Re: virus: Level 3 minds
Sun, 27 Oct 1996 14:51:23 -0600 (CST)

On Sat, 26 Oct 1996, Jason McVean wrote:

> JPSchneider wrote:
> > Suggestion: Do not label the "mind" as level 3. Rather, label the
> > "thought process". Thought processes are much easier to talk about
> > than are "minds". At best then, if one still wants to label the
> > "mind," say that it "is a mind capable of entertaining level 3
> > thoughts," (even though it might not always be doing so).
> >
> > I like to think that I'm quite capable of operating in "level 3 mode,"
> > only I find the day-to-day assessment of various factual information
> > much easier to accomplish if I'm in "level 2 cruise control". (This
> > is, in fact, a level 3 argument: I find it more "useful" to grind
> > away in level 2 most of the time - just personal taste: it's much
> > easier to arrive at the 'truth' for me. If a discussion requires
> > me to utilize level 3 thinking, then I will - no problem.
> Kenneth Boyd wrote similarly:
> > I'm not familiar with the terminology, but I seem to function at a
> > first-order approximation to level-3 from level-2, or the real thing.
> > I allow for approximation because I did not see any definitive
> > diagnostics for IDing level-3, only diagnostics for IDing level-2. In
> > the absence of further information, I conclude that level-2 can emulate
> > level-3 to some degree.
> > The jump I took from level-2 to my current emulation/reality of level-3
> > was a lateral jump. It's not even in the same direction as the jump from
> > level-1 to level-2. I took the jump when I managed to completely break
> > level-2 as a method of living. [Actually, this was several months.]
> > In the absence of a functional method of deciding how to act, I learned to
> > use the motive-programming techniques that seem to be key to Brodie's
> > description of level-3.
> I'm perfectly willing to go with that, but it certainly weakens
> the importance of the level-3 classification. Considering that
> chimps (and apparently some humans) operate at level-1 and most
> people with higher education, right up to including PhDs, are
> purportedly at level-2, I would expect that level-3 would be an
> equally big jump, though perhaps in a different direction as KB
> suggests.

The level-1 to level-2 jump is not as extreme. When faced with an
unexpected situation, these two modes give similar conclusions much more
frequently than level-3 coincides with level-2.

Level-2 can loosely be viewed as a refinement of level-1 to include more
abstract thinking methods.

The level-3 heuristics for thinking have radically different organization
than the heuristics for level-2 thinking. I don't really have good
analogies, but try this [novice vs. expert](?):


Trigonmetry, the class:
A C student can memorize every identity in the book, and still get a C.
An A student doesn't need very many identities; loosely described:
Definitions of tan, cot, sec, and csc.
sin, cos have period 2*pi
sin, cos negate when you add pi to the argument
sin is an odd function, cos is an even function
sin is the cofunction of cos
Pythagorean identity
double-angle identities for sin, cos
Reference values for 0, pi/6, pi/4, pi/3, pi/2 for sin, cos.
[the A student is also Algebra Master, and if he/she ever enters
Calc N, can simplify what lesser students do not (for fear of lowering
their already-iffy grade).]
[I count 13 equations that must be known. Many of these have
structural similarity. I also count ten function values that must be known.]

In comparison of reasoning modes, level-2 is more similar to the
C-student techniques, and level-3 is more similar to the A-student
techniques. You will observe that default strategies differ radically.
A-student actually has a lousy database compared to C-student, but he can

For instance: faced with the necessity of an angle-addition formula [say,
for sin(A+B)]
C-student knows this. He recalls this.
A-student mutates the double-angle formula into something that will
collapse to it in the equal-angles case, and writes THAT down as quickly
as the C-student recalls it.
Both students write down the same equation.

Faced with nightmare story-problem requiring the cosine law with the key
angle missing, not to mention it was never in the homework:
C-student panics: problem is of unknown type.
A-student may freeze momentarily, but will eventually realize [on
the order of minutes, spent looking at other problems] that the cosine
of the key angle can be solved for without solving for the angle.

I really cannot do better than that [right now], in thinking of analogies.

> But based on what is written above, pretty much everyone on this
> list operates in level-3 mode at least some of the time. The
> strength of the claim has been reduced to simply using the
> concept of memetics on occasion, something that most people are
> capable of doing, and probably do without the fancy terminology.
> That's why I suspect Richard feels there more to level-3 than this.
> But if this is all there is to level-3, perhaps we should call it
> level 2.1 instead and avoid the confusion.

Except that decimals are ugly, and these numberings are not explicitly a
linear measure. Any more than the Mohs scale is an explicitly linear
grading system for hardness of rocks/minerals.

I repeat: the distinction is a matter of default response. It is one
thing to engage in emulated level-3 when the normal level-2 responses
are obviously inapplicable [level-3 emulation is mentally exhausting at
level-2 beyond a few minutes]. It is another thing to, when faced with
a moderate situation, to automatically use level-3 reasoning.

Also, memetic reasoning does not have full support in level-2, so it is
not surprising that many people on this list can do level-3 emulation.
People closer to statistically-normal [note that we are trying to change
this!] who actually have seen me analyze situations invariably have
problems replicating the reasoning I used independently.

> Kenneth Boyd also wrote:
> > I had to face those "unsavory implications" during the jump. ....


> By unsavory implications, I was thinking of things like Bob
> deciding that he was going to fully commit himself to getting
> rich. However, to do that most effectively, he had to discard his
> previously held memes that stood in his way, such as "I don't want
> to exploit people in third world countries" and "I'd like to try to
> preserve the environment". Or perhaps Bob decides that the most
> fulfilling thing he can do is become the president of the USA but
> to do so he discards his obstructing memes concerning integrity
> and truthfulness. Or maybe he wants to rule the world and one
> thing that will help is to demonize a minority ethnic group.
> I doubt this is really what Richard Brodie has in mind but that's
> certainly where it seems to lead if "only absolute impossibility
> of means" is enough to sway you from your goal.

Those are very mild compared to the ones I had to deal with. Besides, I
think a deeper analysis would severely compromise the usefulness of the
examples quoted, in those circumstances.

One of the hardest parts of this shift was unlearning the use of
willpower. It is almost always less taxing to directly
construct/destroy motivation than to use vastly inadequate willpower.
to deflect an unwanted motive.

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd