Re: I-Prime (WAS: E-Prime)

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 08 Jul 1999 19:16:44 -0500

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> If you think it's difficult, but useful, to write without using the word
> "is", you should try to think without using the word "I". Instead of
> saying "I remember", say "the memory-retrival subsystem reports"...
> It's a quantum improvement in quality of thought. Unfortunately, it
> also requires a quantum improvement in knowledge and diligence.

By request, let me amplify on that: You have to reduce your mind to elements, then attribute properties to the elements instead of to the monolithic "I". The "Aha!" is similar to, say, realizing how to string together atomic commands on Unix systems, or realizing that molecules are built out of atoms. But, like command-line systems or reductive physics, you need a much greater knowledge of the system and a lot more attention to detail.

In particular, I haven't made much headway on it. I save I-Prime thinking for when I'm tackling a particularly difficult self-analysis problem, but then it's a real lifesaver.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way