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Elliot Temple on April 24, 2019

Comments (36)

doing something important

It would be easy enough to fill my time with volunteer work and family stuff. That's what I was doing before I knew about FI. But I'm not satisfied with that kind of life. I want to do something important. Problems:

1) I don't know what important thing(s) I want to do, and

2) I don't feel confident that I am capable of doing anything important.

I think that learning philosophy will help me with anything important I end up wanting to do.


Anne B at 5:42 AM on April 25, 2019 | #12215 | reply | quote

Broadly, what I am focusing on now:

1) learning to read and write more effectively

2) learning more about the social rules that are around me


Anne B at 5:43 AM on April 25, 2019 | #12216 | reply | quote

Do you have a plan to achieve those goals (reading, writing, social rule knowledge)?


Anonymous at 11:27 AM on April 25, 2019 | #12217 | reply | quote

> Do you have a plan to achieve those goals (reading, writing, social rule knowledge)?

I don't have much of a plan. I have some ideas.

Reading: Continue what I'm doing with the book Mistreated. Try to figure out what the author is saying and why, both big picture and details. Post what I'm doing to the FI list. Do the same kind of thing with other books. Continue taking notes on other things I read, writing down what I think the author is saying.

Writing: Keep writing. Keep trying to be clear in my writing.

Social rule knowledge: Continue looking for examples of puppet strings. Continue thinking about what social rules are at play in situations that come up in my life.

I don't really know what a good plan would look like. I don't know how to construct a plan. How much detail? How many steps? I don't know how to figure out when to move on from one plan part to another plan part. All I can think of is to do stuff that's in the area of what I want to learn and then see if I learn things.


Anne B at 5:28 AM on April 26, 2019 | #12224 | reply | quote

Who are you?


Anonymous at 11:52 AM on May 3, 2019 | #12272 | reply | quote

> Who are you?

I'm not sure what this question means.


Anne B at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2019 | #12284 | reply | quote

doing something important

I'll say more about what I mean by *doing something important*. What I really want is to do something that will significantly change the course of the universe in a good way. But that seems difficult. I don't think I can do it.

Instead I could aim for *solving problems that seem doable and interesting to me* and/or *learning things that seem interesting to me*. That doesn't seem good enough.


Anne B at 11:43 AM on May 5, 2019 | #12285 | reply | quote

> What I really want is to do something that will significantly change the course of the universe in a good way.

Do you really want to? Do you actually avoid activities which you think won't contribute to this goal?


Anonymous at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2019 | #12295 | reply | quote

>> What I really want is to do something that will significantly change the course of the universe in a good way.

> Do you really want to? Do you actually avoid activities which you think won't contribute to this goal?

I now realize I had an unstated assumption in there. I want to do something that will significantly change the course of the universe in a good way that is also something I enjoy doing.

I think I really want this goal. It's hard to tell though. I could be fooling myself and not realize it.

I don't know very well which activities will or won't contribute to my goal. But I can try to avoid activities which don't seem like they could possibly contribute. And I can try to do more of activities that seem like they might contribute. I could do a better job at matching my actions to my goal.


Anne B at 4:32 AM on May 8, 2019 | #12298 | reply | quote

self-improvement

Another big question I have is how to structure my FI learning. By FI learning I mean, broadly, increasing my skills at thinking and learning. I want to be powering up, as discussed in this podcast:

https://curi.us/files/podcasts/overreaching-and-powering-up.mp3

I want to be doing self-improvement, as discussed in this essay:

https://rationalessays.com/life-overreaching-correcting-error

I think of this as happening via a series of exercises that I do and post to the FI list. (There could be some other way to think about it.) I have tried some such exercises.

Most recently, I've been going through a book by Robert Pearl, called Mistreated: Why We Think We're Getting Good Health Care—and Why We're Usually Wrong. I've been trying to see what hidden assumptions Pearl is making, what inexplicit things he's trying to convey, as well as trying to read correctly what he is explicitly saying.

In this post

https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/fallible-ideas/6798E27E-BA3C-44E7-AA53-F50CFBBFFDF9%40curi.us

Elliot estimated that I've got about a 20% error rate and that I would learn faster if I did something easier and had a lower error rate.

