Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Comment author: ChristianKl 29 May 2017 09:49:49PM 0 points [-]

Is there more information available on your project publically? Or some information I can get non-publically?

Comment author: malcolmocean 30 May 2017 11:55:45AM 0 points [-]

Not officially at this stage; we're in a process of overhauling a lot of things, including answers to questions like "who are we?" and "what are we calling ourselves?"

That said, this category of posts on my blog has a lot of content about our philosophy, models, culture, etc.

Comment author: ChristianKl 28 May 2017 08:36:13PM 0 points [-]

Our basic collective navigating framework is Kegan-5 / fluid mode / post-rational, rather than Kegan-4 / systematic mode / rational (good summary of this distinction)

How do you filter for people who are Kegan-5 when you are seeking to accept members?

Comment author: malcolmocean 29 May 2017 09:27:31PM *  2 points [-]

We don't! Each of the individual members themselves aren't necessarily Kegan-5, but the person spearheading the project (who is in her 70s) certainly is. And so, therefore, are our models, our equivalent to a "charter", etc.

It's also the case that the mode of interaction that we're training here is fluid as opposed to systematic, which shows up in the ways that we make agreements, commitments, and the general way-we-do-things-here. I was very much operating in (and committed to!) systematic mode when I first joined several years ago, and I'm still getting comfortable with this. It's challenging but worth it, and we're working to build a bridge to meta-rationality to make that learning process easier.

I think that Duncan's intended context will potentially be (a) an awesome place to go from Kegan-3 to Kegan-4, and (b) an awesome place to operate in an exceedingly high-functioning Kegan-4 way. It asks that of its members. I don't expect it to create a demand for most Dragons to operate in a Kegan-5 way, which is this difference I'm highlighting between it and the project I'm a part of.

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 29 May 2017 12:06:18AM 3 points [-]

I really, really wish Kegan levels didn't come in an order, so a claim to be at a higher Kegan level than someone else didn't look so starkly like a claim to superiority. It's turning me off even trying to take them seriously, because everyone who uses them looks like they're just self-aggrandizing to me.

Comment author: malcolmocean 29 May 2017 09:27:28PM 4 points [-]

I'm totally with you in wishing that Kegan levels weren't getting socially entangled with claims to superiority!

...but that can't be achieved in the way you describe: they would be a fundamentally different thing if they didn't come in the order they do. It's not a personality typing system, it's a model of human development over time. Probably some people who are talking about them are self-aggrandizing; people are known to do that with just about everything they can get their hands on.

I suspect that your heuristics about not trusting people who brag about their Kegan levels are probably decently good heuristics, as it could be reasonably expected that that would be ineffective in just the way you're describing here.

I first learned about the CDT model from a conversation I had with someone who used to work with Kegan, and who readily noted that he was not himself consistently operating out of stage 5. Robert Kegan has said that about himself too, which I found surprising and originally interpreted as being a failure mode in the opposite direction—false humility or something. But now it strikes me as not that unlikely. There's a big difference between being able to recognize abstractly (or in others) what it means to be subject to one's own interpretations & ideologies, and being able to actually not do it.

There's an unfortunate phenomenon here, where the value of the concept gets diluted because the people who are finding the Kegan models helpful but aren't claiming to be at higher Kegan levels than others... are harder to notice.

Anyway, I realize that I may sound like I'm making a superiority claim here myself. I will address that directly, kind of like Duncan is doing re: skulls above.

My understanding—based more on reading things like this than Kegan's own work—is that the "fluid mode" (~=K-5) does have capabilities that the "systematic mode" (~=K-4) does not; much like multivariate calculus can be used to re-derive the equation for the volume of a sphere, but not the reverse. Is multivariate calculus superior to sphere equations? In functional senses yes, but not in a social status way. And also not in all domains! It's certainly slower if you just need to calculate the volumes of a bunch of spheres.

I've spent a considerable amount of time over the past year working to develop the ability to operate in the fluid mode, and I think that that makes a lot of sense for me and many other people, but I don't think that that's highest priority for everyone right now. Hence my strong support for Dragon Army.

Comment author: malcolmocean 28 May 2017 08:30:52PM *  4 points [-]

I want to publicly express my strong support for this experiment/meta-experiment.

I think that my support is particularly noteworthy as I'm presently a core member of a different taking-each-other-seriously co-living experiment that is profoundly different in its philosophy. (Mine is not in Berkeley, nor rationalist.) Therefore some people might assume that I would be opposed to Dragon Army Barracks.

Things in common between the experiment I'm part of and Dragon Army Barracks:

  • is "high-commitment, high-standards, high-investment"
  • is trying to actually make & achieve something together
  • is addressing unanchored abandoned loneliness thing
  • has consciously explicated commitments and assumptions
  • is intended to produce a high-level of consistent excellence and ability to effectively collaborate

Things that are different:

  • We're very far from authoritarian or hierarchical. Although we're also not egalitarian, consensus-based, or even democratic per se... but we have essentially zero of telling-other-people-what-to-do
  • Our basic collective navigating framework is Kegan-5 / fluid mode / post-rational, rather than Kegan-4 / systematic mode / rational (good summary of this distinction)
  • Our focus is almost entirely on the meta-level of building the new cultural platform we're building. We don't have any expectations of each other on the levels of specific object-level projects or explicit behavioral norms (aside from ones necessary for the house's function)

I think that these differences are core to why I am part of this project that I'm part of, and why I consider it to be the most valuable investment I could be making with my time and energy. I am, therefore, non-Berkeley-residence aside, not going to be applying to DA. As I said above though, I strongly support Dragon Army Barracks as an experiment and potentially as an ongoing resource to individual and collective growth.

