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Ghatanathoah comments on Interpersonal Entanglement - Less Wrong

44 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 January 2009 06:17AM

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Comment author: Ghatanathoah 31 October 2012 10:10:55AM *  1 point [-]

I think I can resolves, or at least explain, most of your disagreements with Eliezer.

Why? You've just given a frightened response rather than an argument.

He gave a reasoned argument here and here. I guess he just assumed that readers were unlikely to have read this without reading those other essays first.

"Sterile" is often a good thing and means safe/clean/pure. What is bad about sterile simplicity?

I think he meant a common secondary meaning of sterile: barren and fruitless. Sterile simplicity is bad because it generates less things of value.

It strikes me as an improvement. People should separate if they are happier that way.

To put it in more analytical terms, if you separate you just get happiness. If you overcome your differences you get happiness, and the satisfaction of having solved a difficult problem.

Now, obviously you can make a reductio ad absurdum out of this and argue that by my logic, no one should separate ever. But that's obviously not what I mean. Maybe you should separate when you have an impossible problem, or a ridiculously hard problem that takes ludicrous effort to resolve. But for more moderate problems trying to solve them seems like a good idea. Considering that 60-50% of US marriages do not end in divorce, gender relations seems like a more moderate problem.

Let's hear it for secession!

Generally secession seems overrated as a problem-solving device. It strongly reminds me of the socialist desire to burn down society and start anew, except that secessionists at least have the decency to isolate the part of society they live in before they start the burning. When your problems are building up it's tempting to just throw everything out and start anew, while not noticing the massive new problems doing that causes. To avoid breaking the rules talking about current politics, I'll use the Roman Empire as an example. Historians generally agree that after it broke up the standard of living went down for the people living in its former territories. Whatever benefits secession generated were far outweighed by the new problems caused by increased difficulty of trade, migration, and mutual defense.

What exactly is the difference? That one sets off alarm lights in your brain while the other lets you think the ship of Theseus still retains its identity?

I think Eliezer says what the difference is most explicitly here:

If you delete the intricacy of human romantic/sexual relationships between sentient partners—then the peak complexity of the human species goes down. The most complex fun thing you can do, has its pleasure surgically detached and redirected to something simpler.

To put it succinctly, solving the problem would allow for more interesting and complex fun than running from it.

Also known as "modifying your brain". It seems its okay when brains are modified for ends you approve of but not for those of others.

Technically, it's pretty hard to do anything without modifying your brain. If I decide to learn a new skill I am modifying my brain. Obviously there are some ways of brain modification people regard as acceptable, like learning a new language, and others people regard as bad, like lobotomies. I'm not quite sure what acceptable modifications have in common with each other, but it seems like Eliezer thinks his "nudges" are much more similar to learning than they are to lobotomies.

I suspect you've fallen under the spell of The People's Romance.

I assume that you are talking about the article by Daniel Klein. The phenomenon Klein criticizes is the tendency of people to tolerate intrusive Big Government if it serves as a means to the end of uniting people, not the desire to unite people in and of itself. In fact, Klein is careful to state that unity is a positive thing, it's just that its positiveness is vastly outweighed by all the awful things the government does once it gets tons of power. As Klein says it's "Not all bad, just not worth it."