Doing something easier would be easier(!) and that would be nice. But what to do that's easier and is a step on the path I want to be going on?

Some ideas I have:

* Look for third grade reading comprehension questions and do some of those.

* Like I did before: look for news articles and look for errors in them. I don't think that's easier than looking at a few paragraphs of Mistreated at a time. I'd probably get way more that 1% of it wrong.

* Look at scientific articles for errors. That seems more difficult than looking at Mistreated.

* Try the LSAT reading comprehension questions that someone posted a while back. That would be more basic comprehension rather than the hidden assumptions and attempts at manipulation that I was trying to find in Mistreated. And it would be difficult reading comprehension compared to third-grade stuff.

* Look at some simple social interactions for hidden stuff.

* Do some beginner logic problems.

* Learn a video game. I don't think I would do it with under a 1% error rate and I don't think it would contribute to getting better at analyzing writing or social stuff.

* Look some more for puppet strings in my everyday life and write about them. I did this for a while, off and on. It's hard for me to tell what my error rate was.

* Continue writing about Mistreated but only talk about things I'm most sure of and ignore the things that seem harder for me.

I don't think I really believe that doing things that are super easy (1% error rate) will result in much learning. But I am willing to try it and see what happens.

The easiest things on this list are the third-grade reading comprehension and beginner logic problems. I think I should try one of those two now. I'm open to other ideas too.


Anne B at 7:19 AM on May 12, 2019 | #12344 | reply | quote

What are you great at? What are you *very* interested in? What good values do hold strongly enough to prioritize them over rationalizations and other crap? What *resources* do you have available to help your learning?

Look at this https://curi.us/1859-how-to-get-unstuck


Anonymous at 2:03 PM on May 12, 2019 | #12350 | reply | quote

> I don't think I really believe that doing things that are super easy (1% error rate) will result in much learning.

You neglected to say why.


Anonymous at 2:04 PM on May 12, 2019 | #12351 | reply | quote

>What are you great at? What are you *very* interested in? What good values do hold strongly enough to prioritize them over rationalizations and other crap? What *resources* do you have available to help your learning?

>

> Look at this https://curi.us/1859-how-to-get-unstuck

What am I great at?

Nothing. I have aimed for good rather than great.

What am I very interested in?

Nothing. I am interested in some things but not *very* interested. One big interest is in people: why they do what they do, how they interact with each other, how they learn, how they think.

What good values do I hold strongly?

This is hard to answer. I think morality is important even though I don't have a clear idea what good morality is. I think truth is important yet there's a lot in me that sabotages truth-seeking.

What resources do I have?

Time. Some persistence. The FI list.


Anne B at 11:16 AM on May 13, 2019 | #12359 | reply | quote

#12359 re good values, look at the chart here:

http://fallibleideas.com/parenting-and-tradition

do you think you have any of those values enough for it to have convinced you to change your parenting (if you were a regular parent, didn't know about tcs, homeschool, etc)? or are none of the example values/traditions very motivating for you? maybe the list will also help you think of others that aren't listed to consider.


Anonymous at 11:18 AM on May 13, 2019 | #12360 | reply | quote

>> I don't think I really believe that doing things that are super easy (1% error rate) will result in much learning.

> You neglected to say why.

I think I won't learn from doing things I already know how to do. And I think I won't learn much from the 1% errors because I only learn from a small percentage of my errors, and a small percentage of 1% doesn't seem like much.


Anne B at 11:22 AM on May 13, 2019 | #12361 | reply | quote

1% error rate is not super easy. Your error rate when walking is much lower than 1%.

And if you *actually do something* and *succeed* (you were right that you already knew how to do it), you can then incrementally make it harder. You have to start somewhere you can already do (step 1), then expand on that (step 2) in manageable amounts.


Anonymous at 11:24 AM on May 13, 2019 | #12362 | reply | quote

#12360

> http://fallibleideas.com/parenting-and-tradition

>

> do you think you have any of those values enough for it to have convinced you to change your parenting (if you were a regular parent, didn't know about tcs, homeschool, etc)? or are none of the example values/traditions very motivating for you? maybe the list will also help you think of others that aren't listed to consider.

The ones on that chart that are most motivating for me are:

The American Dream

Reason

Human Rights

Individualism

Individual Responsibility


Anne B at 12:51 PM on May 13, 2019 | #12363 | reply | quote

#12363 Try to do something with one or more of those. Can it motivate you to do any learning activities to try to change some way you're currently violating them? You are currently violating them a ton (if you understood Rand and Mises, you'd understand that – and if you care about those values, then you'd take steps towards gaining that knowledge even if only to check if you might be betraying your values).


Anonymous at 12:52 PM on May 13, 2019 | #12364 | reply | quote

#12362

> 1% error rate is not super easy. Your error rate when walking is much lower than 1%.

>

> And if you *actually do something* and *succeed* (you were right that you already knew how to do it), you can then incrementally make it harder. You have to start somewhere you can already do (step 1), then expand on that (step 2) in manageable amounts.

Is the following a good example?

I want to learn to read with better understanding. I start with standardized test kinds of reading comprehension at a low level. I gradually increase the level and find out at what level I start to fall below 99% correct answers. Then I do a bunch of questions at the highest level where I'm still getting 99%+ right. I read some tips on reading comprehension and try to learn them and incorporate them into my work. Once I've done that for a while, I try a higher level again and see if I can do it at a 99%+ correctness rate.

Would this be a good idea for a learning project for me? The good things about it are I could find material with answer keys so I wouldn't need any other people to help me figure out my error rate. And I understand how to do the project.


Anne B at 1:20 PM on May 13, 2019 | #12365 | reply | quote

I wrote #12363 :

>> The ones on that chart that are most motivating for me are:

>> The American Dream

>> Reason

>> Human Rights

>> Individualism

>> Individual Responsibility

Anonymous wrote #12364 :

> Try to do something with one or more of those. Can it motivate you to do any learning activities to try to change some way you're currently violating them? You are currently violating them a ton (if you understood Rand and Mises, you'd understand that – and if you care about those values, then you'd take steps towards gaining that knowledge even if only to check if you might be betraying your values).

I could be currently violating these values a ton. I can't tell if I am or not. I'd like to take steps towards understanding this. I don't know what those steps are. It seems too hard right now to read Rand and Mises and understand much of it. I don't know what easier things I can do that are steps towards what I want to learn.

As I see it, my problem is not motivation, it's knowing how to proceed.

I need ideas for simple, easy learning activities I can do now that will help me change ways I am currently violating these values.

One idea just came to me. In #12359 I said that truth is important to me. I recently started videoing myself doing some activities that I wanted to improve at. This is a way of getting at the truth of how I'm doing, a truth that I was unwilling to look at (literally) until now.


Anne B at 7:34 AM on May 14, 2019 | #12375 | reply | quote

I am thinking about doing the learning project described here:

http://curi.us/2198-mario-odyssey-discussion

> By playing Mario Odyssey, you can learn what it's like to get good and something and succeed. You can see how practice works and things that used to be hard become easy. Learn to practice efficiently. Learn to write down notes, to review videos (like other people's speedruns) and get useful help from them, and learn to remember a bunch of information. You can see what correcting errors is like. You can see what getting details right is like and succeed with high quality standards. You can see how to build up your skills. First you learn how to do basic movement. Then you practice until it doesn't take much attention anymore. Then you can learn harder combinations of movement which build on the basic things. Now that the basic things are easy for you, your attention is free to focus on combined sequences.

I wonder if the project as a whole would be easy enough for me. Would I be able to do all the things in this paragraph? Would this count as a basic, easy project for me, as suggested in this post?:

https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/fallible-ideas/6798E27E-BA3C-44E7-AA53-F50CFBBFFDF9%40curi.us

> I’d suggest, as I suggest to everyone, working on more basic stuff and trying to build up to more complicated stuff. This has been explained in other posts already.

I could give it a try and see how it goes. But so far just about every project I've tried has ended up being not super easy for me. I fear this will be the same and I'd be better off doing something easier for now.


Anne B at 8:59 AM on May 14, 2019 | #12376 | reply | quote

> One idea just came to me. In #12359 I said that truth is important to me. I recently started videoing myself doing some activities that I wanted to improve at. This is a way of getting at the truth of how I'm doing, a truth that I was unwilling to look at (literally) until now.

