Nick Cammarata Profile picture
ai safety research @openai & psychedelic safety research, towards love too cheap to meter
dirceu Profile picture Yan Sidyakin Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
18 Feb
Every time I tell someone this it helps them a lot, and I do honestly believe it so I’ll just blanket say it for each of you

I think you’re likely radically underestimating the ceiling of what you’re capable of in basically every way, and I’d bet on it at a large multiple
It doesn’t mean you’re totally wrong about the exact path you’re on now. But if you made the right interventions and think long term and just keep doing the right things for a decade you’ll prob find the ceiling is orders of magnitude higher than you think it is in most areas
I think this is certainly true for your baseline moment-to-moment happiness, self-worth, finances, career aspirations, romantic relationship potential, humanitarian impact, and it’s probably true in a lot of other areas I haven’t spent any time trying to quantify or understand
Read 9 tweets
17 Feb
As far as I can tell self-love requires experientially loosening your grasp on self, because you can’t love something without distance from it. But the gap can be small

This is why saying self-love is narcissism or being full-of-yourself isn’t just false it’s the wrong direction
This is why the paths to lasting self-love usually require meditation or psychedelics. It’s not (only) the love these tools give you but the prerequisite of being less egocentric

It’s common to find self-love weeks after a trip-induced ego-death. You’ve finished the pre-req
Although it’ll take two steps I do think it can be done in one sitting, because it’s not about time it’s a process of using the distance to see from a new perspective and fall into a new equilibrium

You can do it in five minutes, or fifty years
Read 7 tweets
17 Feb
If you were to perfectly perceive a random 10 minute slice of my waking sober life (emotions, perceptions, thoughts, etc) how different do you expect it to be from your normal experience
I’m more interested in what you expect the difference is between people in general, not me specifically

But I think “random person” is so varied it spoils the data, so for now we’ll normalize to my perceptions
I don’t know what it’s like to be you but switching to me at minimum there’d be 1. No inner voice 2. Pretty short 3. Muscular, which might be somatically weird if you’ve never been before 4. A man
Read 4 tweets
15 Feb
cool psych / meditation idea by @warrenkrettek Image
(he gave me permission to share this)
I think ruminating on "what weird brain stuff could I try optimizing for" is surprisingly high impact. Most practices are pretty simple, so the space isn't thaaaat big
Read 5 tweets
15 Feb
I think this is more general. When I get close to people who seem to be doing acts of god, with incredible willpower or pushing through doubt and fear, I usually find they're not thinking of themselves much at all. They're in low-self flow where the concept of willpower dissolves
I actually hinted at this earlier today, and I also think @QiaochuYuan's thread is good. I think a lot of people are saying roughly the same thing in this area

Another one pop culture gets wrong is how often people doing acts-of-god don't even know it. When I was pivoting to AI I interviewed a lot of researchers and when I asked how often they read papers they'd say things like "idk a normal amount? Like 10-15 deep read-throughs a day"
Read 5 tweets
15 Feb
I’m quite proud of the psychological progress I’ve made in the last five years

That Nick was quite hurt and it would have been understandable if he ended up making no progress at all
I guess it updated me towards thinking a lot is possible with little resources. Even if you can only spend 15m going inside yourself doing psychological work until it’s too scary, progress compounds and that time grows until you can do it most of the day without losing energy
I remember I booked a therapy appointment and walked in and said things are hard then just cried the whole appointment and left. That was pretty rough (that level of rough was only a couple days)

It’s all totally foreign now, and I wouldn’t have guessed that was possible
Read 5 tweets
15 Feb
my happiest friends are all impressed by everything all the time
there's a very strong correlation between "I'm proud I did X, I should show it to Y they'll be like wowowow" and Y being outlier happy

(they're often wowowow walking around all day in their life already, just impressed by everything around them)
I think the reason is that being impressed is a combination of being perceptive in the moment -- literally the senses "impressing" into you -- and gratitude, two keys to life satisfaction
Read 5 tweets
14 Feb
I think there’s an huge opportunity to build a Tesla for souls (thread)
We’re either in a world where there’s no good tools for radical and reliable positive psychological change if you put a lot of smart effort into it, or we’re living in a world where this is reliably possible. I think we’re in the latter
But for some reason therapy isn’t that effective. I think it’s partly because they’re not using the right tools, partly that most therapists suck and it’s hard to know which are good as a client, and partly that meeting one hour a week on a schedule doesn’t make sense
Read 11 tweets
14 Feb
In case you don’t know, if you have a brainvoice you can remove it completely (usually via meditationy type things) and a lot of people don’t know brainvoices exist
It’s also possible to essentially 100% cure anxiety

When I had a lot of anxiety I would ask doctors what success looks like and they’d say decent reduction in anxiety. I’m not sure why they lied / were wrong, but it’s definitely possible to fully cure it
(I removed mine via psychedelic therapy, it used to be going 24/7 and now it just doesn’t exist. I think it’s important that other people know this is possible. I didn’t till it happened, but have met a lot of others since with similar stories)
Read 6 tweets
11 Feb
love this Image
I was waking down the sidewalk doing this combined with expanding awareness using Alexander technique and accidentally made eye contact with someone that was jogging by that was certainly the most intense eye contact I’ve made with a stranger. She almost fell to her side
Read 9 tweets
3 Feb
Maybe the best tiny experiment I’ve ever run was setting my password to (something like) “remindertoloveyourself”

Being forced to remember that like 20 times a day was life changing
Mine also has loads of symbols everywhere pls don’t try to hack me
Who needs loving-kindness meditation when you can force yourself to jump through different self-love hoops just to do your basic life tasks
Read 4 tweets
3 Feb
I think it’s okay if you’re selfish. If you spend all your money on a fancy car or whatever instead of helping people with it, I don’t think you have to feel bad about it
Giving to philanthropy or working on good causes is good too, but only if you want to

