I’m Valentine Michael Smith, named after the main character from Robert Heinlein’s book Stranger in a Strange Land.
I want to do what I can to exalt joy and end horror for the human race. I find that I often think most clearly when writing my thoughts out to an audience, so I’m using this blog as a place to fashion my thinking into useful shapes.
I’m a cofounder, researcher, and main instructor for the Center for Applied Rationality (although this blog isn’t associated with them). I did graduate studies in math and also finished a Ph.D. in STEM education research. I did a lot of aikido (a martial art) from a young age, and generally like body arts like cirque and parkour. I’m quite into Authentic Relating and Circling, which I think are often a bit opaque when verbally described but has what I think is a good history writeup here.
The title (“Relentless Dawn”) is a poetic reference for my own sake. I sometimes think of humanity as a light of consciousness reaching out into the otherwise utter “darkness” of the universe. I aim to encourage a kind of resolve — not ferocious determination, but an utterly unyielding clarity of mind and purpose that even in the tiny doses we’ve used so far have let us conquer many mythic horrors of our ancestral past. But there’s far to go, and we’re just getting started; hence “Dawn”.