Re: Sanity

Samael (
Fri, 15 Jan 1999 09:06:33 -0000

-----Original Message-----
From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> To: <> Date: 15 January 1999 08:50
Subject: Sanity

>Billy Brown wrote:
>> IMO, there is a long list of unusual mental abilities that a
>> perfectly sane being would possess. I've never met a human who had all
>> them, but some people certainly have more than others. A partial list:

>6) Self-awareness. The ability to say *why* you thought a given
>thought, and be accurate about it, even if it's uncomfortable. The
>ability to think without using the word "I". (I can't do this unless I
>concentrate - that is, causal analysis attributes all cognition to a
>monolithic self-symbol unless the subgoal of fine-grained analysis is

Not using 'I' can be a useful trick for thinking in certain ways. Another useful one can be trying to form concepts without the word 'is' in them (or isomorphic words). Instead replacing it with phrases that acknowledge you as an observer - ie instead of "Bob is an idiot" - "I Saw Bob do something that I thought was idiotic." and instead of "electrons are particles." - "In experiment X electrons acted in particle-like ways".

It can be a bit long winded, but rephrasing like this can be a good way to spot logical flaws.