Comments on “A fully meta-rational workplace”

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Circumrationality link leads to error.

Ondřej Kubů 2022-02-27

Circumrationality link leads to error.

Very very very nice

Simon Grant 2022-02-27

Love it. I’d like to spend part of my remaining years seeing this happen for real.


David Chapman 2022-02-27

Ondřej — Fixed now; thank you!

Simon — Thanks; me too!

Such a great articulation of this

Malcolm Ocean 2022-03-03

I love how you laid it all out, both how & why it works. Tons of resonance with a lot of my own thinking on this. There’s definitely a puzzle in team design around how to bootstrap towards ever saner collaboration.

Reminds me of

Alexander 2022-03-03

It reminds me of Valve’s New Employee Handbook, as it is precisely about work culture in Valve, and The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse (there, the master musician says to Joseph about ‘generally competent’ ideal in Castalia somewhere at around 50-th pages).

Link fix

Alexander 2022-03-03

Also, seems like the Co-Founders page was moved to Meaningness, so the link needs to be updated.


David Chapman 2022-03-03

Thanks for noticing the broken link—I’ve fixed it!

I read The Glass Bead Game when I was a teenager and it really impressed and affected me. I can’t remember anything about it now! I should re-read it.

Maybe these aren't Utopian ...

Kenny 2022-03-07

… but nebulous, particularly ephemeral.

I’d guess that some organizations have supported more-or-less meta-rational workplaces. The Manhattan Project immediately came to mind as one possibility.

I think my long-held preference for working at ‘startups’ or, at minimum, in small teams at ‘bigger’ organizations, is mainly because doing so affords me the ability to demonstrate ‘general competence’. Some of my favorite projects involved things like (sloppy) mathematical/academic research for particular problems (far outside of my nominal ‘position’). I find that generally very fun!

My favorite bosses/supervisors have also been those that, so I realize now, were best at spotting ‘breakdowns’ in the organization’s ‘rational systems’ and then adapting those systems (or scrapping them entirely) to better serve newly-identified purposes (e.g. someone’s preferences for certain kinds of work or some new task(s) that must be done regularly).

I commented on another of your post’s recently expressing a desire for more concrete details about or examples of meta-rationality – this post delivers! Thanks!

Spectrum of Metarationality

Mike 2022-06-07

It might seem that these workplaces would fall into spectrums which encouraged their density and frequency of metarational so as to account for human differences valuing those people who could transcribe and translate at boundaries to rational links and collaborators allowing people as they felt like dipping their toes, being lowered in with a rope or those noticing stuff going on in these metarational pockets and wanted to serve as they develop.

My guess is that less than 1% are metasystematically reasoning with a lot of leeway for those in that mode of development a La Elliott Jaques (Human Capability)…which is far less than the 15% one might believe responsibility for innovation.

Taking into consideration how a world might benefit would be to allow those that could in a variety of forms to assume the “governance” that might “sponsor” these incubators of metarationality as either option or verse to foster the metarational unfolding, so to speak.

The paradigmatic problems which are emerging might be unpacked well enough by metarationalists as they go about the feeling and thinking of the freedom to do so without the rational nature of systematic problems running their course.

In a sense of collegiality there are many of us who “seem” without perhaps fully grokking metarationality to want this and are doing this collaboration in a virtual form…as if there isn’t any other…to formalize a process where the synergy might be enhanced is a question you might want to answer…let’s call it a bridge to metarational organizations.

Thanks for sharing your work;)

Wondering one thing

wassp 2022-08-08

What would recruitment look like for such a company?

Profoundly misinformed

Wow Just Wow 2022-11-04

This is a profound misrepresentation of anarchist organization. Freeman never uses the word anarchism and anarchist organizations have distributed this very essay as an example of what is not anarchist. Even a little research into actual real anarchist organizations would show you how wrong your representation. Try researching, for example, the Spanish CNT. This is an embarrassing strawman, David.


John McDonnell 2023-03-17

I bet early OpenAI was like this. Algorithms at SFIX when I joined (2015) was somewhat like this. Maybe you could think of YCombinator as being like this? In some ways the old Netflix culture doc implied something like this (maximal freedom from structure, if you do a bad job you are fired)

The biggest problem is there ends up being a superposition between L3 and L5. L3 stuff happens and drags the whole thing down. How can you staff your org only with L5 people? Natural tendency is to apply L4 systems to prevent the L3 stuff.

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