A fictional short story illustrating some of the ideas in Interpersonal Entanglement above. (Many commenters seemed to like this story, and some said that the ideas were easier to understand in this form.)
Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).
This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Interpersonal Entanglement, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.
Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.