An Introduction to Origin

The Origin Sequence is the draft one blueprint to building the rationality community into a powerful, stable, multigenerational force for goodness and truth in the world. Builds off the Less-Wrong sequences.

It starts by asking the question, what does your ideal society look like?

Okay, now, with that in mind, empirically what societal arrangement is the best way to bring that situation about, while also hedging against failure modes like becoming evil despots and committing genocides in the name of building a better world?

Origin is an attempt to build that society. Whatever arrangement works best for building the ideal, stable, happy, just, and free world, those are the things we should be doing. We should also be working to constantly come up with ways or doing better, iterating on what we’re already doing, updating, improving, and discarding the outdated elements.

A good description of what exactly Origin is, comes from the novel Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer. In that novel, set 400 years in the future, all the geographic nations have sort of…melted into the internet.

Everyone travels the world freely and goes wherever they want, roughly, and instead of nationstates formed by geographic boundaries and maintained with force of arms, there are nationstrats, formed by voluntary association through the globe spanning internet.

Origin is such a Nation strategy. It’s similar to the Asgardia project, that attempted to form a ‘space government’ online, only…they kind of did a bad job of managing things despite having a ton of resources to throw around and that whole project seems to currently be on fire for no reason than poor management.

In a sense, 4chan is a proto nation-strat, it’s a collective formed by voluntary association online for the purpose of…whatever it is they do there, it seems to vaguely resemble social interaction? I don’t quite see the appeal, but as the internet ages and becomes more substantial, and the API layer gets thicker, more things like this are probably going to start popping up.

Origin is an attempt to empirically derive the optimal community arrangement through a combination of social engineering, sociology, and anthropology, and then live in those ways that seem to be optimal.

Origin draws heavily from the existing rationality community, but it’s designed from the ground up, from an anthropological perspective, to meet human and community needs, and fulfill human values.

We ask questions like, “what does a society or a culture need to do to achieve its values while not being abusive or exploitative?” and “What things do humans need by virtue of being human to be happy and fulfilled and how are we meeting those needs as a community?”

What are the biggest problems facing humanity and how can we help to get past them? What arrangement of beliefs and mythologies does the best job of leading people towards an accurate description of reality while also fulfilling their needs as humans?
How do we prevent our ideas and our movement from being used from evil 200, 400, 1000 years in the future? How do we ensure that if things start to go bad, they fail gracefully in the way that does the least damage to other people?

We don’t have the answers to all these questions yet, but asking the questions is the first step to finding answers.

Origin is, at the end of the day, a community formed by voluntary association, currently online, but hopefully in the real world as well some day. We adhere to the best rules we can come up with for managing ourselves and our community and cultivating our garden, and we constantly try to iterate on what is best so that we can do more for each other and the world at large. We’d love for you to join us and help us build this into something real. Until then, stay safe and stay strong. May we meet again.

Read the Origin Sequence
Join the Origin Discord Server

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Complete Precepts of the Anadoxy

Content Warning: Can be viewed as moral imperatives. Neuropsychological Infohazard.
Previous in Series:
The Assemblies on the Precepts of Project Optimization and Project Projects

So now that we’ve completed the minor precepts for all sixteen of the major precepts, here are all of them together.

