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muflax comments on The curse of identity - Less Wrong

125 Post author: Kaj_Sotala 17 November 2011 07:28PM

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Comment author: [deleted] 17 November 2011 03:46:41PM 0 points [-]

Yes. As far as I can tell, you already have the option, but don't use it. What makes you think you would do so in future cases? If akratics reliably would take such a pill, wouldn't you expect self-help to work? The phenomenon of people getting results, but still not sticking with it shouldn't exist then.

Comment author: pjeby 17 November 2011 04:02:17PM 5 points [-]

If akratics reliably would take such a pill, wouldn't you expect self-help to work?

My own observation is that people generally stop using self-help techniques that actually work, and often report puzzlement as to why they stopped.

So I think akratics would take such a pill. The catch is that self-help is generally a pill that must be taken daily, and as soon as your brain catches up with the connection between taking the pill and making progress on a goal you don't actually want to make progress on... you'll start "mysteriously forgetting" to take the pill.

The only thing I know that works for this sort of situation is getting sufficiently clear on your covert goals to resolve the conflict(s) between them.

Comment author: ciphergoth 17 November 2011 04:09:05PM 4 points [-]

I was definitely envisaging a pill that only needs to be taken once, not one that needs to be taken daily.

Comment author: CG_Morton 18 November 2011 05:56:58PM 2 points [-]

It's excessive to claim that the hard work, introspection, and personal -change- (the hardest part) required to align your actions with a given goal are equivalent in difficulty or utility to just taking a pill.

Even if self-help techniques consistently worked, you'd still have to compare the opportunity cost of investing that effort with the apparent gains from reaching a goal. And estimating the utility of a goal is really difficult, especially when it's a goal you've never experienced before.