I had a recent experience which is prompting this blog post, although I’ve thought a lot about the bits and pieces of it already. I’ll get to the recent experience in a bit.
Kaj Sotala started a fantastic thread on the CFAR alumni mailing list about un-identifying with desires. He described how when he experienced himself having conflicting desires in himself, he realized he could “step outside the two desires, and stop identifying with either one.” Instead of being one of the desires, he wrote,
“I was an external observer, watching two parts of me mutually figure out whose suggested course of action would be more useful for the organism’s overall well-being.”
Other highlights from the thread were some relevant questions and observations, including:
(This section was my contribution to the thread.)
I think that this ability to model yourself as having multiple parts and to step outside of being a particular one is really, really fundamental… to rationality and to a lot of other core skills such as relating with other people.