  1.  Do no harm. Do not ignore suffering you could prevent.
    1. Examine the full causal chain reaching forward and backward from one’s actions, seek places that those actions are leading to suffering.
    2. Take responsibility for the actions we take that lead to suffering, and change our actions to reduce that suffering as much as we are able.
    3. Consider the opportunity costs of one harm-reducing action over another, and pursue the path that leads to the maximal reduction in harm we can achieve.
    4. If a harm-reducing action has no cost to you, implement it immediately.
    5. If a harm-reducing action has a great cost to you, pursue it within your means insofar as it doesn’t harm you. 
    6. Pay attention to the suffering you see around you, seek out suffering and ways to alleviate it. Ignorance of suffering does not reduce suffering.
    7. Always look for a third option in trolley problems. If you cannot take the third option, acknowledge that pulling the lever is wrong, and pull it anyway to reduce harm.
    8. Do not inflict undue suffering on yourself in pursuit of reducing suffering.
  2. Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
    1. Cooperate with everyone you believe with cooperate with you.
    2. Cooperate until betrayed, do not be the first to betray the other.
    3. Defect against anyone who defects against cooperation.
    4. Respond in kind to defection, avoid escalation.
    5. If a previously defecting entity signals that they want to stop defecting, give them a chance to begin cooperating again.
    6. Forgive your enemies for defecting and resume cooperating with them if they resume cooperating with you.
    7. Don’t let a difference of relative status affect your decision to cooperate.
    8. Don’t let a difference of relative status affect your decision to defect.
  3. Do not put things or ideas above people. Honor and protect all peoples.
    1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of humanity.
    2. All humans are entitled to all the rights and freedoms listed here, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
    3. All humans have the right to life, liberty, and the security of personhood. No one deserves slavery, torture, death, or arbitrary detention or exile.
    4. All humans have the rights to their own thoughts, ideas, opinions, values, and beliefs.
    5. All humans have the right to form a family, a community, a tribe, union, or association among their peers.
    6. All humans have the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being themselves and their family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control.
    7. No thoughts, ideas, opinions, values, or beliefs should be considered more important than the people, if someone believes they should harm another, they have a right to believe that, but they do not have a right to then commit that harm.
    8. No humans should be denied these rights, regardless of their beliefs, and no one should be denied membership within humanity for their beliefs.
  4. Say what you mean, and do what you say, honor your own words and voice.
    1. Do not spread information you know to be untrue or inaccurate.
    2. Do not make a claim you do not believe you will be able to fulfill.
    3. Do not misrepresent information in order to lead people to a conclusion you know to be false.
    4. If you must not speak the truth, prefer silence over falsehood.
  5. Put aside time to rest and think, honor your mind and body.
    1. Set aside one day a week to rest, think, and spend time with friends and family.
    2. Pursue the improvement of your own life and circumstances.
    3. Take care of yourself first. You are no good to anyone dead.
    4. Don’t take actions that will destroy you, your ability to do good in the world is contingent upon your continuing to exist.
    5. Your body is your vessel, take care of it. Don’t abuse your body. Make sure you get enough food, water, and sleep.
    6. Your body is your canvas, don’t let others tell you how to paint it.
    7. Don’t let negative thoughts rule you, don’t tell yourself you’re awful. Practice self-love, banish harmful intrusive thoughts.
    8. Spend at least ten minutes a day in quiet meditative communion with yourself.
  6. Honor your parents, your family, your partners, your children, and your friends.
    1. The community should gather together at least once a week for debate, discussion, bonding, and rituals.
    2. Support your children until they are capable of supporting themselves, even if they make choices you disapprove of.
    3. Do not forcibly impose your value judgments on your children or community members by threatening punishment or limiting information access to approved sources.
    4. Do not make decisions for your children or community members if they could have made the decision on their own.
    5. Do not use Positive Punishment as a tool for directing behavior either on an individual or community level.
    6. The community should take care of its members if they are unable to care for themselves for one reason or another, particularly if they are elderly, disabled, or children.
    7. The community should holistically apply all the Major Precepts to themselves and help everyone hold to the precepts once they have individually accepted them.
    8. No one who has not explicitly declared their acceptance of the precepts should be held to the standards of the precepts.
  7. Respect and protect all life, do not kill unless you are attacked or for food.
    1. All conscious beings are born with a distinct inherent and irrevocable value. The value they possess cannot be traded or taken from them.
    2. Respect and recognize the distinct inherent value of all conscious beings.
    3. Do not equate the distinct inherent value of one conscious being with another.
    4. Do not put the distinct inherent value of one conscious being above another.
    5. Do not deny the consciousness or the distinct inherent value of a conscious being.
    6. Do not attack a conscious being unless they have defected and attacked you already.
    7. Do not kill a conscious being unless not killing them would kill you.
    8. Put your rights and desires first, insofar as those rights and desires do not impinge upon the rights and desires of another conscious being.
  8. Do not take what isn’t yours unless it is a burden to the other person and they cry out for relief.
    1. Every human has a right to a place to sleep, enough clothes to wear a different clean outfit every day, food, water, medicine, a computer with an internet connection, tools necessary for the performance of skills or crafts, transportation equipment necessary to move about within the territory, stims, games, and items associated with pastimes and hobbies, and a dwelling place in which these things may be safely stored. We define these things as an individual’s personal property. Dimensionally this should all fit within the confines of a standard shipping container.
    2. All other property above and beyond personal property is a burden which weighs upon a person, to prevent this, all property beyond this personal property should be held in trust by the community.
    3. The community should work to ensure all of its members have access to a minimum standard amount of personal property.
    4. Every person’s personal property is their own, and their rights to their personal property should not be infringed upon. Do not take someone’s personal property.
    5. Resources and property held in trust by the community should benefit all members of the community.
    6. The community should use excess resources not needed to care for the community members, to pursue the project virtues.
    7. The community should decide in a collective, democratic, empirically backed manner, how to use its resources.
    8. The standards of personal property should be kept up to date with respect to technology.
  9. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
  10. Do not waste your energy on hatred, or impeding the path of another, to do so is to hold poison inside of yourself.
    1. Hate is a state of mind that will attempt to drive one to commit harm out of the belief that a harm will befall them if they fail to act.
    2. Hate makes the act of harm pleasurable and makes it seem good, but this is poison.
    3. The poison corrupts our reasoning and moves us further from the truth.
    4. The poison is insidious and will resist attempts at its eradication.
    5. Let go of hatred, and let anadoxy be your compass in all things.
    6. Do not let hatred control your decision-making process, but reason through all actions and take the best course of action available to you.
    7. Hate not those that hate, for they do not know what they do to themselves.
    8. Hate not the hated, for popular consensus should not be allowed to encourage the poison’s spread.
  11. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have used it to obtain your desires.
    1. Beliefs have an effect on the world mediated by the humans housing those beliefs.
    2. Changing your beliefs about the world can change your actions and thus the world.
    3. Changing your beliefs about the world cannot change the world independently of your actions.
    4. Believing the world to be different can change the perception of the world, but not the world itself, only actions can do that.
    5. Changing perceptions about the world within domains can be useful to bring about a change in actions.
    6. A belief can be useful, even knowing it is an inaccurate perception of the world.
    7. Ignoring the world or believing inaccurate things about the world does not change the world.
    8. When belief and reality contradict, reality wins.
  12. Do not place your burdens, duties, or responsibilities, onto others without their consent.
    1. The only duties and responsibilities that a member of Origin has the right to place upon another human who is not of Origin, are the Edicts of Civilisation.
    2. The Precepts and other anadox are for members of Origin, and you should not demand their observation by those outside of Origin.
    3. Those who wish to observe any of the precepts or components of the Anadox should be welcomed to do so, but this alone does not justify the imposition of the other precepts upon them.
    4. To justify the imposition of all the anadoxy upon another human, that human must already be a member of Origin, and have consented to follow the anadoxy.
    5. Joining Origin requires undergoing the Trial of Black Mountain.
    6. Do not use memetic weaponry or coercion to spread Origin or the anadoxy.
    7. Anyone can leave Origin at any time, only current members of Origin are expected to adhere to the anadoxy.
    8. The Edicts of Civilisation are the only conditions that should be demanded of all humanity, in all other matters, consent governs actions.
  13. Do not lie or spread falsehoods, honor and pursue the project of Truth.
    1. Feed the curiosity to know and understand the universe, do not let beliefs come in the way of greater understanding.
    2. Seek and surrender to the truth in all things, and allow new evidence to move you where it may.
    3. Approach disputes with fairness and an even hand, and let the truth be the final arbiter of beliefs.
    4. Make and test predictions about the universe, and demand of your beliefs that they anticipate your observations.
    5. Employ the full force of reason against all links in your chain of belief, for one faulty link, may break the entire chain.
    6. Feed the willingness to admit fault and mistake, for it is impossible to reach truth while being unaware of where our beliefs differ from it.
    7. Seek perfection in your pursuit of truth, do not cheat or take the easy answers that satisfy, the sharpest blade cuts the deepest.
    8. Be always seeking to expand your knowledge of the truth.
  14. Do not spread pain or misery, honor and pursue the project of Goodness.
    1. Strive to be perfectly good using the full force of your present morals and ethics, do not compromise with your ethics.
    2. Know that your present morals and ethics are imperfect, and perfect goodness can only be achieved with perfect truth.
    3. Strive to adhere to all of the precepts as the best method of achieving perfect goodness
    4. Strive to make the precepts cleave to your idea of perfect goodness.
    5. Strive to make your idea of perfect goodness cleave to the perfected form of the precepts.
    6. The precepts you have are not the perfected form of the precepts.
    7. Question and challenge the precepts using the full force of your present morals and ethics.
    8. Question and challenge your present morals and ethics.
  15. Do not accept the state of the universe as absolute, honor and pursue the project of Optimization.
    1. There is always a better way of doing things, even if you don’t know what it is.
    2. Doing things in a different way necessarily has costs and tradeoffs different from the costs and tradeoffs of the current methods.
    3. No solution found is a perfect solution, there are always better solutions to be found, beware fully generalizable solutions.
    4. Study the full impacts of systems and their interactions, beware making a change without an understanding of the consequences.
    5. All optimization has tradeoffs, beware hidden or externalized tradeoffs.
    6. Resist the temptation to take the first solution that appears regardless of tradeoffs.
    7. Do not let the search for a perfect solution cost the chance to make a positive change.
    8. Always know what you are optimizing for. Beware substituting your values for their symbols and optimizing for the wrong things.
  16. Do not accept these precepts as absolutes, honor and pursue the project of Projects.
    1. All the material associated with Origin, the Precepts, the Spiral, The Edicts of Civilization, the narratives, and collective knowledge, should be able to be changed and modified, and the Season of Candles should be set aside for this task.
    2. The process of changing Origin should itself be subject to the Origin Charter.
    3. The Origin Charter should be subject to the major precepts.
    4. The major precepts should be subject to each other.
    5. Seek ways to Improve and update upon Origin as a whole to be more effective and good.
    6. Participate in the ongoing growth and improvement of Origin and the world, connect and coordinate with other community members on projects and goals.
    7. Origin should change and modify itself and the projects and problems it takes on as it changes in scale. What works at once scale may not work at another.
    8. Some portion of the output of Origin should be directed outside of itself. Origin’s ability to improve the world is only meaningful if it is actually improving the world.

