Project - Learn CF + Note Down any Problems with Learning CF

Note about category choice (Friendly/Other/Unbounded): I initially wanted to post this in the Friendly category, but I saw this post: Close Reading of "Yes or No Philosophy Summary" - #2 by Elliot

I am scared of having a longer term discussion in a place like unbounded because I think of posting there as holding myself to a very high standard, so I shouldn’t be overreaching as much as I do in Friendly, and I should be ready to face any kind of criticism. That being said, I think it’s a good general idea for me to at least have one ongoing thread in unbounded, even if the rest of my threads are in Friendly, because then I think the variety is good and I can slowly get practice handling unbounded threads.

One problem though is that I might not be able to close unbounded threads since I have no real practice discussing to a conclusion or actually setting a proper finish line for a project or step and then sticking to it. So I’m likely to have a few unbounded threads open eventually, and if a bunch of them receive criticism within a short period of time, I might get overwhelmed with criticism. That being said, I don’t think I need to respond to all the criticism immediately, it’s more like I should have a system to track and get to the criticism in a timely manner, so that I’m not indefinitely avoiding it. I don’t have such a system yet and I’m already working on building the habit of managing some other systems (time tracking, CF promises tracking), but I think I can build and manage that system more easily once I’ve gotten better with the existing systems I’m learning to use regularly.

I think the earlier I can be comfortable discussing things in unbounded without feeling even a little bad, the better off I’ll be, so whatever I can do to get to that point seems worth doing, as long as it’s not too expensive initially/isn’t so emotionally painful to begin with that I give up prematurely or something. I should track my own criticisms of things and be honest with myself so that I can either bring them up to discuss publically or just say that I’m not OK with something as it stands and take steps to address the problem, even if that means taking a break from unbounded and being open about that with CF.

Overall Long-Term Goal: I’m engaging in a CF learning project because I want to learn to think better, especially in some practical areas such as marketing, business, and also personal development/productivity (e.g. addressing problems like procrastination, poor prioritization, and non-existent or low quality personal project management).

So this isn’t just about learning CF, but also learning about myself and my own blockers when it comes to structured learning/goal-oriented learning, because I’m bad at that kind of learning even in other non-CF areas, and I want to be better at it because if I have no success/failure criteria when learning stuff, I’m rolling the dice on whether or not I make progress. If I decide in advance what success looks like, I can actually work towards it and achieve it with purpose, and even if I fail then, I can learn from it and make the next project better. I haven’t done any of that consciously in my life and I’d like to start earlier rather than later so that I don’t end up waking up with a mid-life crisis thinking that I didn’t spend my life meaningfully enough.

Goal of this Thread: The long term stuff is a lot to try to achieve in one go, so this thread is just for the first step Elliot suggested (and I think has been suggesting to me for some time even before that), which is start reading/watching some CF learning material (specifically Max Tutoring videos and Yes or No Philosophy Summary in this case) and write about any problems I run into, or any comments I have. The idea is not just to read this stuff passively like I did the last time I took CF/FI seriously, since I used to read a bunch but did not write a lot about it as I went, which meant there wasn’t much structured learning value. What I read also didn’t have much to do with conscious, pre-decided goals, and was more arbitrary or based on automatized preferences.

Starting with reading Yes or No Philosophy Summary and noting any problems I come across.

On this reading I’ve gotten to this part so far with no problems or comments as far as I can tell:

CR says: Form a critical preference for the idea that survives criticism and seems best when taking into account our critical arguments. In other words, consider negative arguments and refute what you can (e.g. ideas that are contradicted by evidence or which contain internal logical contradictions). Then, taking into account the (negative) arguments, make a judgment about which non-refuted idea is best. How much do we like an idea, and think it’s good, compared to other ideas, when considering the (critical) arguments?

