Will I become significantly more mellow by the end of the year?
Jan 1, 2023
I've long been a fan of biting criticism, speaking plainly, and calling out bullshit. Will I adopt a significantly different approach by the end of the year? Question resolves according to my own judgment. Close date updated to 2022-12-31 11:59 pm
People tend not to change their personalities a bunch, and I don't think you are making a project to do so (in part, because I think it's not obvious to you [*] that this would be an improvement). [*] In English, "It's not obvious to you that X" implies that X is true, but I don't mean to imply that.
I would guess that being more mellow is good for one's social status, at least in academia-adjacent circles and at least in the US, although I'm only like 85% confident in this. I'm also not sure whether being more mellow is good for changing minds. But I would not want people to engage in ~philosophical/political (broadly conceived) discussions with me with the explicit goal of changing my mind, or to optimize their discussion style for changing my mind. I would prefer it if they didn't care at all about what my opinion is, and instead cared about figuring out the truth, or something like that. Something something treating other people as autonomous rational agents something something Kant something something, except I don't think one needs to be a deontologist to subscribe to this. I would guess that almost all people would prefer to be treated in the latter way, but I won't make a further argument for this here. (That said, there are cases where changing someone's mind is sufficiently good instrumentally to outweigh concerns about how they want to be treated. E.g. if showing Hitler a propaganda poster would have prevented the Holocaust, I would certainly have supported showing him the propaganda poster. I might begrudgingly agree that when e.g. writing a NYT article on effective altruism, propaganda considerations could be sufficiently strong to warrant being mellow. But I'd think that this is not the case when e.g. writing an EA forum post.) Anyway, even if one buys the argument that they should not be trying to change people's minds, I admit that there is still a positive case that remains to be made for speaking plainly conditional on optimizing whatever the thing is that one actually ought to be optimizing, but I won't elaborate on this right now either. I agree that there is variation in how people like to be treated etc., and that it's best to take this into account when optimizing whatever one is optimizing in discussions. Also, I don't want to argue for cruel insults or ridicule (nor does this seem to be what Nuño is currently pursuing, at least based on a cursory look at his twitter).
i agree with isaac, and also i want to add that the best is to understand first other people's minds and work with them, don't believe that all of us work in the same way. some of them will need more criticism and satires than others, you only need to learn when you are going to act in one way or another.
As someone with a similar disposition, I've found that biting criticism and "calling people out" tends to be counterproductive. If your goal is just to raise your social status then sure, go ahead, but if your goal is to change minds I think you'll find that a different tactic is far more effective. You can still tell people that you disagree with them, but refrain from ridicule and insults, since that's just going to make them less receptive.