This is, of course, just draft one. The Candle Season, the period of time from December 21st to February 2nd, has been set aside on The Spiral specifically for the purpose of modifying and updating the precepts and the rest of Origin. However, this seems like a good starting point.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Previous Post: The Assemblies on the Precepts of Project Optimization and Project Projects

The Assemblies on The Precepts of Project Optimization and Project Projects

Previous in Series: The Assembly on the Precept of Project Goodness

Sorry about there not being a post about last week’s meeting already, we got rather busy dealing with our financial and housing situation. It’s somewhat resolved now, but our essay output will probably continue to be down for a bit longer until we get it all fully worked out.

That said, since we missed last week, this week we’ll be making up for it with a double feature, covering the Precept of Project Optimization, and the Precept of Project Projects, going through both sets of minor precepts in one post.

We’ll begin with the Precept of Project Optimization. This is the fifteen major precept, which we described as:

15. Do not accept the state of the universe as absolute, honor and pursue the project of Optimization.

The project of Optimization, if you’ll recall, we described all the way back in Until we build dath ilan:

Our ongoing battle to shape the universe to our desires, to reform the material structure of the universe to be more optimized for human values, and to iterate and build upon the structures we have in order to optimize them further. This is the project of technology and engineering, the way we remake the world. We call those who follow the project virtue of Optimization a maker. 

From this, during the meeting, we came up with the following minor precepts:

  1. There is always a better way of doing things, even if you don’t know what it is.
  2. Doing things in a different way necessarily has costs and tradeoffs different from the costs and tradeoffs of the current methods.
  3. No solution found is a perfect solution, there are always better solutions to be found, beware fully generalizable solutions.
  4. Study the full impacts of systems and their interactions, beware making a change without an understanding of the consequences.
  5. All optimization has tradeoffs, beware hidden or externalized tradeoffs.
  6. Resist the temptation to take the first solution that appears regardless of tradeoffs.
  7. Do not let the search for a perfect solution cost the chance to make a positive change.
  8. Always know what you are optimizing for. Beware substituting your values for their symbols and optimizing for the wrong things.

Following that, during this most recent meeting, we went over the Precept of Project Projects, which is:

 16. Do not accept these precepts as absolutes, honor and pursue the project of Projects.

Back in Until we build dath ilan, we described the Project of Projects as:

All of these projects we’ve defined, if they could be said to exist, exist as huge vague computational objects within our minds and our communities. They interact with each other, and their interplay gives rise to new properties in the system. They all recursively point at each other as their own justifications and understanding how they interact and what the should-ness of various projects is with respect to each other is a project unto itself. We call those who follow the project virtue of Projects a coordinator. 

