I could almost believe this little essay, You Can Learn How To Become More Rational, is pure satire, except that I’ve seen too many people sincerely holding these nonsensical views, and it cites a source that is packed to the gills with precisely this advice. It takes pains to tell you where their authority comes from.
LessWrong is a community blog devoted to “refining the art of human rationality.” The blog is led by artificial intelligence theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky.
A charitable organization which Yudkowsky founded has received $1.1 million from Peter Thiel, and Yudkowsky has given a talk on rationality at Thiel’s hedge fund.
Oy. The vampire wanna-be has lots and lots of money, and he gave some to Yudkowsky, therefore these must be good ideas. Rationality!
Then comes a list of 10 things you can do that range from banal to LessWrong dogma and cant, but I’m only going to mention the last one…because hoo boy, it’s a doozy.
10. Become More Awesome.
Possible means: master mental math, learn mnemonics, play n-back, become a lucid dreamer, learn symbolic shorthand, study Esperanto, exercise, eat better, become a PUA (if you’re a single male), deliberately expose yourself to rejection so you become less afraid of it, learn magic tricks or juggling, memorize information using spaced repetition, understand Bayes’ theorem, become a faster typer, challenge your senses by wearing a blindfold, eye patch, or colored goggles, stop using your dominant hand for a week, learn self-defense, or get trained in First Aid.
I mean, that’s just…wow.
So, learn gimmicky party tricks and become an asshole pick-up artist is the same as being “awesome”? Rationality!
I hereby refuse to ever be awesome. I’ve got better things to do.
Unless…if I wear colored goggles for a week, will Peter Thiel give me a million dollars?