Page 12 of 16

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:19 pm
by daylen
suomalainen wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:54 pm

Rather than web-of-goals, my “mindfulness / be present in the moment” project is converging on web-of-pleasant-distractions.

Edit: the ere part of pleasing distractions is that such distractions are more stoic in the “one with nature” sense rather than the consumerist sense. Of course, brute would suggest that such a proclivity is not one of my choosing.
Well said.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:48 pm
by Fish
@Finn - Nice contribution. So it seems ERE is now the following?

1. Establish 50%+ savings rate
2. Pay off debt and accumulate FU emergency fund
3. Settle into a comfortable job situation
4. Web-of-pleasant-distractions
5. Live happily after after?

I can't help but imagine Jacob drawing some parallel to the popularization of long-distance running where event participation is inversely proportional to distance (compare marathons, half-marathons, and 5k races). The recent discussion questioning the utility of achieving FI is shifting the focus to happiness in the present, which is all well and good but has the effect of promoting laziness when it comes to spending efficiency?

The first 3 times I read the ERE book, I felt that the major shortcoming was that Jacob was designing and promoting a lifestyle solely around saving money. Who would want to live a life like that? Isn't there more to life than money? But now I recognize it as part of the genius of the ERE philosophy, as the fastest route to FI requires that all actions are homeotelically aligned with the purpose of earning and saving money. Popularization of FI/RE subculture means that it's going to attract non-purists like me (us?) who are not interested in the extreme pursuit of FI for its own sake. We'll just take the bits and pieces of ERE that are aligned with our unique goals, and leave the rest alone.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:58 pm
by suomalainen
@fish not to hijack brute’s journal (or speak for him), but I think what brute might say is that if saving money is jacob’s thing or building shit is mmm’s thing, that’s great, but 1) it’s not what they wanted to want in any event and 2) if my wants don’t line up with theirs a) I can/should align my life with the wants given me because b) I can’t want anything different anyhow.

Laziness w/r/t spending efficiency is optional since more efficiency is better at obtaining the can’t-be-changed-desire for web-of-pleasant-distractions, one of which is work (at 24 hours a week, I think was brute’s sweetspot).

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:52 pm
by BRUTE
suomalainen wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:58 pm
what brute might say is that if saving money is jacob’s thing or building shit is mmm’s thing, that’s great, but 1) it’s not what they wanted to want in any event and 2) if my wants don’t line up with theirs a) I can/should align my life with the wants given me because b) I can’t want anything different anyhow.
brute likes ERE over MMM for exactly this reason, ERE is much more high-level. ERE does not say "Dear Leader Jacob enjoys physics and lentils, therefore all humans should do physics and eat lentils". Dear Leader Jacob merely uses himself as an example. MMM is a(t least one) level below that, saying "MMM enjoys hammering on wood and plaid shirts and hiking, so all humans should do it, because it's enjoyable".

just to clarify.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:57 pm
by BRUTE
suomalainen wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:54 pm
Rather than web-of-goals, my “mindfulness / be present in the moment” project is converging on web-of-pleasant-distractions.

Edit: the ere part of pleasing distractions is that such distractions are more stoic in the “one with nature” sense rather than the consumerist sense. Of course, brute would suggest that such a proclivity is not one of my choosing.
brute likes the "web of pleasant distractions".

he would also suggest that the "ERE-ness" of distractions isn't dictated by the "one with nature/stoic" vs. "consumerist" dimension, but by the "sustainability" dimension. heroin is a great distraction, but to most humans, not very sustainable. neither is flushing money down the toilet. in this sense, "consumerism" is anti-ERE not because of some moral deficiency, but because, by definition, it consumes resources. "productionism" isn't pro-ERE because of plaid shirts and lumberjacks being morally superior, but because production produces things that can then be consumed, thus creating a cycle of sustainability.

thus, some of the pleasant distractions being productive helps sustain the (inevitable) consumerist ones. sustaining life by default consumes resources, and a web of pleasant distractions with only 1 producing distraction (work?) and 5 consuming ones isn't very antifragile.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:12 pm
by BRUTE
NPV wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:06 am
It has been quite easy for me to find / create meaning in solving problems, making satisfying choices, figuring out cool insights, envisioning and willing into existence projects, meaningful relationships, increasing my bench press etc. Even though I also fully understand none of these activities, or anything else in the universe, has any objective meaning. Perhaps something around wiring creates some individual preferences / interests in different domains (or lack thereof) hence some people might have more domains they are excited about and others less.
the point isn't that none of these activities have objective meaning - nothing does. the point is that NPV didn't choose to find meaning in benching vs. ballet dancing or whatever. he merely discovered his proclivities.