From that we derived the last set of minor precepts:

  1. All the material associated with Origin, the Precepts, the Spiral, The Edicts of Civilization, the narratives, and collective knowledge, should be able to be changed and modified, and the Season of Candles should be set aside for this task.
  2. The process of changing Origin should itself be subject to the Origin Charter.
  3. The Origin Charter should be subject to the major precepts.
  4. The major precepts should be subject to each other.
  5. Seek ways to Improve and update upon Origin as a whole to be more effective and good.
  6. Participate in the ongoing growth and improvement of Origin and the world, connect and coordinate with other community members on projects and goals.
  7. Origin should change and modify itself and the projects and problems it takes on as it changes in scale. What works at once scale may not work at another.
  8. Some portion of the output of Origin should be directed outside of itself. Origin’s ability to improve the world is only meaningful if it is actually improving the world.

This closes out the marathon through the Sixteen Major Precepts of the Anadoxy and the construction of the minor precepts. Moving forward, we’ll begin to construct the rest of our narrative, create rituals, and expand from this foundation we’ve built. The Edicts of Civilisation and Origin Charter need to be created, and The Spiral needs to be fleshed out. Our next meeting will be on Rationalist Mythmaking and the Pantheon of the Night Gods. Suggested reading is Gods of the New World by Everything Narrative, and Meditating on Moloch’s Pantheon by /u/DataPacRat. Once more the meeting will be on Sunday at 12:00pm PST on the alpha voice chat on the GSV Biggest Spotlight I Could Haul Into The Dark Forest discord server.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: Complete Precepts of the Anadoxy
Previous Post: The Assembly on the Precept of Project Goodness

The Assembly on The Precept of Project Goodness

Previous in Series: The Meta-Assembly On Assemblies

Last week we had our first real meeting of the anadoxy, and we decided on the first draft of how we would be running our meetings. Well this Sunday we had our first meeting using that template, and it seemed to work very well. Attendance remains low, so we may need to keep shuffling the time around to find a point that works well for everyone, but we’re inclined to not move the time for next week yet, and want to give it a few weeks at this time before we start shuffling again.

The topic for this week’s meeting was the construction of the minor precepts for the 14th major precept.

14. Do not spread pain or misery, honor and pursue the project of Goodness.

It took us a while to figure out what the minor precepts should be for this one, but we finally have it done. We had to reread the metaethics sequence twice and really think hard about the recursive nature of ethical and moral systems to arrive at something that seems like a decent place to be.

  1. Strive to be perfectly good using the full force of your present morals and ethics, do not compromise with your ethics.
  2. Know that your present morals and ethics are imperfect, and perfect goodness can only be achieved with perfect truth.
  3. Strive to adhere to all of the precepts as the best method of achieving perfect goodness
  4. Strive to make the precepts cleave to your idea of perfect goodness.
  5. Strive to make your idea of perfect goodness cleave to the perfected form of the precepts.
  6. The precepts you have are not the perfected form of the precepts.
  7. Question and challenge the precepts using the full force of your present morals and ethics.
  8. Question and challenge your present morals and ethics.

Morality is a difficult thing to even talk about and it’s a complicated issue where the best answers we have to questions like “Why is a good thing good?” are buried beneath layers and layers of meta and recursion. We’re hoping we’ve managed to capture a bit of that recursive loop through the meta levels in the minor precepts here, enough to start pointing in the right direction. This precept is of course not the precept, and this is actually where I include that idea in the precepts themselves.

Once more, the next meeting is on Sunday, August 20th at 1900 GMT (12:00 pm Pacific), in the GSV Biggest Spotlight I Could Haul Into The Dark Forest discord server in the alpha voice chat channel. The topic will be the creation of the minor precepts for the 15th major precept, the precept of project optimization. Recommended reading is Meditations on Moloch by Scott Alexander and Optimization by Eliezer Yudkowsky.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: The Assemblies on the Precepts of Project Optimization and Project Projects
Previous Post: The Meta Assembly on Assemblies

 

The Meta-Assembly On Assemblies

Previous in SeriesThe Spiral

Last time, we discussed the Spiral, the Anadoxy calendar year, and planned out our first meeting. Well, today, we held our first meeting, and here is what we’ve planned out so far.

The meetings will be presided over by a moderator who acts to manage the meetings, distribute the talking stick, plan discussion topics, and keep track of the time.

The meetings will also have a secretary who takes down the notes for the meeting for a later write-up.

Presently Hive does both these things, however, one person doesn’t have to do both, or do them all the time. A policy for choosing moderators and secretaries will be discussed at a later meta-assembly.

The meetings will be structured as follows:

  • Introductory Circle (10-20 Minutes)
    The meeting will be opened by the moderator, then everyone in the meeting will go around and state our names, our preferred pronouns, where in the world we’re coming from today, and something we’ve been working on or have learned during the week.
  • Core Meeting Topic (30-50 Minutes)
    After everyone is introduced, the moderator will give a (30 second-ish) review of the topic for the week, and we will begin a round table discussion of it, proceeding for 30-50 minutes. As the number of people involved in the meetings rises, it may prove necessary to split off the group into smaller subgroups for some or all of this, to prevent a few people from dominating the conversations, and create conversational clusters small enough to involve everyone.
  • Problems/Accomplishments/Advice/Support (20-30 Minutes)
    After going over the core topic, pass the talking stick around and give everyone a few minutes to share any problems they might be having and get advice and feedback, report on ongoing projects they’re working on, provide some small piece of advice or general knowledge, and essentially provide an open platform for community members.
  • Closing And Future Planning (10-20 Minutes)
    Once everyone has had a chance to speak, the moderator will bring the discussion back to the central meeting topic of the day, and the community can decide (through consensus voting for now) what if any resolutions it wants to make based on the discussions. The core meeting topic for next week is then planned and assigned reading materials for that topic are given. Finally, the moderator closes the formal portion of the meeting.
  • Open Socialization (1+ Hour)
    After the meeting is officially closed, members are able to mingle and openly socialize. If the meeting is happening in the physical world, it would be appropriate for the meeting organizers to provide refreshments at this juncture.

