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Paul_Ogryzek comments on Tsuyoku vs. the Egalitarian Instinct - Less Wrong

26 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2007 05:49PM

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Comment author: Paul_Ogryzek 14 November 2008 03:52:58AM 1 point [-]

This may be worth pointing out. If you know of one person who is a perfectionist and others who aren't, you may have the tendency of thinking that the perfectionistic person is unhappy due to their perfectionism. In reality the person may be unhappy for other or diverse reasons, and you're projecting the perfectionism as the reason because you perceive that you would be unhappy if you had such a level of self-analysis. You may have also been right that this person is unhappy to a significant degree from the perfectionism, but that doesn't necessarily mean that being less perfectionistic would help them. They may be equally miserable and come to find out that they needed to manage their high drives better. The conclusion to all of this is that it is irrelevent to comment upon the causal relationship between level of perfectionism and level of happiness in other people, especially since these ideas are gross oversimplifications of the concepts they represent. Having said all of that, I would like to add my two cents that I think there is a strong determinant of how satisfied we are with our existence coming from how we evaluate ourselves compared to others. Along that thinking, if a person wants to be happier, he or she should try to find ways to surpass others in all ways. The article astutely points out that there is an egalitarian bias against this desire and I would point out that this bias has been on the rise over the last ten years. Never have I seen a time that it was considered as undesirable to dominate others and have them know that you are better than them. That's what human life is really all about.