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User ID: 2225



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User ID: 2225

So is "you know someone who works there" pretty much the only way to signal general competence? I suppose the question, then, is: how does anyone get hired any other way even if their resume ticks all the boxes? If a resume doing X well doesn't signal general competence enough to be hired to do Y absent having someone on the inside who can vouch for you... then why would it be a sufficient signal to get hired to do X? (Maybe the answer is, it isn't, which is why the whole search process is terrible on both sides?)

Not going into too much detail to avoid self-doxxing but I was hired directly into a senior role from academia with no industry experience... I did have a personal recommendation then, and I guess I didn't give enough credit to how important that was for getting my foot in the door.

Maybe not the right place, maybe better for Sunday, but I'm not in a great mood. What is up with senior software engineering hiring? All the job postings seem to be premised on the idea that you don't learn any transferable skills in your career, only domain-specific ones. If you want a senior position doing X, you'd better have been doing X for multiple years already. I get that makes sense for principal-level jobs where the whole point is to hire a world expert on X, but a senior still has to ramp up as part of a team anyway. Surely this state of affairs is really suboptimal, given (I hear) how hard it is to find good people. Where are the companies hiring smart senior SWEs who have been doing X to do Y and just figuring on an extra bit of ramp-up?

Is this about divorce (the relevant difference here is not actually moral but ontological; the official Catholic line being that divorce is impossible)? About economia in general? Something else? I don't think there are any major differences in moral teaching, so this has got to be about how the teaching is applied, but that comparison doesn't seem to come out with Catholicism-as-actually-practiced (as opposed to in theory) being notably stricter.

So I am kind of confused by this and would like you to elaborate.

Software, actually.

And yeah, the things that are usually written as initialisms are even worse for this.

For some reason, every time I see the Friday Fun Thread, my brain insists on first abbreviating it to "FFT", then re-expanding "FFT" to "Fast Fourier Transform." Not that I get confused, it's just kind of there in the background.

Anyone else do something similar?

If you like self-reference and logic (and who doesn't, really?) Gödel, Escher, Bach is a lot of fun.

LOL. I regret that I have but one upvote to give for this comment.

I too am a member of this club. (Actually, although I quoted Lewis in my top level comment downthread, I'm not sure if I've actually quoted the others in my few Motte posts yet. It's only a matter of time, though.)

What struck me so strongly is that the reference was just dropped in with no explanation, as one might a Biblical or mythological allusion, or a reference to some other ubiquitous cultural touchstone. The implication that the readers would be expected to actually follow the reference absent a citation was... well, about the only place I'd be confident of that landing for most of the audience is in a Lewis society.

My surprise at seeing a The Last Battle reference here (what fraction of the commenters are familiar enough with it to recognize the reference, I wonder?) was quickly accompanied by confusion at how the analogy is supposed to work. Puzzle is a mostly-unwitting tool of Shift all along, not an independent conman who is superseded by a better one...

I think there are potentially two things going on here that we should be careful not to conflate:

  1. The X is Good --> I Want to Be X pathway (a good pathway in many cases, by the way); it is my belief that this improperly and strongly activates in sexual matters in many trans people (as well as "trans-adjacent" people like me who ultimately decide that they just have some Issues to work through), leading to the Venus-AGP and Eros-AGP described above.
  2. The tendency to move from "I want to be X" to "I am already X", which is what you seem to be describing.

It might very well be the case that (2) is more prevalent among people who decide they are trans than among those who do not, but I doubt it is a strongly indicative characteristic in the same way as (1). A bunch of (2) is just in the cultural water (particularly in progressive circles); e.g. "if you have written anything, you are a writer [regardless of whether it is published or earns you a living]", referring to anyone who does some math in school as a "mathematician", etc. so I would be surprised if the tendency was that much stronger in trans individuals than in generic progressives.

Related and potentially even more controversial questions:

  • To what extent does this analysis apply to homosexuality? Are there people who are "homoromantic" without being (significantly) sexually aroused by the same sex, or vice-versa?
  • How about other fetishes? Are there many where an "Eros" aspect is reasonably common?

Eros vs Venus, AGP, and MtF Trans

Apropos of the preamble to the latest ACX post. In part an evolution of / different angle on my previous post on the subject. (Tagging @zackmdavis as relevant to your interests.)

In the book The Four Loves, in the section on sexual love, C.S. Lewis draws a distinction between Eros and Venus. Eros is romantic love, or the state of "being in love"; Venus is sexual desire (one might say "lust", but without the connotation of immorality); as he writes, "I mean by Venus not what is sexual in some cryptic or rarefied sense [...] but in a perfectly obvious sense." Lewis is at pains to point out that the two are distinct (albeit closely connected) and that one can easily experience one without the other.