I’m wondering if my previous understanding of CR before reading this was correct. I understood it roughly as like: we criticize our theories with everything we’ve got, and the ones that stand up to all our criticism stay tentatively unrefuted, while the other ones get tentatively discarded (since we may later learn our criticisms were flawed). By this point of trying to write this out, I think my thinking gets fragmented and it’s a lot harder, so it might be a sign I’m overreaching past here. The example that came to mind was Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as it explains gravity vs. Newton’s theory of gravity. Einstein’s Theory didn’t just make more accurate predictions than Newton’s and have better math, it was fundamentally a different explanation (like something about the curvature of spacetime causing gravity rather than gravity being a force exerted by bodies with mass). So Newton’s theory could no longer be a valid explanation for how gravity works.

This where it got a bit confusing for me in the past, with the idea of context and problem-solving relating to when we refute and discard or don’t refute and don’t discard theories. Is Newton’s theory still useful for solving some problems, even though we know the fundamental explanation is refuted? It’s the theory that I was taught in high school and I never considered that gravity might not be a force, it was just intuitive and made sense and I accepted that planets and stuff just pulled things to them, pulling things harder if the pulling planet/body had more mass or was closer to the stuff it was pulling.

I think the Newton vs. Einstein’s theory of gravity example is too complex for me to be using so I should find a simpler example.

I disagree.

CR and SV both accept partially-effective arguments (which I call “degree arguments”, because their effectiveness is a matter of degree, rather than all-or-nothing). They view arguments as having degrees of strength. They look at a weighted sum of the number and strength of arguments for or against an idea (or in the CR view, only against it).

I’ve used terminology in day to day life like “strong argument” and “weak argument” without even considering that there might just be no such difference.

Is it possible for an argument to be a “degree argument” in one context while being an absolute argument (idk a better term for it) in another context?

Going to stop there for now because I’ve started work and should pay attention to that. I spent about an hour writing this and doing some related reading, like other CF threads a bit (like deroj’s one). I think one issue that’s shown itself to me so far is that I’m easily distracting myself, and it’s like I’m throwing up obstacles in my own way by trying to think about more complex topics than necessary. I think if I just keep reading and find a way to keep my thoughts and comments fairly simple and on topic, most of my questions will be answered in either the rest of the article or in future reading (like that IGC – idea/goal/context idea which might answer the questions I raised in this thread).

So I think if I can learn to undo some of my habits with overreaching, that might be a good use of the skill I’m building to use conscious effort to identify and change automatized habits. That’s a ways off though, so I’ll focus on small habits first and I’ll keep writing in this thread as I read the rest of this because I’m sure more problems will come up as I read and write more. I’m wondering what a good way to track and prioritize issues would be.

This answers my question about context somewhat: Curiosity – Criticism is Contextual

Despite being flawed in some contexts, by some criteria, it could still get you there faster and easier than you would have done with manual navigation.

That there is a criticism of the GPS navigator system does not mean never to use it. Nor does it mean if you use it you’re acting on refuted or criticized ideas. Criticism is contextual.

So in the case of using the GPS, it’s not that the GPS has some positive argument supporting its use, it’s more like in a particular context where you use it for a trip, does every other option have criticisms that would make them refuted for that context and goal? like using a paper map, asking for directions manually along the way, or maybe just winging it and figuring out how to get there by yourself with no map or directions.

So the GPS is left as the only unrefuted option, so you use it. This is a bit confusing to me though because what if you have some criticism of the GPS, but you have more criticisms of the other options or they somehow seem way more undesirable to you. I think maybe in that case you shouldn’t use the GPS either unless you can address the criticism of it or find an unrefuted alternative. (I think I’m interchanging a lot of terminology so I have to improve on that at some point). However, I think one way to address the criticism is to say e.g. The GPS will get me to my desired destination quicker and with the least risk compared to all the other options I’ve explored, which matches my goals of getting there fast and not getting lost (cuz that would be annoying and unfun, maybe even scary). I also have to leave in 20 minutes to be there on time, which isn’t much time for me to explore alternatives, so I do have some problems with the GPS taking me on longer routes, but for this context, I don’t have the time to figure out an alternative or address this criticism e.g. figure out Google Maps or fix the GPS myself or something. If on the other hand I really cared about this problem and had a few hours to solve it, maybe I could come up with something better as an option.

A criticism of using idea X for goal Y is not a criticism of using idea X for goal Z.