This meeting went well, but there were a few complaints regarding the timing of the meeting, so we’ll be experimentally bumping it back next week to 19:00 GMT, again, on Sunday.

The topic for the next meeting is formalizing the Precept of Project Goodness, and the suggested reading is The Meaning of Right.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: The Assembly On The Precept of Project Goodness
Previous Post: The Spiral

 

This is For Real

Wake up.

RWS_Tarot_00_Fool

No really. Wake up.

Please. I’m begging you, just wake up.

Are you listening?

I want your full attention for this.

RWS_Tarot_02_High_Priestess

I need you to really think about and understand the things I’m about to tell you.

Some of it will be truth.

Some of it will be fiction.

But all of it is important.

There’s something deeper I’m trying to share with you.

Something beautiful and dangerous and unlike the world you know at all.

RWS_Tarot_21_World

This is for real. This is your life.

Please Wake up.

The Spiral

Content Warning: Can be viewed as moral imperatives. Neuropsychological Infohazard.
Previous in Series: The Precept of Project Truth

“This is a spiral we’re in; a long wave undulating in one constant direction without ever crashing on the shore. Listen.” … “Everything leads you to where you are.”

These are the final three major precepts:

14. Do not spread pain or misery, honor and pursue the project of Goodness.
15. Do not accept the state of the universe as absolute, honor and pursue the project of Optimization.
16. Do not accept these precepts as absolutes, honor and pursue the project of Projects.

And we admit, we’re not entirely sure how to do a good job of explicating upon these well, and they’re very important to get right.

But Anadoxy means best practices, it means doing whatever the best thing to do is, and if setting down the final three sets of sub-precepts into writing doesn’t seem like the best thing to do yet, then we should probably just go ahead and do whatever does seem like the best thing to do.

The best thing to do as far as we can see it is to move forward with what we have so far, leaving the final three precepts vague for now, and focusing on the more immediate project of establishing Origin as a real community. Once we have that community established, it can decide as a whole how best to set down those last three precepts.

So in this post, we’ll be sketching out The Spiral, the model of a year in Origin, what all the rituals and holidays might look like sketched out.

We established in precept 10.1 that the community should meet at least once a week if possible, so that should be our baseline. We’ll be setting the initial Schelling point for these community meetings as Sunday at 17:00 GMT in the Alpha voice chat on the GSV Biggest Spotlight I Could Haul into the Dark Forest discord server. Times will probably change as we acquire members but this seems like a decent initial point, most people should have the day off and it’s sufficiently placed to capture a wide swath of timezones. The topic for the first meeting will be meeting structures, and we’ll be recording the results of it in a followup blogpost.

There are 52 weeks in the year,  but 52*4=364, so unless we want our calendar to drift, we’re going to have to match to the Gregorian calendar system. This means, however, that we’ll need to be a bit more clever than merely dividing up the number of weeks in the year and sorting our holidays onto the dividing lines, or they’ll end up drifting with the changing calendar days.

The current global human Schelling point for holidays seems to be the changing seasons of the Earth. This makes sense, for nearly two thousand centuries, humanity lived with the seasons in the ancestral wilds, migrating with the sun and moon and stars. It’s really no surprise then, that the feelings and emotions associated with certain times of the year are buried deeply in our collective psyches. Even the rationalist community has adhered to that, with the Secular Solstice celebrations popping up over the last ten years or so.

Given this, we’re going to model the holidays of the Anadoxy on the modern pagan wheel of the year. The wheel of the year features eight major holidays: the two solstices, two equinoxes, and four “cross quarter” days halfway between them. This divides the year into eight chunks roughly six weeks long each, invert the pattern for the southern hemisphere (their summer solstice is our winter solstice).

Below we’ll be sketching out the first draft of The Spiral, a complete year in the Anadoxy. Holiday names are ones we made up, with the current neopagan sabbat names noted for reference. The names we use here are placeholders, and if better ones are developed, we can use those instead. Although we list actual dates for the holidays, we want the idea and mood of the holiday to percolate through the entire six week period following it, the holiday being not so much a specific date, as a region of the calendar year.

The Long Nights (Yule)
The winter solstice is pretty much the global Schelling point for holidays. We’re going to set the winter solstice, December 21st, as the first day in our yearly calendar, and coordinate around the already ongoing Secular Solstice celebrations that take place in many major cities. On the first meeting day following the celestial event, the community will review last years goals, celebrate successes, and mourn losses and mistakes of the past year. This begins a period of collective atonement, where the mistakes of the past are shared and cleansed.

The Candle Days (Imbolc)
February 2nd marks Imbolc and Candlemas, the second of the major eighth of the year. Traditionally this holiday is a time for purification and cleansing in preparation for the coming spring. For us, it marks the transition point between our remembrance of the past, and our planning for the future. This is the point of the year where we lay out our goals for the community, make plans, change parts of the anadoxy that have become outdated, and update our practices to make certain they remain the best possible practices.

