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PK comments on Beyond the Reach of God - Less Wrong

68 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 October 2008 03:42PM

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Comment author: PK 04 October 2008 06:06:54PM 15 points [-]

What's the point of despair? There seems to be a given assumption in the original post that:

1) there is no protection, universe is allowed to be horrible --> 2)lets despair

But number 2 doesn't change 1 one bit. This is not a clever argument to disprove number 1. I'm just saying despair is pointless if it changes nothing. It's like when babies cry automatically when something isn't the way they like because they are programmed to by evolution because this reliably attracted the attention of adults. Despairing about the universe will not attract the attention of adults to make it better. We are the only adults, that's it. I would rather reason along the lines of:

1) there is no protection, universe is allowed to be horrible --> 2)what can I do to make it better

Agreed with everything else except the part where this is really sad news that's supposed to make us unhappy.

Comment author: Voltairina 28 March 2012 06:05:08AM 1 point [-]

Agreed. Despair is an unsophisticated response that's not adaptive to the environment in which we're using it - we know how to despair now, it isn't rewarding, and we should learn to do something more interesting that might get us results sooner than "never".

Comment author: Houshalter 16 May 2014 06:28:59PM -1 points [-]

What's the point of having feelings or emotions at all? Are they not all "pointless"?

Comment author: keen 16 May 2014 06:36:41PM 0 points [-]

I suggest that you research the difference between instrumental values and terminal values.

Comment author: Houshalter 17 May 2014 02:48:23AM 1 point [-]

I understand the difference. Perhaps I wasn't clear. You can't just call feelings "pointless" because they don't change anything.

Comment author: Swimmer963 17 May 2014 03:50:55PM 1 point [-]

You could argue that some feelings do change things and have an effect on actions; sometimes in a negative direction (i.e. anger leading to vengeance and war) sometimes in a positive direction (i.e. Gratitude resulting in kindness and help.) Anger in this example can be considered "pointless" not because it has no effect upon the world, but because it's effect is negative and not endorsed intellectually. I think that's the sense in which despair is pointless in the original example. It does have an effect on the world; it results in people NOT taking actions to make things better.

You could argue with the use of the word "pointless", I suppose.