He allows that "to the evolutionist, Eros will be something that grows out of Venus" but points out that this is not, generally, "what happens within the consciousness of the individual." With Eros, the lover "is full of desire, but the desire may not be sexually toned."

Conversely, that Venus can exist without any trace of Eros is almost too obvious (at least to most men) as to need mentioning.

Why is this relevant to the autogynephilia/trans/Blanchardianism controversy? Because AGP, framed as a fetish, is seen (by both sides) as being about (a misfiring of) Venus. This makes it disreputable, both in itself and especially as a motive for transition, but perhaps even more importantly this limited concept doesn't seem to fit with the introspective reports of many trans individuals, even those who admittedly have some element of AGP. Blanchardians tend to dismiss these reports as self-serving narratives (admittedly not without some justification, given the occasionally documented confabulations about historical femininity in MtF transitioners, and of course the obvious psychological pressure); anti-Blanchardians tend to take them as proof positive that the AGP->trans hypothesis is false. (Anne Lawrence, a Blanchardian, allows for some nuance with the "AGP as sexual orientation" framing, but this seems to be not quite right and is still a "Venus"-first explanation.)

My strong suspicion is that, while Venus-AGP is the most obvious (and, um, salacious) manifestation, the thing that mostly drives trans-feelings, and thus actual transition, is something of an Eros-AGP. This may or may not co-occur with Venus-AGP, and when it does, may either pre- or post- date it, and either may be the stronger -- just as in normal Eros and Venus.

Why do I think this? Because it is an explanation which seems to account better for reported experiences than the others on offer. "But I don't feel like I'm in love with being a woman, I feel like I am or should be a woman (in some deep sense)!" Yes... but this actually rhymes with an aspect of Eros! Lewis again:

Milton has expressed more when he fancies angelic creatures with bodies made of light who can achieve total interpenetration instead of our mere embraces. Charles Williams has said something of it in the words: "Love you? I am you."

And also, there is my own experience (as a sometime sufferer of AGP of both sorts): my first crush included the confusing and intense desire to be the girl I was crushing on. The purely sexual aspects of AGP -- the fetish part, what I'm calling Venus-AGP -- may be the most externally visible, but it seems likely to me that Eros-AGP, whether manifesting as an intense but nonsexual desire to be female or a sweetness and feeling of rightness in contemplation of oneself as such, as a much more powerful emotional experience, is more likely to lead to transition.

Again, this says little about which set of feelings precedes the other or of their causal relationship. I am pretty confident that they frequently feed each other, and that indulgence and encouragement strengthen them, which is why in many people they seem to intensify over time. (This is true of nearly every other mental and emotional disposition; it would be surprising if it were not the case.) Whether Eros-AGP is preceded by Venus-AGP or not; whether Venus-AGP is seen as important by the sufferer -- these things are maybe not so relevant. As strong as the urges of Venus are, it is Eros which is more powerful, which feels transcendent from the inside, which motivates truly extreme decisions. Perhaps in this case, too, it is the dominant proximate factor.

Not a lot (then again, it's such a huge field that only a small fraction shows up in a PhD in mathematical logic), but in all likelihood, more than just boolean algebra.

In addition to the propositional calculus (effectively a subset of boolean algebra and probably equivalent to the part you are expecting EE students to learn) I'd expect any advanced student in analytic philosophy to be familiar with the basics of first-order logic as well as modal logic (in fact most research in modal logic is done in philosophy departments because of how essential it is in quite a few areas -- c.f. Saul Kripke).

I recommend staying off of social media and away from any other places where people argue about things you care about in ways that you have a bad reaction to. Change your passwords, log out, delete your browser history if you have to. Yes, there are ways to try to deal with it (I think dark is giving good advice) but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Is your question more along the lines of "How do I figure out what parishes are near me?" or "How do I figure out which parishes are healthy and suitable for me?"

For the first question, if you are in the United States and are looking for an Eastern Orthodox parish, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops maintains a directory of all parishes here, and at least the larger jurisdictions maintain their own, which may or may not be more up to date (e.g. the OCA has one here). I imagine that your local Roman Catholic diocese will also have a directory.

