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Arminius comments on Designing Ritual - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Raemon 11 January 2012 01:52AM

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Comment author: [deleted] 12 January 2012 01:49:38PM 4 points [-]

Some suggestions:

  • Lets spill some blood. Rationality is serious business, a matter of life and death. Blood, toil, tears and sweat. Our rituals should reflect on that fact. (And blood makes a ritual so much cooler)

  • Anthems might be a more fitting Style to copy than jolly christmas songs. They hold great power.

  • have everyone pledge to the virtues of rationality: "I shall not cave in to social pressure. I shall search for flaws in my own arguments as much as for those in my fellow rationalists. ..."

Comment author: Alicorn 12 January 2012 06:26:38PM 16 points [-]

have everyone pledge to the virtues of rationality: "I shall not cave in to social pressure.

...

Comment author: TheOtherDave 12 January 2012 06:34:23PM 5 points [-]

"You are all individuals!"

Comment author: EphemeralNight 14 January 2012 11:23:38AM *  3 points [-]

Now everybody stand up and declare, "I am unique!".

Comment author: hamnox 25 January 2012 04:27:58PM 1 point [-]

I'm not.

Comment author: Raemon 12 January 2012 06:41:32PM *  1 point [-]
Comment author: pleeppleep 13 January 2012 02:31:19AM 1 point [-]

Im curious, how would the spilling blood idea work exactly? would everyone cut their fingers on the spot? would it be collected beforehand? and where exactly would we spill it? Down the drain? I'm not criticizing the idea (well, maybe a little) but i just want to know what you have in mind.

Comment author: shminux 12 January 2012 06:37:42PM *  1 point [-]

Lets spill some blood. Rationality is serious business, a matter of life and death. Blood, toil, tears and sweat. Our rituals should reflect on that fact. (And blood makes a ritual so much cooler)

Blood is overused, tears are pathetic, and sweat is gross. How about saliva?

P.S. (Yes, I realize that the Arminius's post was on a sarcastic side.)

Comment author: FiftyTwo 14 January 2012 03:33:19AM 2 points [-]

Orgies might help recruitment....

/humour

Comment author: [deleted] 14 January 2012 03:37:04AM 1 point [-]

....with the gender ratio on this site??? probably not.

Comment author: Anubhav 14 January 2012 08:44:42AM *  0 points [-]

It's been -OVER- ALMOST NINE MONTHS since -Light- Eliezer posted this; he's probably got a bunch of elite scientists working on it by now.

How he managed to do that is something I'd rather not think too hard about.

Edit: Ugh, this is no fun without strikethroughs.

Comment author: Raemon 12 January 2012 03:27:16PM *  0 points [-]

I can't tell whether you're joking about the blood thing. (My prior would be on joking, except the other two points are semi-reasonable.

Edit: Okay the social pressure one is (superficially) ridiculous, but the idea behind it is not.

Comment author: [deleted] 14 January 2012 05:14:48AM 1 point [-]

Its not a joke.

It seems i have underestimatet both the creep factor and the inferential distance.

Let me explain:

Blood is a powerful Symbol. Its not without reason that it has been an important ingredient of many rituals throughout history. What ist even more important: There is a special meaning that is connected to spilling some drops of ones own blood: The willingness to take the hard way, to endure pain and sacrifice; determination. How does this relate to rationality? Rationality may require to chose the hard way, questioning dear- held beliefs, acting against deeply anchored social programming, breaking the rules of society.

But i dont want to overstate my case. Maybe there are less controversial means to accomplish the same ends? No need to use the creepy stuff if functional equivalents are at hand.

Beyond that, there seams to be a more general issue:
"jolly" rituals vs "solemn" rituals

All of my suggestions belong to the "solemn" category.
Solemn rituals are probably much harder to implement. They require a stronger group coherence and more commitment. On the other hand, solemn rituals are far more powerful (and therefore, dangerous). I think it is an option worth exploring.

Comment author: Anubhav 14 January 2012 08:33:09AM *  2 points [-]

I doubt 'solemn' is the word to use here. The Solstice celebration gets pretty solemn as it progresses, and yet it's clearly not the kind of ceremony you're thinking of.

The kind of ritual you seem to be suggesting... the only people (in fact and fiction alike) I can think of who've had rituals like that are brotherhoods of warriors/insurgents.

Which might be what you're aiming for, but I don't think our peaceful circle of philosophers should take up arms against the Enemies of Sanity just yet.

Comment author: Raemon 15 January 2012 08:23:38PM 1 point [-]

I agree that solemn rituals are harder but more powerful. I don't think doing a pin-prick-blood ritual is an inherently bad idea, but it's the sort thing that's too creepy to be used in any kind of ceremony that we wanted the public to know about.

Beyond the creep factor, it also (slightly) crosses a line that I don't want to cross - causing bodily harm. There may be genuinely good reasons to cross that line, but once you've crossed the line then a lot of issues become a lot murkier. Since we're dealing with complex and potentially dangerous forces, I'd rather set up some strict rules that are well in advance of anything genuinely bad that might happen.