Owl convo

I have an excellent thing to talk through as well: I’ve figured out how to formalize my game theory for deception!

Basically you just add an extra decision in the decision tree where you have the option to influence the other person’s perception of the payoffs/etc. in their own decision tree.

And the payoff for success or failure is determined by how the game changes when the other person falls for it or perceives the attempt (e.g. they could make bad choices if their decision tree is deluded, or they could punish you for the attempt, or they could note the attempt is a sign of weakness).

This would make for an absolutely fantastic diplomacy mini-game in something like Civilization.

But I can’t go through it all now, unfortunately.

Basically, just imagine there’s three decision trees for every two-person game: one “real” one, and one in each player’s head (representing their expectations). Deception is where you create delusion in the other person’s head map so that they make bad decisions, because they didn’t understand the real consequences.

Extends to “mismatch theory” in evopsych also.

Good site for jobs project: https://educationdesignsinc.com/index-of-learning-styles/

Good afternoon sir.

good afternoon indeed

how are things?

I was feeling very low energy and now am feeling tranquil, in part with the help of a cigar but mostly from an encouraging talk with Patrick.


fairly serene. generally upbeat

It’s particularly difficult as present to maintain the useful fiction that commerce is possible.

that’s a start

Is there anything people want other than drugs?

Correction: anything people will work and pay for?

Evidently, ONlyfans subscriptions

There’s an intereesting question here as to whether the middle classes continue to work and function sa best they can out of drive & mbition, goal-seeking behavior, or habit

I think what’s getting me down is desiring people act according to my autistic moralizing while lacking any sense of the economics.

The middle class only exists for Boomers and, paradoxically, the upper middle class.

But this is just k-selection.

The point of such selection is that it’s driven by downward social mobility.

I suppose what’s really getting me down about that is it’s supposed to be accompanied by an increase in religiosity through harshness, when what we’re seeing is a decrease through birth control.

So it’s an evolutionary mismatch.

I suppose the simple and facile counterpoint is that the religious impulse is being sublimated into various pet causes

i.e. Climate Change or BLM, depending on one is more inclined towards eschatology or equity

Though I confess I’ve always found that response unsatisfying

I don’t think it’s that

You’d have to be pretty sociopathic to find your religious impulse satisfied by the idolatry of statism.

Getting into computer programming has produced some very interesting psychological changes. They’ve been noticeable because they’ve been so rapid.

Firstly, the flood of dopamine has produced an enormous increase in executive function and working memory, couple with a decrease in long-term memory. Worrying, since the latter wasn’t great to begin with.

But secondarily, and more interesting, is the tendency to see life as a game.

I perceive the world around me less as a collection of continuous variables and more like a suite of discrete menu options.

Ah, the addiction to best practices has truly begun to take over

There’s a functional fixedness except in those occasions where I lack the tool for the job, at which point my mind fixates on the necessary function and then goes on a mad search for possible tools to hack the job.

Both cases are characterized by the assumption of instrumentality.

Truly the mindset of an addict on the hedonic treadmill. There’s no fixation on getting the “why” right, only an endless series of “how” questions in pursuit of an insatiable hunger.

In fact, I wonder if I haven’t misdiagnosed my low energy when really it’s due to a failure to refocus on a new primary goal after finishing my little triathlon and the 7-day intro to online courses.

But no, that’s only part of it. It’s mostly due to pessimism about the possibility of conducting trade with people who don’t believe they should have to do anything for any reason.

It’s interesting how you make it sound as if you’ve been booted up with a different operating system

That’s a good description of the feeling.

Part of Patrick’s homework for me lately, to mediate against this, is to focus my artistic intake on literary existential horror and management games. Naked Lunch, Doki Doki Literature Club, Champ Manager, that sort of thing.

I wonder if this is why smart programmers like ZHP Lovecraft are often into horror.