For the second question, I can't speak at all for what Catholic parishes are or are not traditional, but every Orthodox church will use the same traditional Divine Liturgy, with differences mostly being minor cultural practices (e.g. which melodies are used for singing, whether people sit during part of the Liturgy or stand the whole time) and what language(s) are used. I converted to Orthodoxy not terribly long ago and have had a great experience in my local OCA mission parish (we use English). I'd recommend trying to find a church that serves Liturgy in a language you understand. It may be hard to tell without attending or poking around which parishes are healthy or not, so probably just try one that looks reasonable.

If you do decide to look into Orthodoxy, feel free to DM me if you feel like you need to ask someone random questions, There's lots of good resources available online (and in book form) but there's also a lot of weird/incorrect stuff online and sometimes it helps to ask a live person, even if it's only someone you barely, vaguely know from a niche internet forum.

Mere Christianity has a lot of good content, but if you end up finding it a bit simplistic in places, it's good to remember that it was originally a bunch of general-audience radio talks, so that kind of comes with the territory. As far as C.S. Lewis goes I recommend The Problem of Pain and Miracles for deeper treatments of their titular matters. They aren't perfect, but they are very good.

Lewis also has a number of good shorter essays (often adapted from talks) that are maybe not apologetics as such, but are also high quality and in the same vein. I remember finding "On Obstinacy in Belief" insightful, for instance. I can try to dig up a more complete list (I'll need to skim and remind myself from my collection) if you are interested.

Another poster has already recommended Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man by Chesterton, which are very good but have quite a different tone and approach (and are much less recent). Lewis is more philosophical but also chattier; Chesterton has a better prose style as well as much more of a flair for melodrama and wordplay -- he often presents his ideas in a way optimized for emotional and/or intellectual punch rather than for clarity or airtight logic. (That doesn't mean his ideas aren't good -- they usually are -- but it rubs some people the wrong way.)

On the flip side, I anti-recommend... most pop-apologetics, frankly, and that means most of the recent stuff. Pretty much all of it (that I've seen, at least, though I haven't been paying careful attention to the space) is more or less in Lewis's shadow and is either just dishonest or a worse version of Lewis.

Ayn Rand and C.S. Lewis could have been fantastic collaborators

Admittedly I know much less about Ayn Rand than about C.S. Lewis, but given what I do know I'm having a hard time seeing this. I'd be quite interested to hear your reasoning.

I really appreciate this report/testimonial. I was diagnosed with ADHD in middle school, but the psych recommended against medication since I was doing more than fine in school (high intelligence and an interest in math goes a long way); I have a sibling who was not so lucky and ended up on Adderall 5 days a week. I frequently wonder how much more successful I'd be if I were medicated, but since I did manage to find enough success even with frequent useless days due to getting distracted by whatever, I've decided to leave well enough alone.

As tempting as being able to focus all day, every workday, is, your "lows" section is exactly the sort of thing I'm concerned about with amphetamines, so good job contributing to my resolve not to touch the stuff.

Yep, I just saw @urquan's post with the same thing, and I think you are right that they are copying that icon. It seems that interpretations of the symbolism differ, which possibly accounts for the difference in red-over-blue (the majority of Orthodox icons) vs blue-over-red (the majority of Catholic icons (?), plus a handful of Orthodox ones).

I have no idea what the artist was thinking.

Ah, good catch there -- it does seem to be an exact imitation of that icon.

In the East, the liturgical color for Marian feasts is blue, and it's definitely the color most associated with her. I'm not enough of an expert to speculate on the history, but while the red-over-blue in icons of Mary is standard in the East, it is not universal (I think the Hagia Sophia famously has some icons which just use blue -- and indeed the source icon is Byzantine) so I guess I was wrong on that being the artist's error. There's some relation with the fact that Christ is generally depicted with a blue outer garment and red inner garment. I was just now trying to verify about the symbolism and found that there's some... disagreement... on exactly what symbolizes what.

Wow, that's even worse than I thought. It makes me even more glad I'm not involved anymore.

I mean, that perspective is certainly important and present. There are lots of icons like that (and always have been; I think there are icons of Jesus looking like a Roman in the catacombs)! But I'm not convinced it was an overwhelming consensus across time and space (we're talking about probably more than 1900 years of practice over vast swaths of territory, not just medieval Europe).

My general sense is that people who hold to perspective (2) don't think that these icons are not real icons, just that they aren't ideal. This often applies to other aspects of iconography too; there's a lot of formal and informal rules about how icons are "supposed" to be painted in various Orthodox traditions, for instance, and a lot of people are somewhat uneasy with the "realistic" (western) style of many post-Peter-the-Great Russian icons.