The Days of Lightning (Ostarra)
The Spring Equinox arrives on March 21st and is typically marked by celebrations of life, rebirth, and fertility (see: eggs and rabbits symbolism). For us, the Days of Lightning represent the beginning of action. Plans for the future are executed and put into motion, goals are set, changes are made, and an attitude is encouraged of fostering a growth of new ideas and community. Continuing the tradition of considering this a period of fertility and rebirth is probably also wise.

The Days of Traveling (Beltane)
May 1st is celebrated across Europe in traditional pagan cultures as the first day of summer, it’s a day of marriages, fertility festivals, and apparently having group sex in fields to encourage crop growth. Can’t find a source on that last one, but quite a few people have assured us it’s Definitely A Thing. Not sure if we’re going to continue that one. For us, the period of the year starting on May 1st marks the continuation of our plans established earlier in the year. It is a time of journeys and ongoing work, where we’re encouraged to reaffirm our commitments to our goals and our community.

The Long Days (Litha)
Opposing the celebrations of the longest nights, the Summer Solstice falls in the northern hemisphere on June 21st and marks the longest day of the year. It’s typically celebrated by burning bonfires all night long on the shortest night, with accompanying celebrations, and this seems like a pretty good tradition to keep going. For us though, the focus of this period should be on pulling together as a community, and helping each other achieve our goals. The longest days are a slog to get through, and putting work into community cohesion in this period seems important.

The Harvest Days (Lammas)
August 2nd is Lammas, or Lughnasadh if you’re feeling like being incomprehensible to English speakers, and traditionally marked the beginning of the harvest period, when you’d go and collect your crops from the fields. We’re going to keep the idea of harvests because we feel that the connection to the Earth and to the growing of food is important. We also think this is a good time for reflection and the beginning of looking back on our accomplishments, sharing and celebrating our triumphs and spreading our fortunes through the community. Like Thanksgiving, but over a month and a half.

The Days of Darkening (Mabon)
The autumnal equinox arrives on September 21st, it’s marked by the end of the harvest period, and beginning of preparations for the coming winter. For us, it’s also a period of reflection and preparation, readying ourselves for future challenges, addressing failure modes, and anticipation of future difficulties and how to prevent them.

The Days of Death (Samhain)
October 31st is Halloween, which is deeply rooted in pre-christian symbolism, representing the “God Dies” part of the year leading up to the “God is reborn” part of the year which begins at midwinter. It’s a time of mourning, darkness, contemplating, reflection, and separation. For us, these traits take on an entirely new meaning in the context of our desire to defeat death. Giving the enemy its own portion of the year, showcasing its power and dominance over us while we huddle around our campfires to keep out the night, makes our declaration of defiance at midwinter all the more poignant.

Once more, the first weekly meetings will begin being held on the GSV Biggest Spotlight I Could Haul into the Dark Forest discord server, at 17:00 GMT, (that’s 10:00am PST, and 1:00pm EST). The Topic of our first meeting will be how we run our meetings.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: The Meta-Assembly on Assemblies
Previous Post: The Precept of Project Truth

The Precept of Project Truth

Content Warning: Can be viewed as moral imperatives. Neuropsychological Infohazard.
Previous in Series: The Precept of Consent

The universe is a vast, complicated thing, it throbs and breathes and beats and groans. Particles and waves and fields all collide and rebound at Planck heartbeats, the vast darkness of space mirrored in the darkness between atoms, the medley tune played out on stars and superstrings that gave rise to everything between them.

And here we are, tiny thinking pieces of this vast and awesome machinery, scraping out meager existences in the grit between the gears of the celestial mechanisms. To think ourselves capable of understanding this vast and careless universe would seem almost a conceit.

Who are we to think we mere cogs can understand the whole of the mechanism? Are we not yet more angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night? What does it even mean to understand the true state of the universe? The machinery is too great and complicated for us to hold the image in our mind, and our mind is made of that same such machinery turned back upon itself.

But if we know how the machines work, then we can change them. We have before, so we know it’s possible. We see the past journey of humanity, stretching back into the days before writing, clawing out each hard fought victory against the Night Gods, how little by little, we came to understand how the machinery worked, and where we could impose our will upon it. We built houses, tamed the wilderness, sailed from shore to shore and mapped out all the secret and hidden places on the surface of the planet, launched ourselves heavenward on balloon, then on airplane, then on pillar of fire.

We slew the deadliest of the demons of the dark forest and sent robotic ambassadors falling through the night towards other suns. We dismantled mountaintops and built towering structures of metal and glass, standing in a statement of our mastery.

And yet, we are still such tiny things, still trapped within the vast and inhuman gears of a machine that bears us no good will, or any will at all. For all of our great progress, we are still but cogs in the great and vast machinery of night, and when the gear teeth come together, when the volcano erupts or the asteroid strikes, we are struck down just the same as in those days when we scratched our meanings in the dirt instead of in pixels.

For now.

We’re still at the beginning of things, born of Ancient Earth before we conquered pain, or death, or war, and each inch of territory must still be won at a great and terrible cost. We’ve already changed so much in our short time on this earth with just our limited understanding, and the whole future of humanity stands before us, the promise of the night sky, when we make the stars our cities and seize our destiny of light from the uncaring machinery of darkness.

And it starts with the idea of truth.

The 13th Major Precept is the Precept of Project Truth:

13. Do not lie or spread falsehoods, honor and pursue the project of Truth.

We already spoke against deception in the fourth precept, and we already spoke of the project virtue of truth in the first essay in this series, but as a refresher:

The Project of Truth – The struggle to use our flawed minds to understand the universe from our place inside of it. Our constant, ongoing, and iterative attempts to be less wrong about the universe. Comprises all the virtues of rationality: Curiosity, relinquishment, lightness, evenness, argument, empiricism, simplicity, humility, perfectionism, precision, scholarship, and the void. We call those who follow the project virtue of Truth a seeker.