Criticisms often apply to multiple things. They’re partially general purpose. They refute a category not a single thing. Some criticisms refute X for both goals Y and Z. In that case, the relevant thing if your goal is Z is that you have a criticism of X for Z.

You’re thinking about how good something is in an overall blended way – a single evaluation related to many goals at once. CF says that viewpoint is an error and instead we should think about whether something works or does not work at a single, unambiguous goal. To understand how an idea does at many goals, we can give it many evaluations (one per goal). If an idea has the identical evaluation for an entire category of goals, we can treat them as a group. In that case, there’s no blending, averaging or approximating since the evaluation is identical in all the cases being grouped together.

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Overreaching is not productive.

If you think something is both overreaching and productive, you probably know little about overreaching and should stop trying to use the idea in advance of learning it better. You allegedly have a counter example which refutes the theory of overreaching, which you could bring up.

I’m guessing you got that from me not from Popper.

You could think about that yourself, e.g. try to make an example.

Yes, I think so. My order of exposure to this stuff in general was something like: Heard DD on Sam Harris podcast, started finding all DD related stuff. Started reading BoI, maybe got thru 30-50% of it eventually. Somewhere between starting on BoI and stopping reading BoI, I found and joined FI. I didn’t know much about Popper except that DD mentioned him in the podcast and maybe somewhere in BOI (don’t remember). I learnt that Popper mattered mostly from FI resources, and I didn’t read much first-hand Popper, instead reading a lot of FI articles, chatting in discord, and learning about Popper second-hand that way. I think most of the CR I learnt was second-hand like that, rather than straight from Popper (or it was unique CR concepts from you first-hand, or you explaining Popper concepts better than I would have understood them if I had read Popper directly in some cases)

Edit: even today, I have not read much first-hand Popper writing. Probably less than 20 pages total, much of which were quotes DD used in his podcasts, quotes people were discussing in FI or quotes you used for blog posts.

I still have that compiled PDF of resources to read you recommended from Popper on the FI website. If it makes sense at some point for me to read those instead of the Yes/No stuff, let me know, otherwise I’ll focus on the CF resources first and look at CR later if it makes sense to do that or it seems interesting based on the CF stuff I learn.

I think you’re right that I don’t understand overreaching and shouldn’t try to use the idea until I learn it better. I may have also confused some separate concepts and not explained where I was getting these ideas, so I go into that in more detail in the next paragraph. Thanks for this criticism and I want to note that as far as I can tell, I didn’t have an emotional reaction to this criticism whereas I usually have had emotional reactions in the past when you criticized something I did/wrote, (usually stuff like being disappointed in myself or a kind of heart rate increase/tension that I couldn’t really classify as a specific emotion, maybe anxiety/fear/worry). This time it feels more like I’m able to objectively look at what I wrote, what you wrote, and go like, yeah that makes sense, without feeling personally attacked or like the words I wrote are something I have to personally feel bad about (even though I do take personal responsibility for thinking and writing them)

Here’s some more detail on what I was thinking and why I may have conflated two concepts or contexts, avoiding overreaching and something like the #low-error-rate channel in the discord server. I remember when that was implemented and I perceived it as a scary place to post to because I should post stuff I’m 100% sure of and aim to make 0 errors, which would make criticism more valuable in that channel since people should appreciate any kind of criticism made of content that they posted that they are 100% sure they understand.

For some reason I thought of Unbounded as having a similar context and applied a similar pressure profile to myself with regards to posting in Unbounded. I thought I should post stuff I’m really sure of, but now that I read the Unbounded description again I realize it’s a lot more broad than the #low-error-rate channel. This makes sense, since it’s an entire forum category instead of just being a single discord channel, so it would have to be more broad.

