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lukeprog comments on The Power of Agency - Less Wrong

57 Post author: lukeprog 07 May 2011 01:38AM

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Comment author: lukeprog 07 May 2011 05:40:37AM *  7 points [-]

You also need to be willing to lie, cheat, steal, kill, use people, betray them.

This if false.

most forms of achievement do require domain-specific expertise; you don't get to the top just by looking pretty and statusful.

Yes. And domain-specific expertise is something that can be learned and practiced, by applying agency to one's life. I'll add it to the list.

Comment author: Mitchell_Porter 07 May 2011 06:31:49AM 9 points [-]

You also need to be willing to lie, cheat, steal, kill, use people, betray them.

This is false.

If we are talking about how to become rich, famous, and a historically significant person, I suspect that neither of us speaks with real authority. And of course, just being evil is not by itself a guaranteed path to the top! But I'm sure it helps to clear the way.

Comment author: lukeprog 07 May 2011 06:38:08AM 6 points [-]

I'm sure it helps to clear the way.

Sure. I'm only disagreeing with what you said in your original comment.

Comment author: wedrifid 07 May 2011 06:44:08AM *  8 points [-]

You also need to be willing to lie, cheat, steal, kill, use people, betray them.

This if false.

I would say 'overstated'. I assert that most people who became famous, rich and a historical figure used those tactics. More so the 'use people', 'betray them' and 'lie' than the more banal 'evils'. You don't even get to have a solid reputation for being nice and ethical without using dubiously ethical tactics to enforce the desired reputation.

Comment author: katydee 07 May 2011 08:19:49AM 4 points [-]

Personally, I find that being nice and ethical is the best way to get a reputation for being nice and ethical, though your mileage may vary.

Comment author: wedrifid 07 May 2011 11:02:44AM *  13 points [-]

Personally, I find that being nice and ethical is the best way to get a reputation for being nice and ethical, though your mileage may vary.

I don't have a personal statement to make about my strategy for gaining a reputation for niceness. Partly because that is a reputation I would prefer to avoid.

I do make the general, objective level claim that actually being nice and ethical is not the most effective way to gain that reputation. It is a good default and for many, particularly those who are not very good at well calibrated hypocrisy and deception, it is the best they could do without putting in a lot of effort. But it should be obvious that the task of creating an appearance of a thing is different to that of actually doing a thing.