simler   29

Wealth: The Toxic Byproduct | Melting Asphalt
If you feel guilty for making money, your moral compass is pointing in exactly the wrong direction — 180-degrees from what is right.

Earnings are a measure of the good done for other people, not evils done against them.


The point is, money spent on consumption is toxic — value-destroying. This is true even in our daily lives, without the literal magic window. Every time we spend money on a yacht or an iPhone or a nice jacket or even food, we're taking something of value from society and using it for our own purposes.


Earning money (via production) is good for others. Spending it (via consumption) is bad.
worth  wealth  kevin  simler  kevinsimler  toxic  byproduct  money  token  value  intrinsic  games  guilty  0 
january 2019 by bekishore
Here Be Sermons | Melting Asphalt
The Costly Coordination Mechanism of Common Knowledge:
- Dictatorships all through history have attempted to suppress freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Why is this? Are they just very sensitive? On the other side, the leaders of the Enlightenment fought for freedom of speech, and would not budge an inch against this principle.
- When two people are on a date and want to sleep with each other, the conversation will often move towards but never explicitly discuss having sex. The two may discuss going back to the place of one of theirs, with a different explicit reason discussed (e.g. "to have a drink"), even if both want to have sex.
- Throughout history, communities have had religious rituals that look very similar. Everyone in the village has to join in. There are repetitive songs, repetitive lectures on the same holy books, chanting together. Why, of all the possible community events (e.g. dinner, parties, etc) is this the most common type?
What these three things have in common, is common knowledge - or at least, the attempt to create it.


Common knowledge is often much easier to build in small groups - in the example about getting off the bus, the two need only to look at each other, share a nod, and common knowledge is achieved. Building common knowledge between hundreds or thousands of people is significantly harder, and the fact that religion has such a significant ability to do so is why it has historically had so much connection to politics.
postrat  simler  essay  insight  community  religion  theos  speaking  impro  morality  info-dynamics  commentary  ratty  yvain  ssc  obama  race  hanson  tribalism  network-structure  peace-violence  cohesion  gnosis-logos  multi  todo  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  sex  sexuality  coordination  cooperate-defect  lesswrong  ritual  free-riding  GT-101  equilibrium  civil-liberty  exit-voice  game-theory  nuclear  deterrence  arms  military  defense  money  monetary-fiscal  government  drugs  crime  sports  public-goodish  leviathan  explanation  incentives  interests  gray-econ  media  trust  revolution  signaling  tradition  power  internet  social  facebook  academia  publishing  communication  business  startups  cost-benefit  iteration-recursion  social-norms  reinforcement  alignment 
september 2017 by nhaliday
Suspicious Banana on Twitter: ""platonic forms" seem more sinister when you realize that integers were reaching down into his head and giving him city planning advice"
Plato mentions in his Laws that 5040 is a convenient number to use for dividing many things (including both the citizens and the land of a state) into lesser parts. He remarks that this number can be divided by all the (natural) numbers from 1 to 12 with the single exception of 11 (however, it is not the smallest number to have this property; 2520 is). He rectifies this "defect" by suggesting that two families could be subtracted from the citizen body to produce the number 5038, which is divisible by 11. Plato also took notice of the fact that 5040 can be divided by 12 twice over. Indeed, Plato's repeated insistence on the use of 5040 for various state purposes is so evident that it is written, "Plato, writing under Pythagorean influences, seems really to have supposed that the well-being of the city depended almost as much on the number 5040 as on justice and moderation."[1]
"Now for divine begettings there is a period comprehended by a perfect number, and for mortal by the first in which augmentations dominating and dominated when they have attained to three distances and four limits of the assimilating and the dissimilating, the waxing and the waning, render all things conversable and commensurable [546c] with one another, whereof a basal four-thirds wedded to the pempad yields two harmonies at the third augmentation, the one the product of equal factors taken one hundred times, the other of equal length one way but oblong,-one dimension of a hundred numbers determined by the rational diameters of the pempad lacking one in each case, or of the irrational lacking two; the other dimension of a hundred cubes of the triad. And this entire geometrical number is determinative of this thing, of better and inferior births."[3]

Shortly after Plato's time his meaning apparently did not cause puzzlement as Aristotle's casual remark attests.[6] Half a millennium later, however, it was an enigma for the Neoplatonists, who had a somewhat mystic penchant and wrote frequently about it, proposing geometrical and numerical interpretations. Next, for nearly a thousand years, Plato's texts disappeared and it is only in the Renaissance that the enigma briefly resurfaced. During the 19th century, when classical scholars restored original texts, the problem reappeared. Schleiermacher interrupted his edition of Plato for a decade while attempting to make sense of the paragraph. Victor Cousin inserted a note that it has to be skipped in his French translation of Plato's works. In the early 20th century, scholarly findings suggested a Babylonian origin for the topic.[7]

Socrates: Surely we agree nothing more virtuous than sacrificing each newborn infant while reciting the factors of 39,916,800?

Turgidas: Uh

different but interesting:
Another explanation for the apparent oddness of Greek perception came from the eminent politician and Hellenist William Gladstone, who devoted a chapter of his Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age (1858) to ‘perceptions and use of colour’. He too noticed the vagueness of the green and blue designations in Homer, as well as the absence of words covering the centre of the ‘blue’ area. Where Gladstone differed was in taking as normative the Newtonian list of colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). He interpreted the Greeks’ supposed linguistic poverty as deriving from an imperfect discrimination of prismatic colours. The visual organ of the ancients was still in its infancy, hence their strong sensitivity to light rather than hue, and the related inability to clearly distinguish one hue from another. This argument fit well with the post-Darwinian climate of the late 19th century, and came to be widely believed. Indeed, it prompted Nietzsche’s own judgment, and led to a series of investigations that sought to prove that the Greek chromatic categories do not fit in with modern taxonomies.

