(Replying to a conversation about losing faith and trust in humanity.)



NAR: I generally expect people to follow this pattern (perhaps not in this exact order and on the condition that they aren’t stupid)
1. Trust everyone strongly
2. Get betrayed often and badly enough to no longer trust anyone
3. Switch from considering the world in terms of “Trust” to in terms of “Predictability”

Sadist can be expected to be cruel. Personally altruistic people can be expected to be generous. Children can be expected to be children. Most people can be expected to act in their own self interest. Religious people can be expected to start doing weird things once you get near religious grounds, but fairly normal otherwise. People can be expected to side with their family over you almost no matter what. People can also be expected to take cooperation actions within a community if their defecting would jeopardize their position in that community. (And the opposite may be true if the opposite situation exists.)

You also have different areas that you predict people will act in based on their personality. Who can be trusted with secrets, who will be there when you’re sick, who will actually pay you if you do something for them, etc. etc. etc.

Have strong predictions and weak predictions

4. Implement gradients or %s instead of absolutely 0% or absolutely 100%

In each different area a person may be considered predictable in different ways based on what characteristics they have. Most sadists aren’t harmful all the time, they’re harmful when they have a strong desire to be or can get away with it. Most kind people are kind most of the time, but they have human bodies and emotions too so they occasionally fail to live up to their own higher standards. That’s part of being human and it’s okay since you can assign %s for predictability and not freak out into weird absolutes about it.

5. Accept that failure is okay.

The expectation of giving someone 100% Absolute Trust 100% of the time while not getting failed ever in your entire life is absurd. People are human. They have faults and will occasionally fail. This is in the very nature of being human. Except, the wonderful question of: *”So what?”* This doesn’t mean you can’t assign 100% trust to someone and then set up backup plans to save your own ass after you get screwed over.

Learn how to defend yourself physically, learn how to defend yourself emotionally, learn how to fall, learn how to get back up again. You are strong, you are smart, you are resourceful, you will heal, and you will survive.

Trust in yourself and in your defenses so that you can then trust in being able to trust in others, get betrayed, and still be fine.

6. Increase your safety net by quantity and alternative means like community

If you depend on the trust, predictability, and cooperation of 6 unconnected people who you understand pretty well and have high %s of cooperative predictability in, then you can be confident that 4+ will exist to support you even if 1 or 2 fail at any given time. You create a robust setup that can save you and maintain stability regardless of what happens over time.

You can also begin giving back to the community and developing others as human beings so that they can build up healthy perspectives like you have and get past failure modes like always distrusting all human beings in silly ways.


Note: this model is wrong. This model only has value insofar as if you think this model has value, you can now know that you are wrong.




Have the Thing.
Hate the Thing.
Burn the Thing.
Hate having burned the Thing.
Transcend the Thing.
Reclaim the Thing.

Dreams of Paradise


You don’t transcend to reclaim it. You do it for other reasons.


If Cook-Greuter’s levels aren’t total bullshit, then I’m most likely hitting the construct-aware postauonamous stage right now. Not sure when I hit it, but it wasn’t very long ago (read: months). Some portions of me are still reworking earlier stages and filling in the gaps. I have some portions of 3rd person narratives and areas of early stage social interaction that I gave up on too early or never fully bought in to while progressing stage-wise in other areas fast enough to miss them. Those may still not be easy to work through.

The construct-aware stage is noted for trying “with great ingenuity and dedication to create super theories or multidimensional maps or tapestries of reality.” Sound like someone you know?

“Still others with the 5th person perspective begin to fathom the cognitive dimension of meaning making itself. They start to wonder about the meaningfulness of more and more complex thought structures and integrations such as can be imagined with a fifth or nth person perspective.”

That’s the part I’m working through right now. Not sure how long it will take.

Apparently the next step requires acknowledging the futility of multidimensional maps (presumably without expressing that in the form of multidimensional maps, which is where I’m at right now). This next stage claimed to exist is the Ego-aware stage.

I’ve just barely branched out a bit into the Ego-aware stage. (I can tell because portions of it make no sense to me while the overwhelming majority of everything at the construct-aware and earlier has easy pattern matching.) It doesn’t sound particularly pleasant, but are they ever? I’ll go there eventually, but I don’t know how long it will take me or what it will cost.

Compliments and Lists

NAR: It occurred to me today after receiving a particularly flattering email and then opening an old email which reminded me of a situation in which i was kinda sorta halfway proposed to that the old issue (from the LW post I can’t remember) of treating arguments as soldiers where you do 1 vs 1 at a time comes up in terms of self-worth and your impressions of what people think of you.


NAR: In my head when I get a compliment or criticism I look at it as a singular instance (that might possibly reveal a *Hidden Truth*) and maybe compare it only to one or two nice things people may have said about me before. What I don’t do is set up a long list of all the nice things and all the bad things people have ever said and then compare the two lists.


NAR: If someone calls me ugly, then I shouldn’t just look at that alone. I should compare it to all the compliments I’ve ever gotten on my appearance, the overall level of attraction strangers seem to have towards me if I smile at them, and the possible overall halo effect I might possess on the people around me.


Commenter 555: I used to wave off all compliments and accept a few criticisms.
Commenter 555: Do you think it’s worth recording?


NAR: yes


[[To be sung to the tune of Lost Boys by Ruth B]]

There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

[Verse 1]
Then one night, as I closed my eyes,
I saw a mind flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
He said, “Elie-zer. That’s what they call me.
I promise that you’ll never be lonely.”
And ever since that day…

I am a rationalist from LessWrong
Usually hanging out with Elie zer
And when we’re bored we play in The Bay
Always on the run from X Risks
“Run, run, rationalist,” they say to me,
“Away from irrationality.”

LessWrong is home to rationalists like me
And rationalists like me are free

[Verse 2]
He sprinkled me in dust specks and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached the Bay
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day…

I am a rationalist from LessWrong
Usually hanging out with Elie zer
And when we’re bored we play in The Bay
Always on the run from X Risk
“Run, run, rationalist,” they say to me,
“Away from irrationality.”

LessWrong is home to rationalists like me
And rationalists like me are free

Elie zer, Anna, Scott Darling,
Even So8res.
You are my perfect story book
LessWrong, I love you so,
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a rationalist at last

And for always I will say…

I am a rationalist from LessWrong
Usually hanging out with Elie zer
And when we’re bored we play in The Bay
Always on the run from X Risk
“Run, run, rationalist,” they say to me,
“Away from irrationality.”

LessWrong is home to rationalists like me
And rationalists like me are free

Help Your Friends

NAR: I’ve lost friends for trying to help them out of very bad situations, but I’ve also helped people out of bad situations and I think the math adds up in both all those people (collectively) and my favor (because my friends in better situations is an inherent good)

NAR: lots of people have negative reactions to others helping them, so people get trained to think that not attempting to help at all (and not rocking the boat in the process) is more beneficial to themselves than actually taking the risk of helping someone

NAR: Fuck that

How to read this blog

To be more serious for a second, these are snippets of conversations. They present arguments in various different and contradicting directions. That’s a good thing and it is on purpose. You need more perspectives and to break the mold to see what’s really what.

The conversations are unedited for my portions of the conversations. I may fix them up later if people request it.


No matter what color, race, nationality, religion, cultural group, economic class, social class, height, type of person, orientation, or anything else someone will hate you for it. Let that sink in for a second, even if you could magically change one of those things to another for yourself, people would still hate you for that aspect of yourself. People will still hate your guts no matter what. The game is rigged. You lose.

People love to hate. They aren’t going to stop.