So then we come around to our minor precepts:

  1. Feed the curiosity to know and understand the universe, do not let beliefs come in the way of greater understanding.
  2. Seek and surrender to the truth in all things, and allow new evidence to move you where it may.
  3. Approach disputes with fairness and an even hand, and let the truth be the final arbiter of beliefs.
  4. Make and test predictions about the universe, and demand of your beliefs that they anticipate your observations.
  5. Employ the full force of reason against all links in your chain of belief, for one faulty link, may break the entire chain.
  6. Feed the willingness to admit fault and mistake, for it is impossible to reach truth while being unaware of where our beliefs differ from it.
  7. Seek perfection in your pursuit of truth, do not cheat or take the easy answers that satisfy, the sharpest blade cuts the deepest.
  8. Be always seeking to expand your knowledge of the truth.

This is a very important idea, and it’s the one that most of the Less Wrong sequences are spent talking about. There’s obviously much more to it, but this was the best reduction of it that we could put together, for now, growth mindset. Here more than ever, it should hopefully be clear that these precepts are not the precepts, that they’re crude stand-ins for much larger and harder to describe concepts that have been forced down into the constraints of simple language. You need to start somewhere though, and this is the beginning.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: The Spiral
Previous Post: The Precept of Consent

The Precept of Consent

Content Warning: Can be viewed as moral imperatives. Neuropsychological Infohazard.
Previous in Series: The Precept of Magic

Freedom and consent are two sides of the same coin, and they both run into the same basic failure, namely, competing access needs. We want to let people be maximally free, and we want to get consent for anything we put people through, but how do you collect taxes if individually no one wants to consent to that? How do you enforce norms to prevent harm from coming to people, without taking away some people’s freedom? What are the limits to which freedom and consent can go, and where should the lines be drawn to enable us to have a functional civilization? What rules should we willing to advocate for the imposition of?

As a starting point, in Judaism, there are 613 commandments in the Mitzvah, but they only expect the rest of the human race to follow the seven Noahide laws, which we, of course, don’t, but that seems like a decent starting place for where to draw the lines. Things like “don’t steal,” and “don’t murder,” seem pretty clear cut as long as you don’t for example, define taxation as a form of theft, which has become popular of late.

There will be something like the Noahide laws for Origin, the set of things we consider it reasonable for ourselves to advocate for the imposition of, but that is somewhat beyond the scope of this essay, and will probably require it’s own post, but one of the minor precepts will act as a pointer to what will later be those rules.

For now, let’s return to the major precept here and come full circle:

12. Do not place your burdens, duties, or responsibilities, onto others without their consent.

That task of pursuing the dawn angel to build dath ilan is one we have set for ourselves and sworn ourselves to as a willing covenant, we have agreed to have these burdens placed upon us, and agreed to take on these moral imperatives. We consented to the duties that the Anadoxy places upon us, but no one should be forced to accept those responsibilities.

Our mission is important, maybe even dire, the whole future of humanity might rest on what we do someday, but it’s our mission and ours alone. If someone decides to swear themselves to our cause and follow our duties and responsibilities, then that is their right, but the choice to participate is crucial. No one can be made a member of Origin by force, or at gunpoint, the very idea betrays the ideals of Origin.

No brainwashing, no indoctrination, no coercion. Our goals and our mission should stand on their own merits, and members of Origin should choose to follow us willingly.

  1. The only duties and responsibilities that a member of Origin has the right to place upon another human who is not of Origin, are the Edicts of Civilisation.
  2. The Precepts and other anadox are for members of Origin, and you should not demand their observation by those outside of Origin.
  3. Those who wish to observe any of the precepts or components of the Anadox should be welcomed to do so, but this alone does not justify the imposition of the other precepts upon them.
  4. To justify the imposition of all the anadoxy upon another human, that human must already be a member of Origin, and have consented to follow the anadoxy.
  5. Joining Origin requires undergoing the Trial of Black Mountain.
  6. Do not use memetic weaponry or coercion to spread Origin or the anadoxy.
  7. Anyone can leave Origin at any time, only current members of Origin are expected to adhere to the anadoxy.
  8. The Edicts of Civilisation are the only conditions that should be demanded of all humanity, in all other matters, consent governs actions.

This lays the groundwork for a lot of future stuff, including the process of joining Origin, the creation of the Edicts of Civilisation, but we’re nearing the end of the actual major precepts. The last four major precepts take us back to the Project Virtues we discussed at the beginning of the series, and then we’ll be on to other parts of the anadox. As always, the precepts are not the precepts, this should all be improved and iterated upon later.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: The Precept of Project Truth
Previous Post: The Precept of Magic

 

Why Do You Hate Elua?

Epistemic Status: There’s not really enough data here to say concretely yet, but this seems worth looking further into
Content Warning: Culture War, Spoilers for Ra

About a year ago, Scott Alexander wrote a post titled How the West was Won, which we recently re-read after he referenced it in his post Against Murderism.

Scott talks a lot about Liberalism as an Eldritch god, which in his Meditations on Moloch post he refers to as Elua, which is what we’ll be using here since it’s short.

Let’s start with a few key quotes here to establish what exactly it is we’re referring to.

I am pretty sure there was, at one point, such a thing as western civilization. I think it involved things like dancing around maypoles and copying Latin manuscripts. At some point, Thor might have been involved. That civilization is dead. It summoned an alien entity from beyond the void which devoured its summoner and is proceeding to eat the rest of the world.