Existentialism has a tendency to pull you back into the present moment, and executive function games require a sense of balancing the weights of incalculably complex value systems.

I have a nascent theory that this inhuman instrumentality, via computers, is to blame for the narcissism epidemic.

When I was talking to Ken a week ago, he asked me if I’d heard of a particular theory. I said yes, and then he started talking as if to explain it. My immediate thought was of the owl from Ocarina of Time and “didn’t I pick the conversation option where I said I didn’t want the explanation again?”

(He wasn’t, for the record, it just seemed that way from the first couple of seconds. But that was enough to trigger the thought about conversation-as-menu options.)

This feeling that life is like a game made me realize that menu options are now my hyper-reality. And since the basic assumption of sociopathy is “life is a game” (ask any of them), this means that computer use is turning me into a sociopath.

Well I suppose if you find yourself developing anti-social personality disorder it might be time to lay off the programming

Jokes aside, i see where you’re going with this

That’s as far as the line of thought has taken me. I haven’t read Kaczynski yet.

neither have i

the disconnect i see here is computer use versus computer programming

Although I suppose the first thing that comes to mind now is, what previous operating systems were I working with? What sort of person is produced by obsessive-compulsively clicking through a blogroll?

nonetheless, I can see how social media, which gamifies adulation, could be argued as operating on a similar mechanism

Quite so.

as to your question, that’s an interesting one

I’ll rule out goal-seeking, as the behavior is archetypally without a defined goal

Certainly if someone is reading good blogs.

Passive, novelty-seeking

just throwing out some related traits

I suppose this has something to do with the extraordinarily high average scores in Intellect and Curiosity.

And Stimulation.

in a sense, one is acted upon an much as one acts

I remember long ago a shoe salesman saying that the foot forms to the shoe.

How much moreso the mind to our tools?

at least as much so

I recall reading somewhere once that the proliferation of the internet is changing how memory works, so that we remember information itself less but where to find said information more

as in “I don’t know which fact i remember is true, but i know where to go to double-check”

Maybe it’s not scarcity that produces the will to survive so much as the lack of leverage.

Lacking tools, you have to run a marathon to eat a single rabbit.

So maybe there’s a natural tradeoff between the will-to-power and will-to-live.

Was it you who mentioned that ye olde aristocrats used to spend a lot of time outdoors?

or perhaps some sort of probability calculus…

no, i don’t beleive so

One of Tex’s points was that the thal would always always always keep trying to live, and the sap would at some point just lay down and die

That’s been my experience.

He never quite expressed it as “small-group” mentality versus “large-herd” mentality but to me it always seemd fairly evident

How’s that?

small group in which everyone is necessary: you keep going because everyone is relying on you

large herd: wolves pick off the sick and the old. the herd survives

Anonymous C would put it as r/K

Okay, so if you’re feeling weak the altruistic thing is to give up and slow down the wolf pack as they eat you.

Perhaps a bit more intentional and altruistic than I’d put it, but basically

Whereas for me to give up would be robbing my people of future contributions.

I think people see “too stupid to die” as a joke but it resonates with me on a very deep level.

It’s probably a good thing to be

in some sense, the urge to live will produce it’s own tools

this is limited, obviously

when the problem is faced, the solution is born

Yes, limited because it requires creativity and intelligence one might not have, but there’s creativity in simply banging your head against something until it gives way.

so leverage helps, since a lack of any and all tools changes the calculus

but still, the psychology will be there to endure nonetheless

I suspect at least some of this attitude is simple selection. If you stop moving forward in the cold and go to sleep, you die.

If you lay down to sleep in Africa, you might get eaten, but you might wake up to free food too.

nonetheless, the neanderthard persisted

So the idea of being too stupid to give up has a nice accompanying myth.

and you can see how the psychology of “too stupid to die, just put one foot in front of other” then leads to “No Grog, don’t sleep! I carry! Keep going!”

There you go, idealism explained!

