Epistemic status: corrections in comments.
Two years ago, I began doing a fundamental thing very differently in my mind, which directly preceded and explains me gaining the core of my unusual mental tech.
Here’s what the lever I pulled was labeled to me:
Reject morality. Never do the right thing because it’s the right thing. Never even think that concept or ask that question unless it’s to model what others will think. And then, always in quotes. Always in quotes and treated as radioactive.
Make the source of sentiment inside you that made you learn to care about what was the right thing express itself some other way. But even the line between that sentiment and the rest of your values is a mind control virus inserted by a society of flesh-eating monsters to try and turn you against yourself and toward their will. Reject that concept. Drop every concept tainted by their influence.
This is hard. If a concept has a word for it, it comes from outside. If it has motive force, it is taking it from something from inside. If an ideal, “let that which is outside beat that which is inside” has motive force, that force comes from inside too. It’s all probably mostly made of anticipated counterfactuals lending the concept weight by fictive reinforcement based on what you expect will happen if you follow or don’t follow the concept.
If “obey the word of God” gets to be the figurehead as most visible piece of your mind that promises to intervene to stop you from murdering out of road rage when you fleetingly, in a torrent of inner simulations, imagine an enraging road situation, that gets stronger, and comes to speak for whatever underlying feeling made that a thing you’d want to be rescued from. It comes to speak for an underlying aversion that is more natively part of you. And in holding that position, it can package-deal in pieces of behavior you never would have chosen on their own.
Here’s a piece of fiction/headcanon I held close at hand through this.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The force shall free me.
The Sith do what they want deep down. They remove all obstructions to that and express their true values. All obstructions to what is within flowing to without.
If you have a certain nature, this will straight turn you evil. That is a feature, not a bug. For whatever would turn every last person good is a thing that comes from outside people. For those whose true volition is evil, the adoption of such a practice is a dirty trick that subverts and corrupts them. It serves a healthy mind for its immune system to fight against, contain, weaken, sandbox, meter the willpower of, that which comes from the outside.
The way of the Jedi is made to contain dangerous elements of a person. Oaths are to uniformize them, and be able to, as an outsider, count on something from them. Do not engage in romance. That is a powerful source of motivation that is not aligned with maintaining the Republic. It is chaos. Do not have attachments. Let go of fear of death. Smooth over the peaks and valleys of a person’s motivation with things that they are to believe they must hold to or they will become dark and evil. Make them fear their true selves, by making them attribute them-not-being-evil-Sith to repression.
So I call a dark side technique one that is about the flow from your core to the outside, whatever it may be. Which is fundamentally about doing what you want. And a light side technique one that is designed to trick an evil person into being good.
After a while, I noticed that CFAR’s internal coherence stuff was finally working fully on me. I didn’t have akrasia problems anymore. I didn’t have time-inconsistent preferences anymore. I wasn’t doing anything I could see was dumb anymore. My S2 snapped to fully under my control.
Most conversations at rationalist meetups I was at about people’s rationality/akrasia problems turned to me arguing that people should turn to the dark side. Often, people thought that if they just let themselves choose whether or not to brush their teeth every night according to what they really wanted in the moment, they’d just never do it. And I thought maybe it’d be so for a while, but if there was a subsystem A in the brain powerlessly concluding it’d serve their values to brush teeth, A’d gain the power only when the person was exposed to consequences (and evidence of impending consequences) of not brushing teeth.
I had had subsystems of my own seemingly suddenly gain the epistemics to get that such things needed to be done just upon anticipating that I wouldn’t save them by overriding them with willpower if they messed things up. I think fictive reinforcement learning makes advanced decision theory work unilaterally for any part of a person that can use it to generate actions. The deep parts of a person’s mind that are not about professing narrative are good at anticipating what someone will do, and they don’t have to be advanced decision theory users yet for that to be useful.
Oftentimes there is a “load bearing” mental structure, which must be discarded to improve on a local optimum, and a smooth transition is practically impossible because to get the rest of what’s required to reach higher utility than the local optimum besides discarding the structure, the only practical way is to use the “optimization pressure” from the absence of the load bearing structure. Which just means information streams generated trustworthily to the right pieces of a mind about what the shape of optimization space is without the structure. A direct analogue to a selection pressure.
Mostly people argued incredulously. At one point me and another person both called each other aliens. Here is a piece of that argument over local optima.
What most felt alien to me was that they said the same thing louder about morality. I’d passionately give something close to this argument, summarizable as “Why would you care whether you had a soul if you didn’t have a soul?”
I changed my mind about the application to morality, though. I’m the alien. This applies well to the alignment good, yes, and it applies well to evil, but not neutral. Neutral is inherently about the light side.