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taryneast comments on Lost Purposes - Less Wrong

68 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 November 2007 09:01AM

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Comment author: taryneast 13 December 2010 01:45:09PM *  16 points [-]

MM should be understood in context... the fighting style he talks about is caught up in a whole lot of issues about "honour".

Fights are to the death because they are over the matter of honour. So he doesn't even bother to talk about fights that are intended to dis-arm only. It makes sense (for him) to talk only of the fights that involve "killing the enemy" as the ultimate goal.

What you describe above is actually exactly what he was talking about. If you are thinking two thoughts (eg "I must not die" AND "I must kill the enemy") - the two goals conflict... and in a fight - you kinda only have time for one goal. As somebody who also has a lot of experience in medieval swordcraft, I can attest to that.

A sword comes at you - do you parry or lunge? ... you hesitate, you die.

So, you must pick one goal over the other.

All things being roughly equal, if you pick "I must stay alive" and your enemy picks "I must kill my enemy" - then your enemy will probably win, because he gives no thought to protecting himself (except insofar as it allows him to strike back next time and kill you) and is willing to take more risks in achieving his goal than you are.

I think that was MM's point.