Most Important Slate Star Codex Postscreated: ; modified:
Alternatively titled: Giant Pieces of Essential Mental Machinery You Didn’t Even Know You Were Missing
Scott Alexander affected how I think more than any other person I know. This is a collection of his most important writing. His headlines are usually totally uninformative and/or misleading, so I would suggest to just try the links one by one.
Depression, how to live, and finding yourself
As an aside, why do I use Perma.cc and not Internet Archive? Because Internet Archive is not a real archive. The webmaster can write to IA and pull out the archives of their site at any moment.
Thiel says the most successful visionaries of the past did the opposite of this. They knew what they wanted, planned a strategy, and achieved it. The Apollo Program wasn’t run by vague optimism and “keeping your options open”. It was run by some people who wanted to land on the moon, planned out how to make that happen, and followed the plan. Not slavishly, and certainly they were responsive to evidence that they should change tactics on specific points. But they had a firm vision of the goal in their minds, an approximate vision of what steps they would take to achieve it, and a belief that acheiving an ambitious long-term plan was the sort of thing that people could be expected to do. And great startups like SpaceX are much the same. Elon Musk started with a n-step plan to get to Mars, and he’s currently about halfway through.
The advent of grain farming made oppression possible, and a new class of oppression-entrepreneurs arose to turn this possibility into a reality. They incentivized farmers to intensify grain production further at the expense of other foods, and this turned into a vicious cycle of stronger states = more grain = stronger states. Within a few centuries, Uruk and a few other cities developed the full model: tax collectors, to take the grain; scribes, to measure the grain
As another aside, if you find any of these useful and want to make sure you at least sort of remember what they were about, consider using Tab Snooze and snoozing them for 1 then 3 then 12 months into the future (this is basically spaced repetition for the internet).
On the subjectiveness of subjective experience
As yet another aside, if you find that there are too many posts here and you don’t have the time to read all them, consider listening to the Slate Star Codex podcast…
…but after you listen a post, make sure to add it to OneNote (my video that introduces OneNote and explains why it’s so good), highlighting most important parts, and Tab Snooze it
Philosophy / Economics / Anthropology
What if there are some issues where rational debate inherently leads you astray?
One of the best parts of writing a blog is being able to answer questions like this. Whenever I felt like I understood new and important, I wrote a post about it. This makes it easy to track what I learned.
Bonus: SSC comments
Bonus: Squid314 - Scott Alexander’s old blog
- Also read celandine13’s comment on that post
Bonus: Scott Alexander on LessWrong
My posts directly related to Slate Star Codex
On Friendship and on Finding Your People — initially started out with two quotations from Slate Star Codex and ended up being its own post
Contra Scott Alexander’s “The Tails Coming Apart as Metaphor for Life” — about the relationship between meaning and happiness
Bonus: pretty good SSC posts that I thought I should mention
- the anthropology of modern psychiatry
- a reminder to question the hype everyone around you believes