Notes on Mental Security

Note: these are some rough, preliminary notes on mental security, defined as the art and discipline of keeping one's mental software free from hostile external influence. Or in other words, having a mind able to achieve its own goals, rather than goals of, say, Moloch or other people which happened to be around. This is supposed to serve as a reference point for discussion and further thought. It's definitely not an explanation or a tutorial.

  • Why?

    • this is dangerous business, and not one that human minds are designed for
    • however, necessary to do anything which is far outside of the Overton window of agency
      • if you are doing such a thing, you might just as well ignore the risk, because if you fail at security your cause is doomed anyway
    • of course, security is pointless unless you are convinced that you actually have some integrity/values/thoughts that are worth protecting
    • and it should go without saying that working on security with insufficient self-knowledge is just shooting yourself in the foot really hard
  • Detection / Self-Diagnosis

    • Male-Type Threats

    • Female-Type Threats

      • which people or social strategies...
        • do you tend to find attractive?
        • make you feel safe?
        • make it hard for you to think clearly?
        • are you jealous of?
        • you can't imagine living without?
        • cause you to ruminate a lot?
        • you can't imagine hurting?
      • monitoring emotions
        • what emotional reactions do you have that seem inconsistent with your values?
          • again, should be obvious but: are you by any chance wrong about your values?
        • do they predictably change in certain situations, or around certain people?
        • are you sometimes surprised by your own emotions or actions?
        • do you experience akrasia?
        • do you tend to avoid situations which would make you experience strong emotions?
        • packet capture
          • spend a few days in isolation, watch compromised mental processes try to restore communication
  • Prevention

    • learning to see through threats in real-time
      • building models in increasingly difficult situations
      • watching from afar how other people are being pwned
      • replicating offensive tactics to learn about them
      • pentest by a trusted and skilled third party
      • strong meta-rationality to estimate threat levels
    • offense is (some) defense
      • however, this is leaky and fragile
      • might give a false sense of security until you are suddenly out of your league
      • it is common to subconsciously gravitate to this local optimum
      • there are ethical concerns
    • firewall
      • gather evidence about power levels of various treats
      • avoid exposure to known threats above your level
      • keep physical distance if possible

Warning: all the articles linked above potentially lead to lethal memetic infection loads. There isn't much I can do about it.

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