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Baughn comments on Eutopia is Scary - Less Wrong

33 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 January 2009 05:28AM

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Comment author: Baughn 18 September 2013 09:58:58PM 9 points [-]

Here's another question, though: Will it drive 5% of my reading audience sane?

There are people who really, genuinely feel there's no point in striving to live, because life isn't nice. Even just showing them that life could be nice might be helpful, when it comes to things like getting signed up for cryonics.

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 18 September 2013 10:49:44PM 1 point [-]

That's a great sentiment, but it doesn't take into account that people who "genuinely feel there's no point in striving to live" are typically clinically depressed. I.E., have a serious issue with their neurochemistry.

Take it from someone who's been there; you don't talk someone out of a depression, at least not unless you're a psychiatrist with a pad of prescription sheets and training in cognitive behavioral therapy. Or at least an ECT machine and a really kinky looking table. God I love psychiatry.

(If on the other hand we're just talking about people who are bummed, not actually having given up on life, then yeah I'm sure EY could spin a tale good enough to pick up their spirits.)

Comment author: MugaSofer 20 September 2013 06:29:32PM 1 point [-]

I've had people try to dissuade me in cryonics discussions on the basis that it simply wouldn't be worth it, life isn't that great. I doubt they were clinically depressed. Whether that was their true rejection, on the other hand...

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 20 September 2013 07:17:02PM *  1 point [-]

Yeah, there's a pretty big difference between saying someone shouldn't spend a small fortune on a speculative immortality procedure and giving up on life. Between the fact that it's not their life and that cryonics is just freezing a corpse to most of us, don't expect that to translate into an actual longing for death / despair over life.

Anyway, onto these cryonics dissuaders. Are we talking something like "life would be boring after (Average Life Expectancy in my Country) years, because sour grapes" or "life in a society where you have no useful skills, are completely ignorant and unsocialized, and everyone you know is dead would be distinctly unpleasant" or more of a "Seriously, life is pain bro" kind of thing?

The first is either a clever attempt to get you out of a perceived scam or a rationalization, the second is a fairly good point if debatable, and the third guy just wants weed money. None of them seem like they've given up on life.

Comment author: MugaSofer 20 September 2013 10:10:39PM *  1 point [-]

someone shouldn't spend a small fortune on a speculative immortality procedure

A very small fortune, since I had already mentioned it would be paid for with life insurance.

the fact that it's not their life

Did a double-take here. Sorry, I phrased it poorly; we were discussing cryonics in general, with focus on practicality for everyone in the conversation; not just me.

cryonics is just freezing a corpse to most of us

... are your opinions on cryonics by any chance mostly a result of popcultural osmosis? Please don't be offended, just a shot in the dark.

"life would be boring after (Average Life Expectancy in my Country) years, because sour grapes"

About right, although it was fairly vague.

"life in a society where you have no useful skills, are completely ignorant and unsocialized, and everyone you know is dead would be distinctly unpleasant"

... no. Do people seriously try this? It sounds vaguely familiar, but I've never really encountered it... There was a brief "what if everything sucks?" "why would they bring you back if everything sucks?"; that's about as close as anyone got. (Neither of those voices is me.)

"Seriously, life is pain bro"

I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to convey with this - are we talking antinatalist-style arguments.

The first is either a clever attempt to get you out of a perceived scam or a rationalization

???

None of them seem like they've given up on life.

One assumes that it's somewhat difficult to debate cryonics with people who have committed suicide, which is what you seem to mean by "given up on life".

They've certainly given up on getting more ...

Comment author: wedrifid 21 September 2013 03:44:41AM *  4 points [-]

A very small fortune, since I had already mentioned it would be paid for with life insurance.

It seems that insurance increases the expected amount of money that will be paid rather than decreasing it. The benefit of insurance is not a reduction in (expected) cost but a redistribution of money from possible futures where you are fortunate to possible futures where you are unfortunate. This is a service that you pay a premium for.

Comment author: MugaSofer 22 September 2013 03:26:04PM *  -2 points [-]

Sure. But actually, I was referring to the fact that it doesn't involve a large lump sum payment, or "fortune".

Well, it assuaged their doubts about cost, anyhow. Cost was not the issue here.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 19 September 2013 10:50:22PM 3 points [-]

Is showing them a fictional nicer life really actually going to help, here? I mean, I could be wrong - there was that whole religion thing - but I'd think that what people like that need would be a nicer life now and showing them a better world would tend to make them unhappier.

Comment author: Baughn 21 September 2013 09:44:22AM 4 points [-]

In one very specific case, it well might. It's someone who will, no question about it, be dead within a year.

His main objection to cryonics seems to be that living isn't very fun anyway, so why bother. And though I may be playing whack-a-mole with arguments, life is important enough to at least try.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 September 2013 06:41:12PM 5 points [-]

I am curious as to what would happen if he tried reading HPMOR.

Comment author: casperdog 03 March 2014 08:12:50AM 1 point [-]

I'd just like to say here, that a few months ago, reading the fun theory sequence made me much happier. It was the idea that there was at least one, probably more, good futures, with a clear way of how to get there. Before, I had just assumed that we would all die in some apocalypse, probably from climate change. So thank you.