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Comment author: ialdabaoth 26 May 2017 12:15:22AM *  16 points [-]

I have tried similar things.

My strongest recommendation is to beware of internal power struggles. Even if you are fully understood to be in charge, if everyone under you is in a state of emotional mutiny, you WILL become compromised, and you WILL make mistakes, and those mistakes WILL be used to justify further emotional mutiny. This will spiral until you lose everything.

Moreso, some percentage of your trusted minions WILL undergo emotional mutiny. They will discover that they'd rather be somewhere else, doing something else. They'll discover that there are people other than you they'd like in charge of their lives. They will discover that they don't trust you as much as they thought they did. Even if you pick the best people -- hell, ESPECIALLY if you pick the best people, because the best people will have other people vying for their attention, seeking to undermine you from without.

Comment author: Lumifer 24 April 2017 07:56:14PM 0 points [-]

I don't see how it contributes to the discussion

<gives contravariant a mirror>

Comment author: ialdabaoth 24 April 2017 11:07:19PM 0 points [-]

I love how this is the hill we're dying on.

Comment author: FourFire 12 April 2017 10:07:56PM *  1 point [-]

My steelmanning of Ialdaboath's claim isn't that it is impossible to succeed without being a psychopath. (Though I would definitely agree that his perspective is rather dreary and pessimistic) It is that the paths to success in society have been distorted by psychopaths into requiring one to express psychopathic traits in order to succeed a lot more of the time than would be the case in absence of psychopaths within the ruling elite.

Comment author: ialdabaoth 13 April 2017 12:33:34AM 0 points [-]

Yes, although I'd say it slightly more strongly: the paths to success have been distorted by psychopaths - and by our outright worship of them - into requiring one to express psychopathic traits in order to succeed, so much so that society's various commons are - in general - being drained more quickly than they're being replenished. Moreso, most of these so-called "successful" traits aren't even seen as psychopathic anymore; they're seen as "alluringly confident" or whatever.

Comment author: Viliam 03 April 2017 09:45:04AM *  25 points [-]

Everyone, could we please stop using the word "sociopath" to mean things other than... you know... sociopathy?

I also like the linked article and I believe it does a great job at describing social dynamic at subcultures. I shared that article many times. But while it is funny to use exaggerations for shocking value, making the exaggerated word a new normal is... I guess in obvious conflict with the goal of rationality and clear communication. Sometimes I don't even know how many people are actually aware that "trying to make profit from things you don't deeply care about" and "being diagnosed as a sociopath" are actually two different things.

To explain why I care about this, imagine a group that decides that it is cool to refer to "kissing someone for social reasons, not because you actually desire to", as "rape". Because, you know, there are some similarities; both are a kind of an intimate contact, etc. Okay, if you write an article describing the analogies, that's great, and you have a good point. It just becomes idiotic when the whole community decides to use "rape" in this sense, and then they keep talking like this: "Yesterday we visited Grandma. When we entered the house, she raped us, and then we raped her back. I really don't like it when old people keep raping me like this, but I don't want to create conflicts in the family. But maybe I am just making a mountain out of a molehill, and being raped is actually not a big deal." Followed by dozen replies using the same vocabulary.

First, this is completely unnecessarily burning your weirdness points. Weird jargon makes communication with outsiders more difficult, and makes it more difficult for outsiders to join the group, even if they would otherwise agree with the group's values. After this point, absurdity heuristics works against anything you say. Sometimes there is a good reason for using jargon (it can compress difficult concepts), but I believe in this case the benefits are not proportional to the costs.

More importantly, imagine that if talking like this would become the group norm, how difficult it would be to have a serious discussion about actual rape. Like, anytime someone would mention being actually raped by a grandparent as a child, there would be a guaranteed reaction from someone "yeah, yeah, happens to me when we visit Grandma every weekend, not a big deal". Or someone would express concern about possible rape at community weekend, and people would respond by making stickers "kisses okay" and "don't like kissing", believing they are addressing the issue properly.

I believe it would be really bad if rationalist community would lose the ability to talk about actual sociopathy rationally. Because one day this topic may become an important one, and we may be too busy calling everyone who sells Bayes T-shirts without having read the Sequences a "sociopath". But even if you disagree with me on the importance of this, I hope you can agree that using words like this is stupid. How about just calling it "exploiting"? As in: "some people are only exploiting the rationalist community to get money for their causes, or to get free work from us, without providing anything to our causes in return -- we seriously need to put stop to this". Could words like this get the message across, too?

