 6:30pm (and then optional dinner). Come early to catch up, and the meeting proper begins at 4pm sharp. At about 6:30pm some of us generally head for dinner nearby, and you are welcome to join us.

WHERE: This month we will meet in Parliament Gardens, east of the CBD, corner of Nicholson St and Albert St. https://goo.gl/maps/N5Ezoi4yb162. That's just north of Parliament House and just opposite the Nicholson St exit from Parliament Station. Look for us in a shady spot, away from the central water display (because that's pretty but noisy). The Gardens are small, but if you have trouble finding us, call one of us, e.g. Chris on 0439 471 632. (We may or may not see FB/Messenger messages.)

WHO ARE WE AND WHY DO WE MEET? The Less Wrong Melbourne Rationality Dojos are a chance to polish our planning, motivational, critical thinking and other rationality skills. We welcome new members who are interested in exploring rationality. We're "aspiring rationalists" and always keen to learn.

READING: Rationality Checklist section 4:

What you do when you find your thoughts, or an argument, going in circles or not getting anywhere

I try to find a concrete prediction that the different beliefs, or different people, definitely disagree about, just to make sure the disagreement is real/empirical.

Example: (from Val) Someone was worried that rationality training might be "fake", and I asked if they could think of a particular prediction they'd make about the results of running the rationality units, that was different from mine, given that it was "fake".

I try to come up with an experimental test, whose possible results would either satisfy me (if it's an internal argument) or that my friends can agree on (if it's a group discussion).

Example: This is how we settled the running argument over what to call the Center for Applied Rationality—Julia went out and tested alternate names on around 120 people.

If I find my thoughts circling around a particular word, I try to taboo the word, i.e., think without using that word or any of its synonyms or equivalent concepts. (E.g. wondering whether you're "smart enough", whether your partner is "inconsiderate", or if you're "trying to do the right thing".)

Example: (from Anna) Advised someone to stop spending so much time wondering if they or other people were justified; was told that they were trying to do the right thing; and asked them to taboo the word 'trying' and talk about how their thought-patterns were actually behaving.

Discussion article for the meetup : Stuck in a loop - Melbourne November Rationality Dojo

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