Today, no one thinks that there has been a stage in the history of humanity when some colours were ‘not yet’ being perceived. But thanks to our modern ‘anthropological gaze’ it is accepted that every culture has its own way of naming and categorising colours. This is not due to varying anatomical structures of the human eye, but to the fact that different ocular areas are stimulated, which triggers different emotional responses, all according to different cultural contexts.
postrat  carcinisation  twitter  social  discussion  lol  hmm  :/  history  iron-age  mediterranean  the-classics  cocktail  trivia  quantitative-qualitative  mystic  simler  weird  multi  wiki  👽  dennett  article  philosophy  alien-character  news  org:mag  org:popup  literature  quotes  poetry  concrete  big-peeps  nietzschean  early-modern  europe  germanic  visuo  language  foreign-lang  embodied  oceans  h2o  measurement  fluid  forms-instances  westminster  lexical 
june 2017 by nhaliday
When conquered pre-Greece took captive her rude Hellene conqueror – Gene Expression
For various reasons this was always less plausible for Southern Europe. The first reason is that Southern Europeans shared a lot of genetic similarities to Sardinians, who resembled Neolithic farmers. Admixture models generally suggested that in the peninsulas of Southern Europe the steppe-like ancestry was the minority component, not the majority, as was the case in Northern Europe.

different for the Romans:
book recommendations for Ancient Greece:

Roots of Mediterranean civilisations:
gnxp  scitariat  history  antiquity  iron-age  mediterranean  europe  the-classics  gavisti  genetics  gene-flow  pop-structure  migration  sapiens  archaeology  conquest-empire  simler  dennett  👽  multi  q-n-a  qra  lived-experience  culture  myth  alien-character  study  org:nat  pdf  piracy  roots  the-great-west-whale  civilization  aDNA  books  recommendations  confluence  poast  occident  religion  christianity  traces 
may 2017 by nhaliday
Thursday assorted links - Marginal REVOLUTION
2. “A new study of English spelling practices demonstrates that the way we spell words is much more orderly and self-organizing than previously thought.”

3. Why we cry, and the economics of weeping. And Michael Cannon on the new health care bill.

4. Economic ideas we should forget (keep on clicking through to see the whole list). By no means do I always agree — the Coase theorem??
econotariat  marginal-rev  links  language  news  org:sci  nlp  emergent  history  medieval  early-modern  mostly-modern  economics  error  map-territory  simler  status  signaling  anthropology  evopsych  postrat  current-events 
march 2017 by nhaliday
Contra Simler on Prestige | Slate Star Codex
su3su2u1 challenged status/signaling theories of human behavior: can they make any real-life predictions? His example was a recent medical conference that threw together three groups of people – high-status top professors, medium-status established doctors, and low-status new residents. The women in one group (female doctors + male doctors’ wives/girlfriends) were wearing conspicuous fancy jewelery. The women in the other groups weren’t. Which group had the jewelery?

His point was that status/signaling theories don’t answer this question for us with any degree of confidence. Maybe the high-status top professors wear the jewelery to signal wealth and dominance. Maybe the low-status new residents wear it aspirationally and because they need to impress. Maybe the medium-status established doctors wear it, because the residents can’t afford it and the professors countersignal that they don’t need it.
ratty  postrat  yvain  ssc  simler  critique  status  signaling  thinking  essay  debate  paying-rent  models  gedanken  insight  empirical  operational  vague  info-dynamics 
november 2016 by nhaliday
Personhood: A Game for Two or More Players | Melting Asphalt
The point is, when we act as persons, wearing our person masks out in public, we're acting within the framework of an implicit social contract — one that's designed to help us get along smoothly with our fellow persons.

Of course, this type of "contract" isn't a binary, all-or-nothing proposition. Instead, like all social phenomena, it admits of degrees. The way it works is that the more you behave like a person, the more you'll be treated like one. So it isn't a question of "whether" someone is a person, but rather "how much personhood" she has, based on how well she carries herself.
simler  essay  thinking  anthropology  society  contracts  walls  postrat  legibility  social-norms 
october 2016 by nhaliday
Third Man factor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Scientific explanations consider this a coping mechanism or an example of bicameralism.
wiki  reference  psychology  weird  mystic  simler  dennett  👽  volo-avolo 
september 2016 by nhaliday
The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everday Life

A Book Response Prediction:
I predict that one of the most common responses will be something like “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” While the evidence we offer is suggestive, for claims as counterintuitive as ours on topics as important as these, evidence should be held to a higher standard than the one our book meets. We should shut up until we can prove our claims.

I predict that another of the most common responses will be something like “this is all well known.” Wise observers have known and mentioned such things for centuries. Perhaps foolish technocrats who only read in their narrow literatures are ignorant of such things, but our book doesn’t add much to what true scholars and thinkers have long known.

Elephant in the Brain on Religious Hypocrisy:
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august 2016 by nhaliday
Hallucinated Gods | Melting Asphalt
Somehow, between about 1250 and 500 BC people stopped experiencing their gods as hallucinations. Jaynes calls this period the "breakdown of the bicameral mind."
cocktail  religion  history  anthropology  psychology  postrat  speculation  cool  insight  simler  mystic  impro  essay  🦀  antiquity  sapiens  c:*  eden  s:*  roots  dennett  myth  theos  👽  deep-materialism  multi  wiki  reference  ideas  volo-avolo  alien-character 
may 2016 by nhaliday