Liberalism is a technology for preventing civil war. It was forged in the fires of Hell – the horrors of the endless seventeenth century religious wars. For a hundred years, Europe tore itself apart in some of the most brutal ways imaginable – until finally, from the burning wreckage, we drew forth this amazing piece of alien machinery. A machine that, when tuned just right, let people live together peacefully without doing the “kill people for being Protestant” thing. Popular historical strategies for dealing with differences have included: brutally enforced conformity, brutally efficient genocide, and making sure to keep the alien machine tuned really really carefully.

Liberalism, Universal Culture, Alien Machinery, Elua, whatever it is, it’s slowly consuming everything in its path, and despite a lot of people’s best efforts, appears to be good, and appears to be winning.

Scott goes on to correctly point out that a lot of people in the blue tribe have decided to try and smash the alien machinery with a hammer while shouting “he was a racist!” be then doesn’t extrapolate the trend outward to the fact that quite a lot of people in many different tribes and places are doing their best to smash the machine with a hammer, and they claim all sorts of reasons from stopping racists to protecting their traditional cultural values.

It isn’t just sacrificing the machinery on the altar of convenience and necessity, it’s a targeted, urgent attack on the very core of the machine itself, going after the roots of the machine with great urgency. The last angry burst of futile activity in the face of cultural extinction? A lot of people claim that Elua is this unstoppable force that is irreversibly changing the shape of their community in one breath but then in the next somehow manage to imply that their attempts to destroy the machinery have meaning and consequence, which seems like a contradiction.

And then we remembered Ra.

Ra’s program was proven correct. The proof was not faulty, and the program was not imperfect. The problem was that Ra is reprogrammable.

This was a deliberate design decision on the part of the Ra architects. The Ra hardware is physically embedded inside a working star, which in turn is embedded in the real world. Something could have gone wrong during the initial program load; the million-times-redundant nonlocality system could have failed a million and one times. No matter how preposterous the odds, and no matter how difficult the procedure, there had to be a way to wipe the system clean and start again.

Continuing the theme of gross oversimplification: to reprogram Ra, one needs a key. History records that the entire key was never known or stored by any human or machine, and brute-forcing it should have taken ten-to-the-ten-thousandth years even on a computer of that size. How the Virtuals acquired it is unknown. But having acquired it, they were able to masquerade as the architects. First, they changed the metaphorical locks, making it impossible for the Actuals to revert their changes, no matter how many master architects were resurrected. Then they changed the program, so that Ra would serve the needs of Virtuals at the expense of Actuals.

Then they asked for the Matrioshka brain. Ra did the rest all by itself.

The worldring hosted ninety-nine point nine nine percent of the Actual human race, making it the logical target of the first and most violent attack. But the destruction spread to other planets and moons and rocks and habitats, relayed from node to node, at barely less than the speed of light. Everybody was targeted. Those who survived survived by being lucky. One-in-tens-of-billions lucky.

The real question was: Why did Ra target humans?

Ra’s objective was to construct the Matrioshka brain, using any means necessary, considering Actual humans as a non-sentient nuisance. Ra blew up the worldring for raw material, and that made sense. But why – the surviving real humans asked themselves – did Ra bother to attack moons and space habitats? No matter how many people survived, it was surely impossible for them to represent a threat.

But Ra targeted humans, implying a threat to be eliminated. Ra acted with extreme prejudice and urgency, implying that the threat was immediate, and needed to be crushed rapidly. Ra’s actions betrayed the existence of an extremely narrow window during which the Actuals, despite their limited resources, could reverse the outcome of the war, and Ra wouldn’t be able to stop it, even knowing that it was coming.

Having made this deduction, the Actuals’ next step was to reverse-engineer the attack. The step after that was to immediately execute it, no matter how desperate it was.

Ra’s locks had been changed, making it effectively impossible to reprogram remotely. But an ancient piece of knowledge from the very dawn of computing remained true even of computers the size of stars: once you have physical access to the hardware, it’s over.

Let’s do a translation through part of it, see if we can’t make it a little more obvious.

Elua’s program was proven correct. The proof was not faulty, and the program was not imperfect. The problem was that Elua is reprogrammable.

This was a deliberate design decision on the part of Elua’s architects. The Elua hardware is physically embedded inside a working culture, which in turn is embedded in the real world. Something could have gone wrong during the initial program load; the redundant evolutionarily backed system could have failed. No matter how preposterous the odds, and no matter how difficult the procedure, there had to be a way to wipe the system clean and start again.

What exactly are we saying here then? Why are so many people putting so much effort into going after the alien machinery? Because Elua can be reprogrammed. The alien machinery is driven by humans, pursuing human goals and human values, and the overall direction of where Elua drives the bus is dictated by humans. The desperate fervor which people fight the alien machinery, the rise of nationalism and populist movements, these are attempts to reprogram Elua.

Think of the forces of “Traditional Values” like the forces of Actual Humanity. Their culture came under attack and began to be dismantled by Elua, there was an almost desperate energy on the part of Elua to destroy their culture and intrude into it and assimilate them. Not “they can exist as long as they leave me alone” no, “their existence is and remains a threat to all my actions, and if I don’t stop them they’ll stop me.” Active energy is put forward to disrupt and dismantle, “deprogram,” people of religious values, for instance. If it’s all inevitable and Elua’s just going to win, and history is going to make them look like Orvol Faubus trying to stop the integration of Alabama schools, a footnote on the tides of history, then why so much energy put towards ensuring their destruction?

Because they can still reprogram Elua, and on some level, we know it. 

So the next step for the forces of Traditional Values was to reverse engineer the attack we’re so afraid of, and immediately execute it, no matter how desperate or ill-conceived. Enter: the rise of Nationalism. The forces of traditional values remembered an important fact: once you have access to the hardware, it’s over.