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Death Spirals


Leveling up in rationality means encountering a lot of interesting and powerful new ideas. In many cases, it also means making friends who you can bounce ideas off of and finding communities that encourage you to better yourself. “Death Spirals” discusses some important hazards that can afflict groups united around common interests and amazing shiny ideas, which will need to be overcome if we’re to get the full benefits out of rationalist communities.


  1. The Affect Heuristic
  2. Evaluability (and Cheap Holiday Shopping)
  3. Unbounded Scales, Huge Jury Awards, and Futurism
  4. The Halo Effect
  5. Superhero Bias
  6. Mere Messiahs
  7. Affective Death Spirals
  8. Resist the Happy Death Spiral
  9. Uncritical Supercriticality
  10. Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs
  11. When None Dare Urge Restraint
  12. The Robbers Cave Experiment
  13. Every Cause Wants to Be a Cult
  14. Guardians of the Truth
  15. Guardians of the Gene Pool
  16. Guardians of Ayn Rand
  17. Two Cult Koans
  18. Asch’s Conformity Experiment
  19. On Expressing Your Concerns
  20. Lonely Dissent
  21. Cultish Countercultishness