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Logos01 comments on The curse of identity - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Logos01 21 November 2011 06:49:14AM 1 point [-]

There's a danger of simply getting used to being evil.

One need only feel "evil", rather than actually be "evil". Hypothetical: try to imagine yourself as a demonic being, wearing human skin. Hold yourself to the silly superstitions that people believe of them; they cannot enter homes uninvited, are always out to make "bargains", etc... limit yourself to the harmless categories of these sorts of behaviors, and see how it affects your behavior and thinking.

The point of this being that it magnifies your personal feelings of "wickedness" without actually producing those results.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 21 November 2011 03:44:14PM 4 points [-]

Of course, this very easily backfires - either you dislike feeling evil, so feeling evil takes up energy and doesn't leave you any to spare for altruistic acts. Alternatively, it might twist your self-image so that you think you actually are evil and start to commit evil acts and become less interested in good ones... or you think that you aren't doing things that are making you feel bad enough yet, so you start doing things that are actually evil.

I expect that getting this to work would require quite an intricate web of self-deception, and most who tried this would simply fail, one way or another.

Comment author: lessdazed 23 November 2011 08:15:37PM 4 points [-]

When my trip to the Dominican Republic was ending, I was waiting for a bus to take me to the airport. I saw a "limpiabota," a shoe-shine boy, and decided it was a good time to get the mud and dirt off of my hiking boots, regular shoes, and dressier shoes.

They typically ask ten pesos for a shine but tourists might be asked to pay a few times that and natives five to ten pesos. In any case these are some of the poorest boys there and people might give them a five peso tip on top of whatever they ask. They are desperate for the money and are selling a 'luxury' good that the purchaser doesn't need to buy so it is possible to negotiate with them. I practiced my spanish talking him down from the asked for 30 pesos for the three pairs, and engaged in a tough negotiation, turning away several times and eventually getting him down to seven pesos for the three pairs. I let him shine the shoes I was wearing and gave him the other two pairs, telling him I put more than seven pesos in the shoe and it was a tip for him to take.

At the airport, everything was sold in dollars, not that I thought I'd much want to buy anything there anyway. i still had a good deal of money left in Dominican Pesos, so I put it all in my shoes. A few thousand pesos. The thought of the huge cut they take at the currency exchange counter galls me.

Comment author: Logos01 21 November 2011 03:51:02PM 3 points [-]

I expect that getting this to work would require quite an intricate web of self-deception, and most who tried this would simply fail, one way or another.

Eh. I suspect you're over-thinking it. Capturing the feeling in order to cultivate a proper emotional balance as to achieve an outcome is a measurably useful phenomenon. If it doesn't work, stop doing it.

Comment author: lessdazed 21 November 2011 04:04:15PM 2 points [-]

I expect that getting this to work would require quite an intricate web of self-deception

I have a chintzy WWLVD bracelet, it seems to work OK. Lieutenant Verrall

It's important not to try and emulate someone actually important like Stalin, as that would entail mostly signing paperwork and sleeping at your desk in your boots amid lapses of mania.

Comment author: Strange7 28 November 2011 10:26:07AM 1 point [-]

Having independently developed and implemented a related strategy with success, I would like to point out the specific nuance upon which it is most productive to focus:

You are in disguise, deep in enemy territory, and you will have to maintain this disguise for years yet to come.

The slightest slip-up could reveal you, even if no one seems to be looking, or even if the people you know are looking aren't the slightest bit suspicious. Making things up as you go along is not good enough for the long game; infernal instincts could slip out at any time. Repression just means they'll slip out in ways you don't expect. Anything out of character (and of course your character is a paragon, a saint, always generous and wise) might be memorable, anything memorable might be repeated, and anything repeated might reach the ears of the inquisitor who is less than a byte away from identifying you.

The good news is, you know your own true name and the inquisitor doesn't, so it's possible to get away with indulging your unique nature... so long as you're subtle about it. Identify your urges and pursue any reasonable opportunity to indulge them. 'Reasonable' opportunity means a situation where: 1) absolutely nobody gets hurt as a result of your indulgence ("I didn't know" is no excuse, since the wise and benevolent person you're pretending to be would have known), or even feels like they're getting hurt 2) at least one other person benefits from it more than you do, by their own assessment 3) the urge is satisfied in a way that will linger, rather than dropping off suddenly, to minimize desensitization.

There will be situations where advancing your own interests above all others seems like the only alternative to mewling incompetence, or where you can only choose between who to hurt. Be especially careful at such times, and do not allow yourself to savor them. The inquisitor is watching.