I was thinking earlier today that idealists tend to abuse stimulants and pragmatists tend to abuse narcotics.

Idealists are trying to live up to some ambitious self-concept that their bodies and minds can’t actually sustain.

Pragmatists feel that any personal discomfort is an injustice.

related: cynics just want an excuse to feel less

Sounds like melancholy, as opposed to the phlegmatic pragmatist.

I was wrong before- I’m not ready to formalize the game theory of deception beyond the short version I already gave.

But I found a free video course that covers the necessary material for it.


It will be nice if I can actually finish this idea off to my own satisfaction. I want a nice dictionary of terms like “selective honesty” defined as game tree options and payoffs.

All the words related to deceit: half-truths, dissimulation, etc. I want them all.

Call it Discernment Otaku Dating Sim 4.

If melonheads don’t exist we must invent them.

Oh, speaking of, we need to invent the new Harvard.

We better get on that then


^the melonheads, not harvard

though i suppose that must be dealt with as well

Harvard is for the melonheads to get on each other.

It’s all connected.

Pizza’s done!

does the harvard emerge from the melonheads, or the melonheads emerge from harvard?

related: perhaps the colleges were never supposed to find the geniuses after all, but the superbureacrats and the head girls who would do the real work of finding the geniuses and putting them on the master wheel

I’m mostly kidding but not entirely

My understanding is that PhDs actually used to lead to real, groundbreaking work

And that a large of the Manhattan Project was whiz-kid grad students who’d been working on the right ideas

Feynmann is the obvious example but i recall he was far from the only one

Fermi was a big one.

>does the harvard emerge from the melonheads, or the melonheads emerge from harvard?

I have a sneaking suspicion that they come from Denisovans mixing with Amuds specifically

If true, then Harvard came first.

I suppose the real question in designing NeoHarvard 2040X is: are melonheads born or made?

If born, then it’s just a matter of selection and the proper lure, followed by training in as much good character as you can stuff in them.

Were we mid-20th Century social scientists, we could do arguably unethical experiments and find out!

Nowadays we can do this via big data.

I think the motto of the program would be “Innocent as doves, wise as serpents.”

But if they’re *made*…that’s tricky territory.

I’m imagining how one would staff the internet’s State Department.

One must, after all, maintain foreign relations with the normies.

Perhaps via mercantilism.

We’ll begin by putting designer drugs on the blockchain.

Normies like drugs.

As you often point out, we seek to rearrange our environments so as to achieve optimal reproductive success for our phenotype

Perhaps such a policy should be grounded in this idea

It would certainly make normal society more erratic

And easily conquered!

Hopefully in a more beneficial way than our current erraticism

It turns out, it was always the weirdos who ruled from behind the scenes all along

That could be you and me, on the blockchain.

Cornering the feet.jpg market.

Okay, that gives me a couple of curriculum ideas.

Game theory.

Behavioral economics.

Red pilled psychometrics.

A mandatory 2-year stint in the psychological operations division.

HBD, especially Culture of Critique.


Liberal arts electives.

And 8 hours of church every day.

Now I just have to code it.

The bureau of memetic warfare will suffice for the present since we do not yet have a psychological operations warfare division.

What do melonhead females like?

Wit. Charisma. Perhaps a touch of mystery

Oh sorry, I mean like if you were setting a trap to get them into your college.

Then you pull the string and the box drops.

And there’s a witty, charismatic melonhead man in the box too.

For to breed the leaders of the future.

Achievement. Status. Validation

There are two “whats in the box” jokes that can be made here

You would do well in the Duncker candle problem.

Television Christmas GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

whats that?

“The test presents the participant with the following task: how to fix and light a candle on a wall (a cork board) in a way so the candle wax won’t drip onto the table below.[3] To do so, one may only use the following along with the candle:
a book of matches
a box of thumbtacks”

“The solution is to empty the box of thumbtacks, use the thumbtacks to nail the box to the wall, put the candle into the box, and light the candle with the match.[3] The concept of functional fixedness predicts that the participant will only see the box as a device to hold the thumbtacks and not immediately perceive it as a separate and functional component available to be used in solving the task.”

