Internal Double Crux

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[From the CFAR Handbook: https://www.rationality.org/files/CFAR_Handbook_2021-01.pdf]

The IDC algorithm

  1. Find an internal disagreement

• A “should” that’s counter to your current default action

• Something you feel you aren’t supposed to think or believe (though secretly you do)

• A step toward your goal that feels useless or unpleasant

  1. Operationalize the disagreement

• If there are more than two sides, choose two to start with; focus on what feels important

• Choose names that are charitable and describe the beliefs as they feel from the inside, rather than names that are hostile or judgmental (e.g. the “I deserve rest” side, not the “I’m lazy” side)

  1. Seek double cruxes

• Check for urgency

– Is one side more impatient or emotionally salient than the other? Does one side need to “speak first”?

– Is one side more vulnerable to dismissal or misinterpretation (i.e. it’s the sort of thing you don’t allow yourself to think or feel, because it’s wrong or stupid or impractical or vague or otherwise outside of your identity)?

• Seek an understanding of one side

– Let whichever side feels more impatient “explain itself”—why does it feel right or important to react in this way?

– What things does the other side not understand about the world, that this side does? Why can’t the other viewpoint be trusted—what’s bad about letting it call the shots?

• Seek an understanding of the other side

– Check for resonance with what the other side just said—did any of it ring true from the second perspective?

– What things does the first side not understand about the world? Why can’t it be trusted—why would it be bad if only its priorities were taken into account?

  1. Resonate

• Continue to ask each side to speak to and summarize the perspective of the other, until both models have incorporated the rationales underlying the other’s conclusions

• Imagine the resolution as an if-then statement, and use your inner sim and other checks to see if either side has any unspoken hesitations about the truth and completeness of that statement