You know there have been lots of suggestions to record video of yourself doing FI activities, like writing emails, which you and others have not done?

That was a way of proceeding which was shared, which you have not done.

> As I see it, my problem is not motivation, it's knowing how to proceed.

You could have proceeded by responding to this (linked a few comments above):

https://curi.us/1859-how-to-get-unstuck

You didn't.

You could have proceeded using the Girls Chase book. You refused.

You were told how to proceed with *The Fountainhead*. You did not follow instructions.

You could be doing the "FI Beginner Learning Process" idea. I don't think you are.

You could be learning basic reading and grammar, as Justin has been. You don't do that.

You could have learned the Lords of Waterdeep game, tried to get good at it, and discussed it. You didn't.

> I start with standardized test kinds of reading comprehension at a low level.

All the tests I've seen are bad – ambiguous questions, false answers, unstated cultural assumptions.

> But so far just about every project I've tried has ended up being not super easy for me.

IIRC: you made a similar complaint months ago and were asked to list what you had done that didn't work, and you did not make a list.


Anonymous at 11:33 AM on May 14, 2019 | #12377 | reply | quote

#12377

I am having a hard time responding to this post. I feel frustrated and defensive reading it. What to do?

I will try the advice given below and just post this and see what happens.

https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/fallible-ideas/C006C3A7-9371-4CD3-AA84-D39E7B7B4E09%40curi.us

> I think you spent those hours hurting yourself (and partially blaming FI/me/anon/etc for that harm). I doubt they significantly improved the post, and they could easily have made it worse.

>

> You spent those hours contrary to my advice about speaking on FI like you would in person (where you reply to people verbally within a few seconds).


Anne B at 1:01 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12378 | reply | quote

I tried to buy the Girls Chase book. The link on their website didn't work for me and I couldn't find the book elsewhere. I was about to write to the Girls Chase people and ask how to buy the book. Then this was posted:

https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/fallible-ideas/C006C3A7-9371-4CD3-AA84-D39E7B7B4E09%40curi.us

> Stop. Don’t. Abort. You have to do things you want to do. Otherwise you’ll mistreat people, especially yourself. When you dislike things and have a bad time, that means you don’t understand how to get value from them: they aren’t working, they aren’t productive, you aren’t learning (if those things were happening, you’d like it).

>

> You don’t want to think rationally about PUA. You don’t want to learn it. You’re biased against it. You need to find some other topic where you can have a good time and make progress there instead.

This seemed like good advice to me so I stopped trying to think about Girls Chase.


Anne B at 1:06 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12379 | reply | quote

https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/fallible-ideas/C006C3A7-9371-4CD3-AA84-D39E7B7B4E09%40curi.us

> Stop. Don’t. Abort. You have to do things you want to do. Otherwise you’ll mistreat people, especially yourself. When you dislike things and have a bad time, that means you don’t understand how to get value from them: they aren’t working, they aren’t productive, you aren’t learning (if those things were happening, you’d like it).

>

> You don’t want to think rationally about PUA. You don’t want to learn it. You’re biased against it. You need to find some other topic where you can have a good time and make progress there instead.

I fear this applies to FI in general. I think I want to think rationally about FI but I don't seem to do so. I think I want to learn FI but I don't seem to do so. Maybe I'm biased against FI. Maybe the only topics I'd enjoy are away from the FI community. Maybe the best thing to do is leave.

That doesn't seem right though.


Anne B at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12381 | reply | quote

Mario is a better plan than giving up and leaving.


Anonymous at 1:14 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12382 | reply | quote

I don't think it's always right to give up on something when I'm having a bad time. FI is a good example of this. I'd rather keep trying to find a way to do it that's not a bad time for me.


Anne B at 5:35 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12383 | reply | quote

I was trying to find a learning project that satisfies all of these criteria:

1) I can do it with an error rate of 1% or less.

2) I can tell when I've made an error.

3) It's a step towards other things I want to learn.

I can't think of anything that fits all of these criteria. So I can either keep trying to think of something or give up on one of these things.


Anne B at 5:36 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12384 | reply | quote

I think I might enjoy playing Super Mario Odyssey. However, it seems like it would be a long project to try to get super good at it. I think I'd make mistakes in my process. I'd get stuck. My rate of errors that I couldn't fix myself would be higher than 1%.

