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Alicorn comments on Building Weirdtopia - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 January 2009 08:35PM

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Comment author: Alicorn 13 December 2010 01:13:29PM 6 points [-]

those who fail are killed

Why is this part necessary? Imagine growing up in that society: "It's possible that my parents have been lying to me my whole life about where I came from, in which case I have to be a great enough person to rule the kingdom when I grow up or I will die." That sounds like one too many worries to heap on a child.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 13 December 2010 02:36:32PM 6 points [-]

Encouraging random people to be great in all their everyday dealings by having both a huge incentive and a huge disincentive would probably be part of the point.

Also prevents civil wars, pretenders to the throne, and exerts evolutionary pressure in favour of worthiness, without however hurting the vast majority of the population.

Comment author: benelliott 17 December 2010 05:59:54PM 2 points [-]

Also encourages people to try and appear worthy regardless of whether they actually are. Some people will do that anyway, but you can imagine the sort of person who just isn't interested in being a ruler, and wouldn't make a very good ruler, but tries to act like they would in order to avoid being killed.

Comment author: Strange7 18 April 2011 12:24:57PM 3 points [-]

My understanding was that the exact criteria and timing of the tests would not be general knowledge. In fact, a certain amount of subjectivity and even inconsistency on the part of those administering the test might be desirable, so long as they're consistently seen as looking for a specific, coherent set of virtues rather than a more immediate agenda.

As such, someone who has been practicing wise, responsible, and compassionate action out of pure self-preservation might maintain the noble facade even after taking office, out of (technically unjustified, but far from unreasonable) fear that the slightest moral lapse might result in assassination.

For that matter, they might just forget they were ever pretending.