The sentence fragment of mine that you quoted is bad and I should retract it and change my mind about how I think about overreaching and posting in unbounded in general. I’m glad I wrote that sentence fragment, and glad you pointed it out specifically (I think there’s a reason you quoted that specific part on its own, and I don’t think I know the full reason but I think that quote captures the most flawed part in everything I wrote when it comes to how I think about overreaching or being afraid to post stuff in Unbounded which might not belong in e.g. the #low-error-rate discord channel)

A related problem I’m noticing by reflecting on my writing/phrasing here is that it’s clear that my emotions and even conscious thinking/preferences around posting are not about what’s good/bad for me from a rational perspective. Overreaching is bad for whatever goals I have related to learning, but instead of treating it as something good or bad for my goals, I’m treating it as something that leads to me getting criticized or not. So overreaching in friendly and overreaching in unbounded are both bad for me and my goals, but overreaching in unbounded feels worse because I know people will call me out on it and I’ll have to face it instead of avoid thinking about the overreaching or noticing it. So it’s like I’m deceiving myself about what is or isn’t overreaching, what is or isn’t productive for my goals, and I’m purposefully choosing to post in the category where I’m more likely to be able to continue deceiving myself instead of facing reality/the truth.

A better approach would be to just post in unbounded, receive the criticism, and at least have to face that I’m overreaching or making mistakes that I can eventually improve on, even if I can’t fix them immediately. I think I (at least consciously) agree with overreaching being unproductive, and don’t think I have any counter-examples to refute overreaching (or to refute gradualism). I like the gradualism quite a bit but I don’t think I’ve integrated it into my thinking so that my actions and emotions reflect it. I’m also just bad at judging what is and isn’t overreaching in some cases, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to not try to get better at that judgment and following it.

I don’t think I’ve ever written down my activities and then tried to judge them against a bar like: What goal is this activity meeting or intended to meet? Given the goal I believe it’s trying to meet, is it really the best activity I could be doing to meet that goal? If not, why not change the activity? If there’s some resistance to changing the activity, then maybe it’s meeting additional goals I’m not considering. I think Elliot wrote about this somewhere or maybe spoke about it in a podcast. Looking thru the list of podcasts to try to find the one I remember, I realize many of them are directly relevant to what I’m trying to do with time tracking, so I’m going to list them at the end of this post and aim to listen to them and write about them as part of my CF learning project, since part of that project is to introspect and figure out what problems there are stopping me from doing learning CF since I rationally/consciously think it’s good to learn CF for my goals.

What I remember Elliot roughly writing/speaking about was like: sometimes activities meet goals for people that they are not aware of, but they replace those activities or stop doing them prematurely, without fully understanding the various kinds of value those activities added to their lives. Also I remember a mention of something like: maybe people are superstitious and go to psychics partly because of the social value, of having someone to talk to, so when they become less superstitious and stop going to see a psychic because they think it’s useless now, they end up unhappy because they did not replace those psychic visits with some activity that fulfils their social needs like the psychic visits did. So if I’m resistant to changing some activity, it likely means it’s giving me different kinds of value and I’m looking at it too narrowly when I’m rationally trying to replace it. So I need to consider all the contexts and/or goals for which that activity is addressing a problem, rather than e.g. just trying to quit videogames because I think they’re unproductive or something.

I know there were periods in my life where I basically did not play videogames at all for months, simply because I enjoyed my career and liked it enough that I would learn about it in my free time and I felt no reason to play videogames much. I had stuff to do that was just more interesting than videogames. But when that job got less interesting and there were more problems and conflicts at work, and I didn’t have as much left to learn from the job directly and didn’t have much self-direction to improve in that industry/field, I started playing videogames more and looking for more ways to avoid thinking about work outside of business hours, and to give me something to dive into and learn and read about etc. that wasn’t work. I think that’s also why I got into all the organizational culture books and stuff and dove so deep into that kind of reading. It was just an interesting field to learn about and gave me something to focus lots of effort on that was fun to think about and try to apply to my work. With both those things, it seemed like there was a significant sort of honeymoon phase before I started to become less interested over time, which seems quite common with me and most jobs/careers I’ve gotten interested in, although the company culture interest lasted for a long time, over a year, and I mostly stopped learning about it once I joined FI and learnt that much of it was kinda bad and there are better ways to learn about that kind of thing, like Goldratt’s ideas.

