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Internal Double Crux


antipattern: parts call each other names

Internal conflicts signal a need for integration. If two different people have access to the same information, and their models of the world cause them to make two different predictions, then we can confidently say that at least one of them is incorrect. We may not always be able to tell which is which, but we can be sure that one-if-not-both of them has a chance to update toward the truth.

Similarly, if a single person has simultaneously contradictory beliefs or desires, then at least one of the models behind those beliefs is wrong, miscalibrated, or incomplete. If you both “want to get good at running” and also never want to get up off the couch and put on your running shoes, then one part of your belief set—one of your causal models of the universe—has concluded that running will help achieve your goals, and another has concluded that it doesn’t, and both of these can’t be true.

Internal double crux is a technique that seeks to resolve this conflict by helping each of these models to incorporate the information that the other has to offer. If you conceive of yourself as being made up of sub-agents—each of whom focuses on a different subset of your goals and has a different perspective on how the world works and what details are relevant—then the goal is to cause those sub-agents to enter into a productive double crux conversation, and correct their tunnel vision.

In order to allow free flow of information and integration, each side needs to be treated respectfully, and called by a label it would choose for itself. Different positions may have different modalities of understanding the world, meaning your role as facilitator also includes some translation. Often, it helps to let the part that feels more urgency go first.

Anna tells the story of once doing internal double crux with the bowling ball pendulum demonstration. One part thought it was 'obviously safe because physics', and another part was afraid of doing it. The latter part generated a video of Anna leaning forward after letting the ball go, which seemed obviously plausible, worrying, and fixable; by standing straight against an immobile surface, this fear could be resolved.


Hold internal conversations in the double crux style in order to clarify or resolve inner conflicts. Be genuinely open and curious about which way things could go, and treat internal resistance as an important source of information and doubt instead of obstacles to be bulldozed.