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KPier comments on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young - Less Wrong

24 [deleted] 18 August 2012 03:17PM

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Comment author: KPier 18 August 2012 05:12:25PM 7 points [-]

Not to fall into the "trap" of buying warm fuzzies? Do you advocate a policy of never buying yourself any warm fuzzies, or just of never buying warm fuzzies specifically through donating to charity (because it's easy to trick your brain into believing it just did good)?

Comment author: gwern 18 August 2012 05:23:24PM 9 points [-]

Yes, I am deeply suspicious of Eliezer's post on warm fuzzies vs utilons because while I accept that it can be a good strategy, I am skeptical that it actually is: my suspicion is that for pretty much all people, buying fuzzies just crowds out buying utilons.

For example, I asked Konkvistador on IRC, since he was planning on buying fuzzies by donating to this person, what utilons he was planning on buying, especially since he had just mentioned he had very little money to spare. He replied with something about not eating ice cream and drinking more water.

Comment author: [deleted] 19 August 2012 08:56:39AM *  1 point [-]

He replied with something about not eating ice cream and drinking more water.

I was going for how this increase in fuzzy spending would be counteracted by me specifically cutting out fuzzy spending elsewhere, so total fuzzy spending remains unchanged by this particular decision.

Also me loosing weight does bring me utility.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 08:18:51PM 5 points [-]

So now you're passing the buck twice: you're passing the buck from donating to her to actually cutting down on the ice cream, and from there, you're passing the buck to having increased hedons to at some point buying more utilons. Do you see why this sort of reasoning makes me go all -_- ?

Also me loosing weight does bring me utility.

More rationalizing doesn't make me feel better either!

Comment author: [deleted] 20 August 2012 05:59:09AM *  4 points [-]

More rationalizing doesn't make me feel better either!

You've shamed me not currently donating much to optimal charity. This has caused me to want to lower my current warm fuzzies spending increasing my available financial resources and give more to SIAI (which I currently think is the optimal charity). Thus I've decided to cut the last thing on the list of stuff I enjoy: Ice cream and sweets. The loosing weight comment was indeed searching for a silver lining to cutting it off my list.

If you hadn't shamed me I'd still be happily enjoying my large supply of warm fuzzies from ice cream and other things, but you've unfortunately devalued it depriving me of that fun. That's probably worth it for you since its more than offset by gains in other people.

I am however pretty bothered by how worked up some people where getting over this. I'm pretty certain that if I shared a good deal for buying a huge collection of anime on LessWrong and said that some people might find this valuable and they should totally check it out, no one would bring up optimal charity. I explicitly put this in the same bin as buying anime yet people attack it nevertheless.

Do you see why this sort of reasoning makes me go all -_- ?

I can see why.

Looking at myself from the outside I think I'm clearly defending an emotional attachment to a course of action. But I don't remember deceiving myself or anyone else into thinking this was something worth doing on efficient charity grounds for the good of the world. This was framed as personal expenditures spending and talking about such spending. We do this all the time, check out the fictional book and other media recommendation threads we have running. I don't see optimal charity advocates stomping there haranguing people for consuming such media. Indeed I can take this comparison further in this case and point out she is producing media (videos, writing), lots of people consume media that is available for free yet still donate to the authors for creating such content.

I didn't even expect as many people as have to donate or feel inclined to donate on LessWrong, I was actually hoping more for people here to go and engage the pro-death arguments on reddit than donate themselves. I also made the argument that efficient charity advocacy in that thread (thought perhaps not here) won't result in more efficient charity, but anti-cryonics or pro-death memes might be impacted in a way we'd all like.

Comment author: Decius 19 August 2012 01:38:51AM 0 points [-]

Fuzzies are utilons.

Personally, I prefer Kickstarter projects for my fuzzies, because they typically also come with direct physical rewards.