Summary of the Luminosity Sequence

A summary of the Luminosity blog series on self-awareness from LessWrong.

(Original Document here, open to comments.)

Luminosity is self-awareness. Emotions, beliefs, aliefs, dispositions, and memories are luminous if you are aware of them. Most people cannot describe what is going on in their head, either at any particular moment or over time, and cannot predict their future actions well. (Living Luminously)

Luminosity is useful because it is fun, it lets you describe how you work to others so it is easier to cooperate, and it finds low-hanging fruit to change. (You Are Likely To Be Eaten By A Grue)

Your introspection is a poor starting point, because it is riddled with biases and self-deception. A better start is taking the outside view of yourself as an average human, then taking personality tests like Big Five, intelligence types, that suggest traits. Ask people you know, but expect strong biases. Discard traits which are clearly wrong, and keep ones which seem true and make predictions. Do not keep or discard things because they sound good or bad. (Let There Be Light)

Your affect is how you feel and your thoughts. Your behaviour is what you do. Your circumstance is what is going on around you, and your physical state. All of these things affect each other. These are the ABCs of luminosity, and the most effective way to improve your luminosity is by looking for correlations and potential causations between them. (The ABCs of Luminosity)

You should reflect on recent thoughts when looking for correlations, because memory is fallible. Consider what you were thinking about, distractions, feelings, how the act of thinking itself felt, associated memories, and sensory input. Circumstances vary over time, so this will need to be done regularly for a long time. Consider periodic reminders. (Lights, Camera, Action)

In order to examine what you are presently thinking, write it down in some structured way, then examine it as though you were trying to work out what was going on in the mind of someone else who wrote it. Consider what assessments you’d make of them, what open questions you’d have, and how you could judge the answer without relying on a truthful verbal reply. (The Spotlight)

For your thoughts and feelings, identify whether they have endorsement. Start with whether they are connected to your conscious life goals. As a second pass, consider what you have identified them as causing. You can describe your emotions as endorsed or unendorsed to others, so they understand you better, This is a precursor to changing yourself. (Highlights and Shadows)

We often find we have conflicting thoughts, preferences, and behavioural strategies, and switch between which sets are dominant at any given time. Having identified the conflicts and behavioural modes, model the different sides as named subagents of you. (City of Lights)

In order to change, and to test your models, make predictions about yourself. You are not blinded, which creates an influence to cheat to get the result you like. This is not a problem; by doing so, you change yourself, and validly change which models are true. (Lampshading)