Icons are interesting because they combine the symbolic and the representational; they depict people or events, but usually in a way that is symbolic and does not literally represent what happened. So "the icon is not a photograph, it is supposed to convey certain truths and should be painted in whatever way does that best" and "these are real people, you can't just make them look however you like" are both highly defensible, and have been defended. I'm inclined to the first one myself: we don't always have a good idea what the subjects looked like anyway, recognizability is more important than accuracy, and symbolism in e.g. clothing is uncontroversially more important than realism anyway.

You mentioned icons; let's talk about actual icons. Specifically, Christian iconography.

When Christianity spreads to another culture (as it has been continuously doing since the beginning), it faces a problem: how do you represent the major figures, including Christ and the saints? You can take two different approaches here:

  1. Icons are representative, not realistic. So you can (and should) adapt iconography to the ethnic and cultural makeup of the people using them in order to make them more relatable and less foreign. Hence you have black, white, Chinese, etc. icons of Jesus, Mary, and so on.

  2. Icons are representations of real people, so they should picture them as they actually are (as best as we can tell). This entails that Jesus, Mary, the apostles, and so on look eastern-Mediterranean, since that's how they actually looked; if people want icons that look like them, well, there are plenty of saints actually from their ethnicity, or will be soon enough.

Both perspectives are defensible, but if you have perspective (1) you'd be wrong to say that people with perspective (2) are just being racist or ethnocentric.

Now, of course, neither Aragorn nor any other character in Lord of the Rings is a real person. But people frequently have perspective (2) about source material that they are attached to, and I don't think they're entirely wrong!

PS: What amounts to good iconography, especially as it relates to these two perspectives, is apparently a great way to get some scissor statements in Orthodox Christian communities. Is this picture a valid/good icon, or not? Context for those who aren't familiar: this picture is a classic Orthodox icon design, with the Theotokos (Mary) and infant Jesus (the angels are Michael on the left and Gabriel on the right). It's also got all the iconographic writing which is necessary to make something an icon: the "ΜΡ ΘΥ" (which stands for the first and last letters in the Greek for "Mother of God") above her halo, and "ΙC ΧC" (the C's are lunate sigmas; it stands for "Jesus Christ") near the Christ child, and even the "ο ων" (Greek ""He who is", referring to the name for God) on his halo. The problem? It's in a cutesy anime style. (The artist did get the colors wrong; usually Mary has a red outer garment (for holiness) and a blue inner one (for humanity). But it's possible it's imitating a non-standard icon, since those rules are not quite universal.)

Because Hasbro decided that they could make lots of money by having standalone card sets based on random other fantasy IP. The main "multiverse" is still its own setting with no crossover, AFAIK.

Honestly seeing that card makes me glad I quit playing Magic entirely five years ago, and it has little to do with making Aragorn black (which is stupid and jarring exactly because it makes no sense for reasons already outlined). The card's art is bad (nothing new for Magic, but at least the bad art used to be kind of quirky), the card name is stupid, the flavor makes no sense (the war is basically over when they get married, and they don't fight together), the mechanics are completely uninspired and have little sensible connection to the flavor, and the whole "let's make a boring cash-grab set based on random other fantasy IP" ...ugh. About the only thing that makes sense about the card is the color.

In Middle-Earth there's very little to do with (ordinary human) races. The humans, elves, hobbits, dwarves (and, of course, the orcs and various monsters) are all quite different, but they don't at all map onto race-as-we-know-it, and it would be, uh, pretty racist to try to make them match human races. You might be able to pull a Brandon Sanderson and make the elves be East-Asian but extra tall, but even that is questionable. (You could just race-swap the whole setting en masse and have everyone be the same non-white race, and that would be better, but it still misses that the setting is a fundamentally European mythology.) The problem is that while race (as it actually exists) is a non-issue*, genealogy is definitely not (as you point out), so you can't just have random people be random races.

*There's the well-known exception that the Haradrim are called "swarthy" at one point. But this definitely doesn't make them black and doesn't seem to have much to do with mapping to race-as-it-exists; they're just darker-skinned since they live in sunnier climes further south. If anything, the picture is of North Africans: the Haradrim invading with their Mumakil are probably intended to evoke the Carthaginians under Hannibal, and the Corsairs of Umbar, the Barbary Pirates. And going a bit further afield, the shrunken Gondor holding out against Mordor has shades of the Eastern Roman Empire against the Turks. But again, using race to represent this is a bad idea, not least because these resemblances are just evocative, not allegorical and definitely not intended to reflect on real-world races!