Warrior rationalists

(All of this is just a hunch and I may be wrong)

Descriptions that come to my mind when I think about “rationalists” (people interested in Less Wrong, Slate Star Codex, AI alignment, effective altruism etc.):

  • smart
  • high IQ
  • high achievers
  • rich (or with definite potential to get rich)
  • interested in: abstraction, math, technology, philosophy, debate
  • depressed
  • not very good at social skills (but not completely bad either)
  • white and male (mostly)
  • physically unfit

Obviously, I may be wrong, but that’s the general “vibe” I get online and offline. In short: geeky types.

To phrase it in “rationalist” terms, the set of possible experiences is usually defined in terms of the list above. Not that there is anything bad there – I think it’s amazing that there is a rationalist community and that people are learning how to think better. But there are certain qualities that I think should be cultivated – especially by the rationalist community, which I’m fond of – and these qualities usually come from experiences mostly outside of the world of rationalists.

In general, I think it’s a good thing to be very tough. I think it’s good that people learn respect, confidence and management of aggression through the practice of martial arts. I think it’s good that people move much more than 45 minutes every second day. I think it’s good for people to crawl through mud, experience physical hardship, go without food, obey commands, issue commands, get in touch with their immediate surroundings and support systems, like trying to grow food on their own, or to hunt, or to build a house, or to fix a car.

As a rule, I do not like softness and excessive intellectual “flexing”. Being geeky is alright, but I like better when it is paired with strength (and wisdom, but that’s for another post).

End notes and possible mistakes:

  • I don’t know if anything would significantly change if every rationalist was also tough and strong. I suspect it would – it seems to me that there are certain formative processes that you can undergo, but their outcomes aren’t easily measured (if at all). Martial arts, for example, are one of such formative processes.
  • I may not be sufficiently in touch with how rationalists are. Maybe they are already like this. I could find out if I’m wrong by meeting more rationalists.
  • I don’t know how much of a priority this is, precisely because of difficulty in measuring the effect of my proposed changes to the community.
  • I don’t have a lot of specific suggestions. Maybe: cultivate a practice of strenuous activity (weightlifting or wrestling or something along those lines). Get into survivalism a bit. Maybe go through basic army training.
  • It may be the case that I’m only criticizing because these are the things I do, and my subconscious thought process is “since I’m doing X, everyone should do X”.
  • This isn’t a testable prediction where I can put my money where my mouth is, but I think it’s also important to have an outlet where you can just throw the idea out there and get feedback or inspire thinking.



7 thoughts on “Warrior rationalists

  1. I think you are on to something. Frank Hebert–the genius that he was–envisioned a superior mode of humanity in the Bene Gesserits, who had as much discipline over their bodies as they did with their minds, having such perfect control over their muscles to the point where they could isolate the nerves that would give an eyebrow an involuntary twitch and stop it from doing so. Obviously such an example is too extreme for any real person to realistically accomplish, but it does illustrate the point: the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood was superior not because of their intellectual prowess or rational abilities, or even their incredible athletic feats—-no, they were known as superhuman because of both. As rationalists, we should endeavour to hone our bodies as well as our minds, becoming the pinnacle of human perfection, instead of focusing solely on one aspect of our existence. Being fully cerebral inhibits our ability to experience the majesty of the universe that our brain is capable of perceiving.

    • Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think that to some extent the separation of body and mind is artificial, since the mind is a process generated by the body. The body fuels the brain and provides it with sensory input, so the mind is completely dependent on the body for information and continued existence.
      Something I think about a lot is how to be more Bene Gesserit. This blog definitely attempts to answer that question, and I think it gets parts of the answer. However, it seems like amplifying senses and fine motor skills requires a whole different set of exercises. I’m not sure how someone would even start with that.

  2. Pingback: Hi | HUMBLE DEEDS

  3. Pingback: Rational Newsletter | Issue #6: Full List

  4. You hardly even said anything, you just put up a list and then apologized for it, and then preemptively began tearing your own prescribed advice apart. All you’re doing is showing them that even if you manage to workout a lot, start learning physical skills, etc. that you’ll still be apologizing to and seeking the approval of the ‘Rationalists’ or any other group similar enough.

    This was the flimsiest and most emasculated article I’ve ever read.

  5. The only way you’ll ever accomplish what you’re attempting to, is to go in the opposite direction of refinement and intellectualism.

  6. Mega fucked vectors, frayed like a sweater,
    falls unraveled in slight inclement weather;
    Just fucking ruffle their feathers.

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