All the things listed in #12377 would be too hard for me. They wouldn't be basic, easy things for me to do.

>> But so far just about every project I've tried has ended up being not super easy for me.

> IIRC: you made a similar complaint months ago and were asked to list what you had done that didn't work, and you did not make a list.

I will try to make such a list here. These are projects I have tried recently, in reverse chronological order.

* Reading Mistreated and looking for hidden assumptions, attempts at manipulation, other thinking problems. Elliot estimated I had a 20% error rate.

* Finding examples of puppet strings. Based on the errors that were pointed out to me, I had an error rate of well over 1%. There were probably more errors that were not pointed out to me.

* Reading scientific articles and finding mistakes in their thinking. I gave up because I could tell it was too hard.

* Reading news articles and finding mistakes in their thinking. I found some but I was told I missed a lot. I'm pretty sure I made errors in well over 1% of what I wrote about what I did find.

* Reading news articles and finding factual and grammar mistakes. This was easier. I'm guessing it was still more than a 1% error rate.


Anne B at 5:57 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12385 | reply | quote

> You could have proceeded by responding to this (linked a few comments above):

>

> https://curi.us/1859-how-to-get-unstuck

>

> You didn't.

I thought the conversation in #12359, #12360, #12363, #12364, and #12375 was in response to that link.


Anne B at 6:18 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12386 | reply | quote

I'm not saying that the projects I listed in #12385 didn't work. I'm saying that they were not < 1% error rate projects for me. If I want something I can do with under a 1% error rate I'm going to have to find much easier projects.


Anne B at 6:44 PM on May 14, 2019 | #12387 | reply | quote

> I was trying to find a learning project that satisfies all of these criteria:

>

> 1) I can do it with an error rate of 1% or less.

>

> 2) I can tell when I've made an error.

>

> 3) It's a step towards other things I want to learn.

>

> I can't think of anything that fits all of these criteria. So I can either keep trying to think of something or give up on one of these things.

4) I enjoy doing it.


Anne B at 8:10 AM on May 15, 2019 | #12392 | reply | quote

I thought of something that might satisfy the four criteria above.

I wanted to study grammar and I wanted to start with very easy grammar stuff.

I looked online for grammar games for kids but those seemed more like they were testing grammar knowledge rather than teaching it.

Then I tried Khan Academy. I did the first grammar unit there, on nouns. They have instructional videos and then quizzes meant to show you if you understand the stuff. My error rate was less than 1%. Grammar is a step towards better reading. And I did kind of enjoy it. The guy who made the videos put in some humor and some bonus history, which were nice.

I ran into one significant question, which I researched elsewhere. That led to another significant question. I'll probably post about these questions on the FI list. I'm pretty sure now about my answer to the first question, although not completely sure. I don't know the answer to the second question. This is a bit frustrating/scary since it's only the first unit. But I'll try to proceed with those questions or decide to drop them for now.


Anne B at 3:15 PM on May 17, 2019 | #12426 | reply | quote

Anne, how do you think your grammar project is going? Satisfied so far? Getting close to bored or stuck? Anything unexpected happen, good or bad? Do things seem to be getting better or worse? etc


Anonymous at 10:39 AM on June 11, 2019 | #12732 | reply | quote

I've been doing grammar analysis of simple sentences. I've done about 30 sentences.

I've learned to look things up when I'm unsure about them. I was not in the habit of doing that before.

I practiced doing post-mortems a little.

I've learned some things about grammar, although I may forget them.

Analyzing the simple sentences is getting easier. I don't hate it. It was sometimes frustrating or upsetting at first but now it isn't. But it is kind of boring.

I don't know how to decide when to move on. I could wait until I think I have an error rate of < 1%. I'm not there yet. Or I could move on to complex sentences now. I lean towards doing more simple sentences.


Anne B at 8:07 AM on June 12, 2019 | #12748 | reply | quote

I'm considering using this story to get simple sentences from:

https://fsgworkinprogress.com/2011/05/17/orientation-by-daniel-orozco/

It has present tense, imperatives, and helping verbs, all of which I'd like to work on.


Anne B at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2019 | #12749 | reply | quote

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