If you have the capacity for it, you should be less moral. Not more immoral, not more self-interested, but less confined by fixed ideas of goodness.

Essay from @vgr resonates with my writing on ethics, although in somewhat different conceptual framework.

@vgr Morality suffices to navigate well-defined ethical domains. It fails, and may be worse than useless, when facing “wicked problems”—nebulous ones, in my terminology.

“Being a good person” is the essence of the culture war. Y’all should stop that. It’s profoundly destructive.
@vgr Strong analogy: both ethics and technical rationality fail in the face of nebulosity.

In both cases, one should *not* revert to immorality or irrationality. metarationality.com/nebulosity
@vgr Here @vgr describes a phenomenon I’ve increasingly observed recently. People I respect, who like my work and to whom I seem to be a mostly-good person, are disappointed, and also baffled, because I am not on their side in the culture war. breakingsmart.substack.com/p/good-people-…
@vgr I appear “weirdly confused, weak-willed, morally compromised, and inconsistent” and maybe it seems my politics are incoherent or ignorant or bland middle-of-the-road normie. I have, actually, strong political views, but they are not mappable if you seek moral “dry ground.”
@vgr When rationality fails in the face of nebulosity, it’s tempting to say “oh, then we need the other thing, which is emotions and spirituality and intuition and stuff.”

Usually wrong.

Reverting to emotionalism and tribalism when ethics fails—usually wrong. metarationality.com/cognitive-scie…
@vgr .@vgr and I are often cited as “postrationalists.” True inasmuch as we were rationalists at one time (PhDs in control theory & AI respectively) and no longer are.

I don’t use the word, because “postrationalism” often means “emotions, yay!”

Not my thing.
@vgr .@vgr builds a 2x2. Not sure I agree with the whole of it, but I share his advocacy of regarding the paradoxes of wicked problems as absurdist comedy breakingsmart.substack.com/p/good-people-…

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More from @Meaningness

15 May
Going through the gigantic _Meaningness_ draft and removing numerous sections that are currently just notes and which, realistically, I will never get time to write.
Most are “archaeology of meaningness,” i.e. histories of where current popular bad attitudes came from.

These are illuminating, but it takes an enormous amount of research to do a good job, and SUPPOSEDLY there are academics whose actual responsibility this is.
Quantum woo is dire stuff, but it’s partly the fault of the original quantum physicists, who were infested with German Romantic Idealism and Hindu monism:
Read 4 tweets
12 May
🎙 Ian A. Baker on Buddhist energy practices.

A must if you are into this esoteric topic! He doesn’t explain them at all—he assumes knowledge of them.

This is at the meta level: discussing principles, purposes, and especially context.

Buddhist practices were profoundly shaped by pre-modern social and cultural contexts that no longer exist. "Buddhist modernism" adapts accordingly.

That process has barely begun for the energy practices. Much work required!

The Tibetan energy practices ("tsa lung," tummo) were adapted from a non-monastic Indian context to Tibetan monasticism, which is the reverse of what's needed in modernity.

Ian Baker's tales of his adventures seeking non-monastic survivals are... vivid vividness.live/sutra-tantra-a…
Read 4 tweets
6 May
“Philosophical beliefs” aren’t beliefs in any normal sense, nor in any useful sense, afaics. This is question #1 in the survey; what could any answer possibly mean?

Philosophy is Actually Bad, and everyone should stop it.
Professional philosophers seem to mostly understand that philosophy is mostly bad, or at best mostly pointless.

Those who leap to defend it when I say “Actually Bad” are lay people, presumably resembling the left panel below. If reading it makes you cry…
Many lay people apparently adopt “Philosophy!” as a quasi-religion, just as others adopt “Science!” as a quasi-religion.

This is a cultural/social phenomenon worthy of investigation. Studying it sociologically might be meaningful where “experimental philosophy” surveys aren’t.
Read 5 tweets
2 May
Is this a surprising outlier, or have things gotten worse than I thought? (Elsevier Science Direct peer-reviewed publication: gene for ESP discovered, N=10). sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
Ah, hmm, I see? Elsevier is expanding into the lucrative New Age quackery market? They’re going to face stiff competition from established players, and risk their main market positioning, though.

OTOH, maybe they can see the writing on the wall: scientific publishing is over.
TFW it’s for a product strategy pivot. alternativesforhealing.com/business-direc…
Read 8 tweets
29 Apr
This chart—demonstrating the causes of the replication crisis back in 1975—is important.

I’d like to offer a slightly different interpretation of the phenomenon than is typical… 🧵

Why does this happen? Explanation #1: scientists don’t understand statistics. Definitely true, but doesn’t explain the magnitude or directionality of the effect, I think, and efforts to correct it don’t seem to help much. Stats are hard but scientists aren’t that dumb…
Explanation #2: distorted career incentives to publish “positive” results lead scientists, consciously or unconsciously, into misuse of methods (garden of forking paths, etc.)

Definitely true, but who is setting those incentives and why? Mostly other scientists…
Read 15 tweets
26 Apr
Whoa! So De Gandillac, who supervised the PhDs of all the significant pomo pioneers, was concerned with the preeminent value of technological progress, as advocated by Nicholas of Cusa (who I knew only as a the name of some vague Medieval theologian)…
Now imagining de Gandillac reading Derrida's _Of Grammatology_ and thinking "Oh god, what did I do to deserve this, another pomo thesis, my field is Medieval philosophy of technology but somehow I am personally responsible for the collapse of Western civilization"
Why had I heard of Nicholas of Cusa?

Figured out: he’s discussed repeatedly in Thomas Kuhn’s _The Copernican Revolution_ as one of Copernicus’ inspirations.

(This book is much less well-known than his _Scientific Revolutions_, but it is excellent and should be more widely read)
Read 4 tweets

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