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CronoDAS comments on Beware of Other-Optimizing - Less Wrong

79 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 10 April 2009 01:58AM

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Comment author: CronoDAS 11 April 2009 11:24:51AM *  6 points [-]

My current long term plan is to wait for my parents to die, then implement Really Extreme Altruism. I've considered my life to have a slightly negative value for some time now, but I consider the grief caused by my abrupt death to have an even worse negative value than my continued existence.

I hate thinking long-term, because it makes me miserable. It always has, because The Future just seems to consist of obstacles to come between me and my precious free time. My primary coping mechanism, when faced with just about any problem, is escapism; I go immerse myself in a video game or other work of fiction, and I stop feeling bad for a while. Like someone who's been on an addictive drug for a long time, I don't use fiction so I can feel good, I use fiction so I can feel normal.

Also, I do know how to program, but I think I hate it. Creativity is hard and requires mental effort. I'm very bad at mental effort - if I can't find a sufficiently obvious way to make progress, I tend to get frustrated and give up. The last time I had a job, I sat in my cubicle and did nothing but surf the Internet while feeling really awful about it, because I really, really didn't want to do the actual programming work.

I don't fight laziness any more. I have come to terms with laziness. I have embraced laziness. I am laziness. The less I'm obligated to do, the fewer responsibilities I have, the better. Not existing is the ultimate laziness. If I don't exist, I'll never have to do anything ever again. I'll never have to worry about eating, or going to bed at a reasonable hour, or waking up at a reasonable hour, or being bored, or being yelled at, or not living up to someone else's expectations, or being lonely, or needing to earn an income, or not living up to my own expectations. As Shakespeare put it:

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

Th'oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of th'unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin?

Comment author: CronoDAS 18 July 2011 10:45:17AM 8 points [-]

FOR THE RECORD:

I am not currently suicidal. There are things in life I enjoy very much, and I am undergoing psychiatric treatment (and have been for a long time). I've had the discussion about me, my past, depression, antidepressants, therapists, school, jobs, life, death, and similar things many times on Less Wrong. I've gotten somewhat tired of it, and at least one other poster has told me the same. If I bring something like this up again in another context, feel free to ask me about it again, but please let this dead thread stay dead.

Comment author: Algernoq 21 December 2014 09:57:38PM 2 points [-]

I am not currently suicidal.

[Really Extreme Altruism is purchasing a life insurance policy, then] two years after the policy is purchased, it will pay out in the event of suicide. The man waits the required two years, and then kills himself, much to the dismay of his surviving relatives.

So...you're not currently suicidal...and you plan to kill yourself... I notice that I am confused.

Theory: suicidal feelings evolved to encourage people expelled by a tribe to do whatever it took to rejoin a tribe. That is, living without a tribe was certain death, but doing something heroically self-sacrificing (like killing a dangerous predator, or stealing from a strong enemy) was only probable death. "Altruistic" suicide with life insurance fits this pattern, but is not adaptive to the modern world.

Look, I'm against death in most circumstances, including yours. Your emotions are lying to you: you're not really tribeless -- you're a citizen of a reasonably powerful nation. A low-risk way to feel better (in addition to the conventional ones you apparently reject) is to join some tribes -- join some activity where you see the same people at least once a week. High-risk approaches, like a large psilocybin dose, or boot camp for the Marines, would also be less damaging than suicide.

Look, screw altruistic self-sacrifice. Crocodiles exist, and for literally 50 million years have survived by violently killing and eating other animals. Sharks exist, and for literally 400 million years have survived by violently killing and eating other animals. Apparently, God does not care. You get to decide what your needs are, and to pursue happiness as you see it.

Comment author: CronoDAS 25 December 2014 05:03:52AM *  4 points [-]

I notice that I am confused.

You overlooked an important bit of information: the dates on the two posts. One was made in 2009, and the other was in 2011.

Comment author: typosquatter 17 July 2011 10:46:30PM 3 points [-]

Okay, I know this counts as thread necromancy, but here goes:

I was raised by similar parents. The difference comes because I attempted suicide at 12. The important resulting effects were: 1) the inculcation of the "suicide is uniformly bad until you already have a terminal illness anyway" value (which is arbitrary in a way that frankly I find beyond the scope of this discussion); and 2) I gained an unusual psychological feature: that I empathize with people strongly because I no longer have an emotional distinction between self and other. (This may have been inherent and simply revealed by the emotional charge around the situation; or else, perhaps, taught by the many therapists and further emotionally charged discussions I saw in the years following. I have no way of distinguishing between the two.)

I am going to tell you that my instinctive reaction to this was to recoil and shout "SUICIDE IS BAD" until it went away, but the second instinct pressed upon the first, and so I am writing to you instead.

This is not an intractable problem. The mind is inherently malleable. The real trick is in finding someone who actually has effective coping/helping strategies. For someone intelligent enough to be on this site? Not every therapist will do, I'll tell you that much. The reason many of them helped me at all was because twelve-year-olds are not especially bright. They commented that I was like working with a particularly impulsive sixteen-year-old, and that's apparently reflected in how they treated me. For an adult, you may well be "over their heads" and that basically shuts you out of getting any help whatsoever from a "talk" type therapist with intelligence less than yours.

I doubt that, from what I've read of you, plain old medication will work without further actual therapy to make anything stick. Psychiatric medications in isolation are only better than just tossing sugar pills in very limited circumstances (i.e. people who are raised in good environments who just happen to have bad brains, not the other way around). A family physician, seeing that you're only complaining about lack of motivation now, could easily draw the wrong conclusions; make sure you aren't referred to a psychiatrist, because psychiatrists are basically medication dispensaries and that's about it. Look for a psychologist, but you're going to need to go through lots of them until you trust one, and you're also going to need to avoid the "SUICIDE IS BAD" attitude by not mentioning your thoughts on the subject.

Of course, this assumes you want to do this kind of work. If you don't, there's nothing I can do, and - well, certainly, I'm going to beat myself up about that, but it's enough above background noise that I'd be properly, truly disappointed.

Comment author: CronoDAS 18 July 2011 02:40:48AM *  1 point [-]

sigh, not this conversation again... I am so sick of talking about this over, and over, and over... :(

Comment author: wedrifid 18 July 2011 04:31:37AM *  4 points [-]

sigh, not this conversation again... I am so sick of talking about this over, and over, and over... :(

You made a provocative comment about a controversial plan. Of course you are going to get replies both immediately and after time. If you don't want to have this conversation then either don't comment about it on a public forum or just don't respond to replies after you have changed your mind and no longer wish to seek attention. Complaining that people talk about a self professed 'extreme' plan that you willingly announce to people is just silly.

Comment author: Kevin 18 July 2011 08:39:22AM 1 point [-]

If you've sufficiently changed your mind, delete the post?

Comment author: [deleted] 02 December 2010 11:40:06PM -1 points [-]

You need a friend.

Comment author: CronoDAS 03 December 2010 02:39:54AM -2 points [-]

[sarcasm] Yay, thread necromancy! [/sarcasm]