Also, if you want to publicly address these people "hey guys, we suspect you are just using us for free resources; how about demonstrating some commitment to our causes first?", it will probably help to keep the discussion friendly, if you don't call them "sociopaths". Similarly, imagine LessWrong having an article saying (a) "vegans as a group benefit from the rationalist community, but don't contribute anything to the art of Bayes in return", or (b) "vegans are sociopaths". Regardless of whether you personally happen to be a vegan or not, this is obviously harmful.

tl;dr -- we are in the rationality business here, not in the clickbait business; talk accordingly

(EDIT: Just to be explicit about this, ignoring the terminology issue, I completely agree with the parent comment.)

Comment author: ialdabaoth 06 April 2017 01:42:03AM 0 points [-]

Okay, so if I understand correctly, tthe objection is that 'sociopath' has a specific clinical definition, which nowadays is called Antisocial Personality Disorder. Then again, "moron", "idiot", "imbecile" and "retard" used to have specific clinical definitions, too.

But even if we allow that to be stretched a little into a colloquialism, someone who is incapable of human empathy, narcissistic, Machiavellian, and perhaps a bit sadistic.

The problem is that Rao and Chapman both want 'sociopath' to mean something broader - specifically, someone who out-competes everyone else, and who is willing to win at social games even if it destroys the social environment they're competing within. And this seems to mutate one step further, such that "sociopath" essentially becomes synonymous with "winner".

The sad truth is, this isn't just a euphemistic treadmill. This is a reasonably accurate description of reality. Actual, clinical narcissistic sociopaths, with higher-than-average intelligence and willpower, have pretty much taken over Western culture over the past 50 years. Such that by the 21st century, the entire playing field is dominated by their strategies. If you aren't a sociopath, you probably aren't winning. It's unusual to be a non-sociopath and win. Which means that if someone's winning, it's very risky to assume that they'll give a shit about you.

Which ALSO means that if you intend to win, you'd better learn to not give a shit about people.

(This means that, sadly, many of the sociopaths that enter the winner's circle didn't start off that way.)

Comment author: ialdabaoth 23 March 2017 10:12:00PM *  2 points [-]

Well, obviously first we'd need land. What land we get will determine who is legally allowed to build a dormpartment building, and what techniques and materials they're allowed to use.

That said, if it was up to me, I'd probably want to build something out in the Arizona desert, probably near Snowflake, and I'd want to use cinderblock construction. The great thing about that is that you're basically making giant lego-houses out of hollow concrete blocks and mortar.

So step one would be getting a bulldozer to level the land, then a cement truck and a shitload of cement to make a foundation (highly recommended we get a construction company to do that part, rather than doing it ourselves), then build up from there. A backhoe to dig out large water tanks and a septic system will be necessary, assuming this will be somewhere off-grid.

The great thing is that solar is actually doable these days, so we could get REAAAALLY cheap off-grid land, build a big-ass solar farm, and then our only issue is potable water, which is doable with a reverse osmosis system and a large enough catchment tank, if you don't care about living too close to a major city.

Comment author: ialdabaoth 23 March 2017 10:18:00PM 0 points [-]

On the other hand, if you actually need this to be somewhere near the Bay, then I don't know what to tell you, because I'd basically need to go to school for something like 12 years to get all the necessary certifications to prove that I know how to do what I know how to do.

Comment author: Alicorn 22 March 2017 10:47:00PM 0 points [-]

Hi! What would you need to construct a dormpartment building?

Comment author: ialdabaoth 23 March 2017 10:12:00PM *  2 points [-]

Well, obviously first we'd need land. What land we get will determine who is legally allowed to build a dormpartment building, and what techniques and materials they're allowed to use.

That said, if it was up to me, I'd probably want to build something out in the Arizona desert, probably near Snowflake, and I'd want to use cinderblock construction. The great thing about that is that you're basically making giant lego-houses out of hollow concrete blocks and mortar.

