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Rationality Quotes 26

3 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 14 February 2009 04:14PM

"Poets, philosophers, acidheads, salesmen: everybody wants to know, 'What is Reality?'  Some say it's a vast Unknowable so astounding and raw and naked that it grips the human mind and shakes it like a puppy shakes a rag doll.  A lot of good that does us."
        -- The Book of the SubGenius

"When they discovered that reality was more complicated than they thought, they just swept the complexity under a carpet of epicycles.  That is, they created unnecessary complexity.  This is an important point.  The universe is complex, but it's usefully complex."
        -- Larry Wall

"I can't imagine a more complete and precise answer to the question 'for what reason...?' than 'none'.  The fact that you don't like the answer is your problem, not the universe's."
        -- Lee Daniel Crocker

"In the end they all moved in fantasies and not in the daily tide of their seemingly useless lives.  Souls forever lost in the terrifying freedom of their existence."
        -- Shinji and Warhammer40k

"Thus the freer the judgement of a man is in regard to a definite issue, with so much greater necessity will the substance of this judgement be determined."
        -- Friedrich Engels, Anti-Dühring

"There will always be some that cannot be saved.
 It is impossible to save everyone.
 If I have to lose five hundred to earn one thousand,
 I will abandon one hundred and save the lives of nine hundred.
 That is the most efficient method.
 That is the ideal----
 Kiritsugu once said that.
 Of course I got mad.
 I really got mad.
 Because I knew that without being told.
 Because I myself was saved like that.
 I don't even need to be told something as obvious as that.
 But still----I believed that someone would be a superhero if they saved everyone even though they think like that.
 It may be an idealistic thought or an impossible pipe dream, but a superhero is someone who tries to save everyone in spite of that."
        -- Emiya Shirou, in Fate/stay night
           (visual novel by Kinoko Nasu; Unlimited Blade Works path, Mirror Moon translation)

Comments (16)

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Comment author: Jonas_Felix_Kocevar 14 February 2009 06:05:58PM 0 points [-]

"The universe is complex, but it's usefully complex."

But in nature`s evolutionary process there are constant compromises. Chaos does not follow one best way.

"In the end they all moved in fantasies and not in the daily tide of their seemingly useless lives. Souls forever lost in the terrifying freedom of their existence."

terrified, mortified, stupified, by one`s own self-pitty. Freedom of existence does not save us from choice.

Comment author: Jonas_Felix_Kocevar 14 February 2009 06:41:51PM 0 points [-]

If one bit of rationality is one thought it would surely be more rational to maximize the number of "rationality"-bits.

1 bit (with a variance in bytes) of rationality = one random thought

for example: "Where did I put my keys?"

Assuming this, then thinking two thoughts simultaneously would be a way of maximizing rationality in terms of goal-oriented thinking (truth-seeking and other subjective goals)

The problem is, that the mind only has the capabilities to think or process one thought (1 bit) simultaneously to a moment in time x.

t = 0

The velocity of thoughts per second can vary among individuals due to all kinds of circumstances. Fortunately, a high velocity of thoughts/s does not affect intelligence. Or does it?

Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 14 February 2009 09:31:06PM 1 point [-]

terrifying freedom

I believe this is one of the prime motivators for religion, conspiracy theories, and all other manner of hidden organization schemes. the thought that this is literally IT and no one will judge the wicked, no one is guiding the leviathan, no one will care if you make a stupid mistake and it costs you your life.

"The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us." - Rorschach

Comment author: Gwern_Branwen 15 February 2009 12:32:23AM 0 points [-]

If anyone was curious about the Eva/Warhammer one; the exact link is http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3886999/5/Shinji_and_Warhammer40k

(I'm reading it through and while I'm much more familiar with Eva than Warhammer, it's definitely better than most fanfiction.)

Comment author: denis_bider2 15 February 2009 01:42:30AM -1 points [-]

With the last quotation especially, this is ceasing to be "Rationality Quotes" and is beginning to be "Idealist Quotes".

Comment author: Nominull3 15 February 2009 02:18:21AM 0 points [-]

I don't know about that, denis. The first part at least is a cute take on the "shut up and multiply" principle.

Comment author: Jack 15 February 2009 06:55:02AM -1 points [-]

The bumper sticker existentialism is pretty lame. I don't know who Lee Crocker is, and though I think I've heard of Warhammer 40k all this was said first and much better by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger etc. I wonder how much of these authors Eliezer has read.

Comment author: Adam_Ford 15 February 2009 07:43:46AM 0 points [-]

Neat. I want one of these bumper stickers you mentioned, especially the one with Emiya Shirou's quote, and I'll go with an existential bumper to match. I hope though that people don't stop rationalizing and philosophizing because Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger did did a fair job.

Comment author: CannibalSmith 15 February 2009 08:36:00AM 0 points [-]

Nietzsche doesn't have bolters, Jack.

Comment author: Jonas_Felix_Kocevar 15 February 2009 01:04:09PM 0 points [-]

"Werde, der du bist" - Nietzsche

How can we become what we are, if we always are what we are?

Max Stirner said it: “He who must expend his life to prolong life cannot enjoy it, and he who is still seeking for his life does not have it and can as little enjoy it.”

Comment author: Jonas_Felix_Kocevar 15 February 2009 02:07:51PM 0 points [-]

The world of those who are happy is different from the world of those who are not. - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Comment author: anonymous_hero 17 February 2009 11:19:38PM 0 points [-]

lol at the juxtaposition of fansubs/fanfiction with such erudite ponderings.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 19 February 2009 11:56:53AM 9 points [-]

http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1594

A cartoon about how people think about the question of whether something is a windmill or an evil giant.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 19 February 2009 08:02:04PM 1 point [-]

"As I reflect on the scientific careers of the people I have known these last thirty years, it seems to me more and more that these career decisions hinge on character. Some people will happily jump on the next big thing, give it all they've got, and in this way make important contributions to fast-moving fields. Others just don't have the temperament to do this. Some people need to think through everything very carefully, and this takes time, as they get easily confused. It's not hard to feel superior to such people, until you remember that Einstein was one of them. In my experience, the truly shocking new ideas and innovations tend to come from such people. Still others - and I belong to this third group - just have to go their own way, and will flee fields for no better reason than that it offends them that some people are joining in because it feels good to be on the winning side. So I no longer get bothered when I disagree with what other people are doing, because I see that temperament pretty much determines what kind of science they will do. Luckily for science, the contributions of the whole range of types are needed. Those who do good science, I've come to think, do so because they choose problems that are suited to them."

- Lee Smolin

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 February 2009 12:44:34PM 0 points [-]

[Computer]Languages need hype to survive; I just wish people didn't have to be blinded by it.

http://steve.yegge.googlepages.com/tour-de-babel

Comment author: Divide 15 July 2009 02:41:23AM 1 point [-]

s/D端hring/Dühring/. Perhaps review OB->LW conversion scripts?