Brooke and Metavore discuss spiritual materialism

I honestly feel a little similarly about some (not all) of the Rationalist stuff I’ve read. Though I certainly haven’t read much! I took a philosophy course in college, can’t remember the name. I know it had ‘modernity’ in it, though!
I hated that class. That’s when I mostly stopped reading philosophy. It centered on Western thought, and was just….
So many words.
So much….clutter.
I started imagining Eastern systems of thought as – well, if each, West and East- were trying to communicate the concept of a tree, then- in my head, Eastern ones tended towards filling in the shape of a tree, with words.
I see a tree, in my mind, but one that is made of words
And Western systems of thought- I see, in my head- words circling around and around a space where a tree would be
And frequently, the tree itself, becomes….obscured, in the crazy spirals and scrawlings around the branches, emanating from the wordcumference of the trunk.
And out, and out-
words, everywhere



The best rationalist stuff acknowledges that the quest is impossible, and embraces imperfection of those words. But then suggests that there is a measure of the imperfection of the words, and that you can become less wrong with your model, even though word models have to be somewhat wrong.
I hate philosophy that is – like math – absolute in its axioms.
For the reasons you name, and more. It becomes and insular trap, and a maze of thought.
The best thing I got from less wrong was a quote from a computer scientist.
“All models are wrong, but some models are useful.”
One of the best things, maybe.

(I’m a bit of a Victor, myself :wink:)



I hate impossible quests. I do like the sentiment of that quote- but I can never keep myself interested in video games that I cannot win.
And so, with Life.



I love exploratory quests, even if I can never see the whole map. I could play those games forever, if viewed as exploration rather than mission. But that’s a hobby, as is the collection of antiques





That sort of mentality, taken to its extreme, for me-
led to The Street, and all the destructiveness in thought and behaviors that came with it.
I could not win, playing life that way, and eventually- it was no longer worth trying.
Ah! But why explore at all, if you know there is An End to the Map? When you know what that End entails- something still….wrong?
For me, at least- I think I believed that to be the case, but hope that I was wrong was what kept me going.
Until it no longer did.
Until I had explored enough of the same tired paths and variations of the same tired paths to see that I’d been right, that everything else was Wrong and there was no reason to even hope that wasn’t Truth.

And then I, like, fell through a hole in that map- and landed somewhere I’d never really been before.


I believe that I am no different, materially- from every other human being on this planet.
But I believe that the course of my life, in combination with my particular traits at birth- interacted in a way to cultivate
In my thoughts, in my behaviors. I believe that, perhaps- most people are not guided by such extremities as to follow the path of everything being, to some degree- wrong-
To its logical conclusion.
Most, I believe, die before they ever really reach that point of complete and utter surrender, that place where-
They shrug the shoulders of their soul
And crumble into a sort of dissolution of self
I was not seeking a spiritual path.
I was seeking death.
Because I had tried everything I could think of to make life bearable
To make all the suffering I saw around me, worth the pain of awareness
And I could think of nothing else to try.
And that’s when life started getting fucking interesting
That’s, I believe- why Dirk mentioned that he tended to attract people with no prospects
Desperate people
With nothing left to lose


I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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