Progress Despite Emotions and Bias; Mastery of Sentences [CF Article]

I think a few people here don’t have much to do on Christmas so here’s an extra article. There will still be one tomorrow morning.

the first word here is a typo:

They’re driving skill is good enough that, even when they’re driving worse, they still […]

What was the point of talking about sentence mastery in this essay? You explain in the final paragraph that

A strategy to deal with emotions better is to improve your mastery of sentences and paragraphs so it’s reliable even when you’re emotional.

I think that you say that this is “a strategy to deal with emotions better” because you think that sentences/paragraphs are one common example of something that people have a problem with when they are emotional.

I’m not completely sure though. Like, maybe you talked about sentence mastery because you had something in mind related to this paragraph

Seriously, people struggle to read a book and figure out what it’s talking about, and then they talk about introspection being super hard. It’s kinda hard but the thing actually going on here is that they’re bad at analyzing anything. It’s much easier to read a book than to read the contents of your mind, so if you aren’t good at analyzing and understanding books in detail, then you shouldn’t expect to be able to do that with your own mind.

(from Introspection, Overreaching and Emotions (criticalfallibilism.com)). Like, if people were really good at analyzing, then they could reliably and explicitly identify the ideas behind their anger, and so anger would lose its power to make them irrational.

Let’s see.

It’s an example of a mastery people could work on.

It’s one of the main, specific things I had in mind that people could work on.

The example is generically relevant to emotions and many other things. Being good with words is a building block for rationality, logical thinking, discussion, introspection, debate, problem solving, etc.

Even if it didn’t end up helping with emotions it’d be a good thing to work on anyway.

It’s something I wanted to write about anyway. It’s related to e.g. my grammar article, and it was a major topic in my Max Tutoring videos. Recognizing people’s lack of skill at words, grammar, math and other basics was one of the reasons I started studying and teaching grammar.

I’ve repeatedly observed people get tilted then write dumber stuff and misread stuff. My own experience is that I’m very good at remaining logical even if upset. Actually, long ago, DD marveled at my ability to think clearly, write and be productive while sad. (He can’t do that.) I’ve tried to understand why and I think better mastery of basics, and building up knowledge more properly than most people, is one reason. BTW, the mastery stuff partly also reminds me of my old ability to play chess both at high speeds and while very tired – I think that chess playing mode is also pretty resist to emotions or other stuff once you you get in the zone because it doesn’t use much conscious thought, mostly just autopilot. I think tons of other people can also play chess in a similar way.

It’s a research category article so I have lower standards for having a fully worked out conclusion that is presented in a clearly organized way. It was partly exploratory writing to think things through myself. (The Difficulties section was actually added in a second writing session recently. The first part was written 2 years ago. I’ve been thinking about it for a while.)

Yes it could help with introspection like that, either while emotional and dealing with something now, or later for a difficult topic that brings up emotions or biases.

Or people could be more rational and think more clearly, despite being emotional, if their skill were better. Cuz it’s harder to miss, unsee or rationalize the truth if you see it really easily and clearly, and increased skill will make more truths really obvious to you. Being better with words is a step towards increasing skill (and it’s one where what’s needed is more better details and mastery, not to learn the skill initially – I think people have more recognition of not having a skill at all then recognition of not having adequate mastery of it).

Right. Reminds me of this paragraph

The Challenge of a man’s life is not to struggle against immoral passions, but to see the facts of reality clearly, in full focus. Once a man has done this in a given situation, there is no further difficulty in regard to him acting on what he sees.

from OPAR (p261).

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I’ve observed this in IRL a lot (replacing the word “write” with “say” and “misread” with “misunderstand”). In the cases which come to mind I think that self-sabotage played a much bigger role than lack of skill (e.g. people wanting to evade the knowledge that they are wrong, or not wanting to take the loss of social status or something), but it’s hard to know.

If an idea is built out of 5 parts, each of which is built out of 5 parts, each of which is built out of 5 parts, each of which is built out of 5 parts, then there are 781 total ideas.

It looks to me like the number of ideas should be 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 625, not 781. Have I misunderstood this sentence?

If the ideas are one paragraph each, with an average of four sentences per paragraph, then that’s 3124 sentences.

If I am right about the preceding sentence then the number of sentences would be 2500.

These sentences are in paragraph 14 of

Progress Despite Emotions and Bias; Mastery of Sentences

You’re counting leaf nodes, not total nodes.

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Summary: When a person thinks he will sometimes get emotions he doesn’t like: anger, sadness, being tilted etc. Such a person usually gets worse at thinking. There are some skills that people don’t get much worse at when they are emotional, such as walking or eating. The emotion resistant skills are skills that you have mastered so that you don’t think of them as skills. Philosophy usually involves many levels of ideas built on other ideas. Many people haven’t mastered reading or writing sentences, so they get worse at reading and writing when they’re emotional. They often makes mistakes at such a high rate that they can’t correct all the mistakes they make. To fix that problem they should master reading and writing sentences. There are other problems that mastery of reading and writing won’t fix, like sabotaging mastery on purpose by refusing to read material when you think you won’t like the ideas involved.

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