What is Astral Codex Ten?

I'm happy to finally have a clear answer to this question: Astral Codex Ten is a blog about ṛta.

Ṛta is a Sanskrit word, so ancient that it brushes up against the origin of Indo-European languages. It's related to English "rationality" and "arithmetic", but also "art" and "harmony". And "right", both in the senses of "natural rights" and "the right answer". And "order". And "arete" and "aristos" and all those other Greek words about morality. And "artificial", as in eg artificial intelligence. More speculatively "reign" and related words about rulership, and "rich" and related words about money.

(also "arthropod", but insects creep me out so I'll be skipping this one)

The dictionary defines ṛta as "truth", but I think of it as the intersection of all these concepts, a sort of hidden node at the center of art and harmony and rationality and the rest. What are the laws of thought? How do they reveal themselves, at every level, from the flow of electricity through the brain to the flow of money through the global economy? How can we cleave to them more closely, for our own good and the good of generations still to come?

In practice, articles (another ṛta relative!) here tend to focus on reasoning, science, psychiatry, medicine, ethics, genetics, AI, economics and politics.

Where did all this come from?

ACX started as my personal blog, Slate Star Codex. It grew out of “the rationalist community”, a mostly-online subculture of people trying to work together to figure out how to distinguish truth from falsehood using insights from probability theory, cognitive science, and AI.

Who is Scott Alexander?

I’m a doctor on the US West Coast, currently working on new models for mental health care at Lorien Psychiatry. I’ve also written Unsong, a serial novel about alternate history American kabbalists.

Where do I start?

Once this blog is up and running, it’ll have more interesting places to start. Until then, you can start with my old blog Slate Star Codex. Some of the most popular articles there were:

1. Beware The Man Of One Study
2. Meditations on Moloch
3. I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup
4. Book Review: Albion’s Seed
5. Nobody Is Perfect, Everything Is Commensurable
6. The Control Group Is Out Of Control
7. Considerations On Cost Disease
8. Archipelago And Atomic Communitarianism
9. The Categories Were Made For Man, Not Man For The Categories
10. Who By Very Slow Decay
11. Universal Love, Said The Cactus Person

Do I need a paid subscription?

No. All important ACX content is and always will be free.

But I would still like you to subscribe. Paid subscriptions help me take time off my day job to write ACX, and subsidize the early stages of my attempt to provide low-cost psychiatric care to uninsured people.

In order to encourage people to subscribe, there will be some less important content reserved for paid members only, including extra open threads, AMAs with me, some rough drafts, and maybe a few shorter or sillier posts.