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Comment author: Silas 15 November 2007 02:28:23PM 2 points [-]

n moral arguments, some disputes are about instrumental consequences, and some disputes are about terminal values. If your debating opponent says that banning guns will lead to lower crime, and you say that banning guns lead to higher crime, then you agree about a superior instrumental value (crime is bad), but you disagree about which intermediate events lead to which consequences. ... This important distinction often gets flushed down the toilet in angry arguments. People with factual disagreements and shared values, each decide that their debating opponents must be sociopaths.

I don't think it's possible to find a truer statement about political debates on the internet.

I've lost count of how many exchanges I've been in that have gone like this:

me: Plan X would better reduce environmental impact at lower cost. them: So, in other words, you think the whole global warming thing is a myth?


And then, of course, people sometimes can't get keep straight *which* consequence you're debating:

me: The method you've described does not show a viable way to produce intellectual works for-profit without IP. them: I disagree with your claim that no one has ever produced any intellectual works without IP protection.

Comment author: donjoe 17 October 2016 11:58:36PM 0 points [-]

I'm noticing this very late, and I'm going to be off-topic, but I still have to stop to note that there's no such thing as "IP", not in actual laws (unless they've been infected by this term very recently and I just haven't found out about it). It's a bogus name lumping together things that the law does not lump together at all, a term invented purely for use in corporate propaganda, nothing more. https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.en.html

Comment author: donjoe 26 January 2013 04:47:47PM 1 point [-]

The first time I read this article I immediately thought that if this strange notion of "vibrations of consciousness" has any overlap with reality, it must have a lot to do with what we otherwise know as "brain waves", because those happen to have the same frequencies associated with the "vibrations" in the article and the comments: 7-10-20 Hz (which seems consistent with beta and alpha waves, i.e. meditative states and normal wakefulness).

Well, it seems that lately science is struggling to prove my association right: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121121130815.htm

Comment author: donjoe 09 October 2016 09:30:22AM 0 points [-]

More developments on the vibratory mechanisms of consciousness: http://actu.epfl.ch/news/how-the-brain-produces-consciousness-in-time-slice/

Comment author: Simulation_Brain 01 August 2014 10:43:04PM 0 points [-]

Perhaps you're thinking of the dopamine spike when reward is actually given? I had thought the predictive spike was purely proportional to the odds of success and the amount of reward- which would indeed change with boring tasks, but not in any linear way. If you're right about that basic structure of the predictive spike I should know about it for my research; can you give a reference?

Comment author: donjoe 21 August 2014 09:19:55PM 0 points [-]

Well, the relationship Sapolsky described wasn't linear, it was more like a bell curve. And no, he doesn't cite any particular study in that lecture, so all I have is his word on this one. I guess you could just ask him. :)

Comment author: donjoe 04 July 2014 10:30:44PM 1 point [-]

This sounds like it might be helpful for people who encountered the same problem as I did in trying to apply DavidM's method, namely knowing what to expect (or whether to expect anything) as a result of performing the first-phase meditative exercises: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma7/enterjhana.html

It would seem that having a purpose or expecting a result could be the very thing that prevents you from getting that result, in certain phases or aspects of meditation.

Comment author: donjoe 18 May 2014 03:47:17PM 4 points [-]

Actually, the Expectancy (probability of success) component is not that simple: you don't just maximize it to maximize motivation. As Robert Sapolsky shows in "The Uniqueness of Humans" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrCVu25wQ5s), motivation is proportional to the dopamin spike you get when you start to consider performing a task, and the dopamin spike is highest the closer your estimated probability of success is to (something like) 50%! The amount of dopamin produced when you consider starting a task that you have 25% or 75% chances of succeeding at will be significantly lower than for the 50%-chance task. So it's not that you need to be certain about your success, it's that you need to be pleasantly challenged, somewhere midway between "I'm so gonna fail" and "I'm so sure I can do this I find it absolutely boring" (though this sweet spot may not be at exactly 50% for everyone).

Comment author: donjoe 12 April 2014 11:53:25AM 0 points [-]

"There is lots of disagreement about whether the enlightenment I describe is the same as the enlightenment that [the suttas / the Visuddhimagga / etc.] describe, or whether there are other methods that lead to something even better than it."

Since I first read your article I've listened to tens, possibly over a hundred, hours of Alan Watts' talks on the essential ideas of Hinduism/Daoism/Buddhism and how meditation relates to them and I now tend to agree with the view that your interpretation of enlightenment and meditation is not what Buddhism is really about. Key differences:

  1. Buddhist enlightenment is the direct experience/feeling of yourself as inseparate from the rest of the physical world, a feeling of everything that happens being "you", of the surface of your bag of skin being no more relevant as a distinction between "you" and "not-you" than your skull or the walls of your room. As such, its benefits are primarily emotional and motivational rather than intellectual, because once you realize that there is no definite and localized "you" that can be under any meaningful threat or pressure from "not-you", all your previous worries and conflicts in life just melt away and you become free to "just be". (I should note that I currently understand this at a purely intellectual level - and not even completely at that - and have not experienced it directly; that's the hard part: overcoming the genetic predispositions and years of reinforcement of the delusion that "I" is something that is bound by a layer of skin and that everything beyond that layer of skin is "non-I".)

  2. Buddhist meditation is not supposed to be a technique executed for a purpose but rather an act of life performed for its own sake, just like any other act of life, especially like the "truly" artistic ones - singing, dancing - that are the most satisfying for everyone involved when they're the least attached to any ulterior motive.

