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Join Steven and David Youssef as they talk about the rationality community, how to win, and explore some possible reasons that Rationalists aren’t all total rock stars!
Tim Ferris’s The Four Hour Work Week
The works of Naseem Taleb, and specifically Anti-Fragile
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The sound on Steven’s End is a little scrambled. I’m listening to it anyway but it is a little annoying.
Sorry about that. I recorded on suboptimal equipment. That was my bad. – Steven
Great show… Yes, there was the Garbled sound, but it was good to hear.
Last two times I commented, I was disagreeing with somebody on the show… And I feel like I ought to say something without disagreeing. But it’s hard to remember all the stuff you talked about!
I did envy you guys a little that you could say “How much would I spend on a date with a cute girl?” That paradigm of decision making isn’t even in my locus of possible events. I’ve never been valued enough by any money-holding-entity to have the sort of capital to provide a cute date with the joy she deserved, and I’m afraid all early attempts at such dating were ruined by my expectations of equality. Despite my intellect it did not occur to me until fairly late in life that in general women cannot afford to date guys who won’t make small sacrifices to their liberty and/or integrity to make money.
But then you started to talk about LARPing and I thought I’d share this anecdote:
LARPing ruined my Role-Playing-Games!
About eight years ago, I went to a gaming convention in Springfield, IL, where I joined a vampire-the-gathering Larp RPG. We made up characters, and I just went with the simplest background I could come up with… A physics professor who had been turned into a really tough vampire.
Well, I was just using the philosophy “play what you know” since, in real life, I am an adjunct physics professor. So fairly quickly I fell into a conversation with another LARPer who was playing, essentially the same role. A pompous, self-absorbed, intellectual, with great knowledge of physics and maths. It quickly occurred to me, though, that whereas, he was role-playing, it would have been very little trouble for me, to get out a chalk-board, and demonstrate not only that most of the things he was saying were incorrect, and absurd, but the correct answers to his idle philosophical questions… By the end of the LARPing session, I realized “Oh my god… My favorite character to play is ME… Just better.”
At that, I realized that the people who wanted to do roleplaying wanted to play a role of somebody that does what I do in real life, which is really have a grasp of reality, and have some hope of affecting it, in some real way.
Instead of roleplaying a wizard who spends many hours a day investigating magical tomes, and writing magical runes, I can be happy as a bug in a rug, investigating physical theories, and how they are represented in mathematical symbols. This has made it difficult for me, though, to do the preparation that I used to do for roleplaying games… (I used to be very fond of building character generators in Java and Basic or whatever programming languages were available… Sometimes writing primitive adventure games.)
Nowadays, I am still in a couple roleplaying games, but it’s about all I can do to keep track of where my character sheet and dice are, between sessions.
I guess this is probably all pretty irrelevant. I guess “great show” would have been a more appropriate comment, because I know “it’s not all about me” . But I just wanted to make a change from my last two comments, where I was disagreeing with you.
You’re a wizard, Jonathan!
I sometimes feel like a wizard too, I do programming and it’s kind of awesome to see something you made in action. I mean, I know there was only an idea a few days ago and now I have a program that does that thing. The idea became reality.
And in a lot of ways programming is like magic, you spend a lot of time preparing something and then it makes life easier or solves problems faster than you could have solved them by hand.
And I think other professions have that too. If you’re involved in building things you can see, touch, even walk around in something you created (or at least were involved in creating).
Or you can read a story you’ve written (okay, that is probably not THAT exciting, since you know exactly what happens but you can imagine how other people experience your story, the way you experience other people’s stories) or listen to music you played or composed.
One day I’ll try painting like Bob Ross because he makes it look sooo easy that I’m not sure what is real any more. Is it really that easy? I mean, I see the whole process, a white canvas in the beginning, a finished painting of a landscape half an hour later. On the other hand that stuff looks so amazingly good that it’s hard to believe that Bob Ross can paint that in 30 minutes, let alone someone else, like me (I wouldn’t believe it even if it took me 6 hours or so)!
“You’re a wizard, Jonathan!”
Wow, thank you! You’ve just reaffirmed something that I’ve always felt was the case… If this world had magic, I would totally be a wizard.
A few years ago, I spent a good couple of weeks, or maybe months, working out a 1-to-1 relationships between the Myers-Briggs Personality types and the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 classes (11 in the Players hand book, and 5 in the Dungeon Master’s Guide as non-player-character classes.) I’m not sure whether there was any motivation in doing this other than, at the end, I could literally say “I’m a wizard” and have that really mean something.
INFP Adept (NPC)
ISTP Expert (NPC)
ISTJ Aristocrat (NPC)
ESTJ Warrior (NPC)
“Is it really that easy? I mean, I see the whole process, a white canvas in the beginning, a finished painting of a landscape half an hour later.”
It’s that “ten-thousand-hours” thing. That’s a reference to a book called “outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. It has to do with an idea that if you are passionate about anything long enough to spend 10,000 hours doing it, you will become one of the world’s foremost masters. Wth just about anything, your enthusiasm for it is going to be more important, in the long run, than your
I thought I would do this with making youtube videos for a while. I really should get back to it… not because the youtube videos were popular, but because I was making mindboggling breakthroughs. You decide you’re going to do 10,000 hours on something, but by the time the 10,000 hours are up, you will not be good at the thing that you set out to do, necessarily, but the thing the 10,000 hours evolved into. I’ll bet, whatever Bob Ross actually set out to do, in the beginning, it wasn’t his initial idea to become a household name drawing pictures of trees and lakes on TV.
I really feel like the instramental side of rationality is the most important and least sexy part of the idea. I was supper happy to see the examination of rationality as an ideal here.
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