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"research says / better safe than sorry" - kind of like running, not eating sugar, doing n-back training, etc





But if you're just doing it to do it, especially with something like meditation, does it actually have value? No sugar certainly, but meditation is really just there for the emotional effects.

Doing things just because research says you should do it, or because you're better safe than sorry, is simply punting the decision and the cognitive understanding to an authority. You shouldn't be surprised when none of these things "work" -- do you even understand why they should?

This is a nonsensical statement. I cannot confirm accepted research in a time efficient manner. What I can do to make my life better is read, and trust authoritative research, after confirming the authority.

Furthermore, I can observe personalized effects over long time spans - e.g. change in physical condition after lifting or getting enough sleep for x amount of time.

That is the exact same approach to meditation, what is your qualm?

Furthermore, I am yet to hear someone explain these depths in meditation that everyone seems to allude too. As far as I know it's "sit still, focus on one thing or push away all thoughts." Or chant a mantra, if you want to pay for Transcendental Meditation lessons which come up with a personalized mantra that makes zero sense at all.


The sugar thing will work whether he believes it or not.

Belief is your word, not mine. If you don't jump in front of the train, you have avoided that hazard. But if you understand why your parent told you not to jump in front of the train, you might also be able to independently figure out why you shouldn't jump in front of a speeding car.

Can you see what I'm getting at here?

EDIT: Sorry. Originally said "what I'm driving at here". It's been a long week and I'm subconsciously making bad puns.


Still, not jumping in front of the train will 'work' regardless of whether you understand why. And it's a lot more useful than remaining agnostic about train-jumping until you understand the physical principles involved.

Agreed that genuine understanding is more useful, of course -- but correctly choosing which authorities to believe (and with what level of confidence) is often a necessary second-best. How many things do any of us truly understand in full detail?


What if jumping in front of a train ("trainspotting") worked regardless of whether you understood why?

> How many things do any of us truly understand in full detail?

Can you visualize the mechanism? You either do or you don't. Maybe the visualization is misleading. Maybe it's not. But if you're at least doing the motions there, you're revising the mechanism rather than reinventing the wheel from scratch.


> What if jumping in front of a train ("trainspotting") worked regardless of whether you understood why?

Not sure if I understand you here (I don't get the 'trainspotting' reference), but: in a world where not jumping in front of trains was fatal, parents would instruct their kids to jump in front of trains, and the ones who took their advice would survive.

In a world where it didn't matter so much either way, who knows, maybe some parents would needlessly forbid their children from jumping in front of trains. So the kids who didn't blindly follow their parents' advice might benefit from their curiosity. But if they made a habit of ignoring their parents' advice until they fully understood the reasoning behind it, they would do a bunch of other stupidly dangerous things and probably die.

> Can you visualize the mechanism? You either do or you don't. Maybe the visualization is misleading. Maybe it's not. But if you're at least doing the motions there, you're revising the mechanism rather than reinventing the wheel from scratch.

I think there's a big gap between having some kind of mental model, and having a sufficiently detailed, accurate, robust mental model to make independent judgments in important contexts. Sure, a rough high-level understanding can be useful as a preliminary bullshit detector, pinging for things that should be taken with great scepticism pending further investigation; but unless you understand a topic in full detail, you're always at risk of making 'logical' deductions that fail because of unknown (to you) unknowns.


Sure, and that's inductive generalization and it's useful, but even just using empirical evidence is sufficient for a lot of things. You don't have to understand the causative relation. In fact, much of medicine is this way. Doing X causes adverse effect Y, doing P causes beneficial effect Q.

So

> You shouldn't be surprised when none of these things "work" -- do you even understand why they should?

Understanding is not required for many things. And in fact, the thing does work!

As an example, I do not actually understand why lifting makes me stronger. Why do muscles respond to increased resistance with more strength? Certainly my ankle ligaments didn't respond to injury with more strength. Well, I don't care and it doesn't matter. It will still work.


> As an example, I do not actually understand why lifting makes me stronger. Why do muscles respond to increased resistance with more strength? Certainly my ankle ligaments didn't respond to injury with more strength. Well, I don't care and it doesn't matter. It will still work.

Maybe you'll get lucky. Or maybe, you'll wish you took the time to understand should you blow a disc in your spine. Is it possible that that you'd learn a bit more about the difference between bodyweight exercises and more than bodyweight exercises, and the requisite amount of care to do the two sustainably long term without incurring risks of debilitating injury?


That’s the magic of form. You don’t need deep understanding, you only need rules. It’ll be fine.

So you need a rule set, you need to take it seriously, you need to pick the right ones (and not accidentally pick the wrong ones or omit the right ones), and if you make a mistake, you can seriously physically injure yourself. Sounds like deep understanding to me; could you be taking it for granted because you've come to a point of mastery such it feels facile?

I'm flattered, naturally :)

But in my case I just paid a guy to tell me what to do until it became automatic habit.



It's a method for working memory training, which is linked to IQ.



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