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mtraven comments on Lost Purposes - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: mtraven 26 November 2007 01:54:05AM 0 points [-]

You don't have to have complex human organizations to get lost purposes. Runaway sexual selection is basically a subgoal of evolution (finding a good mate) taking over far too many resources from the primary goal (survival and reproduction). Of course, since this is probably the process that generated the human mind in the first place, we shouldn't judge the phenomenon too harshly. Our minds and culture are founded on distraction, which explains a lot, like why I am commenting here instead of working.

As for human organizations, I've always felt that, given that they are composed of people who all have their own goals, the real mystery or at least thing to be explained is how they sometimes actually fulfill their stated purpose rather than being constantly subverted or misdirected by the divergent goals of their component individuals. I suppose that the history of industry and management is the history of figuring out ways to stop this from happening.