Written by LW user Duncan_Sabien.

This is part of LessWrong for EA, a LessWrong repost & low-commitment discussion group (inspired by this comment). Each week I will revive a highly upvoted, EA-relevant post from the LessWrong Archives, more or less at random

Excerpt from the post:

Motivation for post: As a former CFAR instructor, longtime teacher, and rationality pundit, I find myself giving lots of advice in lots of different contexts.  I also try to check in from time to time to find out which bits of advice actually proved helpful to people.  Over the years, I've heard from a genuinely surprising number of people that my (offhand, very basic, not especially insightful) thoughts on "shoulder advisors" were quite useful to them, and remained useful over time.  So: a primer.

"There's a copy of me inside your head?" Hermione asked.

"Of course there is!" Harry said. The boy suddenly looked a bit more vulnerable. "You mean there isn't a copy of me living in your head?"

There was, she realized; and not only that, it talked in Harry's exact voice.

"It's rather unnerving now that I think about it," said Hermione. "I do have a copy of you living in my head. It's talking to me right now using your voice, arguing how this is perfectly normal."

"Good," Harry said seriously. "I mean, I don't see how people could be friends without that."

The term "shoulder advisor" comes from the cartoon trope of a character attempting to make a decision while a tiny angel whispers in one ear and a tiny devil whispers in the other. (Full Post on LW)

Please feel free to,

Initially I talked about hosting Zoom discussion for those that were interested, but I think it’s a bit more than I can take on right now (not so low-commitment). If anyone wants to organize one, comment or PM me and I will be happy to coordinate for future posts.

For now I will  include an excerpt from each post, but if anyone wants to volunteer to do a brief summary instead, please get in touch.


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3 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:02 PM

Wow. I love this. It reminds me of

Increasingly, I stumble upon applied rationality stuff that seem like straightforward/commonsensical psychological tools, just in a more digestible and fleshed-out package. I find this kind of reframing pretty helpful, and I'm glad I'm slowly exposing myself to more LW posts through this series!

I also really like this concept because one of my favourite interactions is already telling people that I was reminded of them. So this just takes it a step further, where I can really pin down and share what I find valuable in my different relationships.

Also meant to point out the link in you second bullet point is the same as the first :)

I'm glad you are finding the series helpful :) 

Yes, it was pretty fascinating to me too. I remembered when it came up in HPMOR and it sort of puzzled me then. I've never had much ability see images in my mind (I guess it's called aphantasia), and then at some point while reading the post, I realized that I am pretty sure I've only ever heard one voice in my mind as well. A shoulder advisor may not be in the cards for me, but at least I learned about a universal human experience I may be missing out on.