But to basically summarize my thoughts re: overreaching: I think the time tracking step I’m taking is good, and it will give me the info to then apply step 2 of noting and changing habits. I think I can add something to step 2 now, which is to ask similar questions about my activities and goals, and that will help me decide which activities/habits to change and how to change them. By proposing an activity replacement to myself, I think I can gauge my emotional reaction to roughly tell if I assessed the intended goals of the activity correctly or not. If not, I can just try making the change and keep tracking my activities to see what happens e.g. maybe I don’t do the new activity much, or when I do I have to force myself to do it and it’s not as fun as the old activity, so then I can use that new info to introspect better and make adjustments.

Is this fine? I don’t want to use the overreaching idea without learning more about it, but I think this kind of step 2 would be OK for my current level of knowledge and is not overreaching for me to do right now. If there are articles or resources I should read and discuss first before doing that part of step 2, let me know and I will add them as a pre-requisite and try to do them first (and of course will bring up any problems that come up with me doing them. e.g. I procrastinate on them and just want to skip to step 2 instead of reading them first etc.)

Initial list of relevant podcast episodes (picked by title) for my CF learning project, usually about introspection, motivation, and changing habits:

Gonna stop checking the podcast list there for now as that seems a good amount to start with. I like this method of having a goal or a topic that I care about and then looking through the list of podcasts to choose ones relevant to that, as opposed to my usual method of picking whatever looks good based on my whims, or just going from related to related thing like a YouTube algorithm guiding me instead of making my own conscious and goal-oriented choices. I feel kind of powerful when I’m picking stuff with a purpose. I also feel more motivated to listen to these things because it feels like I chose them myself, not that someone chose them for me, so it’s like I’m excited to get off work and listen to them and write about them.

Yes, thank you for suggesting this. I didn’t think of trying that. I like that you try to get me to think for myself instead of just giving me the answers, especially because I assume you have some idea of what I know so far and what I’m capable of solving if I try, so you’re able to help me make progress by encouraging me to think through a problem with a hint like make an example. That hint also helps me with all future barriers or questions I run into, since I can learn to formulate examples to think through abstract principles more concretely.

I’ll try to come up with an example after some more reading because I think I need to get more clear on what a degree argument is vs. what an absolute one is. My current understanding is that a degree argument is basically saying that two solutions are valid, but one is more applicable/valid than the other, rather than just saying that one solution is valid/solves the problem with no criticisms, and the other is just refuted OR that neither solution is valid and a third, new solution needs to be created. Reading the part I quoted again helps me a bit. Turns out I remembered it wrong:

CR and SV both accept partially-effective arguments (which I call “degree arguments”, because their effectiveness is a matter of degree, rather than all-or-nothing). They view arguments as having degrees of strength. They look at a weighted sum of the number and strength of arguments for or against an idea (or in the CR view, only against it).

So any time I mention strong argument or weak argument, I’m thinking of degree arguments. An all-or-nothing argument or solution either works or doesn’t work. I think this means there can be multiple all-or-nothing arguments that are valid for a goal/context, as long as there are no criticisms that refute those arguments for that goal or in that context.

I’m trying to think of an example but it’s kinda hard. I’m thinking that they might not compatible at all, but let’s see… Basically if the idea, goal, and context are well defined enough, then the idea/solution should either work or not work. Idk how it would have a degree to it. So maybe in one context the goal and context are well defined, whereas in the other they are not well-defined, so the solution is an absolute solution in one but only a degree solution in the other? if the other situation was defined better, maybe the degree solution would become absolute too, because it would eventually either work or not work, as long as the context/goals became more and more specific.

If i wanted to learn how to iron a shirt, i could ask my dad for help, or i could watch a youtube video, or read a wikihow page. So that’s the goal: Learn to iron a shirt. The solution is variable, and all of those solutions work for the goal. Each solution has some downsides and upsides:

Dad: Downsides: might be busy, might not want to, and maybe his method of doing it is outdated. He also likely only knows one, maybe two, methods.

Upsides: He can answer my questions and is more interactive than most other sources since he’s creative. As a bonus, he might also end up doing a bunch of the ironing for me, but that doesn’t matter to my goal since my goal is to learn how to iron a shirt, not to get the shirt ironed while doing minimal work myself. I didn’t define that I wanted to learn it with e.g. minimum physical exertion myself, or in less time, or fewer reps or whatever.

