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Comment author: asparisi 18 April 2012 08:49:51AM 0 points [-]

I find the idea that people don't like being intoxicated suspicious. Experiencing euphoria from intoxication has a lot do with with brain chemistry, and it would be very odd if some humans recieved this effect and others did not.

Now, I can understand the intellectual response of "I don't like being intoxicated" as "I don't like the (loss of control/mental sluggishness/depressive effects) that accompanies intoxication." After all, those could easily go against your personal values.

But in terms of enjoying something, I don't think that those concerns are paramount. I enjoy the taste of foods that I consciously know are bad for me: eating them goes against my personal values (live a long life, have energy for the next task, etc.) but I still experience pleasure upon eating them. And it strikes me that it is quite possible to consciously find something distasteful while non-consciously finding it enjoyable. In other words, your conscious brain might say "I don't enjoy the other effects of alcohol, only the taste" while your tongue tells your subconscious "Hey! This is the stuff that gives us the happy feeling!"

The only real test, I suppose, would be to find two drinks that were, taste-wise, indistinguishable with one producing the "other" effects of alcohol while the other doesn't. Then, see if there was a stronger "liking" associated with the prior substance over time, particularly with people who self-report not enjoying those effects in alcohol while otherwise enjoying its flavor. I have a strong suspicion that the test would show that even if little enough of it was served that neither group felt outward signs of intoxication that the group that got the alcoholic batch would show stronger liking over time. (In fact, the less the "I don't enjoy intoxication" batch consciously know that they are being given alcohol, the better for their self-reporting.)

Comment author: TeMPOraL 09 October 2015 07:59:58AM 0 points [-]

I find the idea that people don't like being intoxicated suspicious. Experiencing euphoria from intoxication has a lot do with with brain chemistry, and it would be very odd if some humans recieved this effect and others did not.

Another n=1: I like the way intoxication feels when I'm intoxicated, but over last couple of months I've gone from wanting to enter that state often to avoiding all alcohol on purpose. What changed was realizing on an emotional level that I have tons of interesting (or necessary) things to do and alcohol limits that by taking away evening (to drink) and the next day (I feel cognitively worse 'till next afternoon, even if I didn't have a hangover). At some point the prospect of drinking became anxiety-inducing for me.

Comment author: RobinZ 18 April 2012 04:39:01PM 4 points [-]

Gotcha! I had asked because the absence of a known pharmacological mechanism would have suggested that the primary factor was an association effect - people drink at parties with their friends, and therefore associate intoxication with their enjoyment of the party.

Comment author: TeMPOraL 09 October 2015 07:55:42AM 0 points [-]

I drink to make parties with friends tolerable because after an hour there is usually an infinite amount of things I'd rather be doing...

Comment author: CronoDAS 16 July 2009 11:14:55PM *  4 points [-]

I'm a rationalist(2). I'm just here because it's fun. ;)

Comment author: TeMPOraL 09 October 2015 05:12:36AM 0 points [-]

You win rationality(1) points for being honest with yourself :).

Comment author: taryneast 02 June 2014 08:14:47AM 0 points [-]

Yes... in countries where the infrastructure is so poor as to require cyclists to ride in traffic (or in the door zone). In places where this is not the case (see Europe) I'd be interested in seeing if those stats are the same.

Comment author: TeMPOraL 09 October 2015 05:04:29AM 0 points [-]

Even in Europe, places where you don't have to drive in traffic / door zone are incredibly rare. Bike paths are cool, but as currently implemented they mostly serve to annoy both drivers and pedestrians alike, and there is still a default assumption that where there is no bike path, you'll be driving with traffic.

Comment author: JamesAndrix 17 July 2009 06:11:50PM 27 points [-]

You probably shouldn't drive. It's dangerous, expensive, and should be left to professionals. Take the bus or ride a bike.

More widely, we should support policies that make individual car use prohibitively expensive, but public transit easy and cheap. Generally the only cars on the road should be service related (Ambulances, Fire, Police, Utilities,Buses, Delivery/shipping trucks, Taxi's, Limo's etc.)

This would save lots of money and energy, and tens of thousands of lives per year.

Comment author: TeMPOraL 09 October 2015 05:01:18AM 0 points [-]

tens of thousands of lives per year

Try hundreds of thousands per year from just accidents, before even counting health benefits of reduced emissions and smog saving more lives.

Comment author: TeMPOraL 22 June 2015 12:47:42PM 5 points [-]

I suffer from severe case of Akrasia that makes me work at 10% of my capacity most of the time; here's something I discovered that made me believe problem is actually in me: my closest friend. I know her for many years, and I never ever saw her working at less than 110% of her capacity. She worked in groceries, online bookshop, sold LED bulbs and furniture, managed people, did customer relations and even social media marketing. She wants to be a writer; she hated almost every one of those jobs, felt they're hindering her development, and yet no matter how tired she was, how annoyed or abused by her bosses, she could always find the strength to focus and do her job at scary efficiency. And given all the people I ever worked with, who never had problems with focus or productivity in the ballpark of my own, I can't conclude otherwise that it's me who is just wired wrongly. I wish I had even 5% of professionalism of my friend, I could do so much more than I am able to do now.

Comment author: TeMPOraL 14 September 2014 01:53:53AM *  3 points [-]

-- Mother Gaia, I come on behalf of all humans to apologize for destroying nature (...). We never meant to kill nature.

-- You're not killing nature, you're killing yourself. That's what I mean by self-centered. You think that just because you can't live, then nothing can. You're fucking yourself over big time, and won't be missed.

From a surprisingly insightful comic commenting on the whole notion of "saving the planet".

