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AshwinV comments on Complex Novelty - Less Wrong

26 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 December 2008 12:31AM

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Comment author: AshwinV 07 February 2014 06:52:04AM 0 points [-]

"Clearly, the solution to Peer's difficulty is to become stupid enough that carving table legs is difficult again—and so lousy at generalizing that every table leg is a new and exciting challenge—"

I'm an in-house counsel at a leading renewable energy company (in other words, an average corporate slave who ends up doing many tasks repeatedly) who has to deal with many different large scale projects, but the truth is that a lot of the work that I end up doing has many similar terms and regulations, so there is some amount of repetition to my work. I am sure that this is the case with a great many number of jobs in the world, not just desk clerk jobs, but even jobs that are more cognitively demanding. I'm quite sure that even researchers in nanotech or space travel have routine jobs that they have to repeatedly perform in order to get to the more exciting aspects of their work.

This form of thinking (I'm now wondering whether it can be classified under the dark arts section) where you enjoy mechanically performing certain functions can in fact be tamed.

Another thought that occurs is that the same function i.e. carving a wooden leg can be viewed as two completely separate activities. If you went and asked Aldous Huxley, he would probably say that this is possible. If I remember correctly, he mentions this form of random perspective on more mundane day to day facts a lot in the Doors of Perception (I may need to refresh my memory, I read it years ago). Timothy Leary (although I've only read the Wikipedia page on this one, havent read one of his books yet) also seems to suggest that this can happen through a variety of different methods.

Does anyone think, any kind of effective compartmentalisation is possible wherein we combine the maximum fun that can be obtained while also retaining the ability to think cognitively/rationally when we really need to?