Just going through those downsides and upsides makes me realize how important goals and context are. Like in terms of context, if my dad isn’t around, that changes the solutions, or if I have to learn it fast or there are other secondary goals, that changes things too. So maybe one solution will teach it to me faster, or to a higher quality, than another, but as long as I define those needs in my goals, a solution should basically just work or not work. I think it’s only a degree-solution if I’ve not specified some goal and then I say: Well, this solution does everything the same as the others, except it’s faster, therefore it’s better than the others. But if speed is a constraint or part of the goal, then I should define that in the goal and just toss the others for not being fast enough.

I dunno if this is correct but that’s what I’ve got so far.

I wonder if trying to organize some kinda CF study group would be helpful for you at all @anonymous25

EDIT: Specifically, I wonder if it would be helpful for keeping on task over time and also not burning out.

Yes, social motivation is big for me, e.g. social gaming is a big part of my motivation with some games and if the group fizzles out then i fizzle out sometimes too.

Similar for many learning things I think with me. Also sorry for low update rate last few days, I plan to update my time sheets and post more soon, just been prioritzing New World a ton because I managed to get into the Upper Echelon guild and everyone’s playing a bunch and I’m trying to keep up on levels.

Maybe that’s another example where like social motivation is kinda strong for me and I’m having fun but also pushing myself to e.g. spend 16-18 hours playing if i have the free time instead of what I’d do alone being closer to 8-12 hours with new release games i’m enjoying. I don’t think it’s necessarily good that I’m spending so much time on New World, but I know that when I look back at my timesheet, it’ll be clear I’m prioritizing it, so it’s better to be honest with myself about the fact that I’m spending a ton of time on it. I’m not sure what my goals are for videogames or why I spend so much time on them in general, but I think with New World now, a large portion of the goal might be for social benefits. I’m not clear on more specifics re: social benefits and it’s a broad term, but I know I like feeling like part of a community and feeling like I’m contributing to it and learning from + helping people along with stuff (like I like answering questions in the #nw-questions chat in the Upper Echelon discord, but I also ask a ton of questions there or in the voice chat to learn stuff).

I just realized if I could treat learning CF more like I treat playing and learning New World as part of the UE community, I would spend more time learning CF, would enjoy it more, and would be more honest on the CF forums. I think when I first joined FI I was fairly good at being myself and not trying to be different to fit into the culture I perceived from FI, but looking back I notice over time that I e.g. stopped using “lol” or changed the way I wrote and even thought about stuff while in FI, maybe censoring or suppressing myself in some ways. This post I just wrote was meant to be a quick reply since I had a notification on the tab but I’m still focused on New World, but because I’m writing it so quickly and not editing it much (even in my mind I’m editing it less than I usually would, it’s more like freewriting than most of my usual responses where I spend more time and rethink some stuff). So I think it’s more honest than many of my posts, and I’m also being more honest with myself because I’m dedicating less energy and time to second-guessing what I’m writing, or to think about how it will be socially perceived or will people dislike me for it etc. I think that’s a good thing and I’m curious whether I can tap into that more intentionally over time so that I can write posts that are less affected by my fear of being perceived a certain way, and just more genuinely intended to be honest and if I get criticized for it, that’s a good thing and I can learn from it. I think I still fear criticism even though I might consciously think it’s a good thing, but the way I’m writing this post I feel a lot more like criticism I get will help me identify core issues with my thinking, like social fears of what i write or social motivations for how i spend my time. The longer I spend on this post tho, the more I’m second guessing myself and the slower I’m writing, so it’s like the freewriting thing wore off as I started thinking more or maybe my old habits are kicking in more and I’m censoring myself more. So I’ll end there, but ty for the suggestion J. I think it’s a good one. I think I should take steps myself to organize the CF study group since that’ll help me learn to be proactive too rather than e.g. expecting someone else to form the group. I want to learn to be more self-sufficient and self-driven over time.

This is common. People want to be in the teacher role, not just the student role. They like being able to explain things to other people.

