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cousin_it comments on Becoming stronger together - Less Wrong Discussion

14 Post author: b4yes 11 July 2017 01:00PM

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Comment author: cousin_it 11 July 2017 01:43:10PM *  7 points [-]

Always nice to hear about a secret group doing secret things! On the other hand, that's it? Being a vegetarian programmer who goes to the gym is your idea of an awesome life, the promised "more is possible"? To me that sounds like a boring life that most of society wouldn't find attractive at all. Where's the art, travel, science, business, politics? Where's all the success and where's all the fun? Heck, if you'd skipped the vegetarian part and instead all went to Cuba for a paragliding vacation, that would make me more hopeful about the future of rationalism :-)

Comment author: b4yes 11 July 2017 03:38:46PM 8 points [-]

The group was initiated with a purpose of grandiose growth, and we still have hopes for the future, but the real effect is more of small, sustainable, very reasonable levels of growth. No Bayesian Conspiracy, sorry. However,

Where's the art, travel, science, business, politics?

some of us run a business together (and the article mentions P2P lending, discussing career decisions together, changing asset allocation); some of us pool money for real estate deals; one of us studies AI safety and does math all day long; and one of us is politically active and drumming up attention for Effective Altruism. Each of us follows their own plans here.

Some of the slow-growing stuff we are doing now could yield exceptional returns in future. If our business (that happened as a result of our group existing) succeeds, or if we collectively sniff out great investment opportunities (as we already have to some extent in the crypto space), we might end up substantially more wealthy than if we had been just by ourselves.

Being a vegetarian programmer who goes to the gym is your idea of an awesome life… To me that just sounds boring.

To avoid Nirvana fallacy let’s say we suspect most Less Wrong readers struggle even with this baseline. Dragon Army proposes a “totalitarian” regime as a solution. We do it by keeping each other accountable, online, within our individual possibilities, within our everyday lives (which sometimes involve school or childcare).

To us, being healthy, fit and strong sounds more fun than being unhealthy, fat and weak. Building our power base sounds more fun in long term than taking a vacation and then staying in the rat race for the rest of our lives.

“Happiness is the feeling that power increases—that resistance is being overcome.” And this starts with the boring things that seemingly nobody wants to do: being productive, eating well, working out, going to bed at a reasonable time, investing one's money, saying thanks but no thanks to one marshmallow, to own the entire factory down the line.

And, technically, the one of us who doubled their income recently could now afford more vacations at Cuba than before. But we prefer long and meaningful and happy lives over lives filled with typical ephemeral enjoyments (see Stoicism).

Comment author: cousin_it 11 July 2017 09:23:38PM *  6 points [-]

“Happiness is the feeling that power increases—that resistance is being overcome.”

When I go to a water park and have a splash fight with my friends, I feel happy. It's not about power and it doesn't require getting fit or rich first.

The LW life aesthetic, centered around individual hard work, is a good idea for most people. Unfortunately it might be harmful to precisely the people who are most attracted to it. We'd be better served by a different aesthetic, one that fulfilled the desires we don't want to acknowledge. I imagine it as something with lots of fireworks, and sex, and stupidity, and laughing, and stories you'd want to tell afterward, instead of saying "Yesterday was my 1319th day of not eating the marshmallow. It was a good day!"

Comment author: ZankerH 13 July 2017 09:48:00AM *  1 point [-]

Sounds like you need to work on that time preference. Have you considered setting up an accountability system or self-blackmailing to make sure you're not having too much fun?

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 16 July 2017 06:59:03AM 0 points [-]

Why?

Comment author: ChristianKl 12 July 2017 11:25:47AM 0 points [-]

To avoid Nirvana fallacy let’s say we suspect most Less Wrong readers struggle even with this baseline

Did the people in this group mostly struggle with that baseline before they joined it?

Comment author: b4yes 12 July 2017 09:33:19PM 0 points [-]

Some more than the others, but generally most of us struggled with parts of that baseline. Plus other things, like going to bed on time.