Circling vs. Unrolling


In reference to Critch’s post here.

I’m intrigued by the explicit unrolling in contrast to circling. I wonder how much circling an instance of developing overpowered tools on weird partly-orthagonal dimensions (like embodiment) because you haven’t yet discovered the basic simple structure of the domain.

Like, a person might have a bunch of cobbled together hacks and heuristics (including things about narrative, and chunking next actions, and discipline) for maintaining their productivity. But a crisp understanding of the relevant psychology makes “maintaining productivity” a simple and mostly effortless thing to do.

Or a person who spends years doing complicated math without paper. They will discover all kinds of tricks for doing mental computation, and they might get really good at these tricks, and building that skill might even have benefits in other domains. But at the end of the day, all of that training is blown out of the water as soon as they have paper. Paper makes the thing they were training hard to do easy.

To what extent is Circling working hard to train capacities that are being used as workarounds for limited working memory and insufficient theoretical understanding the structure of human interaction?

(This is a real question. My guess is, “some, but less than 30%”.)

A lot of my strategies for dealing with situations of this sort are circling-y, and feel like a lot of that is superfluous. If I had a better theoretical understanding, I could do the thing with much more efficiency.

For instance, I exert a lot of effort to be attuned to the other person in general and to be picking up subtle signs from them, and tracking where they’re at. If had a more correct theoretical understanding, a better ontology, I would only need to be tracking the few things that it turns out are actually relevant.

Since humans don’t know what those factors are, now, people are skilled at this sort of interaction insofar as they can track everything that’s happening with the other person, and as a result, also capture the few things that are relevant to the underlying structure.

I suspect that others disagree strongly with me here.