in fact it seems paradoxical to argue that one has chosen one's wants - according to which preferences were they chosen, then? and who chose those? these types of infinite redirect/first mover questions tell brute that he's not looking for an answer, but for a question.
NPV wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:06 am
You did however mention at least two more eudaemonic things you found enjoyable - coding and figuring out interesting philosophical insights, and maybe some interesting stories told through books, movies or songs. This is probably what most people would define as meaningful experiences for you - although not in the sense of some objective universal meaning of existence of which there is no evidence.
brute would argue that eudaemonia is a euphemism for "bigger time sink" here. the only sense in which philosophy and coding and dogs and children and family are superior distractions to coffee and opium is that they require more time.

in fact, pretty much all things that humans typically associate with "meaning" require huge amounts of time. dogs require 5-15 years or so of constant care. children 15-20 at least.

brute's argument therefore isn't that brute is unique in his biological configuration, or immune to meaning - just that he seems aware of the process more than the average human, probably because of his configuration.

brute also doesn't argue that he's somehow superior by not falling into the trap of these distractions. he does, all the time. distractions are fun.

but at the same time, ability to get distracted does not reduce how arbitrary or meaningless anything is, just that the human in question might perceive less meaninglessness than others.

and just like brute doesn't claim moral superiority or desire to "fix" humans with "meaning", he doesn't think that ability to easily get distracted for long periods of time is morally superior or a desirable quality to be instilled into all others. there is no problem, and brute doesn't need to be fixed.
NPV wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:06 am
It might be also that Brute simply enjoys deriving meaning from demonstrating how deep, insightful, logically rigorous and different his perspective on life and universe is on an online forum :)
this is definitely true. brute did a personality test once and scored strongly in the class of "enjoys gaining knowledge for its own sake", and he's certainly a contrarian.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:26 pm
by suomalainen
Also consider distractions that are neither producerist nor consumerist. I like to go on walks in nature/parks, which doesn’t really consume anything if done out my front door.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:15 pm
by daylen
The only beauty in life is truth.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:20 pm
by Augustus
You guys are still discussing this? It is obvious brute finds meaning in finding that he is not like other humans in finding meaning. Otherwise he would not talk about it so much. See, no recursion necessary, root cause of brutes meaning for life is comparing his meaning generator (brain) to other humans meaning generators. It reminds me of someone talking about girls who listen to Tori Amos in order to prove how unique they are, just like every other girl who listens to Tori Amos.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:02 pm
by daylen
Interesting. You ask why we are discussing this, while acknowledging his own motivation to compare meaning generators.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:33 am
by 7Wannabe5
he would also suggest that the "ERE-ness" of distractions isn't dictated by the "one with nature/stoic" vs. "consumerist" dimension, but by the "sustainability" dimension. heroin is a great distraction, but to most humans, not very sustainable. neither is flushing money down the toilet. in this sense, "consumerism" is anti-ERE not because of some moral deficiency, but because, by definition, it consumes resources. "productionism" isn't pro-ERE because of plaid shirts and lumberjacks being morally superior, but because production produces things that can then be consumed, thus creating a cycle of sustainability.

thus, some of the pleasant distractions being productive helps sustain the (inevitable) consumerist ones. sustaining life by default consumes resources, and a web of pleasant distractions with only 1 producing distraction (work?) and 5 consuming ones isn't very antifragile.
Yes, but this analysis is still one degree removed from the reality of being a biological life-form on planet Earth, because there are also levels or forms of production that are not sustainable. When your metric is just a ratio of inflow vs. outflow of money, there is no measure of short-sight in production. For instance, conversion of 4000 barrels of dense useful energy resource of petroleum plus 4000 hrs. of complex human brain time into 8000 units of planned for obsolescence product, useless trapped heat, and a septic tank full of excrement. IOW, I would suggest that there is measurable correlation between feeling of "fulfillment" or "meaning" in life, and engagement or "cognition" with internal structure and environment leading to overall greater level of complexity.

I am imagining a model sort of midway between Maxwell's demon and the heroic narrative of the novel/movie "The Martian."

