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Sewing-Machine 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] 18 November 2011 07:33:22PM 7 points [-]

You can't opt out of signalling any more than you can opt out of going to the bathroom. We all learn as children how to manage the scatological aspects of living on earth. Status is a completely analogous arena, except that everyday thoughts about it are even more sublimated and subconscious. Everyone knows the limits of physical hygiene. The limits of moral hygiene are no less biological or immutable, and no less unpleasant to discuss frankly.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 18 November 2011 09:19:48PM 6 points [-]

You can't opt out of signaling, but you can try to avoid having it hijack your reasoning.

Comment author: dlthomas 18 November 2011 07:34:32PM 2 points [-]

moral hygiene

Might "social" be more accurate?

Comment author: [deleted] 18 November 2011 07:49:46PM 1 point [-]

Equally accurate and less specific. (Unless the phrase has another connotation?) I had in mind Sotala's discussion of status-seeking as an obstacle to doing good.

Comment author: [deleted] 19 November 2011 01:46:09AM 2 points [-]

Citation needed. Unlike the gastrointestinal tract, brains have a built-in capacity to change their mapping between input and output over time so I can't accept that it's impossible to do anything about behavior X just because it's impossible to do anything about poop.

Comment author: [deleted] 19 November 2011 02:10:10AM 1 point [-]

What is behavior X?

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 22 November 2011 07:12:10AM 1 point [-]

Sure, but you could start optimizing to impress an all knowing, completely rational historian from the far future.

Virtues I've instilled in myself that I've found useful: don't be a hypocrite, don't be one of those people who's all talk and no action, optimal behavior is a virtue (while keeping in mind that optimal behavior may change based on your emotional state, for example, if you're worn out, it's likely that the optimal action is to focus on rejuvenating yourself instead of working more).

Another thing that had a positive impact on my personality was spending a lot of time playing management oriented computer games like Railroad Tycoon and Civilization, then deciding that I was wasting my time and that I wanted to apply the same optimization oriented thinking that I was using in the game to real life.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 22 November 2011 08:39:17PM 1 point [-]

Sure, but you could start optimizing to impress an all knowing, completely rational historian from the far future.

I don't know if imaginary person is enough for our instincts. We should also seek company of rational people, so our instincts can focus on them.

Virtues I've instilled in myself that I've found useful: ...

Problem with signalling is that it can probably subvert any activity, and if something is called "virtue", then it seems like a very good target. If you are not careful, you may find that you, for example, describe yourself as a worse person than you really are, to signal high non-hypocricy.

By the way, I would like to read an article about applying specific lessons to specific computer games in real life.