Functional Noise Regularize Your Mind


A beacon is the source of a signal that you send in order to attract something. A good beacon sends signals that are hard to mimick.

A simple beacon is for example a bright light source. Some deepwater fish use lights to attract mates. But then a predator can easily hijack their signal by evolving a light and those luring horny fish. This makes for easy food for the predator, but rather unpleasantly surprised fish when they encounter this guy. It's better to create a more complex signal that's hard to imitate, maybe a blinking light. One can imagine some kind of arms race of ever more complex signals between two species, where one tries to send sexual reproduction signals, while the other species tries to mimick it to catch food.

There are other signaling strategies. For example, where you explicitly send dangerous signals. Like a peacock evolving beautiful feathers which hamper it's overall fitness. Only a very strong specimen could get away with handicapping itself. The point remains that the signal should be hard to mimick.

Here I am creating a weak beacon for people who believe in the following or related principles, which all revolve around rational thinking and actions:

  • Thinking in ways which systematically arrive at truth.

  • Thinking in ways which cause you to systematically achieve your goals.

  • Trying to do better on purpose.

  • Reasoning well even in the face of massive uncertainty.

  • Making good decisions even when it’s hard.

  • Being self-aware, understanding how your own mind works, and applying this knowledge to thinking better.

I believe these are the important principles for any human thinker. Everything I do can be explained with these concepts. It's why I am interested in the LessWrong community and related blogs. Why I personally research meditation and neuroscience. Why I start new uncertain projects. Why I blog.

I also want such principles and a related culture for larger communities I participate in. Other relevant principles may relate to how to avoid or remove bad agents (sociopaths, politicians). And how to solve coordination problems.

If you are eager to grow into a better human being along these dimensions, please reach out, especially if you work or live around the Eindhoven area of The Netherlands.

My beacon, this blog and me, have a low signal to noise, because I don't want to attract the wrong kinds of people; predators or fools. A very bright, powerful beacon will attract lots of things, mops will come to the light, which in turn will attract sociopaths. A weak beacon will send a signal that is hard to detect, only for those who are looking for it or are sensitive to it.