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:56 pm
by BRUTE
uh... what? brute knows both about Maxwell's demon and The Martian, but does not understand what that sentence meant.

regarding "short-sighted" production: brute, being the center of his own universe, does not seem to care if the world collapses 3 minutes after his death. therefore he doesn't care about that sense of sustainability too much.

fun fact: dinosaur oil is renewable in the grand scheme of things. solar is not.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:02 pm
by daylen
BRUTE wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:56 pm
fun fact: dinosaur oil is renewable in the grand scheme of things. solar is not.
Not if the usage of oil trends towards inhabitability of the planet. Doesn't really matter from our perspective though.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:25 am
by NPV
BRUTE wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:12 pm
NPV wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:06 am
You did however mention at least two more eudaemonic things you found enjoyable - coding and figuring out interesting philosophical insights, and maybe some interesting stories told through books, movies or songs. This is probably what most people would define as meaningful experiences for you - although not in the sense of some objective universal meaning of existence of which there is no evidence.
brute would argue that eudaemonia is a euphemism for "bigger time sink" here. the only sense in which philosophy and coding and dogs and children and family are superior distractions to coffee and opium is that they require more time.

in fact, pretty much all things that humans typically associate with "meaning" require huge amounts of time. dogs require 5-15 years or so of constant care. children 15-20 at least.

brute's argument therefore isn't that brute is unique in his biological configuration, or immune to meaning - just that he seems aware of the process more than the average human, probably because of his configuration.

brute also doesn't argue that he's somehow superior by not falling into the trap of these distractions. he does, all the time. distractions are fun.

but at the same time, ability to get distracted does not reduce how arbitrary or meaningless anything is, just that the human in question might perceive less meaninglessness than others.

and just like brute doesn't claim moral superiority or desire to "fix" humans with "meaning", he doesn't think that ability to easily get distracted for long periods of time is morally superior or a desirable quality to be instilled into all others. there is no problem, and brute doesn't need to be fixed.
I think we are in violent agreement on this except for definitions of "meaning" and "distractions". What I call "meaningful" often falls under your definition of "distractions". Which is just a semantic difference in the end of the day: where I choose to think "increasing my bench press is eudaemonically fun because it moves me closer to vision of better self and the cute girl at the gym comes by to ask me for exercise advice" Brute may choose to think "both bench press and the cute girl at the gym are but fleeting distractions from the meaningless nature of the universe". I just find that my more positive framing brings more happiness to me, while it might be different for Brute. I don't think either are untrue.

I would also hypothesize that the correlation between time and meaning is driven by a deeper correlation of effort and meaning. But are humans more willing to spend time and effort on what they see as meaningful, or do they start to value and find meaning in things they have worked long and hard for? Probably a bit of both...
BRUTE wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:12 pm
NPV wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:06 am
It has been quite easy for me to find / create meaning in solving problems, making satisfying choices, figuring out cool insights, envisioning and willing into existence projects, meaningful relationships, increasing my bench press etc. Even though I also fully understand none of these activities, or anything else in the universe, has any objective meaning. Perhaps something around wiring creates some individual preferences / interests in different domains (or lack thereof) hence some people might have more domains they are excited about and others less.
the point isn't that none of these activities have objective meaning - nothing does. the point is that NPV didn't choose to find meaning in benching vs. ballet dancing or whatever. he merely discovered his proclivities.

in fact it seems paradoxical to argue that one has chosen one's wants - according to which preferences were they chosen, then? and who chose those? these types of infinite redirect/first mover questions tell brute that he's not looking for an answer, but for a question.
Well, how is it different from any other choice? Looking at the restaurant menu, NPV can choose what food to order. Looking at the grand menu of the universe, he can choose what sources of meaning (or distraction) to go after. Perhaps it is different for Brute, but it is pretty easy for NPV to want a lot of things in life, probably because NPV is greedy. Of course NPV is also lazy and he therefore chooses to prioritize ruthlessly what he will go after based on return on effort.

I would think preferences form over time based on, in the order from least to most control:
  • genetic and biotic configuration
  • environment and experience
  • choices we make (free will)
These three factors converge non-linearly and compound over time to produce certain outcomes. I would argue the most important in the end of the day is #3 as this is the one we control and what will define a lot of interesting outcomes over time - and we can use #3 to make changes to #2 and to some (growing with scientific progress) degree #1. #2 is kind of which market and asset class you are playing in at what historical point (beta), while #3 drives your alpha.

