Open Problems / Questions

A list of the problems I’m currently working on or questions I’m curious about. If you have any solutions or answers, email me!


Are there any other replication strategies other than “dynamic”/”rational” and “static”/”anti-rational” memes (as described by David Deutsch in The Beginning of Infinity)?

Can anti-rational memes make you think certain things, or only prevent you from thinking certain things?

Are memes mind-control devices? Does that violate human universality?

Progress, Mental Blocks, Meta

What are the main things preventing progress?

How do memes disable thought?

What happens inside a mind that prevents it from getting out of thought-loops? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for a mind getting stuck in a loop?


  • ‘Meta’ is something that points at itself, so presumably it needs that somewhere.
  • Maybe someone needs to think “I am bad” somewhere in the process — “the entity thinking about this is flawed and cannot [legitimately?] think about this”.

Are there any other ways of sabotaging thought other than loops? (E.g. constantly going to a new but fruitless place — but this seems rare.)

Why and when is meta discussion a destructive black hole vs useful?

What makes it so bad when it is bad?

What’s the difference between good and bad meta?

Fun, Internal Coercion, Productivity

Goals have various problems: trying to predict the future growth of knowledge; working towards a future thing instead of something fun now; the emptiness of achieving closed goals.

So: Is it possible to have a goal-free life and still do valuable things?

How can one live fully without internal coercion?

Leads: The Guru Papers (“inner authoritarian”, self-trust, how dualistic morality creates coercive internal conflicts).

‘Follow fun’ epistemology (do “whatever will be fun at the time“; “only do what is fun“): Does this work?

What attitudes and approaches allow one to engage with the economy without coercion? (How do you make a living without ever doing things you don’t want to do?)

How can one live fully doing only the thing that’s the most fun in the moment, instead of for the sake of something in the future?

Should you ever continue an interaction that feels bad? When? Why? When do people frequently do this when it’s wrong to do?

What counts as “feels bad”? What about just ‘uncomfortable’? Most people don’t notice they’re feeling bad until it’s unignorable, so they underrate bad feelings. But the opposite can lead to over-sensitivity, inability to cope with emotions, and distancing from people when they could have solved the problem together.

How can one have good relationships without any self-sacrifice/uncomfortable at all?

Why is interestingness a better criterion for action than importance? (Lead,.)


What role does fun have in fundamental epistemology?

Does being upset necessarily thwart error-correction/growth of knowledge? How/why?

Are there never epistemological reasons to continue through suffering (vs stop the hurt ASAP)? Why do epistemics and suffering conflict fundamentally?

What is deep fun?


Is the subject-matter of a painting relevant to its aesthetic value?

Can you separate aesthetics from other fields like morality?

Are immoral subjects (e.g. Nazi propaganda) limited in how aesthetic they could be?


Why does Bayesian induction cause the credence of the prediction to go down? (Popper and Miller 1983)

What do you do if a baby is crying and you don’t know what they want? Can you avoid baby coercion?