It's hard to summarize everything in just a couple of paragraphs, but this piece might help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhOpuY8NO0A

Comment author: donjoe 26 January 2013 04:47:47PM 1 point [-]

The first time I read this article I immediately thought that if this strange notion of "vibrations of consciousness" has any overlap with reality, it must have a lot to do with what we otherwise know as "brain waves", because those happen to have the same frequencies associated with the "vibrations" in the article and the comments: 7-10-20 Hz (which seems consistent with beta and alpha waves, i.e. meditative states and normal wakefulness).

Well, it seems that lately science is struggling to prove my association right: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121121130815.htm

Comment author: donjoe 13 May 2012 07:21:47AM 0 points [-]

"instrumental values have some strange life of their own, even in a normative sense. That, once you say B is usually good because it leads to C, you've committed yourself to always try for B even in the absence of C. People make this kind of mistake in abstract philosophy"

... not to mention economics, where some people confuse the instrumental goal of "maximizing profit" with a terminal goal - instead of using something like "maximizing the total Human Quality of Life" - and end up opening car doors obsessively, all day every day, and preaching that everyone should do the same, no matter what pathological consequences that leads to or how far that takes them from any higher purpose they might agree with when pressed with enough "but why?" questions.

In response to Feeling Rational
Comment author: donjoe 01 May 2012 09:44:02AM 0 points [-]

"our emotions arise from our models of reality. If I believe that my dead brother has been discovered alive, I will be happy"

Fallacy of the single cause. Knowledge of the physical fact of his being alive does not completely determine your response of being happy, many other things come into this, of which at least a few are non-rational. Maybe your brother is a convicted serial killer who recently escaped from detention, killed a few more people according to his old habits and is now reported to be alive only by virtue of having escaped a police hunt through the nearby forest (with officers ordered to shoot on sight). Yet still you may be happy to hear he's alive (and here comes the usual explanation people give, the real explanation) "because he's your brother". This is considered to be the most important factor in your being happy in this case - "because he's your brother" - and it encodes some non-rational baggage together with some arguably rational things (like an evolutionary preference to support the survival of your kin's genes etc.).

The fact is that any human preference results from multiple causes and at least one of those will always be non-rational (which is to say I don't know of even one single example where this was not the case) and will open said preference to being labelled "non-rational".

Reason is just a tool. Before you decide what to use the tool for, you have to have non-rational preferences about which things to even try to do. For example, first you have the non-rational desire to predict the future behaviour of physical systems with high accuracy and only afterwards do you employ rational methods to achieve that (which leads to science). The only rational part is what you're doing after you've established your fundamental goal. The fundamental goal itself can't be rational insofar as it can't be derived logically from any antecedents. Even if your desire to predict things was based on your desire to survive and even if the desire of the individual to survive could be justified on the basis of the evolutionary goal for the species to survive, you still end up at a point where you can no longer offer any justifications. Why should your species survive and not others? Maybe you think your species has the highest capacity of ensuring the survival of life-in-general in the universe for the longest time? But even then, why should life-in-general survive? Just because. Non-rationally. :)

Comment author: Procrastinus 29 August 2011 03:52:33AM 4 points [-]

And you might want to read the book that you are critiquing. I understand that this is inevitable to proceed impulsively in this day and age, but you will find that everything (yes, everything) is backed up by what most find as an annoyingly long series of endnotes. Here is the part that you should have read:

You want to tackle it when you tend to have the most zip, and that when that is depends upon your circadian rhythm. Some of us are morning larks, relentlessly chipper and active early in the morning, filling gyms during in the pre-dawn hours. Others are night owls, slow starters whose energy levels peak later in the day. Night owls are more likely to be procrastinators, with a chronobiology best suited for after- hours; forcing themselves into an unnatural schedule, they gulp down caffeine in the morning in order to wake up, and alcohol in the evening to wind down.

And here are the cites:

Díaz-Morales, J., Ferrari, J., & Cohen, J. (2008). Indecision and avoidant procrastination: The role of morningness-eveningness and time perspective in chronic delay lifestyles. Journal of General Psycholology, 135(3), 228–240. Digdon, N., & Howell, A. (2008). College students who have an eveningness preference report lower self-control and greater procrastination. Chronobiology international, 25(6), 1029. Ferrari, J. R., Harriott, J. S., Evans, L., Lecik-Michna, D. M., & Wenger, J. M. (1997). Exploring the time preferences of procrastinators: Night or day, which is the one? European Journal of Personality, 11(3), 187–196. Hess, B., Sherman, M. F., & Goodman, M. (2000). Eveningness predicts academic procrastination: The mediating role of neuroticism. Journal of Social Behavior and& Personality, 15(5), 61–74. Klein, S. (2009). The secret pulse of time: Making sense of life’s scarcest commodity. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Comment author: donjoe 28 September 2011 08:12:15AM -2 points [-]

While I don't have subscriptions to all those journals, so I can't check exactly what those studies proved and didn't prove, all I can say is that this example: "filling gyms during in the pre-dawn hours" tells me we're still not talking about the same thing, i.e. mental energy. I think there's a big difference between feeling physically energetic on one hand and feeling mentally focussed and creative on the other.

Also, while I find it easy to accept that there are two kinds of people as mentioned above, I will still be looking for explicit proof that "most people" are "morning larks", like the original quote said.

Thanks for your patience.

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