Reasons why I think that DA is a good idea:

  • Expected value of high amounts of worthwhile object-level output. As Sebastian Marshall says, "the gains made from living more purposefully are forever - the time you've spent well will remains well-spent even if you fall off for a while sometimes. Most people don't even try, which is why most people don't succeed."
  • I expect it will also produce a lot of developmental progress for people involved; that if you were to be able to sort rationalists by amount of growth in a year, the Dragons would all be in the top quartile, and would occupy many of the top 10 slots. This, even if the experiment were to end after 6 months.
  • The DA Barracks is an intervention that is attempting to produce change on a very fundamental level of the system that is a group house. This is a powerful leverage point (see Donella Meadow's article... I would say this is around a 2 or 3, and most group houses have only done mild experiments at the 4-6 level.)
  • I agree with and/or resonate with the six points that Duncan makes in Section 2 of this document.
  • The project-level value of learning here is also very high: this will greatly inform future experiments, whatever their leadership basis.
  • If I had kids, I would absolutely sign them up for any summer camps or classes Duncan was running. I think the amount of power he would have in relation to them would be similar to the amount of power he'll have in this situation.

A final reason is this: I think that we as humanity need to rapidly make progress on being able to effectively coordinate in non-hierarchical ways, which is what the project I'm part of is about. Corollarily, humanity is kind of mediocre at doing this in many contexts. Therefore if non-hierarchical projects aren't emphatically directed towards solving that challenge itself, I expect them to be outperformed by projects that are leveraging existing understanding about how to coordinate effectively in hierarchical ways. i.e. in this case, Dragon Army Barracks.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 27 May 2017 03:01:06AM 1 point [-]

Hmmm. It might be good to install as a house norm that everyone has an outside advisor that they commit to checking in with, either once a week or biweekly. Like, someone not directly affiliated with Dragon Army in any way.

Comment author: malcolmocean 28 May 2017 08:27:09PM 5 points [-]

I am open to being an outside advisor / buddy / contact etc to individuals within this and/or with the project as a whole.

Comment author: matt 21 August 2012 10:28:36PM 9 points [-]

(Note that there are a few LWers attempting or contemplating polyphasic sleep right now. If you are considering it seriously we'd love your participation in a data collection effort on before and after cognitive performance.)

Polyphasic Sleep
How to have 19-22hrs of fun every day


which includes at slides 114 and 115

http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep/ ... and see links at bottom, particularly...
Note that Steve's experience of the flexibility of his near-uberman schedule doesn't match with other reports. I think this flexibility may be available after stabilisation, but come at a high cost before.
Steve's report of euphoric mood is fairly common on the Uberman schedule, and much less common on schedules that include regular core sleep.
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/02/polyphasic-sleep-20/ Some experiments in flexibility
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/04/polyphasic-sleep-the-return-to-monophasic/ Why did he stop?
And https://groups.google.com/d/topic/polyphasic/FTWKW0pvKZ0/discussion

and finally

My sleep tracks (which include masking sound including walla to drown out distracting conversation):

My schedule calculator: http://bit.ly/poly-schedule-tool

Comment author: malcolmocean 15 April 2017 04:14:04PM 0 points [-]

The nap tracks are no longer available from Matt's dropbox, but fortunately I saved all except the 15min one and have made them available here:


Comment author: gjm 10 April 2017 10:40:07PM 1 point [-]

Is it worth giving two scores, one for "how well it worked while I was doing it" and one for "how well it worked, taking into account whether I gave up using it"? My impression is that it's quite common for an anti-akrasia technique to work well right up to the point where one becomes akratic about actually using it.

Comment author: malcolmocean 11 April 2017 03:07:24PM 0 points [-]

I think that both of those could make sense, but I'm not sure how I'd go about aggregating the scores from that. I would probably use the second one.

Comment author: gjm 10 April 2017 10:40:44PM 1 point [-]

If you want comments made in some non-standard way (e.g., certain categories of comments to go only under your top-level "meta" comment) then there should be some indication of this in the post itself.

Comment author: malcolmocean 11 April 2017 03:06:37PM 0 points [-]

Good call. Sorry for the messy experience in response to your question! I didn't think of it until afterwards.

Comment author: Lumifer 10 April 2017 11:43:36PM 0 points [-]

You can't delete comments that have replies.

If malcolmocean deletes his reply to you, you would be able to delete your comment.

Comment author: malcolmocean 11 April 2017 03:03:35PM 0 points [-]

Well now we're totally screwed I guess.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 10 April 2017 04:35:23PM 0 points [-]

Would it be easier for you to compile responses if we used a survey format (either LW's built-in feature) or Google Forms?

Comment author: malcolmocean 10 April 2017 04:50:15PM 0 points [-]

Easier to compile in some sense, perhaps, but much much less amenable to discussion, and also much less failproof. For example, the 2nd akrasia tactics review stopped getting its responses compiled after a short while, but at least people could still read the comments.

(Hm, maybe it would make sense to pull in some of those?)

View more: Next