I do think taking interventions that will make you want to more is underrated though. Generally I think the path is healing your own wounds such that you need the car less
For me one example of this was becoming really curious about why I felt a strong compulsion to wear my openai hoodie everywhere I went in 2018 even when it wasn’t cold at all

A few hundred hours of therapy later I lost the hoodie and didn’t notice for a month
Read 5 tweets
3 Feb
Not a parent so idk for sure but I think it might help to tell your kids how loveable they are like an order of magnitude more than after you feel like you’ve hit diminishing returns (because I don’t think you have)
and also maybe experiment with telling yourself the same at least an order of magnitude more than you think is reasonable. In my experience it keeps changing you
I’d love to see an RCT where one parent gets the kid piano lessons, helps them get good grades, soccer etc and the other just basically tells them they’re lovable in different ways for that time

Then compare grades, life satisfaction, income of kid later. I’d bet on the latter
Read 4 tweets
3 Feb
I think you deserve to feel good even when you’re not good at stuff
I get a lot of messages now from people who are feeling self-hate because they’re not good at a thing

And it’s not clear to me why being good or bad at things means you deserve more or less love, whether from yourself or others
It’s definitely functionally useful to be good at things, but that’s orthogonal to your value as a conscious thing

You can tie them together if you want, but it makes all of life way harder, including becoming good at things
Read 4 tweets
18 Jan
can’t believe how life-changing this is and how the basics can be learned in just a few hours

it seems wrong but as far as I can tell the world is filled of pure magic that somehow never leaves obscurity
Like why doesn’t every kid learn about 5-MeO-DMT in class. Even if the take-away is “don’t do it”, everyone deserves to know how non-boring the world actually is

Some day I’ll teach a course called Life is Magic where each lecture is a different thing like this. There’s so many
I don’t actually have that much confidence in any one magic thing but I have tons of confidence in the ensemble of all of them

If you have a problem and haven’t tried at least three magic things to solve it you have no reason to give up hope
Read 4 tweets
17 Jan
Did you know that in addition to fixing all your life’s problems, Alexander Technique can improve your posture??
Walking around this river with expanded awareness feels just like low-dose psilocybin. Googled this and apparently I’m very not the first person to think it

Technically speaking, Alexander Technique is a fungus Image
I set an intent to cross the river and expanded my awareness so hard this magic bridge popped into existence Image
Read 7 tweets
20 Dec 20
honestly hard to imagine how anyone thinks any idea is out there when general relativity, the delayed-choice quantum eraser, black holes, evolution somehow discovering consciousness, and 5-MeO-DMT all uncontroversially exist
if we set the delayed-choice quantum eraser experiment at 10 on the out-there scale, your agi timeline, quirky theory of mind, or prediction of a strange political outcome is like max a 2/10 to me
you think leaving facebook to join a startup is sooo crazy yet you've been literally BENDING TIME every second of your life and have never even thought about it
Read 5 tweets
19 Dec 20
found an old email from high school when I emailed the airbnb founders to see if they were down to pay for me and two friends to travel around the world using airbnb before it was well known

they were interested and asked for our itinerary! But decided we weren't cool enough :( Image
to be clear, by experienced traveller we mean a random high school kid who had been to a few countries. At the time I'd never left America, so having travelled a few times sounded very experienced to me
David and I spent about an hour nervously checking every detail of that email to make sure it was perfect and we didn't obviously sound like naive teenagers. Yet called it "iternary"

I lost that email account but IIRC Joe responded in like 3 minutes with a detailed response
Read 7 tweets
8 Dec 20
Current feeling on meta-science: I’m not sure anyone — authors, readers, etc — actually likes papers. What if we just got rid of them?

What could we replace them with?
conjecture: papers are weak and unopinionated

want to communicate an idea? do a vlog -- most communication is about inexplicit vibes

want to release a reproducible protocol? Record you in colab doing it, release for one click reproducibility

want to debate your side of an idea against another side? Do an adversarial collaboration with someone who disagrees with you…

want real peer review? Record podcast with a bunch of peers for a couple hours. Less time, higher bandwidth than normal review
Read 6 tweets
7 Dec 20
i’m often told people love half of what i write and hate the other half (to a surprising degree)

the second costs followers every time but it feels better to aim for honesty than status. I'm helped by the few who engage with the hated ones, and i don't think they know 1/
i’d encourage anyone in a similar position for others to do it more. First, they'll love you if you engage with the stuff others don’t, either riffing off in agreement or providing thoughtful criticism. But the reason to do it isn’t to be loved 2/
but because you’re helping cultivate the courage to write what is true to them, which is surprisingly hard. And by helping them write you're helping them think. Their best stuff hides in the intersection of hated and true, and you're helping them search this area for treasure
Read 4 tweets
3 Nov 20
“The most counterintuitive secret about startups is it’s often easier to succeed with a hard startup than an easy one.” - Sam Altman

I think there’s a similar secret in psych. It’s sometimes easier to become happier than anyone you’ve ever met than it is to just cure low mood
one reason is that with the ambitious path you’ll need powerful tools and tons of self introspection to understand how you work and why you’re not 10/10 already

Whereas if you aim for marginal gains you may try symptomatic treatments that end up doing nothing at all
another is that in my experience most people only have one or two core things (part of identity, a trauma, etc) blocking them, often that they’re unaware of

Without reverse engineering and healing them it’s hard to have any progress, but if you do process can be shocking
Read 4 tweets