My goals are primarily selfish and introspective; any others would presume an audience. But in order to trick myself into serializing thoughts into a stream of text, I must behave as if I have an audience. I am not a disciplined writer, so my imaginary reader keeps me honest by demanding coherence, just as reading a paragraph out loud prevents me from skimming sentences.
I spend a lot of time on Twitter and elsewhere in a read-only mode. This is where I’m hoping to write. 
I am new to most things, so most of my models come from others. I have few original thoughts. However, I hope to enrich myself and others in two ways that don’t rely on that flavor of originality:
Models, maps, beliefs
“Lacking a real Pensieve, this will be my substitute” – John Nerst
The art of belief arrangement and compression. Cooperative erisology: non-adversarial steel-manning.
  • To lay out many of my beliefs and models in writing so that I can see them in aggregate.
  • To lay out individual beliefs in more detail and coherence than my working memory permits.
  • To express them in a way that is compact and evocative. A concept can be understood best by viewing it from many angles, so an original expression of a common concept can be valuable.
Chords, curation, classification
“I want to be able to see clearly, from a bird’s-eye view, the space of existing beliefs, arguments, explanations, biases, etc., and I aim to see them as sharply as possible so that I can categorize them according to their commonalities while still distinguishing their differences.” – Liskantope
  • To curate (links to) Content which interests or entertains me. In aggregate, the act of selection expresses my taste. As it requires the least writing on my part (although I will try to contextualize and tl;dr) I predict this category will dominate.
  • To draw novel connections among concepts. To name those connections and thereby manipulate them as concepts themselves. Since these come from a power set of concepts, I feel less likely here to be repeating prior art and more likely to be experiencing pareidolia.
I read a lot from the rationalist and rationalist-adjacent communities. I also work with computers professionally and study computer science and math on the side.
Both provide a library of compact concepts: map/territory, cache hierarchy, iteration, entropy, uncertainty, which I’ll use freely. Most of the time I’ll indulge my laziness by assuming familiarity with pieces easy to search for if needed, rather than linking.
All lists and groupings are incomplete unless otherwise claimed.
I try to be aware of what I know I don’t know, and abstractly aware that there are things I don’t know that I don’t know. But I’m still ignorant of everything I’ve missed. 

“You’ll have come 95% of the way but with another 95% left, a consequence of taking “moving up in rank” for an accurate measure of ‘moving up in absolute knowledge’. At Dilettante Point it feels like you’ve come most of the way [to] Expert Land.”


I am prone to a systematizing perspective. I am likely to discard important nuance in favor of simplicity. I expect to improve on this over time by reading about models which account for more complexity.
Unordered reading docket
Jorge Luis Borges – Ficciones 
Keith Johnston – Impro
The Revolt of the Public – Martin Gurri
David Friedman – Legal Systems Very Different From Ours
Brandon Sanderson
Titles/tldr of posts I would like to write
  • Bookshelf a la https://patrickcollison.com/bookshelf
  • Blogroll
  • Fundamental beliefs a la https://everythingstudies.com/2018/07/16/30-fundamentals/
  • Things I appreciate aesthetically but cannot clearly justify otherwise 
  • Institutions as compromises between collectivism, individualism
  • Taxonomy of obligations (re “debt is a quantifiable obligation” by Graeber)
  • Inclusionism and archival: preserving human progress on the way to culture victory
  • Spacefaring human culture: a true terminal goal
  • The human mind is not good at enumerating heterogenous sets – assistive technology wishlist 
  • Enumeration and taxonomy of lambda calculus terms
  • Idempotent actions, immutable data, and canonical representations
  • Impractical program synthesis
  • A C++ ORM and embedded database
  • Turing tarpit <-> RISC spectrum
  • The expression problem