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Jack comments on Building Weirdtopia - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Jack 16 December 2010 03:34:38PM 2 points [-]

This is just a different variation on the human-Super Happy debate.

Comment author: wedrifid 16 December 2010 04:44:59PM *  7 points [-]

What? Without wanting to disrespect the relationship you have identified between the two concepts the difference are enormously important to my perception.. This isn't allowing people to have painful experiences. This is actively torturing them so they know what torture feels like.

I've never had my heart broken. But I have certainly experienced heartache enough to at least to at least be able to emphasise in part what it would be like for those who have endured months of turmoil from that kind of emotional wound. You just don't do that to people.

If you must give folks preparatory emotional experiences give them a two week summer fling that ends. Like Grease only Sandy goes back to Australia. Or systematically teach them some generic emotional coping skills like a sane society would.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 16 December 2010 04:52:37PM 4 points [-]

Actually "have their hearts broken" was the term he used. That you replace it with the word "torture" isn't helpful in keeping the focus on what is actually discussed.

Though I'm all in favour of torturing people that actually want to know what torture feels like. An American reporter had himself waterboarded, which was when he started opposing the practice of waterboarding.

If it helped make him a better person as a result, and helped him start oppose the much worse harm done on others, it was a good thing he got waterboarded.

Comment author: wedrifid 16 December 2010 05:10:57PM 3 points [-]

Actually "have their hearts broken" was the term he used. That you replace it with the word "torture" isn't helpful in keeping the focus on what is actually discussed.

No, and I actually downvoted your objection because this is important. What was actually being discussed was equivalence to Superhappy debates. I am asserting that torture is a far more appropriate analogy - albeit the stakes with mere torture are far lower than the stakes in systematically rewriting our species' DNA.

On a technical note and without necessarily being require for my point - breaking people's hearts would absolutely fit the definition of torture. Moreover if it were possible to do without the whole pesky 'falling in love' part it would almost certainly be used for that purpose by military organisations.

Though I'm all in favour of torturing people that actually want to know what torture feels like.

And if everybody wanted to have their hearts broken this proposal would not be outrageous.

Comment author: Jack 16 December 2010 05:37:32PM 1 point [-]

I'm not strictly endorsing the original proposal. But if we think some degree and certain types of pain adds depth to our personalities and enriches our existence then the question becomes how much pain and what kinds of pain should we let ourselves experience. We probably want to say no to water-boarding and yes to mild disappointment and scraped knees. A world without heartbreak (which I realize isn't the same thing as forcing people to experience heartbreak) seems to involve costs: fewer tragedies get written, people don't understand love quite the same way, no one understands pop music from the 20th century, etc. I'm not sure how one even begins to weigh the costs and benefits.

Making everyone experience heartbreak seems like going too far to me but in exactly the same way scraped knees are going too far according to the Super Happies.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 16 December 2010 07:33:11PM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure how one even begins to weigh the costs and benefits.

It's not a trivial problem. But I think if I don't at least attempt such a weighing, I'm not taking the problem seriously.

For my part, it makes no sense to me that the actual suffering should ever be valuable enough to want either to participate in it or to encourage others to do so. If having suffered through X is valuable, then I might encourage taking on the memory of having suffered through it, but that's no reason to make them go through X. (Assuming, of course, that my communications technology is adequate to that task. If the only way I know to communicate suffering is to make others suffer, then my options are of course limited, but I ought to work on relaxing that limitation.)

All of the examples you give are of the benefits of the memories of suffering. I don't need to currently be suffering to receive those benefits.