But they don’t know or learn FI/CF ideas well enough to actually teach them to other people.

This is also a common thing people do on FI/CF.

They develop some idea about what a rational FI person is supposed to be like, and then they try to act like that.

I think a lot of it is cargo-cutting Elliot. They try to act more like what they think Elliot is like. Which is problematic. They don’t know what he’s like. And even if they did know, they don’t know why he’s like that. They don’t know which parts are just personal preferences, and which parts are things that he does because of his philosophy.

Trying to copy his personality is a bit like if they found out that Elliot likes Pepsi over Coke, so all the FI people started drinking Pepsi.

Only the way people copy him, they don’t even know that he likes Pepsi over Coke. He’s never said that directly. They just assume that he likes Pepsi because he once used an example where he said something that seemed negative about Coke, and he never said anything about Pepsi, so they assume he likes Pepsi and dislikes Coke. That is similar to the level of knowledge people actually have about Elliot’s personality.

And even if they did know that, they still shouldn’t do the things that I do because of my philosophy. Even if they correctly know what those things are.

Because the same actions won’t work for you unless you have the same context as me, or an adequately similar context. A key part of that context is understanding a bunch of ideas. That includes knowing stuff in deep, thorough, integrated or automatized ways. If you don’t have a similar intellectual context as me, stuff won’t work for you, even if you somehow copied the right things and made the copies accurate.

That is similar to the level of knowledge people actually have about Elliot’s personality.

Some specific ppl, such as DD, know more.

The ppl who just read and watch stuff, and maybe participate in a few forum threads, and think they know me well, are fooling themselves.

Similarly, I do not know what hanging out with Ayn Rand or trying to have a discussion with her would have been like.

An issue related to this stuff that comes up a lot. I think there is a kind of cycle that is happening. These are some incomplete thoughts about the problem:

  • people want a community.
  • people don’t talk very much on FI/CF. They self-censor a lot, don’t talk about their outside interests, don’t treat it like a community.
  • new people see this, and think this is what FI is supposed to be like. they think there is an FI personality that they are supposed to be like to be rational, and they try to be that.
  • that leads to more self-censorship, less talking about their real interests, because they think that their normal personality doesn’t fit with FI.
  • FI doesn’t seem like a community to people. so they are unhappy with it. it seems like a dry & boring place where you aren’t allowed to have fun or have outside interests. a lot of people leave over this, or just minimize their involvement with FI. this leads to even less of a community feel.

I think another thing going on is that people dislike criticism. They are afraid to have their interests criticized. Nothing on FI seems “safe”. You could post about your favorite foods, and someone might criticize the way that you cook them. So people don’t post stuff. So that also contributes to the problem.

I’m not really sure what to do about this, what could make it better for people.

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yeah this is related to the difficulty of getting critical mass – e.g. 10 ppl working on something, and sharing about it, at the same time.

Btw, I know this is kind of tangential to the thread, but I think it is related to Anonymous25’s problems.

I think one of the issues people (including Anon25) have with engaging with CF is that it doesn’t feel like a community to them, it doesn’t feel like a friendly place where they can talk.

if u get that, it’s much easier for new ppl to see it, like it, join in, feel comfortable participating. then community growth becomes more possible.

There are some issues that come up when ppl talk.

They don’t label what they are doing. They hide their goals.

This leads to ambiguity.

Do they want to chat unseriously and not have me reply? Or do they want criticism and critical discussion?

Often they want both at once in some confused mix.

So if I reply critically, they don’t like that.

But if I don’t reply, they don’t like that either. They don’t have their own motor to just keep doing stuff themselves if they feel ignored by me. Most ppl here are pretty desperate for my personal attention. (That’s part of why they barely talk with each other.) (But they aren’t very respectful of my time either, and don’t actually act like they value me really highly.)

You aren’t engaging with the article. You need to figure out and discuss what the words in the article mean. You aren’t starting with the issue of what the article says. You’re instead writing about other stuff.

If you can’t do that now, you need to learn how to do that by practicing and automatizing the skills necessary to read and understand sentences and paragraphs.