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 27 August 2014 03:24:49PM *  65 points [-]


The general ability of updating. At the beginning of Freud's career, the state-of-art psychotherapy was hypnosis, which was called "magnetism". Some scientists have discovered that the laws of nature are universal, and some other scientists have jumped to the seemingly obvious conclusion that analogically, all kinds of psychological forces among humans must be the same as the forces which makes magnets attract or repel each other. So Freud learned hyphosis, used it in therapy, and was enthusiastic about it. But later he noticed that it had some negative side effects (female patients frequently falling in love with their doctors, returning to their original symptoms when the love was not reciprocated), and that the positive side effects could also be achieved without hypnosis, simply by talking about the subject (assuming that some conditions were met, such as the patient actually focusing on the subject instead of focusing on their interaction with the doctor; a large part of psychoanalysis is about optimizing for these conditions). The old technique was thrown away because the new one provided better results. Not exactly the "evidence based medicine" by our current standards, but perhaps we could use as a control group all those doctors who stubbornly refused to wash their hands between doing autopsy and treating their patients, despite their patients dropping like flies. -- Later, Freud replaced his original model of unconscious, preconscious and conscious mind, and replaced it with the "id, ego, superego" model. (This is provided as an evidence of the ability to update, to discard both commonly accepted models and one's own previous models. Which we consider an important part of rationality.)

Speaking about the "id, ego, superego" model, here is the idea of a human brain not being a single agent, but composed of multiple modules, sometimes opposed to each other. Is this something worth considering for Less Wrong readers, either as a theoretical step towards reduction of consciousness, or as a practical tool for e.g. overcoming akrasia? "Ego" as the rational part of the brain, which can evaluate consequences, but often doesn't have enough power to enforce its decisions without emotional support from some other part of brain. "Id" as the emotional part which does not understand the concept of time. "Superego" as a small model of other people in our brain. Today we could probably locate the parts of the physical brain they correspond to.

"The Psychopathology of Everyday Life" is a book describing how seemingly random human errors (random movements, forgetting words, slips of the tongue) sometimes actually make sense if we perceive them as goal-oriented actions of some mental subagent. The biggest problem of the book is that it is heavy with theory, and a large part of it focuses on puns in German language... but remove all of this, don't mention the origin, and you could get a highly upvoted article on Less Wrong! (The important part would be not to give any credit to Freud, and merely present it as an evidence for some LW wisdom. Then no one will doubt your rationality.) -- On the other hand, "Civilization and Its Discontents" is a perfect book to be rewritten into a series of articles on Overcoming Bias, about a conflict between forager mentality and farmer social values.

But updating and modelling human brains, those are topics interesting for Less Wrong readers. Most people would focus on, you know, sex. Well, how exactly could we doubt the importance of sexual impulses in a society where displaying a pretty lady is advertising 101, Twilight is a popular book, and internet is full of porn? (Also, scientists accept the importance of sexual selection in evolution.) Our own society is a huge demonstration that Freud was right about the most controversial part of his theory. The only way to make him wrong about this is to create a strawman and claim that according to Freud everything was about sex, so if we find a single thing that isn't, we proved him wrong. -- But that strawman was already used in Freud's era; he actually started one of his books by disproving it. Too bad I don't remember which one. One of the case histories, probably. (It starts like: So, people keep simplifying my theories that all dreams are dogmatically about sex, so here is a simple example to correct the misunderstanding. And he describes a situation where some child wanted an ice cream, parents forbid it, and the child was unhappy and cried. That night, the child had a dream about travelling to North Pole, through mountains of snow. This, says Freud, is what resolving a suppressed desire in a dream typically looks like: The child wanted the ice cream, that's desire #1, but also the child wanted to avoid conflict with their parents, that's desire #2. How to satisfy both of them? The "mountains of show" obviously symbolize the ice cream; the child wants it, and gets it, a lot! But to avoid a conflict with parents, even in the dream, the ice cream is censored and becomes snow, so the child can plausibly deny to themselves disobeying their parents. This is Freud's model of human dreams. It's just that an adult person would probably not obsess so much about an ice cream, which they can buy if they really want it so much, but about something unavailable, such as a sexy neighbor; and also a smart adult would use more complex censorship to fool themselves.) Also, he had a whole book called "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" where he argues that some mind modules may be guided by principles other than pleasure, for example nightmares, repetition compulsion, aggression. (His explanation of this other principle is rather poor: he invents a mystical death principle opposing the pleasure principle. Anyway, it's evidence against the "everything is about sex" strawman.)

Freud was an atheist, and very public about it. He essentially described religion as a collective mental disease, in a book called "The Future of an Illusion". He used and recommended using cocaine... if he lived in the Bay Area today, and used modafinil instead, I can easily imagine him being a very popular Less Wrong member. -- But instead he lived a century ago, so he could only be one of those people spreading controversial ideas which are now considered obvious in hindsight.

lt;dr -- I strongly disagree with using Freud as a textbook example of insanity. Many of his once controversial ideas are so obvious to us now that we simply don't attribute them to him. Instead we just associate him with the few things he got wrong. And the whole meme was started by people who were even more wrong.

Comment author: TeMPOraL 11 September 2014 12:59:55PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for your long and insightful comment. I think it should be edited and put as a top-level article. It's something that I'd personally love to link my friends to everytime they start strawmanning Freud.

Comment author: TeMPOraL 06 September 2014 01:54:34PM 4 points [-]

A great article, Eneasz.

Reminds me of something that is sitting in my quotes file, apparently coming from a Navy SEAL:

"Under pressure you don't rise to the occassion, you sink to the level of your training."

Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 09 January 2014 01:30:13AM 0 points [-]

You should act in a way that, if everyone acted that way, things would work out.

— Louis C.K.

Comment author: TeMPOraL 16 January 2014 11:37:51AM 5 points [-]

It's a rephrasing of Kant's categorical imperative.

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