Ah yes, I am familiar with this

(After this was mostly jokes and logistics.)

About Aeoli Pera

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5 Responses to Owl convo

  1. Heaviside says:

    >Deception is where you create delusion in the other person’s head map so that they make bad decisions, because they didn’t understand the real consequences.

    I think that one is only ever really deceived by oneself. If you really want to deceive others what you do is cultivate a fundamental ambiguity within yourself, and think, speak, and act in an ambiguous way. Then you let other people who have faulty hermeneutics misinterpret your actions. Many people are not very mentally flexible and will interpret any given situation using fixed assumptions that they seldom question. If you know those assumptions then you know what conclusions they’ll reach given a few facts taken out of context.

    In other words, the best way to deceive someone isn’t to supplement the truth with a falsehood, but to do away with the truth itself, so that what remains is a vacuum that resists any attempt to grasp it, and is easily filled with misconceptions.

    In 1941 Soviet intelligence was diligently monitoring German preparations for invasion, so how were they caught off guard by Barbarossa? Well — the Germans simply didn’t prepare. Stalin assumed that they would never invade without winter supplies, which he knew they didn’t have. The irony is that had Germany been better prepared, it would have done far worse against the USSR, because it would have lacked the element of surprise it got from behaving paradoxically.

    Really deep deception isn’t an afterthought to strategy; it must enter into it from the very beginning, it must be the very first consideration. You must commit to the lie. You must be prepared to sacrifice yourself and live the lie. If you want to convince your enemy of something, you yourself must act as if it is true, and the bigger the sacrifices are, the more convincing it will be.

    One of America’s greatest spymasters, James Angleton, studied literary criticism in his youth. In poetry and literature, multiple contradictory interpretations of the same text can be true at the same time. Strategic deception hinges on the same principle.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      Excellent comment. One criticism:

      >I think that one is only ever really deceived by oneself. If you really want to deceive others what you do is cultivate a fundamental ambiguity within yourself, and think, speak, and act in an ambiguous way. Then you let other people who have faulty hermeneutics misinterpret your actions.

      Yes, there is an extent to which you can’t con an honest man. On the other hand, deceit is better practiced by people with social intelligence, which indicates there’s also an extent to which one engages in purposeful selective representation to mislead others.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        In other words, anyone can be ambiguous and cloak themselves in mystery. But only someone who can empathize with what another person *wants* to believe can design a good con job.

  2. Arakawa says:

    (Speaking as someone who has been programming since 6yo)

    Judging by your previous blog posts (e.g. the exact daily workout and food intake summaries), you’re very vulnerable to Ahrimanism. So I’m not surprised immersing yourself in programming produces these types of psychological shifts. I got that ‘program the universe’ idea out of my system a while ago. Some of my high school friends didn’t. Their subsequent trajectories weigh upon my conscience since I got them into computer topics in the first place.

    The problem is that programming is a legitimate craft that can be done in God-pleasing fashion, but whose cultural state is highly attuned to the preferences of the dominant demon of the age (senseless bureaucracy). If you rise above that, it’s no more and no less noble than making chairs and takes the same infinite effort to do well. It would be strange to think that making chairs gives you a special insight into controlling the universe.

    Suggest finding compensating artistic and religious influences (as Patrick already suggests), or studying some branch of programming with more stringent criteria than ‘hack on something until it runs, experience dopamine rush’. Being driven by dopamine rush of making something work is why so much software is crap, because no one thinks through things long enough or thoroughly enough to make them work well.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >you’re very vulnerable to Ahrimanism

      That may be the way it appears, but in reality I have a bigger vulnerability to impulsiveness which translates to a lack of follow-through.

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