I am Lulie Tanett. I’m based in Oxford, UK. I also travel — most of my summers are spent in Waterloo, Canada, and I periodically visit Northern California.
I didn’t go to school, nor university. Instead, I follow my own problems and interests. It’s fun.
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I’m interested in what’s fundamental. What are the underlying principles? How must reality work, given our deepest knowledge? Which ideas that we take for granted would be revealed as impossible if we took our best ones seriously?
As such, my main interest is epistemology — the study of knowledge, information flow, how thinking works. And philosophy in general.
I’m a generalist. The world isn’t divided into subjects. What really exist are problems. I’m interested in whatever my problems lead to (solutions always raise new problems) — and since everything is connected, I’m interested in everything. 🙂
If there’s a single book that captures most of my worldview, it’s The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch. (Optimism and progress, memetics, realism in morality and aesthetics, fallibilism, the significance of universality and creativity, and much more.)
I agree with Richard Feynman when he said understanding something only adds to its beauty.
I appreciate art with a value on draftsmanship and excellence: the atelier movement, concept art, academic realism, etc. I like anything well-made, clever, fascinating, delighting, or beautiful — from illustration to optical illusions, epic paintings to simple masterpieces.
I sometimes do design. My brain is on an audiobook cover.
I sometimes do photography. I’ve started learning videography. Video is a wonderful medium — it combines together many different art-forms and ways to express ideas.
- Personal development. Most self-help advice is silly or roughly interchangeable; but each book points at something, and I’m seeking to figure out what that something is.
- Psychology and sociology. Not the academic disciplines (which are riddled with scientism and worse), but trying to figure out how people think and how culture works.
- Humour theory; improv; comedy; story-telling.
- Cartooning; caricature; comics (particularly as a means to convey ideas, jokes, stories, worldviews).
I’m currently researching the growth of knowledge: how thought works, how it thrives and gets thwarted.
What causes some people to make incredible progress, and some to get stuck? Is this reversible? How can blocks to progress be removed? What actually happens inside the mind that inhibits progress — what is the logic of sabotaged thought?
The avenue I find promising currently involves a unification of several fields: fallibilism, memetics, authoritarianism and coercion, logic of thought, morality, realism, meta discussion.
To give a flavour —
- Memetics: Borrowing David Deutsch’s idea of static (“antirational”) memes vs dynamic (“rational”) memes, I’m looking into the actual mechanisms they use and way they affect everyday life and human decisions.
- Meta discussion: Discussion about the discussion or its participants does something funny to conversations – it drives arguments into black holes, and breeds more meta. It also does this inside one mind: anxiety loops are nearly always meta discussion. Memes seem to use this mechanism to disable thought.
- Coercion: Coercion isn’t bad only because it feels bad; it blocks off avenues of thought. There is a kind of coercion that happens only within one mind — forcing yourself to do something that part of you finds objectionable. But this is not fundamentally better than coercing another person. People coerce themselves because they are taught from a young age that this is the right thing to do. (Which itself is because antirational memes work by coercion: disabling their holders’ critical faculties.)