I vaguely remember from Brute's other posts he is not big on free will, hence I looked up Brute's "A man can do what he wants..." topic. I think Brute hit the nail on the head of Aristotelian critiques of free will with this one:
BRUTE wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:35 pm
it seems to brute that this type of paradox is really a consequence of how the questions are set up logically. they are basically trying to use mathematical induction on a real world series, and completely ignore/deny the role of emergence.
Hence I will for now assume Brute is OK with the concept of free will until hearing otherwise.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:46 pm
by BRUTE
NPV wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:25 am
I think we are in violent agreement..
the best kind.
NPV wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:06 am
Hence I will for now assume Brute is OK with the concept of free will until hearing otherwise.
OK? brute isn't triggered by the concept of free will, he just thinks it's an illusion. brute would argue that what appears to be a free will decision by anyone is really the result of a deterministic computation of environment, biological preferences, etc.

maybe "wanting one's own wants" is possible in the sense that a computer "chooses which computation to make". for some definition of ego, and some definition of want, and some definition of choice - but not in the way these concepts are intuitively understood. this leads brute to believe that the intuitive understandings of these concepts are contradictory in nature, similar to the "unstoppable force" hitting the "unmovable wall".

one example of why brute keeps making a point of this. in the Ray Dalio book, he explains his system for being cool like him. it starts off with the following point

1)it's important to know what one wants (paraphrasing)

this renders the entire system useless to brute. the overarching theme of brute's existence has been that he never knows what he wants, especially in the mid and long term. everything else has been trivial. thus, a system that assumes that the most uncertain thing in brute's existence is known with certainty is completely irrelevant to brute's life.

it is this sense in which brute is not very impressed with most humans' attempts to systematize/formalize life and advice. in most cases, the fences they've staked off are so specific to their situation as to be completely useless when applied to most others, or at least to brute.

if NPV forgives the metaphor, it isn't meant to be degrading: reading an Elon Musk or Ray Dalio biography, or their advice, feels to brute like reading a dog's advice about life: clearly, brute should run around and eat sausages and chase sticks and pee on everything. clearly able to see how the context of the dog's existence frames what he perceives as meaningful, it is hard for brute to believe that the dog's advice applies to brute himself, who is (mostly) not a dog (mostly).

there are some exceptions. sometimes, the little fenced-off stake overlaps so significantly with brute's own fencing that the advice is actually relevant. other writings, like those of Mises or Dear Leader Jacob, are so high level and meta that they can theoretically be applied to any fencing configuration that takes place in a free market economy, i.e. anywhere in the west.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:12 pm
by BRUTE
6.8 years of expenses

Re: brute journal

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:24 am
by 7Wannabe5
BRUTE wrote:uh... what? brute knows both about Maxwell's demon and The Martian, but does not understand what that sentence meant.
Sagawa and Ueda’s result extends the second law to explicitly incorporate information; it shows that information, entropy, and energy should be treated on equal footings. Applied to the theory of heat engines with feedback, the formula indicates that the maximum extractable work is Wmax = (1 − T1/T2) Q2 + kBT1I, where T1 and T2 are the temperatures of the cold and hot reservoirs and Q2 is the heat absorbed from the hot reservoir.Manmade computers are not the only existing information-processing devices...Scientists have long realized that living biological cells can be viewed as biochemical information processors; some may even outperform our current technology.16 Cells, for instance, can reproduce and copy themselves, acquire and process information from external stimuli, and communicate and exchange information with other cells. Recently, Pankaj Mehta and David Schwab used Landauer’s principle to evaluate the energetic cost a cell must pay to compute the steady-state concentration of a chemical ligand in its surrounding environment.17 That cost arguably sets strong constraints on the design of cellular computing networks, since it implies a tradeoff between a network’s information-processing capability and its energy consumption.
http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/f ... 3.2912#_i1


In the movie, Matt Damon is alone in a system that is pretty much closed except for heat from the sun, but even when he no longer has the means to convert the energy from the sun into a form of energy (potatoes) that can fuel his body and his brain, he keeps on gathering information for the benefit of humanity. I would suggest that even if the Martian did not care about humanity, he would still experience better feelings in the face of his likely imminent death, if he kept gathering information/doing work.

Also, I think it would be difficult to parse the difference between a course of action that is proven to be unpredictable and one that is free. You just have to swallow the pill that informs that your will is not fully recorded within the boundary of your skin sac. IOW, structure determines behavior, but structure and environment are constantly being altered through inherently unpredictable course of cognition.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:16 pm
by BRUTE
uh, ok? meaning?

Re: brute journal

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:18 am
by 7Wannabe5
Sorry, maybe I went a bit random walk there. I was trying to get at Meaning through Complexity by way of Information. Anyways, I agreed with your post above, I was just attempting minor addendum.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:55 pm
by Family father
Today I read a quote from Nicolas de Chamfort (translated by me :? ) that said "of all those who have nothing to say, the most pleasant are those who remain silent", and it made me think about the times I've thought about participating in this journal discussions but felt I had not the time to elaborate sufficiently to meet the standards, so I prefered to shut up.