So step one would be getting a bulldozer to level the land, then a cement truck and a shitload of cement to make a foundation (highly recommended we get a construction company to do that part, rather than doing it ourselves), then build up from there. A backhoe to dig out large water tanks and a septic system will be necessary, assuming this will be somewhere off-grid.

The great thing is that solar is actually doable these days, so we could get REAAAALLY cheap off-grid land, build a big-ass solar farm, and then our only issue is potable water, which is doable with a reverse osmosis system and a large enough catchment tank, if you don't care about living too close to a major city.

Comment author: ialdabaoth 21 March 2017 01:10:35AM 1 point [-]

I do not know how to build a dormpartment building and probably neither do you.

Hi.

Meetup : Bay Area Winter Solstice 2016

2 ialdabaoth 22 September 2016 10:12PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Bay Area Winter Solstice 2016

WHEN: 17 December 2016 07:00:00PM (-0700)

WHERE: Anna Head Alumnae Hall, 2537 Haste St, Berkeley, CA 94720

It's time to gather together and remember the true Reasons for the Season: axial tilt, orbital mechanics and other vast-yet-comprehensible forces have converged together to bring another year to a close, and as the days grow shorter and colder we remember how profoundly lucky we are to have been forged by blind, impersonal forces into beings that can understand, and wonder, and appreciate ourselves and each other. This year's East Bay Rationalist Winter Solstice will be held in the center of Berkeley, bringing 300 rationalists together in a theatre hall for food, songs, speeches, and conversations. We encourage other Bay denizens who can't make our solstice to put on their own show. Or even if you do come, we encourage people to try out their own ideas. The East Bay Solstice celebration will be on Saturday, December 17th, in the Anna Head Alumnae Hall in Berkeley. Acquire tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-bay-area-winter-solstice-tickets-27853776395 We are coordinating with the Bayesian Choir and will be coordinating with various speakers, as in previous years. An MC and schedule will be posted as details solidify. Kids are welcome. Vegetarian food will be available. Let us know if you have specific accomadation requests or have questions.

Discussion article for the meetup : Bay Area Winter Solstice 2016

Comment author: lisper 25 February 2016 08:33:04PM 0 points [-]

What can I say? The compatibilists are wrong. The proof is simple: either all reliably predictable agents have free will, or some do and some don't. If they all do, then a rock has free will and we will just have to agree to disagree about that (some people actually do take that position). If some do and some don't, then in order for the term "free will" to have meaning you need a criterion by which to distinguish reliably predictable agents with free will from those without it. No one has ever come up with such a criterion (AFAIK).

Comment author: ialdabaoth 25 February 2016 09:48:51PM 0 points [-]

My intuition has always been that 'free will' isn't a binary thing; it's a relational measurement with a spectrum. And predictability is explicitly incompatible with it, in the same way that entropy measurements depend on how much predictive information you have about a system. (I suspect that 'entropy' and 'free will' are essentially identical terms, with the latter applying to systems that we want to anthropomorphize.)

Comment author: ialdabaoth 11 December 2015 09:38:01AM 8 points [-]

As someone who regularly 'embraces his despair', I've noticed that it's one thing to visibly despair as a startup founder with 18 months of runway, and another thing to visibly despair as a freeloader staring at the possibility of homelessness.

Despair has social signalling consequences, and whether those signals help or hinder your ability to actually Get Shit Done is highly context-dependent.

And yes, it has these signalling consequences whether or not you choose to actively talk about your despair - it affects everything you do. For example, one person might be the head of a non-profit FAI research organization, and his tiredness and grimness are seen as evidence that he's obviously super-dedicated and working super-hard - and the fact that he's not talking about it and making jokes instead just show how stoic and resolute he is / the fact that he's talking about it and worrying about what to do just show how sensitive and in-touch with himself he is. Someone else might be a socially awkward quiet girl who doesn't know where she's going to sleep next, and her tiredness and grimness are seen as evidence that she's obviously bad news and going to be a drain on other people / the fact that she's talking about it and worrying about what to do just show how desperate and needy and self-absorbed she is.

So there's definitely structural social incentives for people who are already on a certain kind of success trajectory to embrace their despair, but the principle of 'equal and opposite advice' strongly holds, and I'd probably advise people on the other side of the impact bell curve to avoid anything that might break the fragile bubble of positivity that's likely shielding them from the howling vacuum of the Horns Effect.

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