normal vs. dangerous modes of failure

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Papus79
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normal vs. dangerous modes of failure

Post by Papus79 »

This is something that I don't know if I've ever seen zoomed in on and examined and I'm curious to know if anyone is aware of any thinkers, philosophers, or authors who've spent any significant time examining this space.

I ended up having at least a partial day off yesterday and ended up grabbing RetroArch emulator so I could play old nostalgic Nintendo games. One of the roms I grabbed was for Ghosts and Goblins. It's known to be quite a difficult game and I spent a good few hours beating on it yesterday.

The thing that it got me thinking of - when you're playing a hard enough game it almost feels like you're approaching the same difficulty level that you have when you're trying to learn to take a fat tire bike on ramps at the local mountain bike park. It's almost reminiscent of the kind of environment one ends up in when they're going for a heavier weight degree in school, particularly STEM of some kind, and I think of the experience some of my friends had with a state college where they're given a 6 hr test in 2 hrs, open book, everyone in the class fails it, and from a sea of F's their grades are curved up to A's, B's, C's, etc. based on the highest scores.

That actually makes me want to consider playing the most difficult games I can, for that purpose, but as I was playing the game last night and thinking about this I was stuck with the question, each time my character died, which of these could be considered normal failure modes and which of these could be considered signs of Darwinian fitness-level failures, ie. which failure modes should I be most worried about. How can you really tell at that level?

At some level the landscape of life is (constructively at least) constantly judging our right to be alive, and it seems like society has plenty of mechanisms not just for deciding whose on the 'under' side of that line but doing its level best to make sure they stay there because - if it's seen as a gene-level failure - the goal is to keep merit from being a path to attenuating the gene pool.

My question - is this too taboo a topic for OPR (both for reasons that it discusses nature and society's eugenic mechanisms, in the other sense - that the very purpose of this information is for those who are 'fit' to know and the 'unfit' not to know) or is this something that we could add value to by discussing?

On one level I respect that differential success is baked into the system and there's not a lot that we can do to fix it, but there also has to be a sense of where the minimum required sorting into winners and losers hits the right marginal utility where going farther actually damages society to the point of seeding its destruction.

For how any of this fits me on a personal level (sharing this because I can't imagine this being left alone with this sort of topic) - I feel like in some ways I'm needing to play catch up for certain kinds of development markers that I missed out on as a kid based on interruptions in my life, and I'm asking myself a lot lately about what areas that I haven't attempted as much as I could in my early adult years could be genuine liabilities in post-40 life (particularly which areas in which lack of engagement will be read as fitness failure or deep character defect). It's mostly about wanting to be able to hold autonomy, know that a lot of people really want to sweep in and dominate/control if they see weakness or variation of any sort (less because it's needed and more because it's what they wanted to do - to whoever they could - anyway), and if I have to hold the 'world' back by the throat in that sense so be it - so knowing more about this has been on my priority list as a self-defense against social predation concern and while it's great that I can find out all sorts of things about guns, knives, martial arts (I've got over a decade in that myself), there's less said about what areas of life development are critical for not being perceived as a soft target.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.
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Papus79
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Re: normal vs. dangerous modes of failure

Post by Papus79 »

To add, I just found a really good stanford.edu doc on the topic which looks like it lines up well with what I said at the top:
https://ed.stanford.edu/sites/default/f ... efense.pdf
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.
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LuckyR
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Re: normal vs. dangerous modes of failure

Post by LuckyR »

I may or may not be getting what you're saying. Of the various anecdotes you used to make your point, the one that resonated with me was the test that everyone initially failed but the various grades were derived from further analysis of the data.

Speak further to clarify your point.
"As usual... it depends."
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Papus79
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Re: normal vs. dangerous modes of failure

Post by Papus79 »

LuckyR wrote: March 22nd, 2021, 2:42 am I may or may not be getting what you're saying. Of the various anecdotes you used to make your point, the one that resonated with me was the test that everyone initially failed but the various grades were derived from further analysis of the data.

Speak further to clarify your point.
I might perhaps rephrase it like this: is it possible to gather a relatively reliable heuristic to distinguish between normal failure modes and failure modes that actually denote what would be considered deep failures at the individual level?

One of the bigger challenges with answering that is there seems to be a lot of manipulation and chicanery that goes on as well, like for example if someone enters a work place with a lot of natural talent and makes their supervisor nervous about their job that person might treat the new employee like they're a paint-huffing screwup and fire them the first or second day, and since that's more a political distortion of reality I'd weed that out and go more for situations where at least relatively normal people are looking in at a kind of mistake and decide whether its a 'learning to fly' sort of thing or whether it's a 'Get this guy/girl out of here, something's not quite right'.

The video game example was probably the hardest because... that's probably at a level where I'd have to guess no one has any good answers, maybe effects of dyslexia or visual processing issues could show up in particularly novel ways but it's one of those areas where we compete against ourselves and others and for as much as games are supposed to be 'fun' there's a level at which they're a bit of a sorting mechanism and they tend to only be fun if you're winning.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.
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Re: normal vs. dangerous modes of failure

Post by LuckyR »

As has been said many times by various folks, people can be divided into lumpers and splitters. Sounds like you want to lump failures into the two categories you mentioned. To me each failure case has numerous partial causes, and thus benefit from forensic analysis to parse that out. But I agree that there are different reasons or types of failures like you said.
"As usual... it depends."
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Papus79
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Re: normal vs. dangerous modes of failure

Post by Papus79 »

LuckyR wrote: March 22nd, 2021, 1:54 pm As has been said many times by various folks, people can be divided into lumpers and splitters.
Lol. Yeah, I don't think there's such a thing as 'always the case', It seems like the world and the way the rules work are - at the individual level - not as predictable but at the societal level the probability map of human behavior fits the shape of a container a bit like a liquid would (thinking particularly of game theory - anything that can be exploited will be exploited by someone, ergo the multipolar trap).

Instead of thinking of it quite as 'lumping', it's more like asking if a lens can be built that works well in a certain context and domain, or possibly in several similar domains. With a lens you don't take it as a hard and fast thing because if the common causes are out of line a different result will emerge, which means applying that lens would be inappropriate in that context.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.
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