I just wanted to say thank you Brute (et al.) for this thread: unlike some other journals that I discovered not long ago and read through, yours is one I follow almost from the beginning: I find very interesting the philosophical-existential discussions, and really appreciate the insightful (and solid) opinions I've been able to read.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:15 pm
by BRUTE
merci beaucoup

Re: brute journal

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:12 pm
by NPV
BRUTE wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:46 pm
OK? brute isn't triggered by the concept of free will, he just thinks it's an illusion. brute would argue that what appears to be a free will decision by anyone is really the result of a deterministic computation of environment, biological preferences, etc.

maybe "wanting one's own wants" is possible in the sense that a computer "chooses which computation to make". for some definition of ego, and some definition of want, and some definition of choice - but not in the way these concepts are intuitively understood. this leads brute to believe that the intuitive understandings of these concepts are contradictory in nature, similar to the "unstoppable force" hitting the "unmovable wall".

one example of why brute keeps making a point of this. in the Ray Dalio book, he explains his system for being cool like him. it starts off with the following point

1)it's important to know what one wants (paraphrasing)

this renders the entire system useless to brute. the overarching theme of brute's existence has been that he never knows what he wants, especially in the mid and long term. everything else has been trivial. thus, a system that assumes that the most uncertain thing in brute's existence is known with certainty is completely irrelevant to brute's life.

it is this sense in which brute is not very impressed with most humans' attempts to systematize/formalize life and advice. in most cases, the fences they've staked off are so specific to their situation as to be completely useless when applied to most others, or at least to brute.

if NPV forgives the metaphor, it isn't meant to be degrading: reading an Elon Musk or Ray Dalio biography, or their advice, feels to brute like reading a dog's advice about life: clearly, brute should run around and eat sausages and chase sticks and pee on everything. clearly able to see how the context of the dog's existence frames what he perceives as meaningful, it is hard for brute to believe that the dog's advice applies to brute himself, who is (mostly) not a dog (mostly).

there are some exceptions. sometimes, the little fenced-off stake overlaps so significantly with brute's own fencing that the advice is actually relevant. other writings, like those of Mises or Dear Leader Jacob, are so high level and meta that they can theoretically be applied to any fencing configuration that takes place in a free market economy, i.e. anywhere in the west.
It is interesting why some humans find it relatively easier or harder to articulate and know what they want. I might break it down into two variables: the actual self-awareness x confidence in own judgement. Guys like Dalio and Elon have plenty of both. Given Brute's intelligence and time spent thinking about this topic, I would expect Brute to be strong on the first variable, namely self-awareness. The difference might lie in the second variable, confidence. While Dalio and Elon (as well as RIggerjack and NPV) seem more willing to throw stuff on a wall and see if it sticks and as long as it is kinda fun, call it meaningful.

It might also just go back to Brute's higher bar for the definition of meaning. Which might be driven by some biological peculiarity e.g. Brute's body being less generous in secreting dopamine in response to positive stimuli. Or something. We are in uncharted waters here, but I find some meaning in thinking about such questions :)

Re: brute journal

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:35 pm
by bryan
I'm not so sure BRUTE is so self-aware, per se. Too many known/unknown unknowns.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:44 pm
by 7Wannabe5
Maybe BRUTE takes too many OTC long-acting antihistamines? I lose touch with what I want when I do that. Maybe you have to be a little bit itchy to be scratchy.

Re: brute journal

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:45 pm
by BRUTE
brute tried antihistamines once, but found they didn't seem to do anything, so he stopped.

the definition of self-aware might be important here. brute spends a lot of time and is very interested in exploring his self, but he definitely thinks that there's much more to chart or explore.

so in a way he's very self-aware, because he spends a lot of time and thought on it. in another way, he's not very self-aware, because there seem to be large parts he has yet to understand.

brute believes NPV is on a good track with the dopamine secretion theory. it's likely not simply "less generous", but different thresholds and limits. as brute mentioned before, he has a very low bar for many things, but is very quickly satisfied - meaning very few things/ideas can satisfy brute for a long time.

maybe Elon Musk and Ray Dalio have very high lower limits, and very high upper limits, thus requiring to focus a lot of time and effort on one thing, and then spending their whole lives in that area in order to generate dopamine.

in this sense, brute is like a dog. running after a stick or eating sausage is close to the greatest thing brute can potentially experience. brute is often trivially happy, yet rarely fulfilled for long.