Celia Green is a figure who should interest some LW readers. If you can imagine Eliezer, not as an A.I. futurist in 2000s America, but as a parapsychologist in 1960s Britain - she must have been a little like that. She founded her own research institute in her mid-20s, invented psychological theories meant to explain why the human race was walking around resigned to mortality and ignorance, felt that her peers (who got all the research money) were doing everything wrong... I would say that her two outstanding books are The Human Evasion and Advice to Clever Children. The first book, while still very obscure, has slowly acquired a fanbase online; but the second book remains thoroughly unknown.
For a synopsis of what the books are about, I think something I wrote in 1993 (I've been promoting her work on the Internet for years) remains reasonable. They contain an analysis of the alleged deficiencies and hidden motivations of normal human psychology, description of an alternative outlook, and an examination of various topics from that new perspective. There is some similarity to the rationalist ideal developed in the Sequences here, in that her alternative involves existential urgency, deep respect for uncertainty, and superhuman aspiration.
There are also prominent differences. Green's starting point is not Bayesian calculation, it's Humean skepticism. Green would agree that one should aspire to "think like reality", but for her this would mean, above all, being mindful of "total uncertainty". It's a fact that I don't know what comes next, that I don't know the true nature of reality, that I don't know what's possible if I try; I may have habitual opinions about these matters, but a moment's honest reflection shows that none of these opinions are knowledge in any genuine sense; even if they are correct, I don't know them to be correct. So if I am interested in thinking like reality, I can begin by acknowledging the radical uncertainty of my situation. I exist, I don't know why, I don't know what I am, I don't know what the world is or what it has planned for me. I may have my ideas, but I should be able to see them as ideas and hold them apart from the unknown reality.
If you are like me, you will enjoy the outlook of open-ended striving that Green develops in this intellectual context, but you will be jarred by her account of ordinary, non-striving psychology. Her answer to the question, why does the human race have such petty interests and limited ambitions, is that it is sunk in an orgy of mutual hatred, mostly disguised, and resulting from an attempt to evade the psychology of striving. More precisely, to be a finite human being is to be in a desperate and frustrating situation; and people attempt to solve this problem, not by overcoming their limitations, but by suppressing their reactions to the situation. Other people are central to the resulting psychological maneuvers. They are a way for you to distract yourself from your own situation, and they are a safe target if the existential frustration and desperation reassert themselves.
Celia Green's psychological ideas are the product of her personal confrontation with the mysterious existential situation, and also her confrontation with an uncomprehending society. I've thought for some time that her portrayal of universal human depravity results from overestimating the potential of the average human being; that in effect she has asked herself, if I were that person, how could I possibly lead the life I see them living, and say the things I hear them saying, unless I were that twisted up inside? Nonetheless, I do think she has described an aspect of human psychology which is real and largely unexamined, and also that her advice on how to avoid the resentful turning-away from reality, and live in the uncertainty, is quite profound. One reason I'm promoting these books is in the hope that some small part of the culture at large is finally ready to digest their contents and critically assess them. People ought to be doing PhDs on the thought of Celia Green, but she's unknown in that world.
As for Celia Green herself, she's still alive and still going. She has a blog and a personal website and an organization based near Oxford. She's an "academic exile", but true to her philosophy, she hasn't compromised one iota and hopes to start her own private university. She may especially be of interest to the metaphysically inclined faction of LW readers, identified by Yvain in a recent blog post.